Saturday, July 26, 2014

New New York Beauty

I am often asked about my creative process, something I often feel I do not even have. I mean, I am amazed that after all these years making things I still end up feeling like I don't know how to start a new one. For this quilt I started out where I often start: without anything in mind.

I just pulled a bunch of fabrics off my shelf and tossed them onto the floor. Any fabrics that seemed to go well together I rejected. I do not like the look of things that are too coordinated, too harmonious. Eventually I found myself with these three fabrics, which were not particularly friendly with each other, but seemed to have a sort of energy when I laid them side by side.

First, I cut some random pieces from the bacon-like stuff on the right, without any clear idea what I was doing. Suddenly I remembered that I had been wanting to make a new New York Beauty. "Perfect!" I said to myself, "These two pieces would give me the contrast I need for the long, sharp points." As I worked along at building a row of points, I saw that I could keep all the greenish yellow on one side and all the pink stripes on the other.

This is my secret technique. I just start working on something whether or not I know what it will be. Sometimes I end up with a mistaken, misshapen, problematic thing. But usually by the time I am solidly started, I have a sound idea for where to go and how to get there.

And that is the hardest part: believing that an idea will appear.

Sometimes, you have to plan ahead. Sometimes you start out with a clear idea. But sometimes you can start out without either a plan or a concept, and those things will materialize.