Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Style and Limitations

I've been wanting to practice further with piecing, so today I cut a few curves and when I pieced them by carefully matching registration marks and pinning every half inch then keeping to about an eighth of an inch seam, I still had several spots that were pinched. I got out my seam ripper and then resewed these portions but I found myself wondering if I will ever be able to do this. Any curved piecing I've done in the past has been more gentle and I didn't encounter problems even though I didn't do any pinning at all. So then I consulted one of Ruth McDowell's books on piecing and it looks so deceptively easy. I just sat and enjoyed the photos of her quilts and her incredible skill with putting fabrics together, though, because I've tried one of her pieced squares with detailed instructions - and I still couldn't put it together properly. Which brings me to a question. The other day I heard a quote on the radio saying that our style is a reflection of our limitations. The quote was directed at musical composition, however, I wondered if it might also apply to fibre art. My current limitation is this piecing business - and it's a challenge I want to meet and overcome. The quilts I've made to date are largely collaged and appliqued, although I do have several that are pieced. The pieced ones were made as I developed them, not with a pre-existing plan. So one aspect of my style that could be a result of limitations is to not preplan. If I was an excellent piecer like Ruth McDowell - would my style change to one where I pre-planned quilts? If I keep attempting to learn piecing and master it - would I still naturally gravitate to working without a plan? Maybe certain people are just more likely to be drawn to one way or the other, based on what comes most easily. I imagine that those who are impatient to get their ideas concretized - like me - choose methods that are the quickest.


Rayna said...

I rather think our style is an outcome of our personalities: who we are rather than what we can or can't do. Either you are the type who plans ahead or the type who prefers working spontaneously. I, like you, prefer to work "quick and dirty" as I call it -- and don't have patience for the nit-picky stuff. Also, prefer to work around limitations rather than trying to overcome them - LOL.

I have heard it said, however, that the size of our work is determined by the space in which we work. Now, THAT is a limitation!

JJ said...

That's a very interesting question. I like Rayna's answer. I don't know whether what I do is based on my limitations, it seems like I get an idea and then try to execute it...but I do know for sure that what I DON'T do is a result of my limitations!

Karoda said...

this is a question i've reconciled with due to a physical disability...what i've concluded is my style is about pushing up against what seems to be my limitations...physically as well as skill.

Alison Schwabe said...

Where there's a will there's a way, they say. I can't agree with Rayna on the spatial thing - I know one or two people who produce large pieces who work in smaller areas, or even on the end of the dining table - and vice versa - some artists working in large studios putting out small, ie what I would consider small, say up to 18" dimension. And, Yvonne I am sending you the basic steps on freehand rotary cutting and piecing to give you another option to explore for curved piecing - you can see numerous samples on my blog and website in the Colours and Ebb & Flow galleries.

Yvonne said...

Thanks everyone for your comments! I just wrote a response to each of you at length and it vaporized when I pressed 'publish'! GRRR. To recap briefly:

Raina, I just bought your book last week and I'm appreciating how well organized, clear and inspiring it is - great job! I agree that personality comes into play with respect to style - and - I wonder if I can strengthen aspects of my personality that are less developed.

And JJ, like you, I think my limitations effect what I don't do, and can get in the way of what I wish to do, and I'd like to challenge myself to do what doesn't come easily if I admire a technique and apply myself to learning it.

Alison, thankyou for generously offering the piecing instructions. I visited your blog and galleries and love your work and how you're exploring. Lots of inspiration for me!

Karoda, I relate to pushing growth edges and from the sounds of it, you have had the courage to push them in more ways then one!