This story will be quite a bit different from my usual designing sojourns. First off, it will be about crewel, not cross-stitch.
I mention this from the start because when I initially decided to document this journey, the plan was that I would try to address considerations I kept specifically in mind when cross-stitch designing for the mass market. That is simply not going to work the way I planned for a couple of reasons:
1. Crewel is a totally different discipline from cross-stitch, and patterns for it are marketed differently as well, so I actually have no specific experience in that regard to pass along.
2. But, probably most importantly: I’m not designing this piece with the intention of making the pattern available for sale. I love needlework, but my designing-for-sale days are numbered, and they are limited to cross-stitch. Any crewel I create will fall into what I’ve taken to calling the “Needlework as Artistic Endeavor” category… which simply means I will be designing as the spirit moves me without worrying about how I will document (and write instructions for) each step as I would if I was creating a pattern for stitchers to replicate as accurately as possible.
So, I will be avoiding specific references to marketing, and only mentioning *general* considerations where it would fit in naturally with *any* type of needlework design I might be creating to sell.
I will do my best to share the process of designing as clearly as I can. Please bear in mind, though, throughout this entire series, that every designer’s process is different. This is just mine. Warts and all. 😉 Thanks for coming along!
Genesis of a Crewel Design:
Phase 1: BRAINSTORMING. It’s my favorite part of designing. This is when there really are no constraints yet, and I’m free to imagine what I’d like to translate from idea(s) in my head onto fabric with thread or yarn. The sky’s the limit. I can imagine a huge tapestry. Or a series of tapestries! Or a favorite piece of music translated somehow into a scene. Or an image inspired by a story I’m reading (or have read). Anything goes. The idea is primarily just to get the old imagination going: to shake up the creative synapses and think in terms of possibilities. Believe it or not, it’s sometimes difficult to do…to get started. But it’s really essential.
(It’s a fairly brief space of time, especially if the goal is a design I’m hoping to sell, because Practicality rears its… well… practical head early on in the design process. But NOT YET!)
But for the time being, I allow myself to revel (yes, revel!) in the luxury of looking through reference materials: embroidery books, my reference box of images collected from magazines, catalogs and old calendars, photos, art books, my sketchbooks, ideas from stitchers, embroidery websites/blogs, etc.
Generally, the beginnings of new design ideas are usually swimming around in my head long before the last stitch is put into the previous project. Many designers have several ideas/projects in the works at once… but that never really worked too well for me. Unless I give a project my undivided attention, I’m (rightly!) afraid I’ll never finish it.
But I digress. As it happens, the idea for this design has been germinating since before I finished the class crewel project. I had so much fun designing and stitching that one that I knew I’d want to do another, and probably a floral. So, this design is already past the Brainstorming stage, but I still want to share some of the things that make the initial part of the process unique…
…in the next post. Stay tuned!