I have been quilting since 1995. So, 25 years, this year. When I was starting, I wanted to learn every technique and make a quilt with every pattern. Dyeing my own fabric was a technique I learned early on. While I have always individualized my quilts, I began a concerted effort to make my work more original and less about following a prescribed pattern. During these ten years of study, one of the things I saw others being able to do is work in a series or build a body of recognizable work. Some may say a distinguishing style. This is something I have struggled to do. Even when I have tried, my attention wandered. Whether is some of this inability comes from the fact that I wanted to learn everything, I don’t know. I have always thought of having separate series, so I could keep piecing, printing and playing. However, it takes a lot of time to build that many bodies of work, so back to focusing on a body of work that is recognizable and distinctive.
After taking an indigo shibori class last summer, I had decided that I wanted to go further exploring indigo on my own this summer (… A great idea to fill some isolation time). So, I spent a week or two preparing fabric by manipulating it in many different ways. Indigo is such a beautiful color. We see it every day and it’s thought of as comfortable. However, it maintains an air of elegance and luxury. Shibori is serendipitous… while you can control how the material is manipulated, control only goes so far, and it is always a bit of a surprise when you unwrap it.
After unwrapping and rinsing the first batch, there was something about the kumo (spiderweb) design that struck a chord with me. First of all, it is shaped like a burst, so it is a powerful and energic design. But on a closer look, these graceful lines are made up of awkward, wonky shapes. (Gives me hope that something awkward can be seen as beautiful.) The bursts are visibly unbalanced but yet feel natural. They hold my attention.
The inspiration hit… this was something I could try to emulate with piecing, I could dye them, and I could try to print them. I could put them together into one piece, or even combine the dyed ones with piecing. This might be something to hold my attention. Adding different colors would allow for some variation. I am off to try it all.