Design Mending

Catching Thoughts is part of  a mending process.  Somewhere along the way I stopped thinking about  technique as a static thing.  And probably I just noticed that moment to moment, technique  was just a step in the problem solving process.   I looked at myself working and  created the  term Design Mending to describe the method by which I constantly shifted my approach to get my thoughts into physical form and hold them together.  And the beauty in that.

Problem solving is the personal part of the design process.  Because it deals with your personal vision and  you own personal limitations.

  Audio- The design mending ramble

The drive to express, to have something you need to say, to show, to change means you are not at peace with what you see or sense about "things".  And we strive for that peace.  At least I do.

Catching thoughts by design mending


I filled in both spaces.  And my focus has turned now to the bottom of the piece.  I suppose these figures are also connected by some sort of roots,  and I know there will be fringe.

I used the same fabric for the second patch, but turned it over, like I do,  simply for some variation but at the same time some consistency.  I like how the figure is free and grounded at the same time now.

Design Mending  creates a story in itself if you talk about it.   It is a way to say:

"I started here and then I became distracted by this and that, and along the way I met some challenges and this is what happened.  And in the end it all turned out ok.  Or not."

Still a story though, and experience and some thing to learn from.


  1. ha, funny the first time I was listening and I heard you mention my name, I was so surprised I stopped listening and just felt a glow, because something I’d said in a comment was worthwhile!
    anyway I’ve gone back to listening again (and again, as I do with all of your posts I hasten to add) to hear what you’re sharing with us and even though you say it’s a ramble, it makes sense; as others before me have commented
    it is the solving of the problems you come up against that help you along and in that process (and that for me is the biggy!) during the process, the actual creating happens

  2. grace

    i really appreciate your effort to find words here to say something that’s almost impossible to say.
    But you did. You described something that is becoming more and more Real for me especially lately,
    in trying to combine Ink and Graphite, botanical markings and forms of cloth fragments. I don’t know
    what i’m doing but i want to see things “in a certain way” …..that i haven’t seen yet. Just felt. Just sensed.
    and there’s nothing to do but “keep at it” and i am finding that very very satisfying, no matter the outcome.
    Thank you BIG for this post….love,

  3. Joanne

    I have watched that new to me technique many times now. Incredible. I am reaching for cloth to give it a tryout.
    Fitting a cloth into a space so smoothly. And along a curved edge. Thank you!!!

  4. You wrote about problem solving “…it deals with your personal vision and your own personal limitations.” I am recognizing my limitations, but you have given me the concept of “design mending.” This is what I am doing, what I’ve always done really since I picked up a needle. The shame of trying to hide my mistakes is gone, which is an amazing difference. Thank you.

  5. Sri

    Stitching, creating, feeling, smelling even the fabric and the thread, going away for a while and coming back to to a little more, something unexpected perhaps, the delight of surprising myself. The rebel goes minimal but it’s all going round and round and an end will be reached – maybe. Even the minimal tells its own story as well as the more illustrative work, What the heck am I talking about! Gosh I loved those paws, I mourn my cats, but I have a sensory memory of ‘paws’ what they feel like, how a cat smells.

  6. Jen NyBlom

    In addition to your concrete technique teachings (invisible baste, magic stitch, skatching etc etc etc) for me; the best take-away has been this amazing thought: that you do not have to always know where you are going to make a start. Everything does not have to be all planned out beforehand. I just LOVE the free-flowing organic, meditative, almost dream-like intuitive process of “just going”. Just finding a way, just creating a path. No pressure to perform, no stress. The Journey. Thank You very much for that insight! (& I love Sou-O’s antics….such a pesky cutie!) 😉

    • jude

      you know, i started by making quilts, just putting patches together, for no other reason than to put patches together. And I remember thinking, hey, why can’t everything be like that. and be enough.

  7. (Those kitty toes were so luscious, and made me laugh out loud!)
    You have totally summed up the creative process for me in the last paragraph: “I started here and then I became distracted by this and that…it all turned out okay. Or not.” Perfect! It doesn’t really matter either way as long as you have a place to invest yourself and move forward.

  8. deemallon

    What also seems to happen with the evolution of a style or a technique, is an expansion of the person. When you say you’re not attached to your work and that copying has no hard edges anymore for you — I believe you. Maybe you were this way before, but I like to think of the heart opening along with the stream of work.

    Also: how you talk about the concrete and it also expresses a really big idea. Like this: “you work with what you have and you do your best to hold it together… ” YES.

    • jude

      I agree Dee, the technique is us in a way if we put ourselves into the process. And it is all part of the story and makes the work an extension of our own being.
      I did evolve in that regard, about being copied, it was painful actually, but calling myself a teacher helped me through. Calling myself an artist creates a tension that I have yet to put into words.
      I see creativity as something very solid, attached to thought. There is a logic in it that seems to get buried in the “myth”. I sometimes think it part of the attempt to make it exclusive.

      • you know what really gets my goat? all the real estate agents and corporations embracing the idea of thinking outside the box by advertising how cool they are on billboards… it makes me want to just curl up in my little box like Soul-O…

      • amaranda de jong

        As always you put my own feelings into words Jude.When we went to register the birth of our first child there was a box for mothers occupation,I hesitated then said” housewife”.Well the woman got quite shirty with me and said that women had fought hard to have that box on the form so what was i really ?Hubby said you’r an artist, so that went in the box .Made me feel very uncomfortable like a fraud.Still have that “tension ” as you so beautifully put it ! Really enjoying the class thanks for all the work (in the middle of house moving too !!! )

      • Laura R

        I think of you as an extraordinary artist. I thought I should look up the word to refresh my memory. I found this:
        In Living with Art, Mark Getlein proposes six activities, services or functions of contemporary artists:
        1 Create places for some human purpose.
        2 Create extraordinary versions of ordinary objects.
        3 Record and commemorate.
        4 Give tangible form to the unknown.
        5 Give tangibIle form to feelings.
        6 Refresh our vision and help see the world in new ways.

        Pretty much sums you up in my head!
        Thank you so much for sharing your gift.

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