I mentioned recently that my local art quilt group has a challenge going, to create a mosaic quilt with small pieces of fabric. And you know I've been doing dye samples lately...so with all those extra samples of dyed raw silk, I created this mosaic quilt. I'm calling it East/West of Purple.
I really love this piece. Color charts and color wheels have always turned me on, so this piece was a gas to make. The background fabric is hand dyed muslin. I found a really cool commercial batik fabric to use for the backing and binding, photo just below.
This piece certainly wasn't difficult to do, but I did try several versions of stitching the squares to the backing. I had an additional 30 swatches so I did a test piece with different thread colors, different square patterns around the samples, etc. In the end, I stabilized the whole top, basted the top/batting/backing together, then quilted each square individually with my embroidery foot. I like the irregularity of the stitched squares, enhancing the irregularity of the sample sizes.
Trying techniques and methods on for size is a good thing for me to do. I usually want to just put a piece together and hope for the best. The quilts I've been producing the Fiberactions' challenges have gotten me into this testing mode. Having two months to do each quilt is a good amount of time to try different things to see what works best, and/or to take a piece one step at a time and resolve design dilemmas as they come up.
I'm working now on our third piece -- the theme is Convergence -- and I'm making several small pieces with the main idea I want to articulate, trying different color media, different ways of achieving what I see in my mind's eye, to see how close I can come to what I imagine the finished piece will look like. This is good. It really is a challenge!
About my process -- I'm really not a sketchbook kind of artist. Or I should say I don't draw everything out on paper beforehand, work out all the details on paper first, etc. I create in my mind. I may jot down a few notes in my daytimer when an idea first comes to me. But then I imagine how it will look, I walk through possible steps, different alternatives in my mind, I visualize how things will fit together or not, until I know what I want to do. And then I'll do it.
I think artists' sketchbooks are very cool and I love looking at them. But every time I set about doing one for myself, THAT becomes just another thing to work out visually before committing anything to the paper! Instead of sketchbooks, per se, I keep grid paper spiral notebooks to record process and technique notes, dyeing recipes and procedures, more mechanical and mathematical information, stuff like that. And rough ideas. When I'm ready to proceed on a project, my mind's eye takes over.
About finding my voice -- Right now I feel that finding my creative voice is about having the courage to keep moving forward to whatever's next, without stopping at any certain point so that I can say, "Okay, THIS is the kind of work I do." I think I'd rather be known as an artist who tries a lot of different things, than be known for doing one particular kind of work. Yes, recognition is a good thing. But there are a number of well known art quilters who's work, although I like it, has become redundant. They just keep doing the same thing over and over and over again.
My modus operandi is, Do it until it's not satisfying anymore, then move on. I don't need to pidgeonhole myself. There are too many cool things to try, and I'm just getting started. It's an evolving process, not a destination. Like life, eh?