Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Unlocking the Block—Part 3

Still struggling? Nothing coming to you? Can’t face your studio? Sometimes it helps to dive in, move some things around or root around in things that are familiar.

Floris Flam shares this:

I have two different strategies for dealing with creative blocks.

Sometimes I don't have any idea what my next quilt might be. At those times, I may have been working on a series of quilts, but making another quilt in the series feels as if I'm treading on the same path with nothing new to say. I might focus for a while on other things I make, like card cases or collaged greeting cards. Spending time on these reduces the pressure to come up with a new idea for a major work and sometimes new ideas emerge when I'm not trying so hard.

Another strategy I sometimes use to get back into the creative groove is to use a cut-and-repiece technique I learned several years ago from Cynthia Corbin. I find a fabric I like in my collection of hand-dyes, either one I dyed or one I purchased from another dyer. A half yard or even a fat quarter will work for this. I cut this piece up into pieces of various sizes, keeping the most visually interesting areas intact and slicing the rest into narrow strips or smaller rectangles. I then rearrange the pieces on my design wall to make an interesting composition, add more fabrics as needed, then stitch the pieces together and quilt them. I find that this process can create interesting work even if I don't have any plan when I start.  The two examples below of this technique use hand-dyed fabrics  by Heide Stoll-Weber.

“Blue City”



Both Cindy Grisdela and Merle Thompson share a few techniques that they rely upon.

Cindy writes:

When I have a creative block, I look at old sketches, pull out my most cheerful fabrics and just start cutting and sewing. Sometimes it helps to set a timer for 20 minutes and just sew something. Often when the timer rings, an idea has emerged and I’m off again. I don’t try to make something that’s art, or that I think will sell, or anything else like that. I just go back to the joy of choosing colors and sewing fabrics together.

Merle shares:

When I  hit a design block for my simple purses or jackets, I haul out my thick files of pictures that I’ve ripped out of magazines. I’ll pick out a color scheme here, or a pleat there, and outline here, an abstract sign there. And soon, I have a new idea.

Floris, Cindy and Merle  all relied on finding inspiration within their studios or home. Things that they already had near. You can never underestimate the power of what’s present and at your fingertips. It doesn’t cost anything extra and you don’t have to get in your car and go anywhere. Just look around.

No comments: