Wednesday, November 27, 2013

First Teaching Experience

This past Saturday I taught my first full-fledged day long class and it was a joy. I had a full class of 8 students, the maximum the facility could accommodate with sewing machines. The class was not about the sewing however, it was about design. It was based on my recent article in The Quilt Life Magazine (October) on making Strata Art Quilts.

Strata Art Quilt article in The Quilt Life Magazine and example from article.
The students were varied in their backgrounds and level of art quilting knowledge. I think most were in the stage of having a great interest but not having done a whole lot that they would call art quilts. They were all very enthusiastic students and I enjoyed them.

Each student had to come with a feature fabric or focal point fabric as well as some other fabrics to possibly go with it. I brought a giant stack of scraps as well, although they were of limited use in that many of them were pre-cut strips and weren't very wide.

At least two of the participants had chosen a focal fabric and then changed their minds and selected a different one. Luckily they brought their original choices and I talked them into using those as they were better choices. Go with your intuition!!

I did not know when I was planning the agenda for the day how long it would take for the students to do the actual designing of their pieces, so I allowed plenty of time. It turned out that it did take a while so the timing worked fine. Some of the students would get my attention to come see what they had done as they felt they were about ready to sew it together and I would proceed to encourage reworking what they had and almost completely changing it! I guess they were OK with that as they seemed to really like what we ended up with and could see how it worked better than what they had. Goal accomplished.

After the design segment of the class I gave them some information and tips about the quilting and then beading/embellishing. I think everyone was interested in the possibility of another class where I would help them with the beading of their projects, including maybe going to a bead shop to select what they might use. I'm considering such a class for January but haven't sat down to work out what it might look like, where we'd have it, and what I might charge for it.

I really enjoyed moving between the students and helping them with their projects and hopefully providing them insight as to what might not be working and what to consider that might make it better. There were a couple of students who were quite capable of doing this themselves and had something up on the design wall that looked pretty good in a short period of time. I didn't really feel like I offered them much assistance in their pieces besides a comment or suggestion or two, but hopefully they got something out of my lecture and tips during the other segments of the class time.

The comment was made that they definitely think I have lots of wisdom to impart so I feel a little more comfortable that I am not a fraud and that I might actually be able to teach something! I've held off doing this because I didn't want to just be regurgitating what I had learned from others. I wanted what I teach to be uniquely my experience, knowledge, technique, or style. I think I might be there finally and hope for more successful class experiences in the future.

Thank you to all my students and I'll be in touch!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mini Fiber Art - Ornaments for the Holidays

I have been spending lots of time in the last month making mini fiber and bead art quilts or "ornaments".  Most of them are not holiday motifs so that they can be hung all year round.  I have sold quite a number of them myself, and I have them in all four of my galleries in Stevensville, Hamilton, Missoula and Billings.  They are sold for $25-$28. 

They are rather time consuming to make but it is fun choosing the fabrics, yarns to twist together and couch around the edges, and choosing beads to decorate them.  They are double sided and almost all of them have fringe at the bottom and a beaded hanging loop at the top.


Reverse sides

Here is an image of one of them before I glue it together and stitch it.  I use heavyweight stabilizer between the two pieces of fabric and just baste them with glue stick.  I twist several yarns together and zigzag them to the ornament.  Then I sit in front of the TV with my tray of beads and adorn them!

Look for my artwork at Art City in Hamilton (open every day now through the holidays), The Artist's Shop in Missoula, River's Mist in Stevensville, and Bailiwick's on Grand in Billings---all in Montana. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Images from River's Mist Gallery Show

Here are some images from my show in September that was at River's Mist Gallery in Stevensville, Montana.  It was a beautiful show and I received lots of great comments, but unfortunately very few sales took place.  I made many new pieces for this show and worked for several months, and many long hours to get them done. 

Unfortunately due to a similar level of sales overall as we had for my show, River's Mist Gallery will be closing at the end of December.  I will miss it greatly as it was a wonderful showcase for my work, and that of many other great local/area artists.  I met lots of them and enjoyed seeing their work--but particularly enjoyed how Gretchen Spiess would intersperse my work with theirs.  She is a professional seamstress and thus has a particular fondness for fiber and a real knack for creating beautiful displays and "vignettes" in the gallery.  She showed my work often and probably more than she should have.  I'm sure there were other artists jealous of the amount of space I had in the gallery most months.  

The top piece is actually fused glass by Kathleen Sheard.

I will probably look for a new gallery somewhere in the Bitterroot to showcase my work.  You can always see my art at The Artist's Shop in Missoula but I'd like to have somewhere down the Bitterroot as well.

My first magazine article and one of the quilts from it.

Jacket by Odette Grassi

This was in the front window.  Fused glass is by Amy Knight.

This weekend I will be teaching my first class, Strata Art Quilts, to a full class of 8 students.  I'm nervous and excited and hoping that I really do have some wisdom to impart to these paying customers.  The timing of the class is probably the most uncertain part for me since I don't really know how long it will take everyone to actually design and stitch together their own pieces.  Hopefully the schedule I worked out will work for us.  Wish me luck!!

Stuffed Turkey Thigh/Legs

Disclaimer: This is a cooking post not an art post!  But I will say that there is an art to boning, stuffing and baking this recipe--and it ...