I’m starting a new session of my workshop Working In Series at Quilt University.com this Friday and I’ve had quite a few emails asking me questions about it, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to describe it a little more fully.
Firstly if you’ve never taken an online course before, Quilt University is really the best place to start. The classes are extremely reasonable: $36 for 4 fully downloadable lessons plus an online discussion group where people ask questions and I answer to the best of my ability and you have your own “gallery” where you can publish an image so that we can discuss it. The Dean of QU is very friendly and very used to people who have not had a lot of experience with online classes. And I think she lives totally glued to her computer – she responds so quickly with cheerful help to every query!
Secondly, What has surprised me, in teaching these classes, is just how much you can teach and learn, and, even better, how well you can get to know people who may be 1 mile away or thousands of miles away. It’s wonderful hearing about fiber art and quilting in very far away places and feeling just how many kindred spirits there are out there.
The question I’ m most frequently asked is whether or not a person can go at their own pace. I think an online situation is definitely superior to a real life workshop in this regard. Throughout the 6 or 7 weeks of the course you can go back to earlier lessons and re read them and ask questions about them. If you have to be away for a few days, or are very busy, you can catch right up with the lessons and the discussions and the galleries for they are all right there waiting for you.
Level of ability is not a concern – the classes are aimed at all levels. There are no tests, no grades, no competitiveness, no pass and no fail! I hope that all will make progress in the direction and to the extent which they wish to go.
Also, being a native English speaker is less of an issue than you might think. The Dean has instructed us to keep to standard English wherever possible so that the translation programs can work well. Sometimes the sentences get turned around a bit but you can always get the sense of it.
The Working in Series class is not, however, about the actual cutting and sewing and construction of a quilt. It is about finding your own voice, how to develop your own ideas and how to know which ideas best represent you. The aim is to explore the art world in general in order to find the right subject, the right style, the right working method. It’s about improving your work and the best way to develop a coherent body of work is to work in a series. This workshop focuses on the development of several related designs for quilts.
It’s about the importance of strong compositions and how to achieve them. One of the many beauties of a series is that your awareness of design guidelines grows as they are outlined, discussed with reference to art quilts in particular, emphasized, exercised and practiced as you evaluate each piece.
Do not worry about being able to draw. Drawing is a technical skill that improves with practice. It is useful for some specific types of art but not all. It is well known that many successful artists do not draw that well; the important thing is to be able to sketch out roughly what you want to do, where you want to place the main shapes, so that you have a plan you can follow. If you can draw a diagram of your kitchen – you can make rough sketches!
More than anything, working in a series helps you learn how to work from your own ideas and discover your unique voice. Your quilts may be abstract, realistic or impressionistic or any style at all!
I hope this helps to clarify – feel free to comment and ask questions and I’ll reply in the comment section; if you’ve taken a class with me and want to comment too – that’s absolutely fine!
so, if you have been, thanks for reading! Elizabeth
PS the quilts shown are all part of a series I did many years ago on “windows”; the ones at the top are installed in Gate 27 or 29, concourse E, Atlanta Airport (hence the poor lighting).