Tuesday, July 9, 2013

If they have no bread, then give them cake!

Winter on the Beach

I'm working away (not yet at the beach!) organizing and consolidating my many notes for my upcoming Abstract Art for Quiltmakers class which will debut at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in August (the class is full by the way) and then I'll give it again at Alegre Retreat in April.  I know some other teachers have tackled this subject, but from my research they all approached it differently from me.  It's so frustrating to develop an idea and discover it's a well worn path!!

Dancera (detail)

  As people who take my classes know, I love a five day class where I can get deep into the topic and my research on it in the first day.  I love to learn (and then to teach) real solid information.  (don't worry, it's only one day of five!).

 I'll also be developing this abstract art for quiltmakers class into an online format which I had planned to do some time ago before we had any idea that QU would be coming to a close.  But, good news!
Ruth Blanchet, a former QU teacher, (www.academyofquilting.com) is taking over the quiltuniversity domain name and several of the teachers. The website and overall organization will be different but upgrades in the way the forum and the galleries are handled will please everyone I think.  It will take a little while, of course, for the Academy of Quilting to become as well known as Quilt University which had gained a great reputation over several years and continents.  My classes will be starting at the Academy of Quilting in the Fall soon after Quilt University closes.  I'll definitely be posting announcements.
Waiting for Dawn (detail)

I'm organizing my abstract art notes into definitions, the artists (particularly the female artists) and the processes. I'm turning up some really interesting ideas and concepts.  Research is so enthralling - you can spend days travelling new highways and byways!  

Abstraction can be total freedom from reality.... or the result of abstracting something from the real thing.  It can be free and instinctive as we see in abstract expressionism (Willem de Kooning) or highly intellectual as in Sol Lewitt's geometric abstractions.  Many artists have worked from photographs; Sean Scully's wonderful geometric pieces began with photos of old wooden doors that he's taken all over the world.  
Windowseat (detail)

But whatever the label, all quilts use scraps of fabric cut into shapes, organized in some fashion by color or value or texture.  It's just amazing how very many arrangements are possible.  When I was a child I was given a "creativity" game but soon discovered that the arrangement of wires and beads was NOT endless - how horribly disappointing that was!  They should have given me cloth!  If they have no video games, give them cloth and scissors!

So, if you have been, thanks for reading!  And do send in your comments - or suggestions!   (for blog topics or classes).
Next two weeks I'm up in the mountains off the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC taking art classes; if the internet gets up that high (!) I'll post from there!


Olga Norris said...

Discovering the joy of research is what education should be about. Research is one of the most rewarding activities apart from creating.

I am interested in your definition of all quilts as being the arrangement of pieces of fabric. As a maker of whole cloth work, I have often wondered if most folks in the quilt world believed that my pieces were not really quilts. I am genuinely curious to know if that is what you believe also.

Gay Young said...

Can hardly wait for the class!! Sounds like it will be right up my alley!!

Elizabeth Barton said...

Sorry Olga! I probably should have defined that better as an arrangement of cloth and stitches! There is a long and wonderful tradition of whole cloth quilts!

Olga Norris said...

That's OK Elizabeth - I was not upset, offended, or anything like that. I'm simply curious about the definition, and the catch-all term of quilt and art quilt.
I hope that you enjoy your art classes.

Elsie Montgomery said...

Enjoy the Blue Ridge Mts... we were there last year and the inspiration from colors and layers is likely classic to the point of cliche, but I still dream of going back.

Mary Keasler said...

Bread. Cake. Either. Or. Eagerly anticipating the exploration.

Nancy from NJ said...

Will you be still holding the Dying to Design class? I took your Inspired to Design (great class!) but had too many things to cover in a short amount of time - needed more time to digest - as I am still working out the background. I do want to take the Dying to Design class but not ready yet! Too bad I went back to see progress the day after the class closed - couldn't see more pics or postings from the class.
I love, love, love the Blue Ridge Mtns! Lucky you.

Elizabeth Barton said...

Hi Nancy - the Dyeing to Design class is closed, but I will be offering it in the Fall on Academy of Quilting - there will be a link from quiltuniversity.com, Ruth Blanchet is taking over that domain name.

Unknown said...

Dear Elizabeth,
i am now reading your book about design and for the first time i feel that i am getting closer to understanding what i am doing when quilting art. i enjoy every word. but you dont explain, or i did not find yet, what manipulations you are doing to your own fabrics. are they all dyed by you? how do you piece them? only by top stitching? do you turn over? i did not understand your method of piecing and obtaining these unregular fabric colors.
It is funny to say that i visited athens 8 years ago when my husband was on sabbatical in the usa, and it seemed to me the sleeping beauty. I could not imagine that such a wonderful quilter lives there.
thank you for your wonderful book.

Elizabeth Barton said...

Dear Yochi - the fabric are all hand dyed or screen printed and I tell you how to make them in an online class called Dyeing to Design. There is also a description of my construction process towards the end of the book - but the Publishing company wanted me to keep it very short as they felt there were a lot of construction books out there. so glad you enjoyed it!