1) CUT & PASTE is CRITICAL!!--Before
you pitch magazines, go thru them and clip anything that catches your eye. Don't
forget to look at advertising and type faces. Everything is potential "grist for
the mill". Hide all in lg. box under the bed until you have the flu. I find it
soothing to do something mindless but pretty with cups of herbal tea. I
gluestick "pretty pictures" in notebook for "stitcher's block."
black construction paper to make the colors stand out. Categories are
loose--earth, water, sky, flora, fauna, folk, things/ornaments, seasonal. When I
need a shape, a color scheme, a place to start, a place to be inspired--there it
is. Don't get too organized, the point is to design and stitch.
SHAPED WINDOWS--I think most everyone
knows about placing a cut-out shape over the picture or drawing as a useful
design technique. Add to that making a VERY simple collage from whatever, look
at the elegant stamping galleries on the net--they are doing great things with
collage, some resemble layers of transparent fabric.
TRACING PAPER--Shapes will almost
always go together if they come from the same source. This works best with
fairly complex yet stylized shapes, I think. Shapes that have several "shapes
For example, a drawing from a large slice of agate
rock--scaled to a reasonable size on tracing paper & be generous about the
amount of graphite you put down. Turn it over & trace on other side. Now,
you can use it to transfer some of your design to drawing paper. And, you can
"flip/flop/flip" the shape(s). Experiment with making NEW shapes by putting
parts of the design next to other parts & lines. Use the smaller elements as
seperate shapes--create borders, centers, lines from them. Create a large
motif...repeat things...play until you like it. Use light, medium and dark
values to fill some shapes in. The designs for the 2 examples below were taken
from the same agate slice drawing--but treated differently.
"DESIGN BY CONCEPT": I learned this
technique many years ago from Wilcke Smith. It is among the most useful things I
a) Make a list of "polar adjectives" (descriptive words that are
opposites). As many as you can, paired next to each other. Keep these.
i.e. hot--------------cold shiney--------matte horizontal--vertical.......etc.
The CONCEPT is about what the finished piece should FEEL like...what it
communicates. Let's take a few concepts--mystery, magic, celebration, ancient, a
dance, lullaby. Pick one. Realism does not exclude concept.
c) Look at
your list of polar adjectives & you are making design decisions...and
narrowing/focusing on what THIS piece will have to say about the concept. If you
have chosen "the dance", you will find yourself being forced to be very
specific--which tune? What is the tempo? Pick only ONE word from a pair, pick
all that FEEL like they apply.
d) When you are done, you will have the
main shapes, lines, information about texture and fabric, etc. It doesn't matter
if your ultimate design is realistic, geometric, abstract.Your list of
adjectives should contain 55+ pairs.