Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Great Workshop - Do it Yourself

I go to Guild meetings all the time and hear members complain about finding workshops that interest them. They are traditional quilters and bewail the fact that their Guild only offers art quilting teachers - or the other way around. They don't want to travel too far for a workshop and pay costly travel expenses. They would rather do workshops with a smaller number of people they know they have an affinity with. There is a specific teacher they want to study with, but their Guild can't afford to hire them.

My art quilting group has found an answer to all these dilemmas. Organize a workshop yourselves. We are the Fiber Fanatics a small group of art quilters who are also members of a local quilt guild in southern California. One of our group found that Indiana art quilter Bob Adams was spending the winter in our area and was available for workshops. We all looked at his website and admired his free motion techniques for art quilts. Our organizer, Sandy, contacted him, arranged his fee, set the dates and graciously volunteered the use of her home and her large dining room table! She checked with her electrician to make sure that her wiring would take all of our sewing machines. That's one thing I never would have thought of!

We chose a two day workshop with dates that fit everyone's schedule. The cost when divided between eight of us turned out to be fairly reasonable given all the individual instruction we would have with our small group. Not having to travel far proved another bonus. Rather than brown bag our lunches, I was asked to organize communal lunches with each of the participants bringing a pot luck dish for ten people one of the days.

Sandy's home is beautiful with a view out of large windows to a tropical garden below - a wonderful setting. The workshop was cozy and casual and we all had a wonderful time. I heard no grumbling or complaints - just the happy hum of sewing machines.

Bob Adams' workshop was highly interesting and informative. We played at drawing with free motion line on our sewing machines and tested out multiple colors of thread on various colored cloth samples to see how to lighten, darken, neutralize and change color on fabrics using only straight lines of thread. He demonstrated how quilting line can change the mood and emotion of the quilt. His very masculine quilts using imagery from infrastructure (manhole covers, overpasses, etc) are very interesting and very different from our usual - can I say it? - feminine sensibilities. We were fascinated by some of his methods for surface design.

Bob and his wife Natalie were charming, down to earth people who made the whole two day session easy and fun. We all had a wonderful time.

This is in fact the second "in house" workshop our group has planned. Our first was a few years ago with the wonderful artist Patt Blair. They have both gone so well that without doubt we will do more! I totally recommend it.

1 comment: