When in Doubt, Cut it Up

Beginning writers fall in love their first drafts. They’re amazed and impressed by what they’ve produced: it’s perfect just the way it is because they created it.

More experienced writers know that the purpose of a first draft is to have something to cut up, play around with, rearrange, delete, add, change.

The same is true with fabric work. It’s tempting to consider the first “draft” of a textile piece as sacred. We’re scared to cut it up in case we just make things worse. Which may, if fact, happen. But if we don’t have the courage to take the scissors to the fabric, we’re unlikely to grow as artists.

I’ve been making paper collages with pictures and words from magazines. Here are two of them:

They’re perfect just the way they are which is reason enough to cut them up and rearrange them:

Is the woven piece, made from the two collages better than the originals? I don’t know. In fact, I'll probably rearrange the piece a few more times until it pleases me visually.

What will I do with the new piece? I don’t know.

What I do know is that cutting the two pieces up gave me the opportunity to think in new ways about the originals and how I might develop them into something else. I’ll consider that for a while and then, if I have an idea, I’ll try it. Artists of all kinds are continually invited to ask, “What if?” and then try it.


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