I currently have three or four series going in my work. I jump from one to another as the mood strikes, or sometimes--like last week--everything I do is about one series. Over time, I've found that having established the series idea helps to concentrate my thinking, helps even in the design process. One piece informs the next. Even the pieces that don't work, that never make it out of the studio, help advance the concept in my head.
But once in a while, the series collide. They seem to come together in a way that makes sense to me. This piece I'm working on is one such piece:
It might have begun as a 'Recharged' piece. I had a bunch of pieces of black fabric that has discharged to a rusty orange color, but none of them were very large. But the idea that came to me was a 'Stratification' piece formed by ripping crossgrain strips of the fabrics, layering them onto a background of fusible interfacing, and then sewing them down with some raw edges showing. I threw in three strips of a bright orange silk I had dyed. The piece was becoming something.
But it needed something more. It has actually hung on my design wall for several days, waiting for the bird fixation to ease, and waiting for an answer. An answer which I really knew almost from the start, but fought for a while. It wanted to be a part of the 'Dance of the Blue Slash' series, too. So I think I'm going to add the blue slashes permanently (they're just hanging there right now, stuck by friction). The contrast in both shape and color make the piece sing.
It needs to be quilted, and to keep it firmly rooted in the Stratification world (which was inspired by the layers of rock), I'm thinking of doing some fossils with the quilting. Especially in the bigger strips. Fossils of birds? Probably not.
So I guess the lesson is that series work in many ways--they teach the artist about design, they offer new possibilities that wouldn't have been thought of otherwise, they help to illustrate the artist's voice. Even though people have been telling me for a while that they recognize my work without seeing a label, I haven't always seen the voice that is mine. I'm starting to. And working in series has aided that.