How to Turn A ‘Mistake’ Into Art

When something goes awry in the creative process—the ink splatters, the dye color is murky, the stitches have minds of their own—you have two choices. You can toss it and start over, or you can, as my favorite fashion designer advisor Tim Gunn would say, make it work.

I think most artists would agree, so-called "mistakes" can be your best creative friend. You may be temporarily derailed when the project runs off the tracks. But while you may have "lost" the plan you had in your head when you started, you've gained a whole new opportunity to create something exciting and different.

Designer and art quilter Lyric Kinard loves the serendipity of the dyeing process. But while she used to bury disappointing pieces at the bottom of her stash, now she embraces dyeing "mistakes" and turns them into masterpieces with bleach, textile paints, Thermofax screens, and her imagination.

Lyric details her process in the February/March issue of Quilting Arts. If you've read the article–and even if you haven't—you hop on over to Assistant Editor Pippa Eccles's blog and take her Fabric Makeover Quiz, based on Lyric's article. It's fun to figure out which processes Lyric used to take her pieces from disaster to diva. (Note: One of the best ways to learn Lyric's surface design tricks is by watching her Quilting Arts Workshop video, Surface Design Sampler Platter.) 

Now, how about your art "mistakes"?

Do you have an unfinished art quilt (otherwise known as a UFO for UnFinished Object) that’s got you stumped on how to complete? Have you stuffed it in the back of a dresser drawer in the desperate hope that if left in the dark long enough, it’ll magically transform into something akin to a fine wine.

I’m here to help you. We are introducing a new segment to "Quilting Arts TV":

“Save my UFO!”

Here’s your chance to have your unfinished art quilt featured on "Quilting Arts TV"—and to get advice from the pros on how turn your UFO into a masterpiece!

But don't wait! You need to upload the image of your UFO to the Quilting Arts Community photo gallery by February 16. Get all the details at my blog.

We hope you’ll hurry up and post your UFO! 


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