We were to bring inspirational pictures, and the class was called something like "abstracting from nature" so most people worked from nature pictures. However, as much as I love the outdoors (especially at asilomar) I wasn't feeling that vibe. Rather my inspiration and pinboards lately have been filled with bold, graphic, sculptural art so I brought a pile of pictures in that vein. Before going, I used this picture as a color scheme to help guide what fabrics I packed, so wound up with lots of blues, oranges and neutrals. I really love this combination, especially with a few pops of saturated fuschia. Yum. I also liked the sculptural nature of those pants, but in the end used this beautiful paper sculpture as the jumping off point for my sketching.
The first part of the class involved exercises in color selection and the curved piecing technique that Jean uses. That was really helpful to me-I love curves, but have always hated having to precisely match up seams and curves. It was great to be able to piece freely along the curves.
After doing some initial exercises, we started sketching and abstracting. This is where I really had to let go- typically I sketch/draw/design until I have a full pattern (either on paper or in illustrator) and then follow my pattern. Here though I sketched and abstracted and sketched and cropped until I had some shapes that were reminiscent of the original inspiration, but really quite different. Then I just started piecing-keeping a vague idea of the direction I wanted my curves to go, but otherwise just letting things build.
|This was my final "pattern" which was just mainly a suggestion for the directionality of curves/piecing.|
These were the first two sections I pieced. You can see they're a little lumpy from all the curves, but judicious pressing and reseaming when irredeemable bubbles formed solved the problem. I found this process of piecing curves worked great as long as I was willing to let go of any preconceived notions about making something that matched my pattern.
Here with the third inner set pieced and pinned up. It was feeling a little top heavey at this point and there was a ton of "waste" where the two orange sections overlapped, so I cut off the overlap and auditioned a bunch of different ways to incorporate the piecing I whacked off.
I settled on that option on the bottom right. Once that was sewn on, there was another bit of light orange overlap to cut off, which I wound up positioning at the bottom left.
At this point I found that it had completely diverged from my original sketch and that it looked a bit like a person wrapped up in a scarf or shawl. One of the exercises we did in the class was to go around and leave one word about how all the pieces resonated with us. My sheet had all kinds of great words from my classmates, many of which were spacey/science fiction-y in nature. I thought it looked kind of like a Jawa, others suggested a still suit a la-Frank Herbert and Dune, and many others had additional sci-fi words.
The yarn lines are pinned up to help guide/audition the piecing and design lines in the background. That was one of Jean's suggestions and I found it really helpful for deciding how to fill in all the background area.
And here it is with the background pieced in. This is how it is still, hanging on my design wall waiting to be quilted. Originally the pale purple inside the blue circle corresponded to open space behind that paper sculpture, but as it's taken on a more figurative aspect, I've been wondering whether I ought to paint that central purple piece dark- maybe to look something like the picture below. Thoughts?
It'll be the next thing to finish, although I still have to decide how to quilt it. I'm not sure how I'll finish it- I may cut it off square, but I might also decide to make uneven edges to reflect the curved piecing. I'll wait to decide until after I quilt it.