Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Where do ideas come from?

As I was preparing my "Why Quilts Matter" presentation, and thinking about questions that quilters and non-quilters might ask, I remember a question that I heard with some frequency when I was working and teaching in a quilt shop:  "Where do your ideas for design come from?"  

The lazy, flip answer is "I don't know, they just come to me," but that's not very fair--to the person asking the question or to myself and the "creative process."  So I've spent some time thinking about an honorable answer.  I think I'm able to organize it into 3--maybe 4--categories.  Two of them are old standbys for me, as the sources and methods I've used for a long time.

One of them is newer, trying to design a visual representation of a concept.  (This one has grown out of my attempt to develop a creative habit, a la Twyla Tharp, in her "The Creative Habit.)  As I mentioned in an earlier post, when I awaken in the morning I come up with a design idea for a quilt.  (As you might expect, some are better than others.)  It may be something that came to me in a dream, or something I see in the room, but sometimes it's more about a concept or non-visual idea.  One morning, for example, the first thing I heard when I woke up was the train whistle that is there every morning, but which I too often don't really hear.    How could I visually represent that sound, and perhaps even the Doppler Effect of it.

I don't think I'm ready to talk about the fourth one yet--I'm just starting to explore it and its future as an inspiration for quilt design is uncertain.  But I'm excited to give it a try!

One thing I have observed, through all of this, is that I'm observing more.  :-)  Noticing the sounds of the train and then asking the simple question, "What would a quilt of that sound look like," are stretching my creative muscles, and there isn't anything much better than that--even chocolate!

What about you--where do YOUR creative ideas come from?

No comments:

Post a Comment