Thursday, January 17, 2008

Open or Secret?

Francoise and I had an email exchange recently where we got to talking about how everyone has kept their processes very quiet this time around, after some discussion and sharing ahead of time last time. I know that from my point of view, seeing the final quilts revealed was so exciting and fun, and all the more because I had no idea what everyone was going to do.

And this time, my own silence has been in part because I've been so unfocused and uncertain, and in part because I didn't want to start leaning one way or another because of what someone else would do. And, of course, I'm susceptible to being intimidated by the vast amount of creativity here.

But at any rate, Francoise and I were thinking that it was curious how we've all refrained from posting anything that might show the ideas we're exploring or the processes we're using. It adds to the mystery and excitement, but it does hamper the sharing and learning and discussion all along that could be really fun. Maybe we could use the challenge and group experience to learn from each other and develop different ideas than we'd do alone, or get suggestions and try some new things because of input from someone else.

So I had an idea: For the next challenge period, would you all be willing to try an "open" process? No secrets--we'd blog on the list about our thought processes and research and ideas and work in progress... It'd be, of course, less mysterious and surprising at the end, but maybe we'd find that it'd be more conducive to learning and spring-boarding to other ideas and processes?

I thought if we tried it totally open one time, that might give us an idea for how we want to proceed in the future....not that it has to be all one way or the other, and not that we can't each do what we want individually anyway, but I thought it might be useful to see how you all feel about the topic generally and maybe try an all-out "open" challenge next time to see where that takes us...

So, what do you all think???


Karen said...

Hi guys,
I think it's a great idea to share our thought processes as we go along. I am not sure why I haven't been sharing, maybe because I'm not very sure of myself yet? Anyway, I agree we should post more on what we are doing.

StegArt said...

Sounds like a great idea to me. I must add that I really do like the surprise on the date of revealing, but I do think we should give this a try also.

Del said...

All of the "outlanders" who are following along would also benefit and enjoy reading about your processes.

Kristin L said...

I wrote out a rather long post about my thought process on the chocolate quilt the other day. I figure it will go with my surprise unveiling. I see two sides to sharing our processes. I worry a bit about being swayed (consciously or not) by the reactions to the work in progress -- forming ideas that aren't necessarily one's own. Often one needs to work through an idea alone before sharing -- like letting a toddler puzzle a shape sorter before coming in and putting the shapes in the holes for him/her.

On the other side of the coin, the influence others bring might be good, and seeing another's process may help us grow and try new ways of thinking and looking that we haven't tried yet. When trying a new direction and one isn't sure if they want to continue, it is nice to hear what others think to help decide.

There's an interesting discussion that I remember reading last year here (via a link from art blogger:

That said, I'm up for trying

Brenda said...

I've been musing on this very subject myself.

Because I have been travelling, it's only been the past couple of days that I have made any progress beyond research into actually making something. I was thinking of posting a photo but the nature of the design is such that if I show even a little bit, it will strongly indicate what the balance looks like. Nobody else had revealed so much and I thought I should follow suit.

Like Kirsten, I have some concerns about sharing too early in the design process but for slightly different reasons. I'm not so worried about other's reactions to my quilt as being deterred from pursuing a particular direction because some one else is already going down that path and executing it so well. There's nothing like pangs of inadequacy or fears of being perceived as a copycat to stifle creativity!

However, I am often itching to show where I am up to so I would be willing to go with a more open approach for the next challenge to see how this affects the creative process and outcomes.

Helen Conway said...

I too am fine with an open approach. I only didn't photo my stuff this time becuase I did rather like the grand reveal and ,well because my quilt to be fair is very very simple in tecnique. Like child's play simple. In my defence ( as you will see) it has a Japanese influence and so simple is appropriate..... what a good excuse!! Anyway the process is pretty much: cut centre square. Add inner border. Add outer border.
(OK, there night be a lttle step I missed out..... but only one little one I promise. I'm not bothered about being influenced - in mycase that can only be a good thing!

Anonymous said...

I'm fine with it, too. I've been silent this time round because I've been perplexed/stumped/confused/well, you pick one!!!

Diane said...

Maybe we can try alternating ... one challenge "public" as we go along, the other "secret" to have the fun of the surprise reveal -- and we'll see what we like...

Terry said...

I really loved the "reveal" at the end of the dandelion challenge and that made me want to keep my work hidden so as not to dilute the surprise element. But your points are well taken. Maybe we should identify several "stages" at which we will report in, as well as whatever other inspirations come along. For example we might all talk first about our initial reactions and ideas when the new theme is announced. Then a week or so later start posting "plans"--written plans, sketches, stacks of fabrics, etc., then progress photos and discussion until the final reveal. This might also impose a bit of structure on the procrastinators!

Deborah said...

First... I must say again, how thrilled I am to be a part of this group. You are all so thoughtful and creative. Even the discussion about what kind of a discussion we might have is fascinating.

I love the idea of an open challenge. I think it might quell some of the doubts I'm having (and maybe others are also having).

