Our creative lives are laboratories. Testing, trying and proving new methodologies are just what we do. Constantly, we learn something new every day.
It was just last week, I thought I’d learned what techniques needed to be learned in stitched drawing so I was going to move on to learn something new in design principles. This week I was reminded that learning is never done – it’s a lifelong process. You relearn the old, learn something new and unlearn some old stuff.
You learn something new every day if you pay attention. ~Ray LeBlond
The subject of this week’s work is hand-painted fabrics. Previously I’ve used hand-dyed fabrics or fabrics that ”read” as one color but not this week. When I peeked into my stash of fabrics, I saw these dye-painted fabrics that have never been cut into with a pair of scissors, just begging to be used.
I couldn’t resist the look in their big brown eyes begging for me to take them to my cutting table to use in this week’s project. How could I resist? I’m a sucker for pretty fabric.
Suddenly, the fact that previously, I’ve only used single colored fabrics became a problem. I didn’t have the skills to deal with the lovely set of multicolored fabrics in front of me. I needed to come up with a plan of action really quick. A good plan on how I was going to choose thread colors.
Choosing several values of the same color thread like I always do wasn’t going to cut it this time, because of the multiple colors in these fabrics. I needed another approach.
There’s More Than One Way to Learn Something New
Initially, I went by just color and simply echoed the shapes in my design but that didn’t work too well. So I tried something new. I used the colors in the fabric as a guide for choosing which thread colors to stitch with.
For each fabric, I isolated the colors in that fabric. Then for each color, I identified the various values of that color in the fabric. I then made my thread choices based on the different colors and values I’d identified in each fabric. Bingo! I got it to work.
You don’t understand anything until you learn it more than one way. ~Marvin Minsky
It’s a multi-step process – a little more involved than my previous approach. But when you want the fabric to speak for itself, this approach works great.
The painted fabrics already look beautiful and I have no reason to not let them shine. I just wanted to add texture. By matching each value and color in the fabric with threads, I allowed the fabric to take the lead instead of being overshadowed by threads. The two elements together worked well to create this week’s piece.
Another lesson learned in choosing thread colors for a stitched drawing. Just when I thought there’s no more to learn, I learn something new.
How about you? Do you find that you make new discoveries in your creative journey when you’re least expecting it? Did you learn something new this week? Do share below.
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Liz Ozselcuk says
I just wanted to say that I really enjoy your blog. It’s just the right combination of visuals and the philosophy that goes behind their creation. I have been thinking about this same issue of learning recently. I like to “invent” needlepoint stitches, and I have been working on a sampler based on my graph paper doodles. What you can graph is not necessarily what you can stitch, so I have been innovating as I come up against the limitations of my original ideas. I had been finding over the past few weeks that this was becoming boring, that there was not enough variety in what i was stitching. I decided to do some stitches on a larger scale; that helped. Then I realized that a stitch that I thought would dovetail into another stitch indefinitely, as a lot of counted thread work will, wouldn’t. My third motif wouldn’t fit. Rather than tear it out I started to work around it, creating a variety of related patterns and creating random, though related, motifs in the odd corners. And because of this freedom to invent “on the fly” rather than plot out everything perfectly, my work has become more engaging to me. I just had to push myself past my current comfort zone. Anyway, I love the way you play with ideas and continuously try something different from what you have done before. Things can grow stale quickly without something new to learn. 🙂
Oh so wonderful, Liz!!! Yours is a perfect example of how when we’re willing to learn something new everyday our creativity gets to blossom and we inject more passion into what we do. Thanks for sharing.