Taking creative risks can be both scary and exciting at the same time. If we are fortunate, it leads to a successful outcome! The risk lies in not knowing this outcome when you start however. I feel that the act of taking the risk can be so full of learning opportunities and holds potential for huge growth in one’s creativity. Throwing comfort zone boundaries out every once in a while can yield great results. Yay for that right?
So my go to way to quilt is to start with a color palette- the color almost always comes to me first. I also love working with bigger blocks of solid color. This has been challenging for me as I’ve recently come back to quilting after several years away and realize that my stash of solids is quite low and limited and my prints are mostly geared toward what I like to use in my bags that I make for my shop.
However, I am still trying, wherever possible to stick to using what I have currently in my stash and not buying more fabric (I’ve had to break that rule a few times). I am doing this for two reasons. One is that I have a small space and too much fabric, some of which I have had for nearly a decade or so at this point. Secondly, I intentionally want to challenge my creative self to envision something new using the constraints of color. “What will I create if I only use what I currently have?”
I recently embraced that challenge full on with a very unexpected (to me) combination of color and print. It started with my desire to create a version of my Road Trip 2 Quilt (pattern to be released soon) that incorporated prints alongside solids. An experiment in a way, since I am usually an all solids gal when it comes to my quilts.
Color is a funny thing. I’m amazed at how certain color combinations can exhilarate and inspire while others might generate a sort of creative dissonance that brings some weird level of discomfort or mild anxiety. At least the risks were low here….the worst thing that could happen is I hate it and I have just wasted fabric=$$, and my own precious time! Something I of course, try to avoid but then that is, I suppose, the nature of risk!
As I started on this project, I pretty quickly realized that this combination would change the feel of the design in a big way. When I designed this quilt, I had only solids in mind and the design turns out much differently that way, more to my personal taste, but I want to show the versatility of the design so this is good right? Yes, but I still have to feel good about the final outcome. I decided to add in a more modern print and chose my much coveted Carolyn Friedlander Architextures as well as more white to brighten and give it a modern edge. I think it still has a very sweet retro type of charm but also has a sort of clean modern edge. I can live with that.
In the end, I’m happy I worked through this combo and saw it through to the end. Did I enjoy it as much as when I resonate with the colors? No, however, I still have a finished quilt top (soon to be finished baby quilt) that I’m sure someone will find appealing (when it’s listed in my shop), I used up some of my high quality but not so resonant to me at the moment fabrics, I have another sample for my pattern, and most importantly, I pushed myself creatively. I discovered what gives me creative energy is when I’m working with a strong color palette of cooler, more subdued tones with more neutrals, and that, regardless of color, I actually love the way a block based pattern comes together and how it’s symmetry and rhythm can be comforting and very pleasing to create. What creative risks are you taking these days and how have they served you? It’s a thought I’m clearly pondering lately, you too?