Sketching and Division of Space © Jane Stafford Textiles

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In the first couple of articles, I talked a little bit about the architecture of cloth and how I create my canvases.   Now comes the fun part, the emotional part, the whole reason why I weave.   I am an interpreter of the world that surrounds me.   I am a keen observer.   I am inspired by a hundred things each day and I use my system to bring that inspiration to cloth.

In my colour and design workshops, we always look to the world around us for our inspiration and magazines are a great way to see a whole bunch of the world.  There are fashions magazines and gardening magazines and travel magazines and a billion places on the web where you can get photos that make your heart sing. Find one that makes your heart sing and work with it.

Once you have your source of inspiration the next step is designing your Graphic.  Every piece of cloth I design is first imagined in my head. Initially, I sketch the big picture and not the little details.   It starts with division of space.    I have a canvas in my mind.   It is a tea towel or a blanket or a scarf.   That helps me imagine the shape of the rectangle and then I divide up the space on paper.   You can divide a canvas any way you want, but I usually start with a division of 2 and build from there.   I draw vertical lines first that represent the warp and then I play with horizontal division of space which represents the weft.   You can add a frame, you can imagine a darker line or zinger.   You can divide in 3’s or 5’s which are numbers from the Fibonacci numerical series.   It is playtime.   Sketching should be fun, fast, quick.  Leave your rulers in the drawer, this isn’t about straight lines.   One drawing is not enough, you have to do it again and again as you see how things look. I am attaching some lovely drawings done by 2 weavers in the Olds exchange.   Anna and Sheila have graciously shared them.  

These drawings are wonderful.   They are about creating bold wonderful graphic space and then filling in the spaces with colour.   The Colours have come from the source of inspiration….the photo that grabbed your heart. Sheila says “sketching is helpful as it allows the freedom to sample many different ideas on paper”. Hopefully, you have laid your hands on some coloured pencils and you have given yourself a sketchbook.   Go get your picture and get started.

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