Is intuitive design, outside of your comfort zone? Do you know, or only suspect that this is the case?
I’m bold enough to tell you that intuitive design, is my preferred way of working. Do I work without a net? Of course, but it’s the only way to go!! Okay, there are definitely other ways of working, but I’m more comfortable with this one.
I never really thought about it, but then I became heavily involved in the Bead Journal Project (BJP). Oh, I had played around with freeform, and techniques in my Fibre Art Studios days (a long-gone, Greater Toronto Area based fibre art group, that disbanded years ago), but never recognized it for what it was.
The BJP introduced me to visual journaling, so that’s my favourite way of working. But is visual journaling, the same as intuitive design? For me it is, or at least it’s all mixed up in the creative pile, that is my imagination.
Like others, I sometimes have a hard time starting a project! They call that the “blank page syndrome”, and it is a curse to all creatives. You want to, need to, yet don’t know how to start, because that blank piece of fabric, paper, or even pile of beads, doesn’t give you any clues.
How can we overcome that problem? Why, with intuitive design, of course! Pile up your supplies (whatever they are), then pick up the first one that strikes a spark in you. Pick up a brush, paint, needle, thread, pencil, or even a bead, then lay it down on your surface. What is it saying to you? Does it tell you where to place it, or what colour to use? Does it want to be stitched down, or just nestled up against the next object? Listen to what it’s saying, then do what it says!
Once you choose that first piece, look for something else in the pile that puts a sparkle in your eye! Now you’ve made a start, and the rest is easy! Or is it?
Whenever I start a project, I choose my main focal, then audition secondary objects around that focal. I call it clustering! If you like how it looks, don’t mess with it, but start on a smaller cluster, or two (depending on size). After that, it’s just a matter of listening to your muse, then filling in the blanks. Once my main elements are in place, I will start thinking about the finishing process. If you’ve ever taken a class with me, you will recognize this process. I’m all about piling stuff up, choosing a focal, clustering, and asymmetrical versus symmetrical.
There’s a reason that creatives often have messy workspaces! We’re always looking for our next great idea (focal element), but if you don’t see it, chances are you won’t use it! I like to have all of the supplies/ideas out, when I’m in the middle of working, but do like to start a project with a clean slate. Also, when I’m finished, I’m finished!! No self-doubts allowed, but you do need to give yourself permission, not to like every piece that you make!! It’s okay to let some go (in an emotional sense)!
Intuitive design is a personal choice, but is not always the only choice. There are some that prefer others to choose their designs for them, and that’s okay too! But do me proud, and choose your own colours, then try designing by-the-seat-of-your-pants, just once. Then tell me how you fared!