I decided to do a small 4'x4' study in preparation for another large piece. And in the process of starting I found myself plagued by two bad habits.
Bad Habit 1. Thinking that every piece has to be a masterpiece- which has the instant effect of paralysis. If everything you have to do has to be WONDERFUL then it is most likely that everything you produce will be MEDIOCRE. My really good pieces have involved risk- trying something new, whether it is a new color combination, a new technique, a different composition. But trying something new takes time and patience and confidence, all of which have been in short supply recently. I have been so intent on quilting these large pieces well that I have not spent anytime practicing my design skills. And I find that you have to practice design continually.
Bad Habit 2. Being afraid to use precious pieces of material. This is actually deadly for me. I have to take a deep breathe before I cut into a special piece of fabric. This has the effect on me of taking the safe road so I do not ruin a piece by trying a new kind of shape. Well, that is stupid. And it is limiting.
I have some very special fabric that I have purchased that is in limited supply. It has been sitting rolled up for almost a year. And I have been scared to cut into it.
Monday after much procrastination I decided to throw these two monkeys off of my back. I decided that the time had come to cut into my precious roll- and I cut off about 4 meters of fabric- a bit of a safety net perhaps- and I just jumped in. Usually I hate my initial compositions- and Monday's work was no different. I worked until dinner time and then decided not to enter my studio or even look at it until the next morning.
I entered the studio Tuesday, and took most of the composition off the wall. And then I played and played- and ended up with an interesting composition. Then last night- a toss and turn night where I felt like I had just settled into a comfortable composition. So this morning, once again I took a lot of it off and started to recombine some of the fabrics.
I have been worrying, again, about how dark is too dark. I do have a love affair with black, deep deep blues and browns, and shiny surfaces versus matte surfaces. And this composition is really going black. I like where it is going, and will tackle some more tomorrow. If it works it will be the basis of another piece, so I feel like it is ok not to make this study a masterpiece. That has given me some freedom to explore.
After months of machine quilting, my three days of design has me breathing again. Monotony replaced by Risk. Bring it on!