Design Boards Focus Your Inspiration

comments (3) September 18th, 2008     

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MaryRay Mary Ray, contributor
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A design board compiles things that inspire. They may seem disparate, but together they lead you to your final project.
Use the colors and textures in a picture or an object to help select colors and materials for a garment.
A well-designed object, even if its not at all related to what you plan to make, can give you fresh ideas or validate the choices youve already made.
Students in my Atlanta class search for objects to add to their design boards.
A design board is a lot about play - an important step in the design process.
Finding just the right fabric to capture the mood of your inspiration is another part of the process.
A design board compiles things that inspire. They may seem disparate, but together they lead you to your final project.

A design board compiles things that inspire. They may seem disparate, but together they lead you to your final project.

Last weekend I taught a class called, “Harnessing Your Inspiration,” to the Atlanta Chapter of the American Sewing Guild. It was a great group made up of seasoned sewers and young crafters alike that gathered in a large auditorium to play with ideas and take part in a process of translating those ideas into possible fiber projects -- like garments, quilts, and accessories -- by first creating a design board. This step, beneficial in any design process, really forces you to open your eyes and see the possibilities. Design ideas don’t often come from “out of the blue.”  They’re more often the result of paying attention – to nature, art, and other well-designed objects. They can be triggered by poetry, prose, and music as well. The point is not to copy or replicate. Inspiration should nudge, stimulate, excite, and open the door to creativity.

In my class, I use pages torn from magazines and catalogs to act as the inspiration.  The lesson is to look at the composition and notice elements like color, texture, shape, line and anything else that could be translated into a garment or other project and to collect fabrics, buttons, beads, threads, and other elements that can help interpret and create the effects inspired by the pictures. It’s a good exercise for developing observation skills and it helps in the planning of a project as well.

Try creating a design board yourself. There are no rules. As Tim Gunn says in Project Runway, "just make it work" for you.

posted in: fabric, paper

Comments (3)

delizia writes: I enjoyed reading your article and also
to see the examples (pictures above). It does
give me an idea about how to harness "inspiration" with a
design board. How different elements fit together to create a mood, and emotion or feeling with colors and imageries.
I do use one. But. it's always good to see how others use a design board.
Posted: 12:39 am on November 18th
msterry writes: Where do I get a design board?
Posted: 12:00 am on November 11th
SimplyLA writes: I haven't done this, but it looks like a great idea. I might make one as "inspiration for my life" :)
Posted: 9:09 am on September 21st
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