Sunday, October 24, 2010

Florida Workshop

I love teaching guild workshops because every guild has a different flavour to it which is so interesting real.  Also folk usually know each other well which leads to a strong undertone of camaraderie which is very engaging.
Last week I was in Fort Myers, FL with Art Quilters Unlimited (and they surely are!) teaching a workshop on working in a series.  I asked the participants to commit to making 6 quilts in the series they designed and most of them said they would make a firm act of commitment!  so we shall see…..    It is necessary when Working in a Series to make such a commitment because it is so easy to get distracted and then progress is limited.  And there are always barriers to progress in any art.  Sometimes one is leaping upward, other times ploughing across flat land and occasionally sliding downhill despite grabbing onto every scrubby bush in sight.
This was a delightful group very willing to laugh at my jokes which always makes the teacher feel good!!  And here are some of their results…now you must remember that in the space of just 3 short days, they chose a theme, developed a description of it, sketched out a number of designs, worked on value patterns, figured out colour schemes and then began working on their pieces…so these are just the beginnings – and I hope they are imagining glorious end points!  I know I am!
Firstly apologies if I misremembered anyone’s name, also for omissions, some of these birds just flew away from me before I could digitally capture them! There was a great  variety of themes: natural and manmade landscapes, abstract ideas and alcohol!
Jeri, Mary, Mechelle and Sherrill each chose plant themes based on the natural life of Florida..
I love the curves of Jeri’s  tropical plant, there’s such movement here.

Mechelle’s theme is one of the many nature reserves in Florida.  Many feature boardwalks that go for several miles across  the mangrove swamps – strange trees who literally stand up high on their own roots…

Sherrill brought one photo of the plants in her garden and was able to come up with many different variations  based on details of the photo.  This strong branch will soon sprout side twigs and mysterious circles!  The basic structure of the design is bold and strong and so whatever she layers on top the composition as a whole will work.
mary b

Mary B. spent her time on a series of designs checking different value patterns using Photoshop to fill in the values – these swamp scenes look very inviting.  I love the little path that the eye can follow into the trees.
Several people  worked with ideas based on structures:

Linda began work on a series based on old bridges – their strong beams and the rhythms of the metal fencing lends itself to bold dynamic designs.
it was amazing how rotating this sketch gave rise to vastly different perspectives.

Sandy began at the top….

Carol drew a number of intriguing designs – interlocking boats and buildings…she set herself the challenge of balancing these two kinds of shapes.  The simplification of curves and verticals requires careful positioning.   She chose a beautiful complementary colour scheme.
sandy s Sandy S made a lovely little series about times of day – look at the amazing difference in atmosphere that changing values can create (above).
Rose also was fascinated by a boat shape; this is one of just 3 pieces she created. The wind was fairly whipping her and the sailboats along!


Janine wasn’t able to get much done in fabric, but had a great series of drawings of tropical drinks!  These are going to be super – and very refreshing!

Joyce debated whether or not to pursue an abstract theme, then switched to a very abstracted version of a photograph of boats and water.   The gradated background gives wonderful depth…and I love the way the orange colour carries through into the distance.

Betty’s sketches are so graceful… the way they swirl and overlap is both soothing and satisfying. Her drawings also demonstrate the power of completing value sketches before you start work with fabric.

Jo Ann also worked on a series of value sketches – she too was inspired by the natural world…that of butterflies.  She hopes to make these with overlapping silk organza – they will be gorgeous!

I don't have a picture of everyone's ideas but there were several more people who worked with natural or manmade landscapes.  New York City from across the Hudson River is full of amazing possibilities as Barbara showed in her many sketches. Susan photographed several of the ladies in the room, printed out the pictures and drew sketches from them which she then manipulated in various ways - a wonderful series of portraits is planned.  I really look forward to seeing those.  Very unusual.

Mary’s bold and beautiful picnic table is so full of energy and pep.  Mary claimed to be almost 80 and she made one of the most youthful and lively pieces!  Isn’t this fun?
So you can see it was a good trip – I even got to walk along the beach and dip my toes in the Gulf!!


Now I must get to some serious work!  or well..maybe a cup of tea first…
if you have been, thanks for reading!

1 comment:

Linda and Michelle said...

LOVED reading about the development of the series for these me a lot of ideas!