Guest series :: My creative process always begins in my sketchbook

by contributor on 20/06/2012

in Community + Creativity, Guest series 2012

Guest series 2012: I asked fellow bloggers, makers and creators to write on their creativity and focus their essay on one of four topics: creativity and health, creativity and business, creativity and parenting or creativity and process. I am very excited to have a wonderful lot of fellow creative folk guest posting here at whipup.net over the next couple of months. Please welcome…

Blair Stocker is the author and maker behind wise craft. She lives with her husband, two kids, and one sweet cat in Seattle, Washington, USA. She works each day in her bright white basement studio, where she designs original quilt patterns, refurbishes secondhand treasures, looks for things to add crochets, listens to good music, and drinks good coffee. Her first book, is due out at the end of 2012. She is also runs a brand consultancy with her husband, Story Trading.

My creative process always begins in my sketchbook, whether I am doing a quilt, or redoing an item for our home or to sell in my shop. I use only one kind, a Moleskine squared soft notebook in the extra large size. They are easy to find locally, and I get the ones with fewer pages and try to look for the kraft brown covers, because I like personalize the outsides of them myself. The pages have grid-like squares on them, and because I’m usually drawing quilt patterns or flat designs, these give me a great starting grid (plus a blank page can often overwhelm me). I will staple fabric swatches on the pages, tape in bits of ribbon and trim, stick in a couple of strands of yarn, clip in a scanned image or one torn out form a magazine, or make a crafty to do list in these notebooks. This is a discipline I have carried with me since my days in the apparel industry. Even the small fibers of a single color can inspire, and I don’t want to lose them, so into the notebook I go. I keep all the old notebooks, and they are all neatly stored. I love going back through them.

I don’t use a computer program to do designing (there is some great quilt pattern designing software out there). To me its more fun to get out markers and colored pencils and just play a little, while I’m listening to the radio. I discipline myself to draw the design out completely, not stopping half way through, thinking “oh, I’ve got this!”. I find I like having a completed idea to go back to. I use craft store markers and pencils and go through them pretty fast, so I don’t buy expensive ones. Martha Stewart markers and pencils are my current favorites.
From there, it’s playing with colors, whether it be in the form of fabric, paint, yarn, or sometimes even glitter. I like to pull out combinations of colors, and leave them overnight, coming back to them the next day. This method really works for me, and I find things can look so different the next day, with fresh eyes. This is a fun part of the process for me, and I look forward to to getting to this stage (which is why I can be guilty of not always finishing that original sketch I was referring to above).
Part of the creative process for me always involves a studio clean up, at some point, and not always at the beginning. I think I do this partly as a procrastination tactic, partly to think over how I’ll execute the idea, and partly because I can really spread myself out all over this space and it gets messy! But I do not let myself get creatively stuck by a messy studio, if I did I’ve never make a thing.
I keep inspiration up on my studio walls, with plenty of white spaced up too, so I don’t get overwhelmed. I don’t necessarily like having my own work up, but I love having my friend’s work up. During the day I look at that and think “We’re all working today, we’re all finding our creativity.” And that’s very comforting to me, because so much of what I do is solitary work.
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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Acy June 20, 2012 at 11:44 am

I wish I could do the same – solitary work…I agree to a clean work place, gives me peace of mind.

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