Thursday, June 20, 2013

Knowing when to hold 'em or when to fold 'em?

What a process this piece has been!

Usually when I take workshops, I'm not vested in the piece I make "being" anything. I don't have to be able to use it, wear it, even like it. I just use it to learn the techniques and explore the options.  I think that "frees' me up to just "play" since I'm not worried about it "coming out".

But for some reason, I felt differently about the piece that I worked on in Sachiko's class last year. And what a roller coaster that has made it!

Note to self - don't EVER AGAIN get vested in a workshop sample!\

At various points through out the year, this piece was in the trash can, the cabinet, the trash can a second time, pinned on a mannequin as a vest, in the trash can a third time and then relegated to a series of cabinets!

It all started as a double-sided,  orikiri and weft felt sample from Sachiko's workshop here last year, which at layout covered 2 tables! Note to self - make smaller samples in the future!

After felting, it measured about 7' x 5': so big I hated wasting it, yet so big and so busy I had no idea what I could use it for! I had learned a lot in the workshop, which was the point, so I should have just tossed the piece and moved on. But there were a couple of "elements" in it that I really liked. And it was so big I hated throwing it out.

Note to self: sample and sample small when exploring a new technique!

So I cut out the elements that I liked and threw away the rest. Now I had about half the fabric I started with!

I played with the saved "elements" thinking maybe I could use them in a bag, but one particular aspect that I had saved said "vest" to me. So I pinned the pieces all together on a mannequin and, pleased with the outcome, went to bed.

The next morning, I got a chuckle at what had the night before had looked good to me....

Could it have been the wine?

 Shown left is the back of the vest....asymmetric with 1 short sleeve off the right shoulder. The only part I liked was the bottom piece....the gold edge with the turquoise 3d flower!

Note to self: hold off on the wine when working thru a design process!


So I took it apart, cut away more pieces, threw them away and repined another vest before, with disgust, tossing it back in a cabinet. I was down to a bare minimum....

Wasn't it Ansel Adams that famously replied, when asked by an interviewer what his favorite piece of equipment was, "the trash can"!

The next time I came across it in the cabinet, I decided maybe a shawl/cape would be a better goal for the pieces. So having reduced the original felt rectangle to the pieces shown above, I took some time to play with various arrangements of the pieces on the table -next couple of photos.

 When I found one I liked, I diligently photographed the layout (since I didn't have time then to stitch it together at that point and knew it needed to go back into the cabinet once again until I had the time to pull it out and stitch it up .

But of course, when I finally found  time a couple of months later to stitch it together, I couldn't find the photos I had taken such care to record the arrangement with, so I was back to square one!

 Note to self: remember where you file photos!

So this  arrangement, shown left, is what I finally ended up with.... Not anything I could/would wear.  I suppose the process of cutting and throwing out, of  arranging and re-arranging, and of "trouble-shooting" some of the issues that came up when I finally pushed thru to stitching it together, taught me some things that I'm sure will come in useful on future pieces.  And in the end, I certainly like this shawl better than any of the earlier shawl arrangements and far better than either vest or the original 8 x 6!

Note to self: less is better, sometimes.

But in retrospect I wish I hadn't gotten so caught up in the outcome of the "sample" piece. Instead, all the time spent working on this piece could have been put into starting fresh and coming up with a piece I might actually be able to wear in Burlington.

Note to self: I work better if I approach workshops as a time to SAMPLE and EXPLORE and NOT CREATE.

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