Thursday, August 6, 2009

New Directions with Cynthia Corbin

My first week at QBL, was spent with Cynthia Corbin. This was the second time I have chosen a class with her and found out that she was just as easy going as always. I love Cynthia's laid back approach to design. This week though was all about moving us out of our comfort zone and trying to take our work into new directions. Each day she would give us a series of design exercises hoping to stretch us a bit.

Monday we used our favorite and least favorite color. At the moment, mine happen to be lime green and muckish gray. We were suppose to create 12" studies using our favorite colors with one other color and then use our favorite and least favorite together (and make it work LOL!) Everyone laughed but it was a nice stretch. Here are my results.

Tuesday we had to take the ugliest fat quarters we could find and create a study that was - not pretty - but ugly! We were to break all the normal "rules" we use - throw out the design elements we knew and experiment in ways of construction. Also we only had an hour, so we couldn't over think anything. Although most ladies felt the heat of this challenge, I was on a mission and really dug it. I pretended I was on Project Runway or something :) After we were done, then Cynthia said - okay - repeat that whole exercise but make this one even uglier. After a good groan and giggle, we took another hour to make another even uglier. We critiqued all of our creations finding some redeeming value in them. Our homework for that night was then to take that redeeming value and put it in a piece that was actual pretty. So here are the results.

On Wednesday we were to take a photo inspiration down to its basic lines and create a couple of studies using different values. Then we could start adding other elements to make the design more complex. This was the hardest exercise for me since I think the four hour sleeping nights were starting to catch up to me. Finally by 3:30 I went home for a well deserved nap.
With each of these exercises we were to take down what we had made and put them aside not letting them influence our next creations. But still you can see a progression in mine - done totally unconsciously. I found this all rather interesting. For Thursday and Friday we had our choice of making one big project or another set of studies going further with what we had begun in class. I chose to try a bigger project using some of the elements that I had been experimenting with. Now what I ended up was a nice strong piece but I thought was rather on the ugly side. One teacher, Marilyn Belford, came in and remarked how strikingly strong it was. When I whined that I hate making ugly things - she said,"Art is not supposed to be pretty." She has this really strong voice and I got a good giggle out of that because - 1st all her stuff is pretty great and secondly - she's quite right. Still I'm not sure if I'll finish this but I did manage to get it all sewn down to its foundation.

If you hadn't guessed - I'm quite sure I had more fun in this class than any other. Hmmmmmm I even learned a few things :)) I would highly recommend Cynthia to anybody looking to learn design in a low key safe environment. She's the best!


Suzanne Kistler said...

Thanks for letting me know you'd posted this. I'd already checked this morning, and seen your post on Elizabeth Barton. It looks like you had a great class with her too.

It's amazing how Cynthia's instructions send each of us in a different direction. Here's what I posted after the same class in March.

QuilterB said...

Saw that you took Cynthia Corbin! She is one of my absolute favorites and a teacher I will work with again. For me she was just what the doctor ordered to get me focused!

Ericha Hornaman said...

Thank you for sharing your quilting experience with me Nina! I am glad I came in yesterday while the conversation was still going on so I could learn more about you and your interests. What do you do with the art that you have created and what is the average size of these peices? Are they all, indeed, quilts?
You can answer me at