ideas take funny shapes
The funny shaped project that became a study in muse management.
The notion of this storyteller/doll/book holder/pillow lived in my head for weeks before I had time to do anything about it. In those weeks the idea grew arms and legs, then no arms, then ears, then a pocket, then two pockets, then a face, then two faces but not the same two faces.
The management part came when I sat down in my studio-area to make the idea real. With fabric, scissors and paint in motion the idea was still sprouting parts, wanting to try on a new fabric or paint color or pair of arms or maybe a tail.
I wanted this multi-purpose handiwork to be a christmas gift for my niece, Ruyi. To make this christmas wish come true I decided to stick close to the funny shape as I drew it in my journal. I put out a sign for my muse - Further inspiration not required or welcome! Go away!
No matter how groovy an new idea seemed to be it was given no attention. You want arms again? Don't care. You want a secret pocket sewn into the arms you don't have? Grooviest idea ever but I don't care.
Too many times I've 'idea-d' or 'mused' myself out of doing anything at all when I've paused to entertain every new appendage sprouted from a great idea.
Putting the pillow together as it was drawn was challenge enough—a pillow with a pocket in its pants and a pocket on a patchwork pocket on the pillow that's painted on both sides. In a weak moment I wished for a traditional pattern, directions, labeled parts, steps in numerical order. It was not a sincere wish. Directions are certainly helpful but also certainly predictable. I rarely follow them for long.
The order of assembly was a necessary puzzle and I blame my muse for distracting me with pocket geometry that made me want to cry. She knows how I feel about anything resembling math. With hardly any actual math and only a few ripped out seams I put Mathilda together.
what I learned...
There was the moment when I realized that the Golden GAC-900 fabric painting medium that I had carefully researched, selected and shopped for was still sitting on the shelf after I had painted one side of the pillow. Seriously?! After so much thought and planning?
The dried acrylic was stiff and scratchy. Not what you want in a pillow and just what I planned to avoid. Know what? Sandpaper will fix that. I love sandpaper.
The sandpaper softened the paint, distressed and tore the thin muslin fabric. Seems to me the faded/torn and stitched up spots just make Mathilda appear well loved.
mathilda meets ruyi
Time will tell if Ruyi and Mathilda become great friends. Seeing them together made all the craziness of the Mathilda assembly process a sweeter memory.
The decision to hang out the sign and tell my muse to go away made this moment possible. Every idea I ignored would have made Mathilda wonderful but no better. She was there in time, a funny shape with drawn on arms and she wants Ruyi to tell her a story.