Inspired to Risk, A Textile Story

Do you ever have a project that starts with great creative force and then for some reason you stall out?  I certainly have.  This particular project has been quite a journey for me, one of the biggest creative challenges I can ever remember.

Silk quilt in beginning stages

Inspired by Sherri Lynn Wood’s remarkable textile work (specifically her Mod Mood Improvisational Quilts), I embarked on my own improvisational quilt.  Without any money to spend on a new project, and with many many scraps of hand painted silk at my disposal, I gave myself the challenge of creating if from throwoff pieces I already had.


I should have known that to follow Wood down the brave and thoughtful path she takes with her artwork, more thinking, feeling, and understanding world be demanded of my creative process that I have ever delivered before.

After much work, I reached a point with my quilt where I simple could not proceed.  It asked for something from me- but what?

Instead of the warm creative wholeness I would normally feel as I worked on a project, I began to dwell on troubling thoughts, dark emotions, and the persistent question “WHY?”

I put it aside for quilt a while, puzzled and a bit troubled.  Inspiration arrived through Denise Burg ‘s textile work, as I had described in my last post.   Her use of color inspired and moved me in an immediate emotional way.

Anyway- I realized that my quilt needed black- against the bright and joyful colors.  Not just as a cold and formal technical solution.  But as an emotional necessity.  The deeper darker questions that have come up in a creative pursuit- had nowhere to go in this quilt.  Now- they do.

Well, this is not the end of the journey.  Only a step along the way.  Technical issues abound with my quilt!   But I feel that I have been true to the creative process- even as I let go of the probability of a beautiful or worthy conclusion.  Many feelings have come up following this creative path.  I think the worst fear is that of looking foolish.  Or is there another fear underneath?!  This process has been incredible demanding.

In a timely coincidence, Sherri Lynn Wood posted some writings on her blog to exactly this point, even as I have been struggling to understand this process in my version of her Mod Mood quilt.

Thank you, Sherri!

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2 responses to “Inspired to Risk, A Textile Story

  1. Fabulous work! I would be curious to know about the future stitching–are you planning on doing machine or hand quilting or any additional hand stitching/embellishment? Silk gives such lovely depth of color.
    best, nadia

    • Thank you, Nadia. For this piece, I don’t plan to do any stitching or quilting- though I do have a silk quilt in progress. I am fascinated by the depth of color as well, and I am noticing that particularly in the quilt in progress- perhaps as I linger over each piece as I hand stitch.

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