This was definitely a challenging challenge! When I first started thinking about "maverick" (and got past the James Garner/Mel Gibson image of a gambler in a black cowboy hat) I found myself thinking about mavericks in the art world. There are plenty of examples we could all name, I'm sure. But my pondering led me to think about the place that art quilting has in the traditional art world -- and it seems to me that it is not a comfortable one. We've all read the discussions about whether galleries should hang fiber art, what IS fiber art, what IS quilt art, can a piece of quilt art be treated as a painting, etc. It's an ongoing discussion where ever people are talking about art quilting.
So my response to "maverick" comes down to this: a very simple representation (drawn, not made of fabric) of traditional art tools (ink pens, pencil, paint brushes, palette knife) with a needle and spools of thread included -- because while "traditional" artists might not see spools of thread as art media, we do. They are among our most important art tools.
Along the way, I also thought about this: isn't there something "maverick" in responding to a quilting challenge with imagery that isn't sewn, but is drawn with pen and pencil? (Which led me to contemplate whether one can intentionally be a maverick, or whether it comes from doing one's own thing regardless of what anyone else is doing.) Ah. The Philosophy of the Maverick.
I have to confess that after I had this idea and was mulling it around in my mind, I had another idea about homeschoolers being education mavericks. I went off with great excitement and made what is surely my worst, most disastrous piece ever. (I kept hearing Tim Gunn's voice in my head saying sternly, Edit! Edit! and then hearing Michael Kors say "That is a HOT MESS." It was.) I'll probably post about it later in the week. But trust me, it was an absolutely Epic Fail.
And that brought my back to my first, and simplest idea. I wanted it to be drawn in sketchbook style (because really, that's pretty much all I can do anyway) and have a sense of lightness to it. So I drew on plain muslin and used inktense colored pencils for color. After the big fussy complicated mess I'd worked on for a few weeks, it was a relief to do something so... plain.
I've finished it with a simple facing. It makes me happy to look at it and know that those little spools of thread hanging out with the "real art" supplies are subversive and "maverick" in their own quiet way.