OH, the possibilities!

When faced with infinite design possibilities, it's hard to know where to begin. Once a starting point is found, it then becomes difficult to know when to stop!

For example, here is a shot of my work table near the beginning of an exercise called, "Complementary Colour Scheme: Linear Design with Strips".

At this point, I was thinking about windows.

The instructions said, "Using a ruler only as a straightedge...cut varying widths freehand. Anything goes, as long as only straight strips are used; they may be cut in any way you like. Fill the entire sheet.

Off to a decent start, I then added more and more bits until the whole thing was out of control.
Fortunately, I can always recognize a royal mess when I see one! That's when I know it's time to keep the best parts and strip back the rest.

Of a hundred variations, this version wins the award for most cluttered!!!

My original intent was to create a vertical composition reminiscent of windows, so I removed everything that didn't serve that idea. I think this is a much stronger composition, don't you?

Pared back to the basics

The orange "flap" I liked yesterday might have to go. Today I think it's a distraction. 
Or, maybe not! It might just need to be slimmer. Hmm. Still refining.

This seems to be my modus operandi when designing on the fly:
  • Start with a simple idea. (e.g. vertical composition, windows)
  • Completely crap it up. I mean completely. Until the original concept is unrecognizable!
  • Strip it back again, or maybe even dump it and start over.
  • Refine and tweak until I'm satisfied.
I've noticed this pattern happening each time I'm challenged to "use these random bits and make something".

Here is the second part of the same exercise.  
Same assignment, but add in tints and shades of blue and orange.

Complementary Colour Scheme: Linear Design With Strips, part 2

My brain must have been revved up and ready to go by the time I got this far. There was no hesitation, and everything came together very quickly. Not my usual dance at all! 
Bonus: I actually like it. A lot!

Next up: Split Complementary Architectural Design

"You will need to emphasize a particular composition as you complete the next steps. Free-cut the fabric in relation to the shapes and images in the picture, simplifying as you go - no templates, no measurements."

I used a straight edge for cutting, or things would have been too wobbly for my liking, but just "eyeballed" the necessary sizes and shapes.

Red, Blue-Green, & Yellow-Green

Using the same inspiration photo of a building, the next exercise was all about abstraction.

Sketching possibilities using only geometric shapes was step one.

Inspiration photo and abstracted sketches

Choosing a dual complementary colour scheme was step two. The violets look very blue in this photo, but they are very purple in real life!

Violet, Red-Violet, Yellow, & Yellow-Green

Again, the colours don't show well in this photo, but you get the idea! Can you believe this was inspired by a building and some shrubs? Ha!

Abstract of building and shrubs - diagonal composition

On to the next!

Red, Blue, & Yellow (the "green" is actually very dark yellow!) Triadic Colour Scheme

 . . . and the next . . .ONLY FIVE MORE EXERCISES TO GO!!!

Preparing for the next exercise

Quilting has been put on hold for a few days so I can get these exercises done before the May deadline, so no frame shot today.

A May deadline sounds easy enough, BUT between now and then I will be away for a weekend retreat with my guild (yay!), and then my daughter and I are leaving our menfolk to hold down the fort while we take the (grand)children to Disneyland! 

There is also another trip to the city in the mix - for a class with Karlee Porter, the Graffiti quilter! Plus, clients would eventually like their quilts finished, I'm sure!!!

EEEEEE!!!! Exciting, busy times ahead! 

My A Lovely Year of Finishes goal for April is to finish at least TWO of the five remaining exercises.

Check out my sidebar to see where the other parties are today - there's something fun for every day of the week!
Try, Learn, Grow!
P.S. I love hearing from you, so don't be shy. Tell me what you think!


  1. Really interesting to watch this process unfold, how much do you think it will influence your personal work?

  2. For what it is worth, I really like the orange flap: it speaks of an open window to me. :)

  3. As always it is interesting to read about your adventures, I mean exercises :)

  4. THough I'm not into arcutectual design, Im inspired by your lessons and outcomes. I think I went back and looked at the house threee times!! LOL!! I'm thinking your next assignment has to do with the color wheel??? I'll be waiting. (smiles!) And oh have fun with your daughter and grands...good memories being made there!!

  5. What a great set of designing. I'm not sure mine would look as good as yours. I like the orange flap. Have a great retreat and wishing you luck with your April AYOLF goal. I'm in there too!

  6. Wow do you love to challenge yourself Carole! It's very inspiring to see your process take shape. You made me laugh a lot over your typical modus operandi. Stage two of that is one I can relate to. I love the second part of the first exercise! And I totally see the building and shrubs in the abstract version. This kind of improv / art quilting amazes me. Have you ever seen Kaja's blog? http://www.sewslowly.com/ She does a lot of "flying by the seat of her pants" quitling and her process is so interesting to watch.
    Have a wonderful time on on the retreat and at DW with your daughter and grandchildren!

  7. It's so good to see how you develop the ideas, no one would know that your abstract piece was inspired from a photo of a house and some shrubs - brilliant. One day soon I shall have to have a go!


  8. You are such an inspiration to me. I think I'm going to start keeping a sketchbook so I can capture some of the ideas I have occasionally. Keep up the great work!

  9. That first exercise is so difficult! As you say, so many possibilities! I wasn't too sure about your orange flap, but I just caught sight of Yvonne's comment about an 'open window', and that has converted me now, I love that idea! Do you feel all the exercises are helping you grow with what you will create, as much as preparing you as a potential judge?


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