Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Using a viewfinder to create designs

Shakerag banner.
I just returned from a week-long studio intensive workshop at Shakerag workshops. I attended a class taught by two fabulous textile designers, Jane Sisco and Clay McLaurin, called "Look, Play, Design."

The focus was on seeking and finding a source from which to create designs through the use of various abstraction techniques. The course was based on studies from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) textile design program.

One of the first techniques was to use a viewfinder (a small, framed window) to isolate and focus in on a portion of a larger composition. It's interesting to see how your perception shifts when you hone in on a small distilled area.

Have you used a viewfinder for your work?

My friend, Joanie, took the photography workshop. Her first day began with this poem by William Stafford.

You Reading This, Be Ready
Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life—

What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?
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