Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Series Theme

Our assignment on Sunday was to decide on the theme for our 8-week series.  As I have been for months I was torn between two ideas, the "map thing" and the strip piecing thing.  As I logged on to the class website this morning, I see that two of my 7 classmates have posted their themes.  And they are both related to aerial views/maps!    That pretty much cinched it for me - I will  not do the map thing - partly because I don't want to be comparing myself to them constantly, and I don't want to turn this into "the map series" class.

I was leaning toward strip piecing anyway.   I'll be updating my workshop page to that effect, but before I delete the analysis of pros and cons that I had written, I'll preserve it here...

General Theme/Idea:   I’m still waffling about this choice.  I have two competing ideas; abstract, non-representational geometric “strip piecing and restructuring,” or quilts inspired by or based on maps and aerial photographs.  I have taken workshops on both ideas in the past.  

Pros and Cons?  Strip Piecing:
PRO: I will be returning to study with Nancy Crow in March and doing the strip piecing type series would give me a body of work in that “genre” or style to show and have critiqued by her.  
CON: the workshops next year are moving on from that focus to Lines Curves, Circles, and Improvisation   – do I want to be “stuck in the past?”
PRO: Why care about that, as long as I feel inspired and excited about working in that way, which I do, currently.  
CON: I’m very interested in exploring meaning in art, and other than things like form, shape, color, value, etc. the totally abstract pieces don’t carry meaning for me.  
PRO:  Maybe doing a series that “only” addresses form, shape, color, value, balance, and composition is MORE than enough to study in this first attempt at a series!  
CON:  If I focus on this, I probably will not also be able to enter a piece in the “Perspectives” exhibition. (See below).
Pros and Cons, Map Series:
PRO: This is something I’ve thought about for a long time.  My architectural background could bring a unique viewpoint to the series.  I’m very enthused about it.
CON: It’s a very generalized theme and I am not sure how I would narrow it down to something do-able for this class.  There are many different branches I could follow, and I’m not sure how to chose just one right now.  They are things like using plans of existing buildings and cities, using aerial photos, using places from my memories or dreams, creating imaginary places…  
PRO: I have never seriously submitted a piece for a show, and would like to enter one in a show that focuses on this concept, and which is due November 10th. 
CON: I’m not sure what sort of techniques I would use for this series.  Fused applique, painting, phototransfers all seem appropriate, but other than fusing, are not something I have a lot of practice in.  I want to move away from fusing, at least right now, I think.  I like the boundaries set by piecing and solids.
My specific focus in this theme (use sentences/bullet points – whatever you need to share your idea with clarity): After our lecture last night (Sunday) and perusal of some of the additional reference materials,  I think I have  a better idea of how specific the series idea needs to be.  This morning (Monday) I went to some books and websites of favorite art quilters and thought specifically about what makes their work obviously theirs, and within that clear voice, what amount of variation is possible. 
My medium for this seriesFabric. Mostly cotton, mostly commercial fabric, mostly solid colors, although I am open to including some hand dyed, mottled, batik, or interesting printed fabric if it seems warranted.  
My definition of “done” for each composition (how far I will take each piece before moving on):   I will be satisfied with fully pieced quilt tops.   I hope that I will be able to take at least one piece to completion, including backing, quilting and binding, but I don’t want to get bogged down and spend too much time on quilting or on the other hand have to rush through design just to get to quilting.  So: No quilting = Okay. 
Other restrictions I have set for my series (such as technique/materials, size):  If I do the strip piecing series, my technique will be machine piecing and quilting.  If I work with maps I think it would need to include some applique.   I think I would like to keep the size of the pieces consistent (?)  I would like to have a select color palette, especially with the strip piecing series.  The way Elin Larimer used a controlled palette in her Pajama Party series (scroll to second group) really inspires me. 

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