The Incubation Box

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As part of my efforts at getting back into quilting, I have indulged in a few online courses from Craftsy. I love these classes because they are containers of inspiration unto themselves. I can watch them whenever I want and as many as times I want. The Craftsy platform lets me take video notes, ask questions of the instructor and the other people in the class, and share photos of ideas in progress. I can also download course material and decide how much of it I want to print.

My latest acquisition from Craftsy is a course called Designing Modern Quilts with Weeks Ringle (pictured on left). Last night, I was taking a break from work (something I should do more often), and I started watching the first of the 10 lessons. The 34 minutes went quickly with lots of ideas about how we are going to approach the study of design as we incorporate the ideas into quilts and other projects. I enjoyed the video right from the start, but when she started sharing her thoughts about how important it is to make time in our days, our heads, and our homes for design work, she was already speaking my “container” language–for space (homes), ideas (heads) and time (days). I certainly felt as if I had chosen the right class!

Weeks showed several books and other resoures, including Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit. One of the ideas from Twyla’s book is about the boxes she uses to maintain records of her choreography projects. In her words,

I start every dance with a box. I write the project name on the box, and as the piece progresses, I
fill it up with every item that went into the making of the dance.This means notebooks, news clippings, CDs, videotapes of me working alone in my studio, videos of the dancers rehearsing, books and photographs and pieces of art that may have inspired me. The box documents the active research on every project.

-Twyler Tharp

Weeks talks about the incubation process in such a box. While the banker’s box works for some, she suggests a plastic box with a fitted lid, one that is somewhat see-through. Instead of putting items in that record the process, she put in a variety of things that act as inspiration for a design project.  I like this idea of assembling a box of creative paraphernalia that appeals to me and letting it percolate. Possible items I will include in my box: pattern ideas, pieces of fabric, a photo or two, perhaps a poem or a few words that seem right, and a few buttons or trinkets I like. It will be fun to see what happens. Even if it does nothing more than getting me thinking more creatively and moving me toward my next project, it will also be fun. And that in itself can be be a wise investment of time, materials, and thought.

Watch this space for an update on this project. In the meantime, you might want to check out Week’s blog, Craft Nectar.