Tuesday, September 10, 2013

What if?

One of the things that I have learned from teaching a design course, is that what holds many people back is inspiration. Inspiration doesn't come and hit you over the head like a brick from out of the blue. It's often just a quiet, "what if?". What if I take this design and change this little bit? What is I take this shape that sort of reminds me of a dragonfly and tweak it to make a dragonfly? What if I take that jewelry design and try to recreate it in lace? What if I just try to make a string of lace that works as an edging? What if?

Sometimes people have the desire to design, but they just don't know where to start. If you said "Design something." their minds would just go blank. The wouldn't know where to start. In coaching people to create their own laces, I have found that it helps to give them a starting point. That start can be a picture or a simple daisy motif or any other little bit that opens the door to possibilities. The first step to designing is just making something, anything, even if it's ugly. Making is the first step. Pretty can come later.

This is a picture of the first thing I designed. I wanted a collar edging for this dress, but I didn't want just a skimpy edging. At the time the only books I had were some Dover publications and I selected the widest edging I could find that would lend itself to curving around a collar.

When it was done I had an edging that was a series of cloverleaf points at the bottom without a stable enough section across the top to let me sew it onto the dress. I added a row of ring and chain across the top to fix that problem, but I still had what looked like a jagged row of teeth along the bottom. Rather than give up on it, I added a row of ring and chain around the cloverleaves and an inverted cloverleaf in  the gap between pattern repeats.

It wasn't wonderful, but it worked. It also gave me the courage to try other things. That's the other part of designing. You have to be willing to spend hours
working on something that doesn't turn out the way you want. You can look at all the mistakes you make as wasted time, but I prefer to look at those failed pieces as just sample pieces with potential for something new.

What if you take a failed piece and change one little part? What if the failure is just the start of a new beginning?


Marilee Rockley said...

Your first collar design is pretty! Very true that designing takes hours of experimenting in order to get a design that seems "right".

Lace-lovin' Librarian ~ Diane said...

I guess my problem really is that I seldom ask, "What if?"

I love your collar!

Corina said...

thanks for the inspiring (and recognizable) story!

Madtatter80 said...

I love to create things and look at the frailer scars as character, and most people just see the bigger picture. love your story and picture thanks for posting

ancolie said...

You can create because you are a good tatter and a good designer. I need a pattern and there are so many beautiful designs now thanks designers like you !