I love “brown paper packages tied up with string. String no longer figures in Canada Post’s system so the next best thing a brown padded envelope appeared in my mail this week. It was from Linda Schmidt, VP of the Canadian Quilters Association and contained the package for the Trend-Tex challenge for 2015.
What a treat to open the package and be surprised by the contents. To be able to use whatever comes in a challenge is just that – a challenge. My first thought was “oh, greyed colours”. This can make the challenge a little more difficult for me because I am a brights person. I spread the fabrics out on my off white chesterfield to contemplate each time I passed, put the thought of the challenge in my mind and went to work on other things. Over the course of the evening thoughts began to come. I am reminded of my basic design class in University. The Professor said that about 30 designs would need to be sketched before one really worthwhile one would emerge. I often don’t do the sketches any more, usually I just process mentally until I get something that I think is worth sketching. I think that part is based on experience and that my mind also forms and mulls and sorts. By the time I got up the next morning I had an idea. I laid out the fabrics and found that the idea didn’t give me what I wanted.
So I reset the problem. This time I spent more time considering the range of colours and patterns of the fabrics. Then I put my mind’s eye in the geography of Lethbridge. (I’d taken a course at the University there many years ago and stayed in the dormitory so that helped.) Thirdly I clearly fastened on the theme of the challenge “Blown Away”. With those things in mind I went back to my daily life.
By last evening I had a thought and this morning it is clearer. Now to the technical aspect of how I will create the actual piece. With the challenge I often find that I am limited by the width of the fat quarter. That often works but this year I will have to be more creative to achieve what I want. There will also be another technical challenge to test my skills. That is a good thing as I am always interested in pushing my knowledge, to learn something new as I work.
Inspiration for me is always linked to something in my environment, something that comes into m field of perception. For example when the challenge fabric arrived last year it was bright and had linear elements. As I was contemplating what to do with it I heard that Pete Seeger had died and one of mu favourite songs of his was “Inch by Inch, Row by Row”. Those two things combined to inspire my 2014 piece.
I am interested in learning how inspiration comes to others so please share your process if you like.