To demonstrate one way that you can use photos to help develop ideas for a piece of work I have used a picture which I found on Wikimedia Commons, taken at Park Gϋell in Barcelona, a beautiful public park that was created by Antoní Gaudi from 1900 onwards. I have not yet been lucky enough to visit, but if you go the following website you may see why it is on my list! http://www.parkguell.cat/en/
In this example, the original roof shaped tracing has yielded a figure shape that I will now use as a motif to try out various ideas. By tracing the shape again you can experiment with decorating it in different ways, changing its size, colour, orientation and position. You could cut out the shape and use it as a template to draw around, create a stencil, photocopy it to gets lots of them to play around with or use a computer to replicate the shape and play about with it from there. I usually just get a pile of scrap paper and experiment.
Here are some of the results I got from playing about for an hour.
The nice thing about this method is that it is completely spontaneous. You don't really need to begin with any preconceived ideas - the picture starts the process and you take it from there.
I doubt that I will ever make any of these images into a quilt - but I will keep them in my sketchbook and when I flick through it in the future, whilst looking to develop my ideas for another project, some of these images may just spark off an idea in my mind.
However one of these could easily be made into a small project - a 12" x 12" type square for example - where you could try out some new or different techniques without having to invest too much time or money.
What is Wikimedia Commons?
Wikimedia Commons (or simply ‘Commons’) is an online repository of free-use images, sound, and other media files. In simple words – it is a great place to find images that you can download and freely use without fear of infringing anyone’s copyright. (Just be sure to read the terms listed by the owner of the files and comply with their wishes)
The aim of Wikimedia Commons is to provide a media file repository "that makes available public domain and freely-licensed educational media content to all, and that acts as a common repository for the various projects of the Wikimedia Foundation." The expression "educational" is to be understood according to its broad meaning of "providing knowledge; instructional or informative.
Here is a link to the site: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
When you have some spare time, visit the site and type something into the search box at the top right of the screen and you will quickly get an idea of how useful the site can be when you need an image or some inspiration.
Thanks for reading!