Following the line of thinking that you never know when inspiration is going to strike, I thought I would share a story that shows how inspiration can strike anywhere - and in Dr. Gaither's case could be cause for table linens to become artwork.
In a previous posting, I related the story of how one of Dr. Gaither's quilts in the Trails, Tracks, Tarmac exhibition was designed on a napkin at her favorite local restaurant. When I first heard the story I couldn't help but laugh and have since repeated the story and pointed out the image of the napkin while the quilt was on display at the Banneker-Douglass Museum. Last week I got to watch as yet another restaurant table linen, well actually the paper covering the table linen, became the sketchpad for a new work.
While at lunch in a certain Annapolis restaurant, Dr. Gaither and I were having a discussion on various events when she suddenly got a look on her face and all the sudden started talking about needing paper and a pen to write something down. Then her eyes lighted on the table with the realization that the table we were seated at was covered in paper and was the perfect drawing space. I wasn't quite sure what was happening until she started sketching something based on our conversation and talking about a 3-part piece she is developing. The sketch that took shape on the table covering is to become the basis for her idea for the second quilt in the series. For the next several minutes I was able to watch her creative process at work and see the "birth" of a new artwork. It was certainly something to see.
If you ever have the opportunity to watch an artist work and see their creative process it is fascinating. No two people share the same process. When I was in high school I remember my first trip to Giverny, Impressionist painter Claude Monet's home 50 miles outside of Paris. While touring the gardens that Monet painted many times, I came across one of my friends sitting on a bench in front of an archway sketching the scene. I ended up spending the next hour just watching him work and seeing the piece come together. On a subsequent trip to Giverny 10 years later, I was drawn to that same location by the memory of my last visit and spent quite some time photographing the scene inspired by Tony's pencil sketches. There is something inspiring about watching an artist. I encourage you to try it the next time you see an artist at work. They might just inspire your creative process as well.
And just in case you are interested in finding out what happened to the table covering when we left the restaurant - lets just say our server may have been wondering why half of the table covering was missing when we left. I was even more amused the following week when Dr. Gaither brought the in-progress quilt that makes up the first part of the series for Saturday's workshop and the table covering drawing was on top of the box. If nothing else, I have certainly learned that the next time I join Dr. Gaither at a restaurant I better have pen and paper handy just in case the Muses strike and the restaurant doesn't have paper napkins or table coverings!