Monday, November 2, 2015

Why Improv?


Organic

"Organic" really is the word that sums up improv style to me. I like the way it looks -- every piece has its own character, just as in real life. I like the method, working with materials that are already on hand, just as Mother Nature does. Adapting to local conditions, and letting them determine some of the result.

But, that doesn't mean there isn't a plan. A seed intends to be a flower. It may not know exactly how it's going to be a flower, but that's the goal.


And if things don't exactly work out, that's ok too! Improv provides the opportunity to experiment and try new ideas in a low-risk environment. It's just old scraps.

For my quilt, though, I already have a general idea of the final layout, the colour scheme, what it's going to say, and what the individual elements are likely to be. I never have a shortage of ideas! And since I have the idea, I think it's best to honour it, while staying open to change as it develops.


Personally, I think there must be an idea before anything can come to life, and the timing of the idea -- before or during production -- is not important. Sometimes I think that improv is a little bit of smoke and mirrors. You're never really creating something out of nothing. Jazz musicians improvise on an existing tune. Improv theatre starts with an initial premise, and often follows a rough plot as well.

The challenge, and the benefit, is in figuring out how to get there. You're solving problems, you're developing new techniques, or using old ones in new ways. It's very much a "flow" experience. I'm feeling more confident and relaxed about all my projects, not just this one.

And, I can definitely say that it stimulates creativity! I've been working on several different projects this past week, including a completely new one that is not improv at all. I'm glad I was able to try out these flowers before the Ad Hoc Improv Quilters link up ends. Check out everyone else's posts here!

21 comments:

  1. What a cute idea. I like the green leaves and the printed florals for the flowers. This looks like a great way to use up some leftovers (and I always have lots of those.) I'm curious how you plan to set them: on a long stem or surrounded by more leaves? Looking forward to your next post. Thanks for linking with AHIQ.

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  2. I always stay highly engaged and interested in a project when I am improvising. Your blocks look great!

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  3. this block works so well, trying to work out how you did it, a great way of using up scraps, some very nice blocks etc in the link you shared too.

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  4. I agree totally with what you say here, especially the bit about honoring your original idea but being open to changes as you go. I love these flowers - enjoy working out where you are going with them!

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  5. A good way to describe improv, I agree completely. And I love your flowers, it'll be interesting to see how this will develop.

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  6. LOve your flowers!! Can't wait to see the finished quilt!!

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  7. Those blocks are wonderful and I am eager to see them all together in a quilt!

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  8. I agree, there is a bit of 'smoke screens and mirrors'. The 'initial premise' is right on, great clarification. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks very much, Janie, I appreciate that! Clarity is always my primary goal. :D

      With improv I'm hoping that if I can de-mystify it, then more people will be inspired to try it as well!

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  9. Organic is right and I really like the Jazz analogy. It's how it worked for me with my Julia Gillard pieces. The colours in the blocks are great - all working so well with the background. Looking forward to following progress.

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    1. Well, for once I am not feeling as confident about those colours as you, Jillian! It will be an adventure to see how it comes together.

      I do think many people are afraid to try improv because it seems like magic. But there is a structure to it, and I hope once others see that they will try it too!

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  10. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas. Your seeds are turning into unique and awesome flowers.

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  11. Very pretty flowers! You will have a wonderful improv garden when you are done.

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  12. I love the look of these petals. I'm looking forward to seeing the whole garden.

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  13. Cute flowers! Looks like a fun process!

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  14. Well, between your blog and Sandra over at SewofCourse, it seems that improv is becoming a tempting concept. Your post is very encouraging and makes the process less chaotic in my brain. I like your term "organic". My biggest problem right now is the time thing. But the day will come.

    Your flowers look great BTW. I'm following your process with great interest.

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    1. Ah, time. Right now I'm starting to think that the priorities will get done, and if it isn't a priority, it's not as important as I thought. Of course, I'm thinking that while considering Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt this year!

      Thank you, though! It's off to a good start, I think. :D

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    2. Hat's off to you for considering another mystery quilt. I'll be sewing along with you, "over the ether":)

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