Everybody talks about taking workshops as a way to re-energize themselves, but I find they have the opposite effect on me. You get all bouyed up by the support – both artistic and practical (especially the food!) and then come home and real life hits you in the eye. The stacked up tasks and all the everyday things that need attending to and the sudden cutting off of that rarified air all make it difficult to get back into the groove.
Here’s a picture of the rarified air at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Western North Carolina, deep into the old, old Smoky Mountains (the oldest mountains in the world).
The Folk School has three or four hundred undeveloped acres; it’s so beautiful and, alas, so rare to see the land as it was ,without strip malls, thousands of advertising signs, concrete block buildings and dumpsters. Such a visual treat, you have to stop constantly and wonder at it…..
Unfortunately many of the classes are rather muscular! Like blacksmithing and operating various lethal machines to do things with wood! Of course the benefit of such classes is there are plenty of men around for the square dancing! Which I thoroughly enjoyed! The dancing, that is!
Back down to the plains and Real Life: how can I put my new knowledge to work? for any new knowledge will soon dissipate if not practiced till automatic, practiced till intuitive.
Fortunately I left a small piece half done which is calling me from the “sewing room”! I know many have a beautiful fixed studio, but I migrate around the house with the changing weather: the hotter it gets, the lower I go! but it’s been so hot here I’m thinking of digging myself a hole in the ground.
I’m working on a new online class called The Designing Dyer. I have often noticed that there is a gap between the surface design work and the quilts made from hand dyed and printed fabric. So I thought it would be fun to try to bridge the gap…going from a particular kind of SD to a specific type of quilt design that would work well with that particular fabric.
I began with gradating dye colors and my sample is black – which is one of the best colors to do gradations with as
a) there’s a great range of values and
b) the dye companies throw so many different dyes together to make black that they make beautiful marks as they slowly creep across the fabric in the dye container…. so I’m working on a little misty grey landscape. (wonder where I got that idea?)
What I learned at the workshop was that I needed to STOP sooner – it’s so hard not to overwork. And if you do, you lose both the mystery and the wabi-sabi. So here I am determined to practice more at doing less!
I think I need to get a cuppa tea to get my head around this oxymoronic activity!!
If you have been, thanks for reading! Elizabeth