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 mess...me 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!