Design Choices and Bringing It All Together

Last week, I wrote about Color Choices and Context. The next step in the creative process for me is choosing a design and bringing it all together. Actually the process is not very linear at all. Sometimes color choices come first. Sometimes design choices come first. Sometimes the idea arrives with both color and design choices fully formed at the same time.

10 Blues Series, 2015.  Day 253, Stained Glass. 10 inches by 10 inches. Cotton fabric wrapped around stretched canvas.

Some of my favorite designs start with an inkling and some daydreaming. When I approach the studio, I have a hazy vision of what I want to do. For example, the piece Stained Glass from the 10 Blues series was an idea that I had been kicking around for a while with bright colors in a free-form chaotic pattern in a narrow band across a solid square of charcoal grey. The design was foremost in my mind. I kept that idea light in my thinking and felt free to experiment in the studio. It was fun to make and I thought of stained glass windows with the strong contrast between the bright colorful light and a dark interior.

I liked this design so much I modified it for my first 25 day series of 2016, Bits and Pieces of 2015. The design for that series was simple. Use fabric scraps from all of last year's pieces for the Every Day Project and sew them within a square of charcoal grey fabric. No other rules. I loved the freedom and the series has loads of variety from square to square.

Sometimes the color ideas come first as in the Sun Corn series. Once I had the colors in mind, I remembered the traditional quilt design of a square inside a square. I was bringing it all together, the color and design choice. I decided the large squares could be all different yellows and the inside squares could be purples, oranges or grey blues like heirloom corn kernel colors. However,  I never want to limit myself too much but just the right amount to give some structure. Perhaps I may want to choose a rectangle inside the square or add more colors. I need to have this freedom of choice to make it more interesting in the studio every day. See my daily squares in this series in my Daily Instagram Photos gallery.

I have trained myself to make decisions quickly. Decisions is my word of the year. I think this is one of the most important things the Every Day Project has taught me.

Nine squares in the  Bits and Pieces of 2015 series, 2016.  6 inches square each. Cotton fabric.

Make a decision. Pick the colors, the design and move on. Trust your instincts.  Get creating. Spend some time planning but it is more important to just start.

You never know where an idea will come from. One of my dear friends from high school suggested a design idea last week. Take an iconic painting, like a Matisse or Monet, break down the artwork into abstract squares for the series and then reassemble them.  Of course, I would not do it in any way anyone would probably recognize them as the original. But it gives me a thread of an idea. She also gave me another source for color inspiration, the commercial seed catalog from Johnny's Selected Seeds. Flowers, fruits and vegetables are a never-ending source of both color and design ideas. I am grateful for her suggestion. 

Thank you to the commenters on the blog for offering other sources for color inspiration like the book Interaction of Color by Josef Albers and site. 

Looking for inspiration and sharing that inspiration with others is a great way to get out of your head and discover new ways of approaching your creative outlet be it scrap booking, photography, collage, interior design, zentangling, or watercolors, etc.

You need to tend the garden of inspiration to keep ideas growing.

Keep the ideas coming!