Let's face it--quilts just don't happen. Designs don't just show up. There is a thought process and at least for me, understanding my thought process usually comes after I have made the quilt. Or at least several in the same series. Sure I have standard tricks. I make lots of sketches. Try out lots of different fabrics and designs. For me it almost becomes a jazz composition--one design dictates what the next design must become. Then I riff on that and circle back to the initial design. A complex dance of design and thought limited by techniques and the colors of fabric I want to create--simple and complex at the same time. For instance I wrote about creating this quilt HERE.
Anyhow, I love this act of designing the quilts and paying careful attention to the rhythms of the designs but I am also fascinated with the process that others use. What can I learn by talking with other artists? Picking their brains. At the Berkshire Craft Show last week-end I was really taken with the wall panels of Sheilagh Flynn. Now I have known Sheilagh and her work for a number of years--even had a booth next to her once or twice. You can read more about her HERE.
Her colors are lush and soft--the dreamy colors of shebert or foggy mornings--she does live near the ocean after all. Wonderful textures in her work. There is a consistent feeling that makes it recognizable. Sure she makes lots of lovely bowls and vases. Teapots. But this time I noticed the wall panels. Such simple designs--relying not only on the different textures of clay and the color she creates. Aren't they lovely?
But how--I asked her--did she create so many designs? Each one so different but related. It turns out this is a great story and a slightly different approach. Easy she says. She thinks of it as filling the squares. She loves popsicles--couldn't you guess it from the lovely colors she uses? So she decided that she had to save the popsicle sticks and each night cover a popsicle stick with graphic designs. Only one or two per night. But isn't that such a wonderful idea? Wouldn't you love to see her popsicle stick collection? Aren't the textures delightful?
Now I am not sure I want to draw designs on popsicle sticks but I do realize that simple designs are all around us. For instance I look at this image of a window I took. Simple colors. Great textures. Should this be a new quilt? Hmm I will have to think about this. So many possibilities. And aren't the popsicle sticks almost the outlines of a jazz composition just like a square is?
And you--how do you create new designs? Do you ever think about filling the square? Do you fill notebooks? Or popsicle sticks? Do you take images of designs? Or do they just come to you?