QuiltCon Day 4 ~ Group Flow

This was my first time teaching Quilting From A Score. I wondered how the workshop would go over since there are no flashy advanced curve techniques or opportunities to explore a multitude of different patterns as in the curve and doodle workshops that I teach.

My primary goal as an improv teacher is to help people find their optimal flow for improvising, and usually most of my students achieve this to a greater or lesser degree in all of my workshops.

Improvising From A Score with Sherri Lynn Wood

However in this instance the class as a whole experienced a prolong “Zen” moment. At one point I was mesmerized by the syncopated quiet movements of my students, sewing, ironing, and repeating their internal sequences, all engrossed in creating and working harmoniously throughout the day. It was a group performance!

Improvising From A Score with Sherri Lynn Wood

I was also amazed at the range of expression achieved within the limits of this simple, algorithmic Score for Floating Squares.

Participants gained a clearer understanding about how to create their own scores, or flexible patterns, by setting limits. The prolonged experience of creative flow on our last day at QuiltCon left everyone feeling pretty satisfied. Now that’s FRESH quilting – or at least quilting that leaves you feeling FRESH!

It was peaceful to be around this group flow, and in this light, it was my favorite workshop of the three. A fulfilling way to wrap up my QuiltCon 2015 experience.

Thanks to all my amazing students and to all the people who I met during my book signings and lecture. May you continue to follow your own patterns, go with the flow and be satisfied!

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QuiltCon Day 3 ~ Quilting From the Heart

The Impact of the Gee’s Bend Quilters’ Faith on QuiltCon

Tonight the  Gee’s Bend Quilters gave the keynote address at QuiltCon.  I felt a bit embarrassed when someone in the audience asked them if the quilts they saw at QuiltCon would have an impact on their quilting or change it in anyway. Mary Ann Pettway simply answered “No,” which I thought was an honest reply to an extremely awkward question.

(edit – I personally found the  question uncomfortable because of what I didn’t hear in it, a respectful understanding that their work has a certain visionary integrity that comes from within. I think many contemporary quilters, myself included, are overly influenced by exterior factors, design/color/fabric trends and what other people are making. An open ended question would have been better put, something like “What are your impressions of the quilts you have seen at QuiltCon?” Wondering about their take on our quilts is certainly valid – and I suppose that was the gist of the original question – the way it was put felt awkward to me.)

Shouldn’t we instead be asking the reverse question?  How will our exposure at QuiltCon to the Gee’s Bend Quilters’ faith as the source of their creative process change the way we make our quilts, or our perceptions of what quilting is all about. What are your thoughts? Not only did the Gee’s Bend Quilters give the keynote to hundreds of attendees, they taught two workshops a day. If you were at QuilCon will the witness of these women impact your quilting on a personal level in any way? Do you think it will shape the Modern Quilt movement as a whole in any way? And if so so how?

The Gee’s Bend women reminded me that quilt making comes from the heart, and that it’s a gift of grace. It was profound to experience quilting as a spiritual matter through their songs, prayers, stories and blessing of permission to “just start sewing” – that we can make things our own way – and it is good.

And in timely fashion here’s a recent article in the NY Times about the quilters and quilts of Gee’s Bend.

Patchwork Doodling Workshop

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You can see by these images that this group of students made my job easy today. They just went to town and did their things! The output and diversity was quite impressive. Again, this was the first time I’ve ever taught this workshop and I discovered that everyone does indeed doodle differently.

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We began class by doodling for a few minutes and then discussed the process of drawing responsively. The way people doodled varied vastly and it was and in a way wasn’t surprising at all when these differences came out in their patchwork doodles. People doodle with patchwork much in the same way they doodle with pen and paper.

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It was also interesting to see when and how the process kicked in for people, how far they could take things until they got stuck, what kind of things got them stuck and what kinds of things they could do to become unstuck. I loved watching the Patchwork Doodling process unfold in my students as much as I enjoyed watching their patchwork doodles take shape.

Improv Handbooks Are Back IN STOCK

Yay! One more day of signing books at QuiltCon. Pick your copy up today. Text your best friend who’s at QuiltCon and ask them to stop by the Stitch Lab Booth #216, and bring you back a signed copy!

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Posted in Community, Modern Improv, The Modern Quilt | Tagged | 18 Comments

QuiltCon Day 2 ~ Hot Shots

Bias Strip Piecing on the Curve Workshop

Today I taught the Bias Strip Curve Workshop for the first time and it was a delight to watch it unfold.  Sewing bias strips on the curve is tricky piecework and difficult to master. But no matter… my hot shot students went to town, merrily making mistakes right and left. Whoopee!

You may think that this was a problem but actually provided an opportunity to figure things out and the mistakes made became the centerpieces of some surprising compositions. I was impressed by the willingness and courage of my students and all that they accomplished.

Improv Handbook SOLD OUT on Second Day of QuiltCon

Can you believe it! So exciting. The Stitch Lab folks told me that they’ve never moved so many books in one day for a single author. EVER. I had a chance to sign the two last books in the first five minutes of my signing session, with Tricia Royal –a test quilter for the Improv Handbook, and Chicago MQG president, Sarah Shulman.

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But no worries! My amazing publisher STC Craft is shipping more books overnight. The signings should commence again tomorrow at Stitch Lab, Booth #216, from 12:15-1:15 PM.

Finally – I did a count of Improv Handbook test quilts exhibited at QuiltCon this year. Not counting my three from the book there are FIFTEEN Improv Handbook test quilts represented! Tricia’s test quilt placed 3rd in the Improv category.

More to come…

 

 

Posted in Community, The Modern Quilt | Tagged , , | 4 Comments