Anyone who knows me knows I eat very slow. I simply cannot eat fast. This is supposedly healthier, but it’s not always an asset when you are in a hurry and need to rush. But for better or worse, I’ve been a very slow eater since I was a little kid, and that is just the way it is. When I was in art school, a friend once told me I should do my art the way I eat. By this, she meant that I needed to take a little more time to observe, to refine my ideas, and when drawing, to be more slow and meticulous.
I noticed when I was at Vogue Knitting that more than one of the instructors talked about pushing oneself with ideas and concepts. Both Kaffe Fassett and Susan Lazear talked about how important it is as a designer to really explore a concept to the max. You can see this in alot of Kaffe’s work, where he explores different color combinations in his designs. He also talked about how, when he does his quilts, he spends hours moving the different quilt pieces around on a huge board on a wall in his house until he comes up with something that excites him.
Susan emphasized this idea of pushing too. Since I was in her design class, this was in relation to working ideas out in a sketchbook. Once you come up with a number of concepts, the real innovation usually happens when you take one of the best, and continue to expand on it. It occurred to me that I need to do more of this. I am so anxious about getting my ideas out of my head and into something tangible that it is very hard for me to slow myself when working.
But if there is a secret to how artists come up with the kind of work that makes you stop and go, “Wow! That is so simple, and yet so new!”, this is where it comes from. I am currently working on a few designs, one for a sweater, one for a lace shawl. I cannot yet post photos, as they both are still ideas on paper, but I am really enjoying “pushing it” and will be very excited to share the fruits of my labors with all of you when the time comes. In the meantime, I thought I would pass along what it means to push, since it has taken me quite a few years since art school to fully understand what this means.
And if you are designing and feel you have an idea that is good, but not quite there yet, I think both of my teachers mentioned above would say that this is the time to keep pushing. Don’t give it up, because this is the point at which you will expand yourself as a designer.