Over the past two years, I have found that over time, I vacillate between intricate series with many colors and complicated designs and minimalist series with minimal color palette and more sedate designs. This is a common human trait to start looking for the “other” and search out new experiences but only to repeat patterns from the past. We all have seen this happen with fashion (still waiting for the 1940’s style to come back again), music (Indie California style country rock), architecture (Bauhaus minimalism) and design (Mid-century modern). My seemingly random selection of series has the same markings of a pendulum swinging back and forth.
My last series in 2016 was Free For All and was literally a free for all of fabric remnants from all the series in 2016. So I had no color palette and no design parameters. I took my quite disorganized fabric scrap basket and organized shapes into piles of squarish, small rectangle, and large rectangle. Then I started chain sewing two pieces of fabric together right after each other. I usually have a contrast in mind between these two pieces of fabric. Light and dark or hot and cold. Then I iron them flat and I play with them inside my 6 inch shape. It reminds me of a puzzle. I literally lay the fabric pieces on top of my acrylic square template shape. Then I go back to my scrap piles and fill in what shapes I need. I have to tell you that this is so much fun. It really is my preferred method to create my daily squares.
When I sew all these very different squares from this series together, it reminds me of real life. Some days are great, some are not, but string them all together in consecutive order and you have a life. Hopefully a life well spent. That is my goal for my life and each series.
There comes a point where I think, Enough! I need more simplicity. So when deciding the first series for January 2017, I turned to one of my inspirations from my two week hiatus from the Every Day Project. I had pulled out my Carl Larsson book and was captivated by the cover image of one of his paintings. I was drawn to the blue on the boy's shirt. So I took the Carl Larsson book to the stack of my Kona cotton fabric and started pulling out fabric that matched the colors in the painting. This is the first time I have done this and it was something I plan on repeating in the future. I liked the mustards of the grass as well as the creams of the birch bark and the Dutch blue of the boy's shirt.
Now I needed a design concept. I had been wanting to return to the design in the Homage to Emily Kame Kngwarreye. The creams and mustards would be perfect for the alternating strips for the Emily design. Then the blue could be an accent piece as a diagonal strip or somewhere buried into the overall design. This deign idea was a little more complicated than I originally thought, but I went with it. Things were shaping up into a full blown series. I would not have thought of this mustard, cream and blue palette if I had not gone actively searching for inspiration at the end of 2016. The design parameters I set up for this series have been perfect for that ideal balance of Constraint and Freedom I wrote about in the past. (To revisit that article click HERE)
I started laying the squares with horizontal strips but had a flash of inspiration based on the original image from Carl Larsson. The cream color came from the birch trees so I now have the strips vertical and called the series Birch Forest.
At the end of January I will be thinking about the next series. I have no ideas yet but my instincts say it will probably swing in the other direction and be full of bright colors but with a more sedate design. But who knows. We’ll all have to wait and see.