December 14, 2008

Order out of Chaos

I had another glorious day of uninterrupted time in the studio to work on the Watt & Shand project. (If you are new here, you can track it back by clicking on "Watt & Shand" under Labels in the right sidebar.) I spent quite a lot of time doing detailed stitching on some of the printed images.

There's a wealth of detail in these images, which is one of the things I love about them, but it makes it challenging when it's time to stitch. I can't possibly stitch everything, partly because I'd go slightly insane, but mostly because if everything is defined, nothing is emphasized. So it's a judgement call, made on the fly because its impossible to preplan except in a general way. I just pick a spot and start stitching. It's very anxiety-inducing at first--so many choices, and what if I mess up--but then, miraculously, I get into a zen zone and it all works out.

This is the first I've done this much architectural work, with all the straight lines and angles, so that took a bit of getting used to as well. I'm more experienced with the fluid shapes of nature, as in the water in The Old Bridge:

Or the trees and bushes in View from Pinnacle Point:

There's a little more latitude for invention there, so I'm glad to have done those first. But I'm pleased with the way the stitching went today, and am getting more and more excited about the possibilities of this emerging series.

I also worked on making strip sets that will be cut up and reassembled into these quilt(s). Here the opposite is required; instead of making order out of chaos, as I did when I picked which lines to stitch, I'm trying to NOT be orderly. It's human nature to want to arrange things into patterns, but that makes for boring strip sets. So the goal here is to arrange things so that they flow, but don't repeat. It's harder than you might think--I have to recognize when I'm falling into a pattern, then rearrange to make more chaos. Here's the results so far:

I'm pleased with this as well. I'm closing in on having all the elements, or building blocks, I need for this quilt(s) ready to go. The next challenge will be finding another block of uninterrupted time to design and assemble them.

No comments: