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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Art Quilt Workbook: Pears

One of the things which has been keeping me busy is that I am leading a small group of quilters through Jane D'Avila and Elin Waterston's Art Quilt Workbook. I participated in this project with the Miami Valley Art Quilt Network in a group which Mindy Marik led, so when my local guild, the Batty Binders of Troy, had a group who decided they wanted to go on this journey, I offered to lead them as having done it once before and being involved longer with art quilting, I thought it would be easier for me.

One of the exercises that D'Avila and Waterston has you do is to take their pear pattern and make your own pear. Interestingly enough, almost everyone I've talked to, as well as me, have balked at this one. I think that part of it is that people who are interested in doing art quilts are somewhat mavericks. We don't want people telling us what to do and how to do it....or at least we'd like the option of doing it OUR way. One person pointed out that after having had long discussions on copyright etc., she didn't want to be doing someone else's pattern.

When I did the project, I balked. I snarled. But, understanding that the authors wanted us to learn to look at analyzing objects for values/shadow/light and dark, I did it. Begrudgingly, but I did it.

I explained this to the Twisted Stitchers (what we sort of decided to call ourselves as it was less objectionable to the general public that the Artsy Fartsy Quilters, which I fear we call ourselves more often than the former), Gwen grumbled that she didn't WANT to do someone elses pear....and that maybe she'd make it rotten.

Hmm..... The little piece at the top of the page here is Linnette's. It was very fun as it used checks, and plaids and all sorts of traditional quilting fabrics. I regret that I didn't take a picture of it as she showed it to us originally. The lightest piece, that which is on the far right, originally stood out like a sore thumb. The print was a pinkish flower outlined on a cream background, and given the rest of the choices, it was just too big of a jump. She knew she didn't like something about it, but couldn't put her finger on it. I explained what I thought it was, and she moaned that she couldn't fix it.

"Of course you can," I told her. "Take your colored pencils and color it." Coming from a traditional quilting background, that had never occurred to her. She immediately went to work and toned that piece right down. In reality, it is a little lighter than this, as when Linnette took the picture for me, it is a little darker than it is in real life. I do think that being given permission to change something with paint or colored pencils opened a whole new world for her.

Gwen did two pears, and here they are. The first was following along the exercise as she was instructed. The second, loose raggedy one at top is her own interpretation which I think is just marvelous.

I especially like her choice of fabric for the shadow.

We were a small group as about four of us were missing last week. I'm looking forward to our next meeting to see what others did when they completed their homework. I know it is going to be pretty exciting.


Carole said...

These classes and exercises are so good! I have taken a couple from Ellen.... she is great! and I have the Workbook, too. You will really benefit. And I do like your pear.
I am taking a class right now from Elizabeth Barton, and it is HARD!
thank you for your sweet words to me on my Janome win...

Michigoose said...

This is odd....I posted a reply to Carole the other day and it has disappeared into the ether...Carole, I envy you taking a class with Elizabeth! I want very much to, but it isn't working out for this year.

Neither of these pears are mine....they are my students (? Co-quilters). I'll post mine from when I worked my way through after I finish the K.I.S.S. quilt AND fix the leak in my goldfish pond...oh yeah...and survive prom weekend with the dd. Lisa