30 June 2018

Improv and metacognition -- 2

Well, that first article got mixed reviews. I love that. It means that we're thinking, and you are willing to offer your truths. That's a sure sign that you're interested, and even if you aren't participating, your interest in what the rest of us do may encourage you to revisit these thoughts. Maybe you'll learn something about your quilting vicariously through us.

Before we begin, I want to encourage you to analyze your work without commitment. In other words, you are looking at what, why, how you quilt. But you are not committed to making changes. It's possible that you are exactly where you need to be in your quilting journey and this is just part of the journey. Feel free to use (or not) the information you glean in whatever way you choose.


Let's analyze a little more, shall we? Go back to your notes from the earlier article. Remember that we were naming the parts--determining which ones were intentional and which were happenstance. 
Go back to those parts of the quilt that you identified as intentional. Try to answer these questions: 
   1. Why did you use these particular colors? What does each color represent? A person, feeling, place? What do the colors remind you of? Any question or thought that you have about color should be recorded. 
    2. Take a look at the shapes and blocks. Again, why these shapes? Do they represent anything? Did you use traditional blocks? Why? If you used the idea of traditional blocks but made them your own, how and why did you do so? 

Now think about those other parts--those that were fortuitous. These questions will be different: 
   3. How did you come to this part? Jot list the process. Do you just let things happen? How long does it take or how many times (estimate) do you change your mind. How do you feel as you work this way--happy, frustrated, inhibited, encouraged?
   4. How do you know when you have these parts right? Again, jot list the thoughts or ideas that you think answer the questions.

As I did before, I'll answer these questions here so that you can see my thinking. (I actually did this in my classroom on occasion--I did my thinking out loud so that students could see my brain at work. It's especially helpful when students need to practice a skill that is difficult to name and define.)


   1. Why did you use these particular colors? What does each color represent? A person, feeling, place? What do the colors remind you of? Any question or thought that you have about color should be recorded. 

grayish black--depression and psychological pain

white--a life with hope or at least a life when depression is not the only thing
the green may be happiness and the red joy but I'm not certain

    2. Take a look at the shapes and blocks. Again, why these shapes? Do they represent anything? Did you use traditional blocks? Why? If you used the idea of traditional blocks but made them your own, how and why did you do so? 
the small shapes represent attempts at being creative even when depression strikes
the small black dot on the lower left is the darkest part of depression--a deep, dark place to avoid; thank God that for me it is small
some of the same shapes on both sides to show that in bipolar disorder opposing feelings may occur at the same time 
nothing in this art piece is traditional

   3. How did you come to this part? Jot list the process. Do you just let things happen? How long does it take or how many times (estimate) do you change your mind. How do you feel as you work this way--happy, frustrated, inhibited, encouraged?
  • the process--begin with an idea and color
  • refine that idea through brainstorming and mind-mapping (which can take days)
  • pull fabrics to work on the background
  • begin adding color and shapes that reflect ideas in my mind map
  • keep going (it gets difficult at this point)
  • keep going by editing and refining even more
  • leave the piece alone for a while
  • push back(question, analyze, define what I have)
  • decide how I will finish the piece
I make art quilts using my writing process. Being an English teacher/student is helpful--I've practiced with words. 
I let things happen when I work on an art quilt. I prefer to try out different ideas, though I don't know where they come from.
As things happen, I rework, revise, rewrite my thoughts and my attempts at depicting the big idea in my mind. 

   4. How do you know when you have these parts right? Again, jot list the thoughts or ideas that you think answer the questions.
The quilt and I talk as we go along. I know what the quilt should say. It's done when the quilt says something  true, important, helpful. 

Again, please leave comments telling me what you think. This process can be difficult, but it can also teach you about your work. It may even help you to find your voice. Also it takes time, so don't expect answers to come together and make sense right away. If you are working along with us, feel free to tell us what you discover, especially the insights and surprises. 

Mary Marcotte

5 comments:

Aileen said...

Thank you for the insight into what your process is.

I don't know how to explain when I do an art quilt. I try to make do with whats on the cutting table or a small bin that is hanging around. I dump it out and look at it for a while. Decide on a background and just begin. Random piecing until I get an idea. In the end it may be 360 degrees from where I thought I started.

If I have a theme in mine, this starts the process faster BUT again I have to chew on it for a while. My greatest obstacle is myself overthinking or second guessing myself. Most times it is worrying if the observer or eventual audience will like it. This thought may freeze me in my tracks. Lately I have decided that I am the observer. So I am trying to focus on what I want instead of what others want to influence me to do.

Aileen Kline

Lisa Boyer said...

Like Aileen above, I also find it difficult to "focus on what I want instead of what others want to influence me to do." I find this difficult in many areas of my life!

Thanks to your blog posts encouraging introspection, the following came to me out of the blue yesterday when I was trying to figure out my quilting raison d'etre:

This is what it looks like when a scientist wants to quilt: it's not always visually pretty, it's an exploration of color, my limited sensuality because my heart is ruled by my head, and inner logical conflict about art being nearly all about the eyes (because I think soft worn blankies are the most beautiful emotionally charged things ever).

Kaja said...

I hadn't articulated this before but my process seems to be much more about the unplanned - the most I ever have to start with is a doodle and not usually even that. I just pick a fabric or two I fancy using, pull a load more and then push them around until something occurs to me. After that it doesn't really feel like a decision-making process, more like I'm trying to grope my way to something that already exists, if that makes any sense.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Still considering this . . . life has been too hectic to sit back and really think it through. But I will!

Ann said...

I haven't thought through my process much either. My sister quite rightly says I pull lots of fabric then put it together. I start with many fabrics I like, usually the foreground and then try to figure what will set it off. Prints and color are my triggers.
Obviously I need to mull this over some more. Thanks.