Process

I’m one of those people who holds on to scraps of paper and carries around full sketchbooks filled with photos, notes, and drawings. I have boxes full of completed books, many with bits of paper or post-it notes jammed in the sides, or dogeared tabs, or those tiny sticky highlighter flags marking something that at one point or another was super important. I’ll never get rid of them. What if I need to refer to this someday?

Honestly, though, I may never refer to many of these books again, but the act of making the marks sticks with me. For me, the act of making marks on a page and documenting my ideas and feelings is an intrinsic part of me. If I’m at a meeting of a group of people, I do a little sketch of where everyone is seated at the table, adding names and other identifying characteristics to my notes, such as what a person is wearing. I write single words of emotion on meeting agendas, I sketch in the margins ALL THE TIME.

Recently I had an opportunity to share some of my knitwear design in a Zoom call (ah, that Zoom life!), and I found myself immediately drawn to architectural models to talk about my design process. Models that seemingly have nothing to do with my knitwear designs, but act as physical symbols of my creative process.

Linear modular model (left) and planar modular model (right), circa 2003. Both are based an exploration into the structure of a cell under a microscope. I’m fairly certain it was a potato cell. Go figure.

I keep these elements of design to root myself in my own personal process of concept development and execution. Just like revisiting an old favorite book or vacation spot and indulging in memory, I hold these pieces (and others!) in my hands when I’m stumped on a project. While some of the details of creating these models are fuzzy, I remember the lightbulb moments and hope to create more.

I just realized a funny connection about my old sketches and models and this blog, in fact. I keep these sketches, journals, and analog memories because they are part of my history, whether I revisit them often or let them sit dormant. I’m writing this blog for me, and I have pretty low expectations for people following along and reading it– yet it’s still important for me to do. In a time when I feel extremely disconnected from people and the interactions I crave, I turn to this version of digitally journaling my very analog thoughts.

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