Posts tagged ‘process’

January 11, 2011


by heatherkp

I’m excited to share the latest completed textile commission I delivered to clients on Sunday.   This piece was commissioned to fit into a 2 story entrance area in a home that’s design is influenced by Victorian era elements.  I discussed the colors, size and overall feel that the client wanted.  The chandelier and fabric below are a couple of the main elements of design influence.  I wanted to use the peacock feather motif and the colors from the fabric.

I initially did these sketches to get ideas down and then choose materials.  Over the last 6 months or so I’ve worked at the piece at times knowing clearly what I wanted to do an at other times I let the piece sit while I figured out technical or  creative challenges I needed to solve.

A project like this is so rewarding because it challenges you to step into someone else design aesthetic while remaining true to your personal design style.  I knew that this client liked my weaving’s but without my loom set up currently, I was left to find another medium to work with. 

I choose to work elements of weaving into this piece by using the long hand dyed fringe as a major design component.  I also used a subtle toile fabric as the background and selectively  painted motifs that were inspired by a collection of hand colored etchings the client has.  I used layers of sheer fabric bringing in both color and metallic sheen.  Layers of texture are a common theme in my work and this piece ended up having 3 layers of fabric, 1 layer of fringe, feathers and embellishments including stitching and beading.  They were thrilled, I was thrilled and I was thrilled that they were thrilled!  My husband was thrilled to have our dining room table back available for use!

September 28, 2010

Idea or Process

by heatherkp

For some, it’s all about the ideas and for others, well it’s all about the process.  I definitely fall into the later category of creative type.  When I get stuck and I have a vague idea of something if I start playing with materials, researching, experimenting and writing or sketching out my ideas then they become more concrete and really take form.  When I am creating something, weather it is a garden design, a photograph, a textile design or a craft it really comes down to process.  Take the photo above, I remember assembling all the flowers, all the teal vases, arranging them in just the way I wanted them to be, down to the fallen petals  It might not be a perfect technical or compositional photo but it speaks to me and may inspire something more later.  It is the process that I enjoy, it’s the process that keeps me doing/making, it’s the process that keeps me interested and marks the time I have spent in a way that feels satisfying to me.

Often I am not sure where I am headed with a project but I don’t have to visualize the end piece to begin working.  This in itself can be scary for me and I’ve often been stuck for fear that I would never be able to finish something when I don’t know what “it” will end up being.  This is when I need to remember that I am a process person, not necessarily an idea person (or I should say that my ideas aren’t always as strong as my process).

When I graduated from college I had to put together a portfolio of work but before the portfolio could be assembled I had to decide what my portfolio was going to represent.  I choose to skirt the edge of two types of portfolio’s with part being geared towards “industry” and pattern/woven design and the other part was geared towards studio design which encompasses creating the design AND the product.  What I really wanted to do was to focus on the Studio portfolio but what I ended up doing was creating a portfolio that would get me a job in the real world.  In doing so I did have to sacrifice part of the process stage of creation.  Now I have the luxury of going back and deciding to take a journey down the more process oriented road of Studio design.  What this means is that I can have great ideas or so-so ideas but it’s my follow through that will bring these ideas into reality.  I have to work out the design problems and follow through to completion of a product (not just a 2-D design on paper).  This is exactly the process that’s been missing for me.  I have been separate from the process of creating a product for the past 10 years as I have designed on the computer and rarely got to see these designs implemented into products.   What I did enjoy about the work I did in the Hospitality industry is that there was a process that I created that made the projects more fun for me.  I loved collaborating in the idea stage with the designers I got to work with (and I think many of them are idea people) and I took ideas and made them work in real life spaces with size and technical constraints to work with.  These limitations were a part of the process that in the end was quite satisfying.

As for those flowers in the photo above; as a matter of fact they have inspired me in a current project I’m working on and will show you here soon!

Are you an Idea or Process person?

