I’m now about two weeks ahead on the book blog, and have come to the section on generating new designs from existing ones. It’s really forced me to think about how an existing design can be adapted.
I started with SCAMPER, which is a tool used by designers to create new designs from old. It’s well explained here, so I’m not going to go into detail about it in this post. I didn’t feel that all of it applied to craft, however, so I devised my own list of techniques, partially based on SCAMPER:
- Substitute. This is probably the most commonly used method in craft. Basically you take an existing project and swap out one aspect of the project, substituting something else: a different material, a different color, a different pattern.
- Add a technique. Combine two techniques in a new way. Take a woven project and embroider it, or paint it.
- Eliminate or elaborate. Either strip the design down to basics or make it completely baroque. See what you come up with. Then try something in between.
- Use for a different purpose. Can a quilt be a baby carrier? Can it become a shawl, or a jacket?
- Rearrange elements. Change the locations of embellishments, rotate the pattern, flip it mirror-image.
Since there are five of them, I’m trying to figure out how to name these so they fit the acronym REUSE. Wouldn’t that be cool? If you can figure out how to do it, drop me a line or leave a comment!
I’ve also decided on the examples for this series of posts. I’m going to use quilts! It’s easy to swap out colors, materials, etc. for quilt blocks (and can make quite a difference if you do!), and the simpler quilt blocks are also quick and easy to make, so I can do my examples in a day or two. This is much better than trying to work in woven examples, because setting up the loom to weave all the examples would take way longer than I’ve got. It also provides some diversity in craft examples.
So the next few days, I’ll be working on designing and making my examples using pieced quilt blocks. Since I haven’t quilted outside of my foundation piecing class a few months back, I’m going to work with a very simple design from a book titled Singular Sensations: 14 Great quilts from one simple block, by Barbara Douglas. It’s quick and easy to assemble, and can be strip-pieced, making production even faster. I’ll use my own designs instead of hers, of course, but the basic block is marvelously adaptable. Hopefully it will let me churn out enough samples in time!
A parting question: How do you approach adapting a design? What techniques or methods do you use?