Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Wisdom of Doing What You Love

I began this week with a plan to work on a piece which would include a village grouping of houses with improvisationally-pieced windows in them. It was going to be by the sea, and was going to include a washing line. This was not something I'd just dreamed up overnight, but something I'd been wanting to do for some time. I'd even made the sketches for it. So I set to work and made the windows, but by the time I had three houses more or less finished, I knew that my idea wasn't going to work out quite the way I'd had in mind. Very disappointing. I wandered about feeling a little lost for awhile. What was I going to do now? Push through or set them aside? I set them aside. Perhaps they'd speak to me later, and tell me what they wanted to be.

Meanwhile, my sewing table was still covered with a wonderful array of brightly-coloured fabrics. "Why not go back to what I love?", I thought. And very little has given me more pleasure over the last few years than piecing together little scraps of fabric improvisationally - that is, making it up as I go along. I had two blocks made using this method that I brought to New Zealand with me. I'd started making them earlier in the year, but quickly decided to set them aside in order to concentrate on getting my traveller's blanket done. Perhaps this would be a good time to get back to them? The next three were put together in no time, and while I have a couple of ideas of where I'm going with these, but there is no definite plan right now. I'm going to keep on making these colourful blocks,and sort out what I do with them when I'm further along. So what have I learned through all this?  I think it's that while there are times when it's definitely good and helpful for me to stretch myself, but there are also times when it is wise to return to what I know and to do what I love.
I do have one other tiny project that I started this year. When I was at the stationery store, I picked up a package of paper labels. There is something about small collections fascinates me, and I wondered if I could use these labels as the basis for making little collages, week by week. So I've set myself the simplest of guidelines - that each week in 2016 I will make one tiny collage, using only the scraps of fabric in my garbage. At the end of the year, I will end up with 52 labels that are a sampling of the fabrics I've ben working with during the year. I have no idea if or how I would ever try to mount these, but in the meantime I'm thoroughly enjoying myself.

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