I started out with a podcast. It was by an artist who talked about her commissions. I am doing mostly commissions these days, so I was interested in what she had to say. She sort of built her own fiber art education, since she had studied ceramics in her undergrad and didn't have time to go back and study fibers. She did this by working in a theater costume department. She specializes in wearable art that can be worn by everyday people, not just displayed in a museum. She liked working on commission because she enjoyed the challenge of trying to meet her clients' needs while still being creative. In some cases she has even used a different medium, if fiber wouldn't be suitable. That's something I have to work on: I can do what I can do but if someone asks for something at all outside of that, I get befuddled and am unable to do it. She also had an interesting payment structure, where she collected the payment in thirds: one for the initial materials, one mid-project, and one on completion. I am not sure why you would need the mid-project collection but she said that it was what worked best for her. She also talked about how temperamental her indigo was: you have to harvest and use it at the right time or it won't work at all. One year she missed harvesting it before the frost, and the frost turned all her plants blue. She said it was stunningly beautiful and didn't seem at all disappointed that her crop was lost!
Next, I did a warm-up. (Crazy, podcast before the warm-up!) The assignment was to research cultural symbols of a culture that spoke to you. I have been interested in (obsessed with) Indian culture since I was about 14 years old. Now, admittedly, most of this obsession has revolved around food. I went through my Bollywood phase and my wanting-to-wear-a-sari phase and my Ravi Shankar phase and even courted the idea of becoming Hindu for a while, but those were all things I passed through. Food has been the constant, especially vegetarian food (I am beginning to branch out into meat now). So there were actually a number of symbols that I didn't know about, or at least didn't know the importance of. I got my information here. My favorite symbols were the Deepam (a little butter lamp used for worship), the coconut, and the lotus. The Deepam is said to remove impurities, the coconut to bring prosperity, and the lotus, among other things, represents detachment (I believe that's in the Buddhist sense).
I reviewed line in my design book. I looked at measure, type, direction, location, character, as well as line and shape, line and value, texture, color, spacial characteristics, and representation and expression. Learn more about line here and here.
Finally, I did a drawing of a little woven box that I got some spices in.