I’m part of a recently formed design exploration group. Our intent is to study aspects of design as they relate to quilting in particular, in a systematic fashion. In preparation for our first really focused exercise I looked through my solid fabrics and chose the colours most reflective of the still life I had set up.
Part of the directions involve observing highlights and shadows. I’m coming to realize that my drawing is basically more symbolic like visual note taking. For example if I want to suggest flowers I might stamp using a cross-section of a pool noodle which has five petal-shaped lobes and a hollow middle. If I’m drawing a cat, I want to convey the concept of “cat” so it’ll have two pointy ears, eyes with vertical pupils, and whiskers.
This has occasionally led to friction with art teachers and leaders of craft workshops. I think part of the issue stems from the workshop setup where you get one kick at the can. You can make one ceramic tile or one clay bowl or transform one sweatshirt into an elegant jacket with roses painted up and down the front opening. So my personal feeling was always “Let’s do something I’ll be reasonably satisfied with rather than fail in the attempt to do a more formal, realistic drawing on an object that I would like to feel somewhat proud of.”
As I write this I know I still feel this way. However for what it’s worth I’m resolved to do the exercises we pick as a group and see where they take me. At least for making fibre art I do have all the supplies (ahem!) so experiments can be just that and need never see the light of day if truly horrible!