During our April spring break trip to Florida, I read 15 Minutes of Play by Victoria Findlay Wolfe. This quilt book intrigued me because it isn’t so much about the process and precise technique of making a quilt, or recipes for specific projects. Really it’s more about the concept of quiltmaking and relating it back to the idea of play to spark creativity. Not about practicing a skill, but composing as you sew, raiding your scraps, and creatively letting go- the perfect book to read on vacation, right?
Last week I finally started toying around with the idea of “playing for 15 minutes” in the studio, just to see where it would take me. You see, I had found myself smack dab in the middle of a creative rut. Hence my blog absence.
Nothing was happening.
Not a thing.
The idea is quite simple. Create “made fabric” by essentially crazy-piecing together scraps of fabric until the quilt block is the desired size, then squaring it up in block size. Now to state the obvious, this is not a new concept. Crazy piecing has been done as long as quiltmaking has been around, there are many books and classes out there that cover this idea from different angles (Denyse’s improvisational piecing workshop I took a few years ago is a great example). But the spontaneous angle, the 15 minutes of play idea that got me thinking. Not feeling very inspired creatively at that point, I thought this concept might get me going. In the midst of our busy schedule, I figured I could find 15 minutes somewhere.
So I snuck in some playing… in the afternoon, evening after dinner, or morning before school drop off, I made a quick block. Not much thinking… just grabbed, sewed, trimmed (if needed)…grabbed, sewed, trim… I keep my scraps in clear plastic bins divided by color (a chore nicely maintained by my son for a small fee), so I did one scrappy block per bin/color, plus some whatever goes blocks.
For some reason, the more I got into this, I found myself loving the pinks and yellows most, so I made more of those. I kept playing, then I decided it needed some negative space, and worked a star into the design. If I didn’t like it, I could change it. This was all play, right?
Once I was ready to quilt, I spontaneously started doodling with the thread inside the star, in colors that coordinated with the scrappy blocks. This is really the only part of this process when I had to feel brave and just go for it, I knew this to totally screw up what I’d already done.
More to come, I’m feeling like the creativity is flowing again!