Improvisors and quilt makers. I'm researching this question and need your input!
There is so much motion in this African-American improv quilt by Sarah Turnage that it borders on optical illusion!
I'm happy to announce improv quilt workshops and an exhibition scattered across the country. I may be teaching in your neighborhood soon!
Eli considers this amazing quilt by Rosie Lee Tomkins as one of her best ten AND it has never been published! Don't miss this exclusive!
With its visual field of deep black velvet and twinkling white stitches this African-American signature quilt is as powerful and mysterious as the universe.
My improvisational patchwork process is getting a boost from taking an improv theater workshop. It also affirms my deepest values: discovery is the path to freedom, freedom is the path to connection, connection is the path to joy.
Scrap Doodling is a playful improvisational patchwork process utilizing fabric scraps without concern over the outcome. It's like drawing but better!
Finding and trusting one’s own authority is essential to developing authenticity in improvisational process.
I've added two new improvisational patchwork classes and posted my teaching philosophy to my workshop page.
Eli Leon has collected over 1000 African-American quilts in the improvisational style and has exhibited them widely but have you seen the seven quilts he's made?
Eli Leon has over 1000 African-American quilts in the improvisational style and he invited me to his home to see his collection!
For the Improv Round Robin, we followed the cardinal rule of improv theater, no matter what fellow performers say or do always affirm and build on their actions to keep the skit going.
I considered the space between warp and weft when piecing these curves with bias cut strips to create this modern improvisational quilt.
Position and momentum can not be known simultaneously when you are dealing with modern improv curved piecing!
Improvisation in design has its limits. Real innovation begins with the improvisation of technique and tools.
Applied to my improvisational work, this reading tells me not to regret individual decisions and let go of expectations as I make the quilt.
The Putnam-Hauser family commissioned this king-sized, modern-improv quilt, made from 100% linen. They live in the Sunset district of San Francisco. We worked together to pick a subtle color palette reminiscent of their coastal, fog-drenched environment. I improvised the pattern using simple horizontal bands of color.
The quilt took 50 hours to complete. The cost of materials, including linen for the front and back of the quilt, one cotton batting and one polyester batting, and thread came to $550 + cost of labor $3000.
The Putnam-Hauser family in front of their quilt-in-progress at my Oakland studio.
View the process archive to see how this quilt evolved.
It's been a while since I've posted on Improv Monday but I received an email from a reader that prompted me to consider my relationship to expectation, satisfaction (or dissatisfaction), and improvisation. I was pleased to hear that someone reading my blog decided to interpret my Score for Floating Squares. Suschna wrote an email to me saying:
Hi, this is to just to let you know that I tried your tutorial, wrote about it here (in German). I basically say that I like your work very much and wanted to try one of your tutorials. In the end I think my floating squares didn't float too much (I guess my yellow squares were too big and I didn't take enough time to find a good composition).
So I visited Sushna's blog to see what she came up with:
I think Suschna is too critical of her outcome. The squares are floating very well. I love the boldness of the color. To my eye her result looks fantastic! Her quilt is a unique interpretation of the original score. Success!
Improvising is like drawing something real in the world. Drawing is an interpretation. It never looks exactly like the thing being drawn. It often takes the mind time to let go of the expectation of a perfect or exact rendering. I'm often dissatisfied with my drawings right after I draw them. But if I come across one of them after some time has passed, when the object of the drawing is no longer in front of me, I'm impressed. I think, "Did I draw that? It looks really good!"
My suggestion to Suschna, is to put the improvised piece away for a while. After a month or so she may see it differently, and judge it more kindly.
In the past I often looked for external causes for my feeling of dissatisfaction. Now when I identify dissatisfaction I ask myself what can I do differently next time that will lead to a more satisfying result? This applies to my improvisational quilt making process.
If I was in Suschna's shoes and continued to feel dissatisfied with the outcome, I would ask myself what could I do differently the next time I created this piece. Maybe I'll use three different fabrics for the floating squares instead of two. Maybe I'll make my squares smaller next time, etc... In other words I would alter the score, experiment, and see what came from it.
We live in a culture rife with choice. So many choices lead to greater expectations of achieving the perfect outcome. For myself I find it very helpful to be aware of this fallacious frame of mind and to keep it in check. Improvisation is about the process not the outcome. It's about learning from experience and recognizing what's good enough, not achieving perfection.
My advise to Suschna and any quilter engaging in improvisation: Continue to be present as you create and you WILL discover your own voice. Pay attention when you are very critical and you may discover something important about yourself.
Welcome to Improv Monday! View the archive and please join the conversation!
This week I'm caught up in actually doing impov instead of blogging about it. So enjoy the WIP pics! Click on the slide show to rotate the images faster.
[slickr-flickr tag="linenimprov" type="slideshow" size="m640" captions="off" align="center"]
Because this is a very simple linear pattern, I'm laying it all out on the wall before sewing. I'm paying close attention to negative space. It will be interesting to see how the pattern changes as the pieces are sewn together.
I've been working on this quilt since mid June and the progress is SLOW... I'm really stuck. It takes me a week to sew on three strips! Where is my flow? What's holding me back? I have no idea where I'm going! I guess it's okay to be slow - think of the pioneers crossing uncharted terrain. They were slow too.
But slow is slow - this is just dragging out. What do you think? I'm thinking I should make myself sew three strips a day somewhere on the piece - no matter what - and just forge ahead. Make it a limit, part of the score. Easier said than done!
By the way... Welcome to Improv Monday!