I always run a class or 2 like this every year.The students never know when its going to happen. Those that have been with me longer, always want to know when I am going to spring that surprise on them.
It is not a good idea for any artist or creator to become set in one's ways and this is a refreshing wake up.
Life throws rags at one, learn to create with them.
When creating I usually work in a planned manner. I either go to my color sorted boxes or decide on a particular color or family of colors and then start choosing fabrics, and that is how I teach as well.
Other times I often challenge myself to just pull out pieces from that scrap pile and find a way to make them work together. Its always interesting to see what one can make with random scraps.
Sometimes when I look at the pile of choices it takes me a few minutes to figure out how to make them work together. I don't cheat! I always use the pieces that I have pulled out.
Whenever I use this technique in a class I always see frustration on the faces of at least one of the students. Some of them, even at a very early age are already really set in their ways and have a very specific set of colors that they are comfortable working with. Others are delighted with the unusual possibilities.
I teach them, that in order to create they don't have to have a stash of organized fabrics, or to purchase specific fabrics, they can use what they have on hand.
Each one of them has a scrap bag at home. I know they do, because each student was gifted the starter packet and a bottle of buttons and beads from me.
There are no rules in this class. All of the students have enough knowledge of a number of techniques by the time that I do this. So after choosing their fabrics they are told to surprise me.
They also have to work together, some of them haggle over a specific piece of fabric, but they negotiate and find a compromise. I don't interfere, it is interesting to watch them acquiring bargaining skills.
One of the students chose random pieces with a pink and grey theme running through them and created a set of pillows.
He chose ALL the blue pieces that he could find in the pile, he has good bargaining skills and convinced them that he really needed them - he also made a deal wiith one of the other students who likes yellows and greens, that he would put them aside for him.
And sewed a backpack.
She took all the greys and taupes that she could find
And handstitched a bracelet.
They do surprise me. So many different color choices and so many different products were created from that random scrap pile.
A lesson in - making do with what you have on hand, negotiating and creating.