28 March 2011

working in stages

My deadlines are getting rabid. I’ve got five whirlwind weeks to wrap up several things and while that sounds like plenty, we need to take into consideration the job that dominates my day that has nothing to do with artwork.

Makes things challenging.

But still doable.

I’m a firm believer in taking every opportunity I have to do something. When my to-do list is staring me down, a twenty minute block of time doesn’t seem like it would hardly be worthwhile but multiply that by five or ten or twenty times and suddenly things start getting ticked off the list.

Its probably my favorite way to work - those little time blocks.

This past Saturday saw that employed and if you were to watch me move between five different things at one time, you wouldn’t think there was any kind of focus to it. But there is.

So much of what we do takes several stages. Instead of waiting for one piece to run through all the stages, I work on several projects all at one time so that things just keep on trucking.

Here’s what a typical studio day looks like:

(1) I sewed. With the machine. Yes, you are at the right blog. Ever since I did the TV segment tapings for Quilting Arts where I was surrounded by so many incredibly talented machine quilters, I’ve had this little voice in the back of my head nagging me to give machine stitching another try.

I did and surprisingly, we got along fine. I’m thinking maybe the planets were aligned just so. Maybe I should buy a lotto ticket...

(2) I picked out fabric.

I could do this all day long, every day and never get bored with it.

(3) I made new thermofax screens...

(4) ...and then I laugh maniacally as I printed away with them and then set them to swim in the sink.

(5) I planned.

In all honesty, I’ve been planning for a long while but its all been in my head. I planned in reality today. I’m in another assemblage show in a few weeks and now that I’ve designed everything in my noggin, its time to make it so everyone else can see it.

(6) And that involves large amounts of paint and glue:

Assemblage work is definitely one of those things that needs to be worked on in those spare moments. There’s an awful lot of waiting time while things are drying. I’ve decided to continue on with my bird assemblages. I had some boxes built from me from barn wood and the natural rustic feel they are lending is really ringing my bell.

I figure if I can get at least one day like this in every week and then do my little time blocks during the week, those deadlines are looking defeatable.

How do you like to work? Are you a stage worker or do you like to work on a single project from start to finish?


Sandy said...

That's absolutely the way I've always worked-been accussed of having 20 things going at once--at least. Then there is something to pick up no matter where I am. I even have a bag ready to grab, if an emergency arises that I have to leave for.

janice said...

I always have a number of items going on. jewelry supplies out in one room. Fabric painting/dyeing in another room and scarves waiting for additional layers and at least one small art quilt and/or fabric choices for one in another place.

dsigns said...

Count me in as one of the "all over the place" artists. It's good for me to set a deadline though or I could have a lot of things "in the works" that never quite get completed.

jen said...

This is definitely the way quilters and patchworkers work I think. I have two block of month projects going two mini art quilt monthly projects, a larger challenge quilt that needs to be laid out and marked ready for quilting, things friends and relatives want stitched or sewn yesterday or last week plus I am on this huge learning curve playing with dyes, thermofax, altered books, paints and other yummy stuff! I have a list. I drive in silence so that I can do my planning in that time. Sometimes it is just overwhelming!

Susan Cepin said...

Thanks for these thoughts. I enjoy watching your work come together in various posts! I definitely prefer to work in the nooks and crannies. I tend to work in stages -- it seems to keep me in a flow of motivation. If I do get the rare large block of time to just whip something out, I'll take it: it's nice to have a completed project in hand. However, I usually feel pretty irritable and a little batty by the end.