Saturday, April 14, 2012

Intentional Play

I have two ways of approaching the creative process.  Sometimes I have a vision for a series of pieces. I have a message I want to communicate (or more often, it's a feeling I wish to convey). I work deliberately to create that vision.  This often means that I do samples to test colors and even create a mini-version of the composition. This tends to be a slow process and sometimes I get bogged down in the detail.

The other way in which I work is to do what I call "intentional play".  I'm playing, in the sense that I have no pre-conceived vision or expectations for the cloth. I take it one step at a time and let the cloth "speak to me" to build each layer.  It is intentional in that I choose a surface design technique, a certain approach to color or a compositional style and focus on that as I work on the piece. The spontaneity is a nice complement to the more planned approach. 

Right now I have some ideas for a series based on the first approach, but they are still forming and are not yet ready to be applied to cloth.  So my studio time has been spent on the second approach. I have a pile of fabric in various stages of printing and dyeing.  Each day I add another layer, wash them all out the next morning and start on the next layer.  I have no idea what I'll do with them, but I'm not concerned about that now.

Below are photos of some of the things I'm working on. All were created with one or more resists (of course!) and will end up with several more layers before I'm through.


  1. Your first approach always bogs me down! I've been stuck with one piece in that process for about a week now. After a good night's sleep last night, the next layer finally came to me this morning - of course, I am not home where I can do anything about it! ARGH!!! But I'm pleased to know where I'm headed and can't wait to get back home and started on the piece again!
    I like the second approach, and find it necessary in order to keep the creative juices flowing...and I always make great discoveries while playing!

    Have a great weekend!


    1. I know, we all want the creative process to cooperate with our time schedule, but it seldom does! Glad you had some productive 4 am think time. Have fun with the next layer!


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