I’m spending time making studies of possible quilts for the next series. I think it is still going to be water themed. I have so many interesting water textures, reflections, and water line arrangements I would like to use, and they go well together, sometimes contrasting and sometimes more in harmony. I am exploring rhythms and line qualities as well as secondary more subtle imagery that appears when you deconstruct the photo-related design. I have played with new color enhancements on the computer already so there are lots to choose from in my design folders.
I start by collecting all the new water images (and a few other images that might go with them) and also the color-changed and otherwise manipulated or combined interpretations that I think might work well together. Out of this collection folder I print multiple copies on Epson matte presentation paper (multiple sizes also). That way the colors are nice and vibrant and very similar to what I can print on the Fabrisign prepared silk that I buy from Jacquard. Then I start cutting strips or shapes to juxtapose for my design studies. Sometimes I use one as background, sometimes the paper quilt is composed only of strips or shapes.
I lay the strips together as I might fuse or sew them…and I photograph them. When I have one I want to keep I glue or use double sided tape to afix it to a notebook page. Generally they are about 8″ x 10 or 12″ I am currently using a 11 x 14 hard bound sketchbook. I like having them all in one place where I can consult previous collages, and I can easily take them with me to show others.
I also use the photos of some of these as modules in a multi paneled quilt design, so I can get an idea of other designs that are possible, or what repetitions look like. This is easy to do in Photoshop and gives a good idea of an overall effect. From these studies I develop an idea of where I want to start with the series.
I rarely follow any of the studies exactly. I use them as idea generators and outlines rather than exact maquettes. My choices with the fabric are informed by the study work I did with the paper. I feel like this time spent on studies is extremely valuable…I don’t have to make every one, only the ones I am really drawn to after I make them. I can try out things that might not work and have only wasted a little paper and ink.
I have more information about the image interactions before I enlarge them for fabric printing and cutting. There is plenty of room for chance encounters, both in this paper play process and also in the actual fabric cutting and manipulation. The actual fabric construction is also where I add detail–usually small pieces that would have been too small to put in the paper studies. All in all it is a valuable part of my creative process.