Lori T.

This weeks topic, "The Power of Limitations", is one that resonates.  I've been looking forward to it, because I understand it and want to bringit back around in my own work.  I've seen what serendipitous things happen when I have to improvise, to figure out a way to keep going without having absolutely everything at my fingertips.  

I think of stunning examples - Amish quilts, where one of the traditional limitations is that no printed fabrics are to be used in the quilt top.  Although things have changed in response to the marketplace, traditional Amish quilts are stunning examples of how limitation can let certain other aspects come to the fore.

Everyone is aware of the Gee's Bend quilts, and some of the most interesting and compelling of those are made, of necessity, from old overalls and worn-out garments.

And the Japanese "Boro" textiles, originating as a way to patch clothing and other fabric items, and the results are so wonderful and affecting.

I have a memory of my Nana, showing me a man's shirt she was about to cut up to make quilt pieces:  "Look what I got at the Salvation Army for a nickel!"  She had very little money, but she never stopped making quilts, most of which went for the "less-fortunate" and were shipped to 3rd World countries, and they had a vitality because she was making them more quickly and relying on color instead of an elaborate pattern.  All of those quilts were finished with feather-stitching around the edges instead of binding.

I was so energized this morning when I read the essay for this week that I stopped on my way to do something else and made a few "sketches" or "quickies" with some color copies of doilies I'd been toting around for ages, along with some rubber stamps.  Totally spontaneous, and while I was doing the rubber stamping I kept wishing I had other, better colors.  Fortunately, the closest shop with a selection of decent stamp pads is miles away, so I just kept going with what I had and loved the result.  It was more interesting than it would have been had I been able to choose more "attractive" colors.  Nothing fancy, just playing, and it felt really good to be doing it.  Sometimes I think about doing an exercise with truly hideous fabric or paper and seeing what it takes to turn it into something interesting or attractive - and I believe it can always be done.  There's something about that idea that I love.

I'll probably write more as the week goes on, but didn't want to keep putting it off - which is the what I want to practice in my work, as well!