Thursday, May 10, 2007

Storyboarding the Dye Project

I spent most of yesterday building my Dream Skein Winder. It is almost together but I had to wait until I could make another visit to the hardware store as the bolts and screws I had didn't quite work. A project like this always requires a few back-and-forth trips to the hardware store. I got a second pot of English walnut and hulls processed while I worked.
I was able to get to Home Depot last night as I usually ride up with my husband when he goes for one of his music rehearsals. I spend the time doing errands or studying. I actually did a little of both last night. After making a couple of stops, I settled into a Starbucks for an hour or so to work on the storyboarding process of organizing this project. Starbucks is the only coffee house in my area that stays open late enough for me to study or work while my husband is at rehearsal. I usually do this once a week. It gets me out of the house and saves us a bit of gas by doubling up.
I usually like to work in total silence, unless I am doing housework of course. I have found the trick that works for me when studying with conversation and music blaring all around me, I don't try to block it out, I just let it flow through my head. For some reason this works for me and I am able to concentrate on what I am studying. Most of the conversation around me is stereotypical, women talking about their families, men about their jobs or sports, teens about My Space everything. Every once in a while a fascinating conversation intrudes and my concentration is shattered. I was in the thick of it last night when the conversation next to me caught my attention. It was a soldier from Iraq telling war stories. What made me take a second look is this soldier was a young woman in her early twenties. She was a trauma nurse of some sort and was telling some rather hair-raising stories. She was also talking about her transition back into civilian life. It was suddenly in my face how shatteringly different a whole younger generation will be looking at the world. I am still digesting the ramifications of that conversation and how it affects us all.
Wrenching my thoughts back to the storyboarding process was, and is, a bit of a challenge but I want to explain this interesting little organizing tool. There are several ways one can organize a project of this size. Some use flow charts, cluster charts, and creative journaling. There is blueprinting,which is organizing the project like a blueprint of a house plan. Some people even use a technique called scoring that looks like a score of music. Sometimes it works just to wade in and let it take you where it will. For me, storyboarding works well.
To storyboard, I divided the project into categories. I have single colors, dye modifiers, color mixes, gradations, indigo, and yarn painting or ikat. For each dye, on an index card, I list the category, the dye or dyes, the form (roots, extracts, bugs, etc.), the process needed such as extraction, or mixing, the mordant and that will be used, such as alum or alum plus cream of tartar, and the color that I am aiming for. Each dye has several categories so there are several cards for each dye. When every dye is indexed, I will lay the cards by category in storyboard fashion so I will be able to see visually the steps needed and I won't have to keep it all in my head. Indigo has its own category because I will be using it to overdye some of the colors to get other colors. I will be able to see which colors will need a skein to be dyed to use in indigo. It would be very easy to get lost or lose track. I am doing this all up front since paper is a lot less expensive than dyes and the time. I am just about finished and will take a picture of the storyboard to share.
Please feel free to click on the comment link at the end of these posts and leave a comment. I am very interested in other fiber artist's experiences, knowledge, and questions.
I believe I asked this question before but will ask it again, Do you have a favorite organizing tool that you use? Have you ever tried storyboarding?
Now back to that skein winder....-Renee

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