What is the best advice you have ever been given? Rising to the top of my list is this gem from Sandy Townsend Donabed, “Now do something radically different.” A little context will help demonstrate the wisdom of this advice.
As a novice, traditional quilter I was fascinated, but intimidated by the art quilts I saw while attending a local quilt guild show. How were they created? Where did the ideas come from? Could I learn to do this? I was told that Sandy Donabed periodically taught such a class. I signed up. Six of us met once a week for approximately 8 weeks around Sandy’s dinning room table. She would lecture and demonstrate various art principles and dole out assignments for the following week. A few weeks in we began working on our own art quilt. When we were nearly finished and very vested in our work the assignment was, you guessed it, “now do something radically different.” Gasp! Terror!! That was in 1989.
In 2022 it seems doing something radically different has become part of my DNA. Of course, radical is relative. However, some of the best solutions when problem solving my way through an art piece are the ideas that come at me unexpectedly. It may be selecting the perfect accent fabric that in theory doesn’t meld with all the rest chosen. In the case of Celestial Zen (previously titled Celestial Harmony) it is tossing out the dove of peace and replacing it with buddha emerging from a lotus flower. Doing some radically different doesn’t mean it will appear to the viewer as different. In fact, it looks as though that was the game plan all along.
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