I’m always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up every morning… Every day I find something creative to do with my life.

Thinking outside the box means approaching problems in new, innovative ways. We’re told to think outside the box all the time and I know many of you don’t know how to. Like everything else in life, there are some abilities we must develop before we can start thinking outside the box. 

As a musician and interior designer I was obligated to think outside the box. I couldn’t always confront every problem or situation in the way I normally confront them. I was constantly forcing myself to find “another way” way before I was “boxed in”. 

thinking outside the box

But Mark, how do you actually think outside the box?- There’s not a particular answer to that. However there are many ways you can do that, no matter what it is you do. Whether you are a business person trying to improve your business, or an artist constantly trying to keep it “fresh”.

The first step for me was to always tell myself: “don’t be set in your ways”- It’s very easy to fall into the same patterns and never do anything about it. Following directions all the time, copying what everybody else is doing, listening to the same advice over and over, we’re too afraid of being bold, risky and creative. Be willing to do things you’ve never done before. Be open to new ideas, new concepts. 

As a quilt teacher and lecturer, I always tell my students to think outside the box. One of the things I challenge them with is to work with fabrics (colors) they’ve never would’ve picked before. Everywhere I teach the group is usually divided into “traditional quilters” and “art quilters”. Everybody thinks of me as an “art quilter”. I don’t like to label myself. I’m just a quilt artist. I can make art quilts, but I can also grab my scraps and make a beautiful “traditional” quilt. 

I do have a problem though, and that is I don’t like patterns. Yes, I do write my own patterns when I design a new quilt, but my patterns are SO SIMPLE to follow. You don’t need to be a math magician to be a quilter. You can complicate your life trying to do all the math, or just be free and create the most unique, outstanding project you’ve ever created.

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A few blocks I’m working on for a new quilt design

I love appliqués, no question about it. I love paints, thread, fabrics, crystals, etc. But I don’t always have to make “appliqués” and use the same methods over and over. Part of thinking outside the box is making different projects. Things you wouldn’t “normally” do, but that you’re willing to do and have a ball with it. 

I have an “affair” with rich, vibrant colors, and if it was up to me, every quilt would be colorful, bright and alive. However, I have designed some quilts using colors I would’ve never chosen in a million years. 

In between all the Teaching Events and many responsibilities, I have started a new series of contemporary quilts with a “traditional approach”. I will be releasing the first one sometime this year. That will be something to make you think outside the box.

Create your own patterns. Allow yourself to be creative. Don’t always follow the same patterns over and over. 

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What would you do with this particular piece of fabric? Think about it and let me know…

One Comment on “Thinking Outside the Box- A Quilter’s Adventure.

  1. I would use it as a background and fuse or appliqué a black “dancing tree” on it. Or maybe another type of appliqué although I love using nature motifs.

    Liked by 1 person

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