improv strings prove unstrung


i dared participate in one my favorite living artist’s process for a book on modern improv quilting.

there is no quilt to show for it, 1 1/2 years later. it is curious and unfinished. a photo of the patchwork is here. scroll down, you can find it in the gallery there – warning it is u.g.l.y.

i am happy to report that the patched quilt top is completely taken apart, ripped back into bits. i loved the 3 fabrics i made; i just bombed out in piecing them together.


Sherri’s Evaluation Exercise:

4 questions (more or less) which i perceive worthy of exploring at any moment during and after, in those marked unpredictable marvelous disappointing exhilarating crossroads, amidst the 100 decisions you make in any given 20 minutes of  creative process…


1. What surprised me? What did I discover or learn?

Uoh, you can sew your finger into a sewing machine! After 30 years or so of sewing, i’d never believed i could really get caught in the machine. Now i know.

Also, cello-tape is a great stand-in for straight pins with paper which is crumbly dry brittle old and tears too easily with pins. The sparkly reflections from the cello-tape are nice too.


2. What was satisfying about the process or outcome?

The most satisfying aspects of such a creative process, for me, are the mind clearing empty open moments that accrue and the stunning accidents – of turning a sewn patch upside down or reversing the side completely and seeing a pattern or detail anew – allowing that that was what wanted to be emphasized all along – just waiting to be seen.


3. What was dissatisfying? If dissatisfied, what can I do differently next time to be more satisfied?

Ack! The whole thing put together and only then understanding that an earlier idea for the composition would have worked much better. Harrumph.

My strip fabrics were lovely; i loved them. And now they are lost to the larger composition which is… lacking.


4. Where do I want to go from here?

i intend to craft a strip quilt with a simplicity that emphasizes the strips/stripes better! And i can’t wait to try the bias strip curves, yum.


i’ve never formally studied quilting technique. Ruler-less-ness is the land my quilting and various fiber art forms emerge from. Paradoxically, i was drawn to more precise mathematics in sewing much later – with a pure experiment to see if i could align triangle points on seams and make clothing (that doesn’t have to technically fit – haha) … following others’ patterns just to see if the results were comparable.


Okay, so i can align triangle points on the seam sometimes, and i can follow patterns decently, even making on-the-spot modifications for current needs without detriment.


i am ready and excited to reengage more numberlessness, even if “measured,” and to play with the scraps i have…


i used to buy scraps from Sherri at the Carrboro Farmer’s Market in 1999 ish years. Those bits and pieces fed projects for many years. She is simply incredible. i highly recommend the brand new book:

Sherri Lynn Wood's new book

Thank you, Sherri, for being and inspiring.



3 Responses to “improv strings prove unstrung”

  1. curvy lines | embodhiment Says:

    […] bodhisattvas stay in their body « improv strings prove unstrung […]

  2. lughnasadh sparkles | embodhiment Says:

    […] and these sparkles reminding me of the cello-tape effect i loved in the quilting project […]

  3. improving improv | embodhiment Says:

    […] book is medicine. i can feel/smell/taste/remember oddly, now, that indeed i was improv-ing during my failed strings attempt. i had the experiential down. i was just missing awareness of what my limits/parameters were, to […]

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