Somewhere in my second reading of Art and Fear, I had an epiphany about what I'm doing. I'm making stuff for other people, not for me. Not just in the "that won't fit me" sense, but in the "what would people think about this" sense. And for me, that's a huge barrier to finding a creative voice. If creating stuff is supposed to make me saner and healthier, I'm going about it all wrong.
So I decided to pay attention to what I said a couple of posts ago: that the process of traditional quilts is fun for me, but not the product. I'm going to go back to basics for a while, but I'm going to NOT make useful objects - if I know for certain they can't be for anyone, I should be able to let go of what others think. In essence, a crash course in How to Make Things I Like.
A&F was also useful in helping me to see that by placing no constraints on the stuff I make, I'm driving myself crazy. The reason kids like Lego sets that make something in particular is that it gives them a challenge that can be objectively met. Creativity is all well and good (and most Lego users I know also create a lot of from-scratch objects), but there's a place for knowing where you're going before you start. Paint by numbers kits can teach you a lot about painting, if not about art.
About a year ago, I read a book called The Golden Ratio - it delves deeply into phi (1.618...), a number that, when used as a ratio for length to width, is supposed to be very pleasing to the eye. The Greeks used it in many architectural settings, Da Vinci was big into phi, yadda. I thought it was fascinating. I remembered the book while I was pondering constraints, and so decided to use golden rectangles as the parameter for useless objects for a bit. The Fibonacci series approximates the golden rectangle when taken to the nth degree, and the F series is nothing but an oddly-shaped log cabin, when you think about it.
Here's the first UO (a 5 x 5 grid of golden rectangles, creating a larger one - hard to see beaded embellishments are above - click on the photo to see better). Just a plain ol' wall hanging that goes with nothing in my house, so won't get hung.
It was, predictably, a LOT of fun. And a solid learning experience.