Incorporate every stitch you’ve ever learnt, together with the exciting colours and variety of yarns available today, mix in a little imagination and you’ve found the key to this fascinating technique of freeform.
No matter what level of skill you’re at, or how creative you believe yourself to be: if you allow colour, texture and form to lead the way … intuition, spontaneity and the sheer joy of doing to be your guide, freeform can take you on a fascinating adventure.
At the risk of sounding clichéd, from the very beginning the Australian environment has been my inspirational guide: the colours, forms and textures of our flora and fauna, landscapes and oceans never cease to amaze and excite the artist in me.
An artist by nature but a teacher at heart, my main aim is to encourage you to be spontaneous, trust their intuition and never stop asking yourself, ‘I wonder what will happen if I try this or that?’ and then give it a go. The results aren’t always as expected, but more often give a fresh perspective to the work, sometimes producing something so special it becomes the centrepiece of the project.
For me, freeform has become an all-consuming creative art form – a fascinating vehicle for self-expression – while yarns have become my palette; needle and hook my pencil, crayon and brush. It’s a truly liberating technique relying entirely on the imagination. More often than not I’m guided by the colour or texture of a yarn rather than the project itself. For example, I may have a bag in mind – but as my patches come together a beret may look better, and so I go along that path. I’m never absolutely sure how it will turn out but I’m always surprised and excited by the result.
This open-minded approach, allowing your project to grow and evolve, applies to almost every one of my freeform designs. Even though I may use a template with the aim of defining the basic shape for say, a vest there is nothing stopping me from adding sleeves, a collar or extra length if I feel the garment will look and/or fit better.
This of course applies in reverse also, for example, I’m well on my way into completing a coat, I’ve been placing my patches this way and that over the template and no matter how many times I leave and come back for another look, it’s simply not working. Instinct tells me it’s never going to work – perhaps it’s going to be too weighty and overbearing, perhaps my colour choice is becoming far too over-the-top even by my standards. Okay, that’s fine, there’s no need for panic. I shorten the length, take away the sleeves and open up the neckline and suddenly it all falls into place – I have a great looking vest. The extra patches won’t be wasted because I’ll use them in other projects or they may even prompt the beginning of a whole new idea. I believe, if you allow yourself this freedom of design it will stimulate the latent creativity that’s hiding beneath the surface – bursting to get out. It will surprise and delight even the most staid of us.