Friday, October 19, 2012

Getting From "A" to "B"

When viewers look at my quilts, I am often asked "How did you come up with that idea?,  "Where did that come from?"

I often struggle with an answer, not because I don't have one, but because I am amazed that people struggle with ideas.  To me, ideas are all over the place - my problem is choosing ONE to play with.

I'll talk about getting ideas later, but for now, I want to explain what got me started with the Black Box quilt.  In other words, I want to tell you how I got from "A" to "B."

At work I often work with the Accounting Team, and frequently voucher the invoices.  I look at a LOT of invoices.  Just after the first of the year, one of our vendors changed their logo and the new logo for Index Packaging had this image of an open box.  I thought it was interesting, but didn't think much about why it attracted my attention.

Between making my unique quilts with letters and houses I make fairly straightforward quilts. (Insofar as The Red Sticks and Laughing Out Loud are "straightforward") Mostly it's just a way to relax.  Right after I started working on the Red Sticks, I wrote a blog post about getting to work. It was "Pick Up The Pencil."  Shortly afterward I was reading Twyla Tharp's book, The Creative Habit. I'd had it for years, but this time when I picked it up the title of Chapter 5 really hit me.

 A box! I thought of the logo for Index Packaging... that open box! (We get invoices from Index Packaging about once a week, so that open box registered in my brain on a regular basis.) What was different about that image was the fact the box was OPEN and you could see INSIDE! When I think of a box, I think of a package that gets delivered by the post office or UPS. I think of a brown carton, sealed up, closed. THIS BOX was OPEN, indicating things could come OUT of it!  BINGO! Two separate things - the quote and the image of the open box, now fit perfectly together.  I drew this in my sketchbook:

As soon as the idea was on paper, I knew this would be my next quilt. I didn't have the whole concept clear in my head. I knew the box would be slightly wider at the bottom, to be reminiscent of a magician's hat. I knew the words "out of the box" would be in an arc above the box. I knew the box would be black, and I knew the box should be coming out of the dark somehow. I also wanted the flaps to look like a real box.

I did not have all the answers, but I wasn't worried, because I knew that ideas get generated through the process of working. A few days later I wrote a post about the new quilt, and I've shared the process of creating and making the quilt over the last few months.

Remember though, a great idea is only an idea until you make it real. Having an idea is nice, being able to execute your idea is good, but having the confidence to keep pushing through roadblocks is vital.

The first step, the idea, will "hit" you in an AHA moment when you least expect it, but only if you've been "collecting" things that inspire you.  More on that later.

1 comment:

Sharon said...

Thanks for the peek into your brain and your process! What an interesting sequence of events that triggered your idea and your quilt.

I agree, I usually have no problem coming up with an idea. It's the rest of the process that takes time!