Weave Through Winter: Days 26-28 and Final Thoughts
Stripes, Stripes, Stripes!

Book Club: Creative Strength Training

Yesterday's Book Club was lots of fun.  We discussed Creative Strength Training by Jane Dunnewold.

I learned a lot from this book and I still have more work to do.  Let's get started:

Have you read Creative Strength Training?  What did you think?

Here's a peek at some of the things I made in response to the exercises from the book:

I thought I'd share a bit about the discussion we had at the end of Book Club.  I wanted to ask people's opinions about choosing an older (published in 2006) and less available book for Book Club.  It is still available for sale, but for a higher price than the original cover price.  I was trying to gauge whether or not the book's availability was important to people's enjoyment of Book Club.

I showed the cover of the book...

...and asked my question.

A number of people commented variations on the fact that they weren't interested in this particular book -- don't like quilts, not their taste, etc. 

This is the gist of my thoughts on the topic:

I 100% respect that everybody is allowed to have their own taste, but I also encourage you to go outside of your taste.  I believe there is an enormous value in seeing what else is out there and figuring out what you can glean from something that isn't necessarily what you want to do.

I have learned an enormous amount from artists who make work that is not to my taste and books about things that are not in the medium or style that I pursue.

Let's say that you make crocheted pieces. 

If you only ever look at crochet books, you'll only ever make things that came before you.

If you look at quilting and painting and metalsmithing and cooking and landscape photos -- or a million other unrelated things -- you're going to find inspiration and ideas.  It's cross-pollination that you wouldn't have found if you had stayed completely within the discipline you're accustomed to.  Personally, I think that's where you become fresh and unique and interesting as an artist.

I don't want to make quilts like the ones in this book, but I still think it's really useful to learn about people's techniques, their color choices, their construction methods, etc.  The last time I made a finished quilt was probably three years ago.  But I'm still stimulated by the idea of putting pieces together because after all, quilting is collage and collage is quilting.  They're slightly different but it's the idea of putting different things together to create a larger image -- to find ways in which bits and pieces both contrast and find some sort of harmony.

One of the reasons I bought this book many years ago is that a quick flip through in the store revealed that half of it is dedicated to instructions/information/ideas on how to translate landscapes into artwork.  The author shares her sketchbook and some paper collages she has made as studies. She shares tips on composition and color choice and more. Even though some of the thoughts in the book are dedicated to creating quilts, I do think that artists and makers from many different disciplines could learn a lot from reading this book.  In fact, the first sentence in "Landscapes in Contemporary Quilts" is, "I would like this book to be enjoyed by quiltmakers, patchworkers, and textile artist of all abilities, but I also like to think that even non-stitchers might be captivated by the colour and the landscapes portrayed."

The teacher in me is standing on a soap box and proselytizing: Please stay open to intellectual and aesthetic stimulation from multiple sources.  Not just art that you like.  And not just art that is within your discipline.  And maybe not just art.  As one Book Club viewer said, "Everyone can take something away from any learning experience."  In my experience, most of learning is simply about being open.

All of that said, I decided to pick a book that is much more easily available because some people did say that availability of the book was important to them.  As a result, next month we will be discussing Sherrill Kahn's Mixed-Media Master Class.

Even if it's not your normal thing, I hope you'll check it out.

Thanks for stopping by!


PS: In case you didn't notice the link, I put together a web page to host all of the Book Club episodes in one place.