Most challenges are just that. A challenge. Which is one of the reasons I love this group. When we decided we wanted to do a monochrome challenge I was excited. I have never worked with one color. So yes, I jumped on board. And then it happened. What do I do now? The idea of one color was fine. I can do that. But then – WHAT? I didn’t have a clue to an image I wanted to create, the color only spoke in limited concepts! I froze.
I chose orange. Mostly because I like the color and also because I didn’t think anyone else would want this color. I like orange. It has so many iterations of what it could become. But I was got stuck, all my ideas were so literal. What is orange? Oranges, carrots, pumpkin. My mind immediately goes to food. What is naturally orange? Sunflowers? Salmon? I was thinking way to literal. But my brain could not go any further than oranges or carrots. And I really did not want to do that.
So, for lack of an idea, I went shopping. When you can’t find an idea, find the supplies to make something happen. First, I shopped my stash, I like orange and I have a nice supply of cottons and beads, I even owned an orange woolen ‘batt”, but more stimulation was needed!
A few thrift shops later and I had a pile of orange materials. I had the luck to find a crafters thrift shop and found a bonanza of stuff I needed, wanted, or couldn’t resist. I had the supplies, still NO idea.
Process - Chopping onions.
I am a chef, and I am often asked many food questions. I have lectured to professionals about the challenges of feeding yourself and family daily and doing it easily. I always tell them it is the hardest job I know, but, I have a philosophy about making dinner, and it does relate to making art. When you don’t know what to make for dinner, start with chopping onions. Chopping onions engages your hands and lets your mind think about what comes next. Almost all the senses get engaged, sight, touch, smell, and smell.
The process of chopping onions gives your hands something to do, while you think about what you might have in the refrigerator or cupboards to add to the onions. I always say, please keep your eyes on your hands while you chop. Safety first. The relation to cooking and making art is, do something to get the juices flowing. Even if it is just folding and refolding fabric! Pull out something and hang it up on the wall See what combinations work stop waiting start working. Do something!
For this challenge my version of chopping onions was to create a couple of textiles that might be used in the end project, or could the be the end project? But DO something was the order of the day. I cut out shapes, waiting for some inspiration. I laid fibers on top of cotton twill to create new textile. I layered and wove strips from the new textile with other cottons to create an interesting – something. But not a composition. With a two-sided upholstery fabric, I stitched the opposite sides together thinking it would spur ideas. In total I have three starts. But nothing that spoke to me.
Research- taking a break
When I could only resort to familiar shapes and images, I decided to try research. I looked up meaning of colors. What did the color, the pure pigment bring to the world. After a couple of try’s, I discovered Orange was an Energetic color and a color used for creativity. That made me happy.
Next,I looked a symbols for creativity. I had listened to a prestation at a conference about symbols we use in our daily life, both hidden symbols and the outward symbols found everywhere. Peace Signs, a cross, don’t walk signs, all symbols we see and tell us something
I found a Celtic symbol for energy and it felt right. It is called Triskelion
A triskelion or triskeles is an ancient motif consisting of a triple spiral exhibiting rotational symmetry or other patterns in triplicate that emanate from a common center. The spiral design can be based on interlocking Archimedean spirals, or represent three bent human legs.
A fresh start- but patience is needed
I have used spirals before and like that shape. I made an attempt to create that symbol and with the textiles I had, but still I found nothing that really made me happy. I wanted to create something, to stretch my abilities and try something new. Isn’t why I tried this challenge.
Finally a direction- talking to a colleague I sad I want to throw it all on surface and see what happends. I love the process of layering and using stitch to create a composition. I have not done that in a while so why not. I had three created textiles and I found a base with the triskele printed onto it There was my composition. I layered almost everything I had collected I cut up the orange wool bat that I had hand stitched the orange upholstery fabric too. I used a orange silk “cap” as a sub straight for beads and buttons. The final composition was emerging. It reminded me I was not completely literal. At the end I used the third textile to contain the whole thing. Hoping it might look vase like.
Orange is still a favorite color; I am pleased with the way composition evolved. I am pleased with my approach to try something new. I am now making final decisions on how to finish this composition. But this challege was a great learning opportunity