Saturday, May 25, 2013

Design Inspiration

Last night, as I was busy lying awake with all sorts of things running around in my head, I decided I'd rather have quilt things *playing*' around in my head and I turned to my insomnia contract:  come up with six quilt design ideas.  (The contract also includes a clause that I need not ever make the designs, not that they are full thought out.  Often, by the next morning, they don't looks quite as good in my mind as they did at 2:30 a.m.  And, frankly, it's not unknown for number 6 to be pure desperation design.  Maybe that could be a new trend in quilts.)

Here are the 6 ideas from last night--these are all modern, in my head:
1) Outside, looking in
2) The hand you're dealt
3) Metered
4) Emergence

And, OK, I don't remember the other two.  Did I mention desperation?  Apparently my brain won't even acknowledge that it came up with the other two.  I do keep my design journal next to my bed but I was too lazy to turn on the light and write them down. 

Well, swell, but why did I bring all of this up?  I've been thinking a lot over the past few weeks about what inspires design ideas for me.  After completing my contract, I turned to thinking about what inspired those idea. And I'm interested in what inspires others.

I've written before about some of the ways I think of designs for quilts:  combining traditional designs and tweaking, looking at the world around me, etc. etc., etc.  But I'm thinking more about details of what inspires me.  (I'm a little worried that if I analyze it too rigorously it won't be inspiration any longer, but calculation.  So I won't go too deeply!)

One of my favorite ways is to look at design in other art forms, from graphic design to packaging to photography to whatever.   Sometimes for my weekly "art date" I sit down with Pinterest and just browse through the "design" pins.   I don't fine inspiration in all the pins, and I would never use someone else's design work but I may find an idea for a quilt in the colors of something, or a piece of a shape, or the balance of a design.   Last night, while browsing Pinterest "design" I found at least 3 pins with shapes that showed up, in somewhat altered form, in the above ideas.

Nature is a constant source of inspiration and, since it is all around us, all the time, it's a living design journal.   A mother robin, who failed miserably at trying to build a nest over my front porch light (she gave it a game try for two solid weeks), finally built it in a yew outside my front door.  I'm a little more worried about her little babies in this lower, more vulnerable position but it did give me an opportunity to get a better photo of the nest.

 The immediate inspiration for me, here, is color.  The gray-ish browns, the shades of green, that amazing blue, even the winter kill gold, would be wonderful in a quilt.  Shapes are also getting my creative brain moving--the random lengths and sizes of the nest twigs, the shape of the eggs, the long and narrow needles--any or all of the may end up in a design, whether together or in completely different designs and quilts.

More about the color pallette in the next post.

What inspires you?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Life from Mom, Second Time Around

On this Mother's Day I have been thinking a lot about my Mom, who passed away more than six years ago.   Not only did she give me life, literally, to begin with but she also started me on the path that is to be my new life, after retirement from public employment.   I learned a great many things about life from Mom, of course, and she also taught me to knit, crochet, embroider, and SEW. 

I don't remember at what age I learned to sew but I think it must have been seven or eight.  She sat me down at the Featherweight (which I have now, in my home) and showed me how to make doll clothes and my own clothes.  If was from her that I learned how to select and read patterns, choose fabric, thread a machine and sew a straight seam.    She had more patience than I suspect I deserved!

Even now I remember the lessons she taught me.  (And on a day like today, I especially remember one that has served me well for more than half a century:  "If you're tired, stop sewing; if you don't you'll only make a mistake that you'll have to rip out and correct, anyway.")  I didn't begin quilting until I was 18 but everything I learned from Mom about sewing and color and design has been a part of the path that is leading me to the next step in my life, as Warped Spinster.

Thanks, Mom, for everything.  Love you, and miss you!