I should not be surprised that when you posted your entry, that VERY same morning I had pulled down "Finding Your Visual Language" and was looking at it, thinking it would be a good guide for my exploration. We are scarily alike in some ways -- but I, sadly, do not have Cedar Farm nearby and you will have to just imagine me in the comfy chair each time you go. I have yet to find my "Cedar Farm" setting here but it is a new mission for me.
In any event, upon reading your entry, I thought, "I'll do those exercises too!" and then promptly got stuck on what shape to pick for the first exercises. I can procrastinate quite nicely with this sort of dithering ... it just takes the RIGHT shape, and the RIGHT pencil, and the RIGHT notebook and THEN I will be a creative genius.
But reality has intervened to interrupt that unproductive cycle. I have to do certain things first before I can move forward with other things. The "orange" 12x12 piece is in the works. Another small quilt on the nature theme. A City and Guilds exercise that requires repurposing a garment and demonstrating a patchwork technique to highlight the garment's features. (Huh?) And then, although doing the exercises in the Dunnewald book might be a good option, I think I'm going to start ONE notebook for a series theme, and start working on that to see how expansively I can move with a theme.
But what theme? (oops, here I go in the decision loop.) I have quite a list going of themes that intrigue me so I'm not sure what I'll do. Some of the possibilities are: Tea, Fences and Walls, The Shakers, Envelopes, maps, typography... I'm thinking I'll get my "must do" things out of the way and then see how I'm feeling then. Tea is the strongest in my mind right now because of my England experience and the resonance with that. And many of the ideas I'm drawn to fall under the heading of "ordinary things" and that is really the root of what intrigues me -- working with some very ordinary object and exploring it, both visually and with research and making connections. So really, a series could be "ordinary things" but I sense that that is too broad and lets me wander too much.
And maybe it's not a bad idea to be working with two themes at a time -- to sort of switch back and forth, let one inform the other, etc. I've always got map imagery popping up in what I do so I may keep that going.
So I am curious: what is it that draws you to the African ladies, do you think? Do you know? Is it a purely visual thing? Knowing you, I think it is not -- it is much deeper. So I would be interested to know the associations you have that make them so compelling for you. By the way, if you think about it, would you post here the African lady quilts you've made so far? Because I know you've done several.
It occurs to me that "indecision" could be an intriguing theme to work on in an abstract way.
AND it's not like I tackled you and thrust pencils into your hands, you know. In fact I seem to remember you lunging rather eagerly toward the shelf when the woman told you that you got a bunch free with the ones you were purchasing... But aren't you glad you got them???