Friday, November 16, 2012


wild acres 003

I only like to teach 4-6 workshops a year…I see other art quilt/fiber collage teachers racing around the country and I’m not envious!!  the hassles of flying these days: the long queues, the waiting, the cramped up seats in the aircraft, the uncertainties of whether connections will be made, whether your bags will make it through and what shape they’ll be in when they do ( I once had a suitcase returned to me with its shape changed from a rectangle to a perfect circle.  A bit like a burrito only open at both ends frothing out various undergarments – some meant to be seen, others not!!).   I do like, however, to have a sense of the year ahead with something interesting each month!  I don’t need to see too far into the future, I think that would be awful – how could you have hopes and dreams that way? I don’t understand those folk who go to fortune tellers.  though it is good to be able  to look down the path of a year and see new challenges!  That kind of anticipation is lovely.


One of the challenges I’ve set myself for 2013 is to develop a new workshop based on abstract art.  There are many 20th century abstract painters I love and I’d like to deconstruct their working processes and apply them to quilt design.  I think it could be really exciting.  There’s so much we as quilters can learn from the art world as a whole.  From the masters we can discover new ideas and great inspiration and from the rubbish (and there’s plenty of that, believe me! the average quilt show is usually well ahead of the average sunday painter show in terms of excitement and quality!) we can see what not to do.  It really is helpful to analyze the bad and the ugly as well as the good!

So my workshop on Abstract Design for Art Quilts based on abstract 20th century paintings is going to be at Arrowmont next August!  Here’s a link for the sneak preview of 2013 workshops at Arrowmont:
And you can actually register – from today…get in ahead of the crowd! (1 865 436 5860)

Arrowmont is, I think, one of the best art and craft workshop centers in the country.  For one thing they are totally full service:  they have excellent workshops, in super well equipped studios, art galleries stuffed with inspiration, a great library with lots of books, all the latest magazines, and loads of computers.  Several levels of accommodation, very good food, lovely climate.  They run a shuttle  to/from Knoxville, TN airport so getting there is not difficult and the ride up into the Smoky Mountains is lovely.  One of the best things, I think, is that there are usually about 12 concurrent workshops in 12 different mediums, so it’s nothing like as homogenous as the average quilting retreat.  There are all ages, all sexes (amazing!), all kinds of backgrounds. And seeing work done in clay or wood or glass or painting is really inspiring.


And now to get back to the abstract paintings I love….I’m going to analyze about half a dozen of my favorites so there’ll be plenty of different ideas to try.  These masterworks of abstract  art are well constructed as well as expressionistic and that’s something I think is lacking from many of the abstract quilts that I’m seeing these days.  Yes they are getting prizes because of the tour de force layering and bright colors – but will they stand the test of time?  Perhaps I’d better consult one of those fortune tellers after all!!

And, if you have been, thanks for reading!     Elizabeth


Nina Marie said...

First of all - it was you that encouraged me to start my first abstract piece (and now series) - its been very freeing and a nice change of pace - so thanks. I do think that fact points its way to a need to move some of us from the figurative to the abstract - even if its only for a taste of it. Also - I think that you're a good teacher for that since you have bodies of work in both. I also want to point out the fact that your class on series was offered before others had thought to do it - maybe this will open another door. That all said - I hope that figurative work will still "figure" into the fiber art scene. With figurative pieces only making up about 20% of QN acceptances (that stat is pretty consistent) - I'm not sure if its because its not being valued as much or that its harder to do properly. Maybe a bit of both.

Jackie said...

I'd love to see your analysis of one of the paintings. I often have trouble deconstructing and would like to learn quite a lot about that process. Please share! Thank you.