Friday, June 29, 2007

SAQA conference challenge

Before the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) conference last month, participants were asked to bring with them "studio droppings," snippets of fabric, threads, embellishments and other detritus from a recent project. They were to be sealed in a small plastic bag with two copies of your business card. At the conference, they were swapped and redistributed. We were to go home and create a small piece using these materials. My bag came from Mary Stardt, whom I do not know. Inside were embellishments, cottons, rayons and silks. SILK! This was one fabric I had wanted to try working with, but had been afraid to try. This was the perfect opportunity.

"Pauses Between the Notes" (13" x 16") is the result. All the fabrics at the center of this piece (the hot pinks and royal blues) come from Mary. I added additional silks around the center. A quote by Austrian composer and pianist Arthur Schnabel (1882-1951), included in Mary's bag, provides the name of the piece, and the theme I had in mind when I created it:

"The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes — ah, that is where the art resides!"

Although I was skeptical about participating in this challenge, I'm glad that I did. Not only did I lose my fear of working with silk, I also discovered that working with materials I do not preselect and carefully choose can boost my creativity and push me into a more improvisational zone. I can't wait to see what someone else did with my bag of scraps!