Friday, February 18, 2011

Finding the Right Amount of Challenge

I learned about the Sketchbook Challenge back in December.  The organizer contacted us (Friends Fabric Art) to see if we were interested in becoming a sponsor.  As I read more about it, I decided that not only should we sponsor it, but I should participate.  I thought it be a good incentive to be more diligent about keeping a sketchbook.  My previous efforts with sketchbooks have been sporadic at best. I thought that having the monthly challenge structure would spur me to do more and the sketchbook aspect of it seemed loose enough that I wouldn't be too intimidated.  I'd taken a drawing class back in college but I was so scared of it that I took it pass/fail.  Though I enjoyed it, I just haven't done too much "real" drawing since then.  I guess it's still "work" for me, not "fun."

Sad to say, the January theme for the challenge proved too much of a challenge for me.  The theme - Highly Prized - just couldn't take me past the idea that I needed to draw something specific on that big empty page.  I just couldn't think of something that I prized highly that I felt competent to draw.  I thought about it a number of times during the month. I even brought a sketchbook on my vacation, but I just couldn't make myself do anything.  I wasn't off to a very good start.

Thankfully,  in February's theme - Opposites - I found some ideas that I could wrap my head around.  To reduce the intimidation factor, I decided to use a very small sketchbook for the project.  That helped and I actually did three little pages.  Each page is just about 2-1/2" x 3."  On each I played with words and colors: 
I started out just playing with words with opposite meanings and reflecting them in the colors and patterns.  By the third page I was playing with the idea of opposing the words and visuals--writing the word Stop in the color green and the word Go in read for example.  It was fun to do and I hope it has given me enough of a start to this that I can continue through the year.

In the meantime, I also realized that my personal complementary color scheme small quilt series fits very well into the opposites theme so the sketchbook challenge also helped get me back into that project.  I'd gotten kind of stuck on #5 in the series.  I didn't like it very much so it was lagging.  I finally managed to finish it and get myself started on a sixth.  This one I'm much more excited about.

Here it is as of a couple of days ago.  I'm having fun with a scrap of hand-painted fabric, bits of silk cocoons, some pulp lace ribbon, a sheet of copper foil and some scraps of plain and embroidered sheer fabric.  Per my usual I am adding lots of hand embroidery and quilting with embroidery threads.  I may add some beading too.  I don't know yet.  I am much more comfortable "sketching" with a needle and thread than I am with pencil and paper.  We'll see if the sketchbook challenge can change that.

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