Monday, October 8, 2012

On the Road

wa columbia river Columbia River Gorge (with de Lauriens for the car buffs!)

Apologies for sparse blogging.  I’ve been on the road and have seen wondrous things!  First a trip to teach a 2 day workshop and give a lecture in Portland, OR and then for a week’s workshop in Cape Cod.  I never realised that being a quilt teacher would lead to so much interesting travel: from the top left hand corner of the nation, to the top right, next to the bottom right and then to the bottom left…..sounds a bit like knittingcape cod oct 2012 067!

Alas, two days in OR/WA was insufficient for people to actually make any quilts though a lot of excellent designing went on.  And I was totally vindicated, both there and in Cape Cod, in my belief that quilt makers are more interested in actually learning  about making their designs stronger than in blindly buying up more products.  (Years ago I was told at a venue to stop teaching and allow the students to sew up their fabric so they could go and buy more – what an insult to those students!).  In my teaching the last few weeks, I was reassured that Information is just as (if not more than!) important as fabric and various other notions.  Of course, one can witter on for far too long and it’s important to be succinct and to the point!  I remember one class I took where the teacher spent all morning every day for 5 days on obscure principles of a little known form of yoga!  It didn’t improve my work one bit!  

One of the ladies in the picture above told me she was 82!  That’s so wonderful and so Encouraging – we’ve all got years left to create art quilts! An art form that will last us all our lives…with endless new possibilities.

Here are some of the very varied (isn’t it wonderful when every quilt in a workshop is different?) quilts that were being designed and put together on Cape Cod:

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I love this chair by Meredith – it has such character and warmth.  You can tell it’s been through a lot..but is still willing!  Her choice of colours really makes it glow.

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                                      Ina’s scene of the old town of Vilnius also glows with life and warmth – it has such a strong underlying structural value pattern that supports all those bright colors.


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Liz is working on the second of her polk weed series.  Her work shows that this overlooked and undervalued plant will surprise us all with its hidden strength,  and beauty. 




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I love it when family members take a class together.  these two quilts are by a mother and daughter.  It’s fascinating that they chose a very similar subject: looking up…Julie took many photos of a wonderful nearby tree and particularly liked this view upward (there are many more pieces to add).  Linda worked from memories of living in New York city and looking up at the towering skyscrapers….

Both achieved a great sense of height and depth in their work using a combination of perspective, and contrasts in the basic elements.


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Karen’s serene image of the beach looking toward the distant sea also has a lovely depth to it.  Apologies to Karen..the piece is actually cooler and bluer..than in the picture…and yes I did tease her about the little orange “sun” – a pin head.  Oh that the manufacturers would make pins with colorless heads!


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How lively  are Betty’s potato vines!  you can just see them dancing in the wind.  Her series of little quilts really brings out their beauty, their variety and their joi de vivre!


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Constance’s barn is only partially complete in this photo – there was much more to come.  She chose a square format to emphasize the solidity and reliability of the old much loved family barn.  Like several other folk, Constance took the extra step of going back to the source for more photographs – different views, different angles, different lights…it is so important to do that, to really know one’s subject.

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and here are Mary Lou’s pieces!  the foliage of Florida in all its lush tropical glory….doesn’t that come across so well?  I think the one on the right is particularly strong with the complementary colour scheme and the bold use of positive and negative shapes.


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Sandy made at least 5 quilt tops in her peapod series…and they’re bursting with life!  Great graphic shapes, power, strength and movement.  I can see a solo show!



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Sharon also created a wonderful sense of depth with her rock formations – plus I love all those skinny black lines, they give a fascinating calligraphic look to the piece.


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this photo doesn’t do justice to Elaine’s design since there is to be another large shape on the left…again she has achieved great depth, subtle color scheme and in her abstracting of the shapes a lovely sense of mystery…these floating gems are actually fungi…they look like pearls!

And talking of floating…photo

look at Linda G’s wonderful guitar floating out notes across the waves…this idea is so imaginative, I’m really looking forward to seeing all the rest of the series.


As you can tell, the two workshops have got me energized and I’m so keen to Make My Own Stuff now!!  No more workshops for a while, I’ve got to focus. But I do feel that as a teacher, one gets to learn just as much as the students…especially about the importance of Not Panicking!!

If you have been, thanks for reading!  Elizabeth

PS very happy that I was lucky enough to be one of the few who got into Quilt National – and there is luck involved because there are many many wonderful pieces that are entered and sadly not enough room to hang them all in the Dairy Barn.  And in only two years we’ll all be going through the process again!


Terry Grant said...

What a great class we had with you here in Oregon/Washington. It has had my head working for the past two weeks and set me on a new path. It was a truly wonderful two days. So much real content and serious work and exciting inspiration. Can't thank you enough...

Terry Grant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Helen said...

Hi Elizabeth

What wonderful work your students produced. It is good to know there are quilters who appreciate the opportunity to put time into the design part of the process.

Helen in New Zealand

Sandy said...

I am so glad you got into QN. Well done. not luck. you deserved it. Looking forward to the reveal.
sandy in the UK

Sally said...

How I wish I could have been one of your students! What great pieces they've started.

Nina Marie said...

Ohhh so glad you are showing your students work still - love seeing what others are creating. Its so encouraging! I totally agree with Terry that your classes are filled with "real" and serious content. Can't wait to see where your art is going next!

Leigh said...

Your online class helped me a great deal, and I was really sorry to have missed you while you were right here in Portland. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip here.