I worry my work is too simple. Or my interpretation of the theme is too obvious. I worry that if I complete it too quickly then I must not have worked hard enough. I worry someone else might be working on something very similar.

So part of me struggles with all that -- and another part of me knows that the most important thing is the finished product, how I felt about creating it and what I learned from it.

Gerrie said...

Here I am, late to the party. I am ambivalent, but those who know me, know I love to talk about and share what I am doing. The reason I have been quiet this time around is that I have been clueless about what I am going to do. I have been sketching some ideas tonight. I started literal, but unlike Terry, that does not work for me. I have to abstract what I am doing and once that idea was filtered, I now think I can move forward with vigor. I wish it was not so darn cold in my studio!! I need to do some painting and may have to move up to the kitchen. My basement studio is wonderful in the summer, but when it is below freezing outside, it is not so great.

Back to the sharing of process. Based on our first challenge, I would say that we are quite diverse and different in our approaches so I don't see a problem. We could try it one time and see what happens. It might get me on the program sooner!!

Françoise said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Françoise said...

Sorry, I'm late...
Yes, let's go for a more open approach next time. I like Terry's idea of reporting at several stages of the process.

Kristin L said...

I think Terry may be onto something as well. Even though we've all been very secretive about what we're doing (or not doing), there has been LOTS of sharing of inspiration and "research." Of course, it helped that our research was chocolate! It's been loads of fun seeing different types of chocolate, chocolate on TV, the history of chocolate, chocolate in other cultures, etc. So, posting milestones along the way could be a good way of sharing while still allowing for a surprise reveal at the end. How about something like:
* Initial Reaction (probably just words at this stage)
* Research (words, links, photos, etc.)
* Process (sketches and/or technique trials)
* The Reveal -- ta da! (and this should probably include, as we did before, our final reaction -- what stayed with us from the initial reaction, what worked or didn't work along the way, creative surprises along the way, the final concept)

StegArt said...

First I need to mention to Deborah that I feel much the same as you do in your 'worries' you mention here in these comments.

Then I started feeling a little more nervous when I saw suggestions on how we should approach our open discussion on our process.

I worry that I won't have anything to contribute, especially since the first two quilts (dandelion, chocoloate) just popped in my head without a lot of time, research and thought commitment.

I don't feel I've ever been one to do a lot of research. Not to say that I may never need to. Especially if a theme comes up that I don't know much about.

I like the idea that we are wanting to try this and I think it is a good challenge for me as well, besides the challenge of making the quilt.

I look forward to our next challenge and hope to learn more about me and my creative process.

Diane said...

I'm so glad to see this discussion! I have a couple of reactions.

First, for Terri and others -- I hope that the idea of sharing *whatever* our personal processes might be won't worry you too much. Personally, I really envy people who can just DO it without the intellectualizing and research and agonizing I can get balled up in (it's one of the many ways I find to procrastinate!) If your process is just to jump in and DO something, that's great and you shouldn't feel the least bit intimidated by saying that -- or not even saying that and just DOING it, as you choose. The point here isn't to change your process, but just to give you space to share it if you want to.

Second, I personally am not crazy about having a schedule for what gets shared when. I know i'm not going to be generating ideas in week one, doing research in week 2, etc. Knowing me, I'll have a big idea in week 1, do nothing for 2 weeks, then think more in the last week and suddenly change gears. I'd rather see us use the blog as a place to talk about whatever it is we're exploring if we choose to, as each of us feels like it.

But that's just me, and I'll go along with whatever the group wants to do.

Overall, I love the thought of the blog providing the opportunity to share with and learn from each of you. You all inspire and impress me so much. But I do think that there shouldn't be any mandated aspect about our communications other than the deadline for when we reveal the whole challenge piece at the end of each period.

Kristin L said...

Aaargh, schedule? No way. I was thinking we could post our stages when and if we reached them. There's no way I'd want to impose a time line on anyone's creative process. We wouldn't all have to post all our milestones either. One could skip straight to sharing technique ideas, or stay a long time exploring sketches if that's the way one worked. Seeing our different approaches and paces is part of learning new ways of working, yes?

Gerrie said...

I was happy to read Kristin's latest comment. I do not work well on a schedule, usually. So I was going to make the suggestion of posting when we get to a certain marker. Works for me. I am taking an online design class with Liz Berg starting this week and that will be enough deadlines for me.

Nikki said...

I'm a little late on jumping into the discussion. My last week has been extremely difficult and my heart is only now ready to care about much of anything.

The grand reveal is always exciting, but I also really enjoy the peaks along the way. I think the three month break (much needed I have to say) between deadlines has left me anxious to see what everyone has been doing. Sharing a little more along the way will provide more interest for our growing number of readers (who would have though?) and also help us to get to know each other even better.

If we choose to go back to being more secretive after this next challenge, perhaps we could spend the first week after the reveal sharing about our techniques and processes.

JEANNE said...