Friday, December 11, 2015

Winding Up the Master Class

A Gentle Reader pointed out in a recent e-mail that I'd not revealed what EB thought of  my November piece, "Light Prevails".  Sure enough, I've been so busy with the refugee quilts and Christmas gifts, that I've not shared this with you...nor have I divulged what December brings as the Master Class 2015 winds down.

"Light Reveals", now hangs in my studio window, where it catches the light and occasionally revolves gently in the air from the furnace.   Here's what EB had to say about my effort for this piece:
I really applaud your experimental spirit!!  You had an idea...and you just went for it and followed it through.  The quilt is very different from any I've ever seen and shows great creativity - and boldness - cutting it in two!  I love the idea of the cut and the lamé - might be worthwhile experimenting with another piece with the same idea.  Perhaps another top you've made and discarded because it just did not have much oomph?  you could try doing even more cuts.
I think it was a good idea to put the stone on the bottom to add might have even had a little more weight there...because the top is quite substantial.
I do like the domed "roof" ....that finishes it off very well.  And, as you say, while I can't see how it relates to the assignment of working from a photograph (!) that really doesn't matter: you tried something new, you explored, you created and solved problems...and you had fun!
I am very pleased with this result...and yes, have had an idea for at least one more piece that hangs...and has slices take out of it and replaced with the lame.  I don't have a great deal of lame on hand, so may have to scout around for some...but that's a challenge for the new year.  I've made a sketch of this new idea, and will turn to it when I next have opportunity.

Meanwhile, EB is teaching another dyeing class at the Academy of Quilting in January...and I am giving serious thought to signing on -- not because I haven't taken classes on dyeing but because in this class she will instruct on creating 'neutrals' and also creating long-lasting dye that I don't have to recreate every time I turn around.  I'm looking forward to it!

Now...what about December?  It's the month of "examen" -- i.e. assessment.  There is not a requirement for a new piece, but there are a couple of assignments suggested...

Here, in part, is what I wrote in response to the "examen"...
·        Strengths:
o   What have I learned this year?
§  New skills:
·    Extracting the ‘main thing’ from an inspirational photo, not getting so caught up in the details (though I have learned how to do this, it still makes my brain hurt!);
·    Working in monochrome;
·    Working larger than 15” square.
§  Old skills sharpened:
·     Facing and finishing a piece – smoother and with better ‘corners’;
·     Free-motion quilting – more work to be done yet!
o   What has improved?
§  My level of confidence:
·     In my ability to increase the quality of my work;
·     In the actual quality of my work;
§  My level of willingness/openness and confidence:
·     To experiment with new techniques;
·     To move more deeply into a source of inspiration;
·     To enter work into more exhibits, especially those that are juried.*
*To this point: I entered 3 of my EB assignment pieces into SAQA's Call for Entries for "My Corner of the World: Canada" -- and will find out by Dec. 31 what the result is.  My daughter has also agreed to show with me at a booth at the Annual Art Show and Sale in Lacombe in April, 2016...

And I wrote:
·        Weaknesses:
o   Principal weakness: working with size and proportion
§  I really struggle to translate an object in the correct proportions
·         This is a particular challenge when it is a figure such as a building or a creature:
o   Example: the birds of “At the Feeder” in the February assignment on ‘Movement’.
o   Secondary weakness: extracting key elements
§  I struggle with getting caught up in background details that can be eliminated;
§  I struggle to relax and not be so literal in my work.
§  See above note about how hard this is on my brain!

"At the Feeder" before finishing
And then...she gave us an...

  • Assignment:
    • Revisit the ‘feeder’ but do it differently.
    • Instead of whole cloth, work in fused applique (closer to usual style);
    • Instead of expressing movement with thread-work, try to capture it in fabric by means of the shape and location of the birds and the feeder.
    • Don’t fuss:
      • About the breeds of birds; make them any colour;
      • About the contents of the feeder;
      • About the colour of the background; or
      • About the hanger for the feeder, the trees, grass or sky.

    •  Revisit the “failed” Rhythm piece.
      • Cut it up and re-configure.
And I cautioned...that nothing would get done before Christmas!  ;-)

At this point I interjected a Personal Assessment, based on EB's own recent blog post about 'favourite quilts' - "The Quilts That Made Them Happy":
o   Favourites:
§  January – Value: ‘The Old Corral’ – because it was the first time I faced making a landscape using only one colour;
§  March – Line: ‘Prairie Spring’ – because I saw I could take an inspiration from an early, contemporary piece, convert it to what looks like a traditional piece, and by use of colour selection, fabrics, techniques and the quilting stitches, make it contemporary and artful again.
§  June – Layers: ‘Off the Beaten Path’ – my first experiment with stencils and layers of trees; the results pleased me no end.  This one has gone to a gallery and I hope to recreate it for an Art Show & Sale in April 2016.
§  July – Rhythm: ‘Add Some Red, She Said’ – because I learned yet again to be less literal with an idea.
§  October – Mood: ‘Becalmed’ – because it just came together so well.
This was followed by a request for evaluation of the class per se: lessons, etc.  I won't go into that here.   :-)

Suffice to say that this past year has been worth the investment -- and was a great value for the $$ expended.    I would recommend it...and hope Elizabeth will continue to provide this program for as long as she is able ...and as long as budding artists want to participate.

What's up next?

I returned this month to my 15 x 15 group and have prepared my materials for samples re: our next theme -- but likely won't work on any of that till after Christmas.  We are exhibiting more, which requires that we continue to keep our work fresh and well executed!

I've a full year ahead with pieces I want to work on -- not the least of which is the Japanese-style taupe quilt for my DS' wedding in July.

I still have my twice-a-week job at The Shop (which I love) and I continue to feel a call toward some charity work, whether it be quilting or knitting.

And...I remain a the SAQA Co-Rep (Alberta) for the Western Canada Region until...well...about a year from and upward!

Meanwhile, I am glad I get to share both my work and my challenges with you, Gentle Readers... and with my colleagues over at Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday.  This week she talks about gifts for creative kids.  My "kids" (30 and 34) are already pretty creative...but if you've younger ones or grandchildren in your might take note!

All for now...

P.S. Please pardon any changes in font you see.  I am too tired this evening to dig into the html and "fix" them.  Thank you for your patience!  :-)


els said...

I really love your Nov. piece for EB class. Can't wait to see a next one. I can hardly believe this EB year is over. You learned a lot and made some wonderful pieces. We're happy though that you return to our 15x15 group and will use all your learned skills in new pieces.

Judy Warner said...

Thanks for sharing the feedback from EB. I would say your willingness to do so all year has allowed all of us to learn. I am actually thinking of taking the dyeing class so I really appreciate you mentioning that in your post. And, of course, I am in awe of all your projects!

Kathie Briggs said...

Margaret, thank you for sharing your retrospective. Its been wonderful following your journey with EB. I am so looking forward to beginning mine next month. I am hoping the assignments and the accountability can rekindle my creative spirit and reestablish some kind of work habit.

Jo Ferguson said...

Although I didn't take EB's class, I followed along and learned, by watching you. Thanks for sharing the journey and I agree with EB's enthusiasm about your Nov piece.

Maggi said...

I found this really interesting and love the Light Prevails piece. I have enrolled in Elizabeth's Master Class 2016, even though there is a chance might not get to finish it, but she has accepted that

Good luck with the SAQA exhibition.