September 7, 2010

Letting go of the old~Inviting in the new

by heatherkp

Perhaps because it is almost fall and this summer has gone by so incredibly fast, my mind is on de-cluttering, purging and making space for new things in life.  My husband and I spent the last week going from room to room gathering things that we no longer needed, loved or wanted.  On Saturday morning we headed out very early in order to go to a flea market and sell a bunch of junk that’s taking up too much space in our lives.  We had made a decision that whatever didn’t sell wasn’t coming back into the house either.  So at the end I was left with only a few boxes of items to donate.   The weather was so beautiful and this was our first time participating in a community flea market, in the past we would have just had a yard sale but I really enjoyed this alternative.  I’d say about the only drawback (if you want to call it that) is that you may be tempted, as I was, to bring something new (to you) home.  I got the two antique games below because I just love the charming images on them!  I also found a couple small hand stitched textiles (which I will share in another post).

Making room for “new” can mean a lot of different things but in my case I am not trying so much to make room for physical things as much as new ideas and inspiration.  Another area of my life that I am doing this is in the exploration of old design sketches and concepts I’ve completed to some degree over the last 10 years.  I am really enjoying bringing these designs beyond concepts and sketches and into fully rendered ideas.

I am hoping that moving through these past designs will help me to release them and move forward.  This is a concept I’ve heard from several different artists throughout my career and I truly do agree that you can not “hoard” your own ideas, they must be released in order for the new creative ideas to move through you.

August 31, 2010

Creativity and Spirituality

by heatherkp

This post might be a bit controversial for some readers but I hope not. For me the process of creating can be deeply spiritual experience, if I allow it to be.  Going within myself and allowing a creative expression to flow from within me, ideas that my conscious mind may not have thought of.  The process of creating, being an artist or living a creative life also requires a certain discipline that I liken to a spiritual discipline.  You learn to be intuitive about your creative process, you let it flow from you and not try to control it.  This can be such a difficult lesson to learn.
Many artists and appreciators of art have recognized this connection between spirituality and creativity.   Rothko’s chapel is one such example where the artist was commissioned to create a spiritual and meditative space through the installation of his art.  I find his paintings to be deeply meditative as well as the work of Yves Klein’s Blue series.   Each of us is capable of having a strong spiritual or emotional reaction to art, sometimes positive and sometimes negative.  This reaction may not be related to the artists spiritual or emotional experience of creating the art, sometimes it is obvious the message the artist is sharing and sometimes not. 

I often got through dry spells but my creative friends remind me that this is part of the process.  You must recognize the necessity of this still period and allow it to happen, let the ideas gather, build and eventually they will flow again.  There are certain actions we can take as artists to nurture this creative process.  Reading things that may be completely foreign and letting ideas about new topics create sparks of energy.  In my last posts I spoke about play and collaboration as other ways to invoke the creative process.   A natural sense of curiosity can spark many new creative fires.  When we are anxious and our minds are busy processing the many lessons of life we may feel emotionally drained and this is like a big wet blanket putting out the fires of our creativity.  The biggest challenge I face as an artist is to recognize that being an artist is a process, creating art is a process.  It is not about the outcome, the recognition or the completed piece of “art” it is about the need to create something that is an expression of yourself.  Personal and unique and only something you could create, this is yours alone.

August 27, 2010

Invoking the Spirit of Play

by heatherkp

Cats, dogs play and children usually play on a daily basis…why don’t we make the time to play more as adults?  Some of us play sports, some of us play board games, some of us play musical instruments. 
When I get particularly stressed my automatic response is the opposite of play.  I think of all the things I need to do or that I should be doing.  What I should actually do is make some play time, give my brain a little time off and free myself of all that is causing me stress.  Last year for the holidays I broke down and got my husband a PSP player and I’ve found myself playing video games now and then.  I don’t “Play” any musical instruments but love to hear my husband play guitar.  Sometimes play for me means sitting down and creating jewelry, knitting, making something with my hands or taking a walk with my camera and not taking the end product too seriously.  

During one of the blizzard we had last winter we lost power for about 12 hours.  One of the most fun parts of that blizzard is bundling up with blankets and candles and playing monopoly on our bed and Humm… my husband still owes me the completion that game!

How do you invoke the spirit of play?