Deborah S.

Part 1:  Studio clearing

            Ah, the accumulation of art supplies and the overstuffed studio -- I know it well.  I tend to keep a lot of supplies on hand, many of which I haven't used . . . yet.  I have stacks and stacks of fabric that has yet to be sewn, jars of beads and sequins and buttons that do not yet adorn anything but my studio shelves, bins full of yarn and ribbon that have not yet reached their full aesthetic potential.

            However, I did a big reorganization of my studio a couple of years ago, when we had that part of the house renovated, and I got rid of some things I didn't need.  Don't get me wrong -- I still have a lot of stuff.  A lot of stuff.  The main thing for me, though, is that the studio is not too cluttered; I can work there and it's not an eyesore.  Most things have a place and can be put away.  I have also reduced my purchasing in recent years and I generally use what I have, so I think I'm doing ok.  It's an ongoing process, though, and I'm sure I could go through and do some more purging at some point.  What I really need is more time to work on the projects and use up the supplies!  (I know, that is the topic for Week 5.)

Part 2:  Working with limitations

            I think limitations can be helpful in fostering creativity.  The challenge themes in Ricky Tims' digital photography class have prompted me to stretch myself and create much more interesting work than if I had free from any limitation.  I had hoped to sit down and do some new textile work with limitations for this week's assignment, but I haven't had the time.  So rather than delay this week's reflection any more (this is already quite late!), I thought I would just talk about a prior project that involved limitations.

            Some years ago, I started a series of small works that combined photography, textiles, and quotes.  I would choose one of my own photos and identify a quote that seemed appropriate.  I printed out multiple copies of the photo and quotation on fabric and made several different textile pieces based on the photo and quotation.  I set a couple of limitations in this project.  Not only did each piece need to use the photo and the quote, but I also cut the foundation base for the pieces in advance, so I used a limited size (or set of sizes, in some cases), as well.  The photo tended to set the color palette, as well, so that was also a limiting element.

            I really enjoy this series, and have plans to make quite a few more.  The format allows me to explore different techniques and compositions within the same basic parameters.  Plus, the small size makes it more likely that I can finish the pieces and doesn't involve too much commitment if one of them turns out to be less-than-successful.

            Here are photos from one set of that series (The Beauty of the Butterfly).