Three Exercises to Build Your Surface Design Muscles – Quilting Daily

I’ve often heard people who practice yoga or Pilates say they actually feel taller after a session of intense stretching. I know that when I stretch, my limbs feel longer and looser, I’m more nimble and flexible. I feel like I can do more–and I usually can.

Imagine, then, what stretching can do for your fiber art. Limbering up your creative muscles can help you reach a little farther into your imagination, allowing you to do more with fiber and surface design techniques, that you ever have before.

Printing on fabric with paint and foil, by Jane Dunnewold,
using the expanded square technique.

In a recent article for Quilting Arts Magazine, surface design and fiber artist Jane Dunnewold wrote about stretching your creative muscles to achieve a “wow factor” in your art.

Here are some of the open-ended stretching exercises she suggests for letting the creative energy flow, and expanding your “wow” potential.

1. One hundred anything. One hundred black beans, 100 strips of paper? Do you have 100 of something on hand? If you do, how can those become something bigger than 100? Glue, embed, string. Just find 100 things and combine them.

2. Obsessive stitching. Could you/would you begin stitching until and entire paper or cloth or wall is filled? Start with a small piece of paper. Or sew leaves together. What else? What if?

3. Go big–and bigger. Big is relative. Look at the average size of your artwork and triple it for starters.

By making the time to explore–more than once–you increase your flexibility, says Jane. And that opens you up to new ideas.

For years, Jane has been helping other artists expand their creativity through design techniques for fiber art. Now, you can explore her techniques for surface design from conception through presentation in our exclusive Design Your Own Fabric with Jane Dunnewold collection.

Learn all about this incredible resource, and don’t forget to stretch!  

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