Friday, June 3, 2022

Classes and What I've Learned on Off the Wall Friday

So recently I read a  great post Chris wrote on her blog about classes she took.  Then Joanna followed it up with her take on the topic here.  The same week, a new friend from Timna Tarr's class asked me how did I learn how to make abstract quilts.  It struck me what a big part taking classes has played in my life. When I say big part, I mean life-changing. 

To be fair though, I've always prioritized education and it's been a passion of mine right from the beginning.  So when I discovered quilting why would that be any different. I did take a couple of classes at the beginning on the local level (1995 ish).  One was to learn how to needle turn applique and the other to learn how to bind the quilts that were starting to pile up.  But from reading Quilter's Newsletter magazine, I knew that there was more to quilting and I wanted to learn it! 

So here are some classes I took and why they changed my life.....

Joan Colvin - Nature of Design, 2001

This was the class where I realized that although I had no art background I could make an art quilt.  Artistic ability was something you nurtured not that you were magically born with.  The class started out with me a hot pouring my heart out on my failures to new friends Philipa Naylor and Christine Fries...and them encouraging me to start over.  So I did and made this

What else I learned: Rough Edge Applique, Free motion quilting, and you can learn as much from your classmates as your talented teacher.

Jeannette DeNicolis Meyer  - Design Essentials,  2005 (I think - grin)

Jeanette taught me that there was a whole set of design elements I needed to learn and why you apply them to make your composition.  She also finally showed me why people like abstract art and what makes good abstract art and not so good abstract art. She taught me the importance of using the right artistic terms when speaking of art. So I started my praise series with this..

What else I learned: That most creative process goes through a rollercoaster of - Wow What a great idea - Oh this is harder than I thought - OMG this SUCKS! What was I thinking? - HolyMoly Did I make that????

Elizabeth Barton, Inspired to Design (2008), Abstract Art Quilt (2013)

If I was being honest, Elizabeth has had the biggest impact on my artist career.  Her methodical method of making art quilts really resonated with me.  I learned how to take my time and plan at the beginning of a quilt so it will save you some heartache later.  I learned how to select a palette and how to edit and critique my work. 

We dyed the fabric, designed it and sewed 

From our Masterclass

 What else I learned:  How to dye gradations of fabric, always include a neutral in your quilt

Rosalie Dace - Thinking Eye (Paul Klee) - 2012

I've taken several classes with Rosalie, but this is the one where she taught me that there was a lot to be learned from master artists.  Once I started studying Klee, I then wanted to learn about all other artists and it started a kinda of art history obsession.

Praise Ladies II

What else I learned: When putting together a palette, include all values, saturations, and hues to bring your piece to life.

Vicky Luffman - Silk Painting - 2019

In this class, I learned that I don't like to paint....I mean really don't like to paint.  If I was going to take a class for 5 days I want it to have something to do with textile.  (and preferably nothing to do with a paintbrush).  This is not to disparage this class - it was a great class (for someone who wants to paint!)  I also learned that all the design elements I learned up to this point could easily translate into any medium.

Procion Dyes painted on silk

What else I learned:  Research your class thoroughly before signing up.  (I honestly thought this was a surface design class!)

So those are the classes that had that "Ah-Ha" moment for me.  I can absolutely say they were well worth the time, money, and energy.  Of course, there are honorable mentions - Jane Dunnewold, Complex Cloth who taught me I didn't want to surface design but I now knew how to if needed ...Judi Warren Blaydon who taught me how to college, and Cynthia Corbin who taught me so many things over the years about composition I didn't include her above because it's hard to narrow it down to a paragraph!  

So why do I take classes??  The easy answer is to learn.  The more deep answer is to change my life. 

What was your favorite class?

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Jo said...

You and I have studied with many of the same teachers. But you asked what my favorite class was. It would be Jeannette DeNicolis Meyer's translucent fabrics class. The class was well structured and combined technique with design. We even made a little book of all the techniques we learned which has been a great memory aid to me. Jeannette read from books often unrelated to art, recommended art design books, and built in plenty of class critique time. I traveled to CA for this class and had a great time. I have continued to use organza (and paint it) ever since.

Nina Marie said...

Ohhh Jo... I took sheer play as welll...I loved that is the post..

Angela said...

You produce amazing art in your workshops!

Jocelyn is Canadian Needle Nana said...

This is a wonderful post;loved what you learned and so many things the rollercoaster of thoughts which is what I go through with my writing as well as stitching. I had a Klee poster in my first apartment; he was very important in the art world. Meanwhile, I enjoy visiting to see what you are up to. Great stuff.

Marianne said...

Merci pour ce retour sur vos cours . Moi mon cours préféré a été l'année que j'ai fait avec Liz Berg et ensuite avec Elizabeth Barton.
J'adore lire vos articles de blog et je vous envoie mes meilleures salutations de Suisse

Thank you for this return to your lessons. My favorite course was the year I did with Liz Berg and then with Elizabeth Barton.
I love reading your blog articles and I send you my best greetings in Switzerland

Gwyned Trefethen said...

What is fascinating to me is how the take away from classes aren't what you are expecting. I'm impressed by how many completed projects you have from classes.

Laceflower said...

I love your blog posts that start my journey through the other contributing artists sharing their art projects. I would be hard pressed to remember all my class teachers and what I learned from each of them. I'm a dilettante and like to try all manner of artist expression with textiles. I think the most freeing class was the last one with Maria Shell; I learned improv, make bits and then make the bits into a cohesive piece. That's a little flippant, you have to have the knowledge behind you for colour, design principals, etc. but it is very fun and free wheeling and the letting go of perfect points.