Category Archives: Inspiration

Playing for inspiration

Breaking a Creative Block

Last week I was working on a challenge quilt that was giving me trouble because I was way over thinking. I can almost hear some of you saying “Wow, that is not at all like you”. To which I reply, that there is no need for sarcasm.   So back to my point.  I started several times but rejected idea after idea for a variety of reasons – too complex, too simple, too uninspired (or uninspiring), too cliché (I know, what does that even mean?). My usual strategy of putting it aside and coming back to it wasn`t working but I was determined to finish the challenge by the quickly-looming deadline.

Applying learning

I finally decided that it was time to shake things up and try a different approach. The challenge assignment that I am completing is for an online course in Colour and Composition taught by Katie Pasquini Masopust.

As it happens, I took a workshop with Katie PM through the Mahone Bay Quilt Guild last spring. The workshop was called Watercolour to Quilt. Over two days, we experimented with a variety of watercolour techniques including blowing with straws, using bubbles, and painting small objects like sample cups as stamps. We then isolated a section of one of the watercolour pieces and used it as the basis for a quilt. It was lots of fun and also rather surprising. I do not count painting or drawing among my skills and was a little sceptical that I would be able to ‘paint’ a design but, in fact, all of the participants created unique and interesting quilt designs.

This seemed a good time for me to break out the paints and give it another go. Rather than randomly painting with all the colours of my limited palette, I decided that I would select a picture from my digital collection and use it to create a colour scheme. Rather than risk going down a rabbit hole of analysis for a picture selection, I created my own randomizer and chose a number to lead me to a folder in my pictures then looked at the number of pictures in the file and chose one for my colour scheme. Fortunately, I ended up with this picture as my inspiration.   I say fortunately because I love the colours here.

My initial colour inspiration
My initial colour inspiration

Playing for inspiration

I spent maybe an hour playing with paint then isolated a section of one of the pictures and used it as inspiration. In the end, I chose not to turn the design into an exact pattern but to use it more for a general guideline.

As I mentioned, I have a limited selection of watercolour paints.  I chose green and red and made tints of colour to try to come close to what was in the chosen picture.  When they dried, I identified the slightly modified results in my Joen Wolfrem colour tool (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NY7qF9tOCeU) and identified them as blue green and blue red.  This happens to be a complementary colour scheme of two colours opposite each other on a colour wheel (in this case, a 24-segment colour wheel).

This is my resulting quilt.  It is not exactly the original colour scheme but the influence is there for sure.

Finished quilt.  The challenge was to include  lost-and-found lines and engaged edges
Finished quilt. The challenge was to include lost-and-found lines and engaged edges

Finding new ideas

If you haven’t tried some creative play, I highly recommend it.  This activity was a change for me and took me out of my head.  The experiment resulted in a quilt that was a very different style for me. I am very happy with the results.

Have you tried playing to break a creative block? What did you do? We’d love to read your stories and/or see your resulting creations so please share.

Random Thoughts: The Satisfied Customer

 

This post was written by Stephen Parsons.

Why do we do it? Why do art and craft entrepreneurs put their products and reputation out there in the marketplace? Business objectives are different for each business owner, I guess, but some  would seem more important than others. But how important is profit as an objective compared to other – perhaps more altruistic – objectives?

Piper – apparent satisfied customer

While profit and the need to express one’s artistic creativity and passion are goals we might think at the top of the list, Continue reading Random Thoughts: The Satisfied Customer

Take a Hike

This post was written by Mary Elizabeth O’Toole

The phrase take a hike has taken on an idiomatic sense of dismissal “Beat it. I’m tired of talking to you. Go away. Take a hike.”

I am using it in the more traditional sense of taking a walk, getting out and exploring.  Sometimes it is just necessary to get away from what you are doing to shake off the stiffness and clear the cobwebs. Taking a hike is good for both physical and mental fitness. Continue reading Take a Hike

Creating Creative Inspiration

This post was written by Mary Elizabeth O’Toole

I have been trying to write my weekend post for a few days but nothing has been working.  I have started a few articles.  Some of wondered off on unrelated, and sadly uninspired tangents.  A few have been added to my ‘need to develop’ file.  Others might work for a collection of random ideas in a summary piece.  A number of the promising starts just were not working for me – at least not yet.  It seems that the only thing to do is let the ramblings take me where they want to go today and use this lack of creative stimulation as my starting point. Continue reading Creating Creative Inspiration

Create daily

This post was written by Mary Elizabeth O’Toole

When you are trying to learn a new habit, or replace an old one, evidence shows us that it takes a minimum of 21 days of consecutive practice.  As a former language and music teacher, I know it is more effective to learn these forms of expression with regular daily practice rather than with marathon sessions just before a lesson or performance. Continue reading Create daily

Work in Progress: Passing the Torch

Today’s post was written by Stephen Parsons.

Warren Ervine – 1988 Olympic Torchbearer

Warren Ervine may not look like a legend, but thirty years ago, he did something extraordinary – something that only a few Canadians will ever do. Warren ran a leg of the Olympic Torch relay for the Winter Olympics in Calgary in 1988. On February 20, during our country’s sesquicentennial birthday celebration he will relive that event at the annual Sackville Business Association Snow Days Parade with a replica of the torch that he held high in ’88. That’s where I came in… Continue reading Work in Progress: Passing the Torch

Tech Tuesday: That Internet Thing

Today’s post is written by Stephen Parsons

The staff at my office think that either I am becoming totally antisocial or have a secret affair going on. While they are gathering in the lunch room to share their sandwiches and a little office gossip, I heat up my bit of soup or leftover chili and biscuits, then skulk off to my office Continue reading Tech Tuesday: That Internet Thing

Taming your stash

This post was written by Mary Elizabeth O’Toole

Every artist that I have ever met has a stash of materials that exceeds what they could use in a lifetime.  It is hard to resist the lure of new material to turn into a work of art. We all see the potential, the future possibilities. What crafter or artisan has not acquired source material because it called to them, or felt good in the hands, or was a gift, or was a really good deal – or was just too beautiful to resist? Continue reading Taming your stash

Tech Tuesday: Back to Basics

This post was written by Mary Elizabeth O’Toole

Last week, Stephen introduced our Tech Tuesdays with musings on the importance of thinking about why and how you select a particular tool to develop or enhance creativity and/or the artistic process.  I don’t always share Stephen’s enthusiasm for technology and rarely am motivated to just play.  As a result, when I consider a technology option, it is most frequently in pursuit of a particular solution.  It is not often I am tempted by the toy factor. Continue reading Tech Tuesday: Back to Basics