To me, one way to continue to push your creative boundaries is to reach out to other artists and collaborate. For a long time I have admired Kristy's work on her beautiful blog, Fog and Swell. Kristy interprets her seaside surroundings by creating softies that are beautifully detailed with thread, visible stitches, and vibrant hand-dyed linen fabrics. Her sea urchins and whales are just amazing and whenever I see a new piece she's made I just look and look and keep on looking.
A few months ago I emailed Kristy to ask if she'd like to embark on a collaborative project with me. I didn't yet know what it would be, but I knew that I wanted to work with her and create softies together. I was so pleased when she seemed excited about the idea, too, and we went back and forth figuring out exactly what we wanted it to become.
We decided to pick two themes: ocean and forest. She would select some fabrics for us to use for the ocean and I would select some for the forest. I dyed brown wool with black dye to create a striated effect and sent her a piece of it, along with a piece of old white flour sack with gray type. She sent me beautiful linen in three shades of red.
We will now both get to work. We will both use the forest fabrics to make a forest animal and the ocean fabrics to make an ocean animal. And we'll post about it periodically to update one another, and you, on our progress. My hope is that collaborating with an artist that I truly admire will push me to create something new, something I love, something that employs fabrics I might not normally choose.
When our pieces are completed they will be for sale: two ocean creatures (one by me and one by Kristy), and two forest pieces (one by me and one by Kristy), tied together because they use the same fabrics and are being made at the same moment, but different in that Kristy lives far away from Boston (she is on the west coast of British Columbia) and we work in different styles.
I don't know how this project will take shape, but I know that it will be interesting and I know that I can't wait to see it all together.
If you are smitten with a particular artist, maybe someone you've admired for years, why not reach out and collaborate with them? At the very least it will help to stretch your skills, form a new friendship, and build excitement for your craft together.
Kristy, thank you for working with me. Happy sewing!