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Saturday, December 3, 2011

On Line Quilting Courses and my experience with Pamela Allen

Back in July, I saw that Pamela Allen was offering an online quilting class.  Part of me wondered how in the world one could take an online quilting class, but then, since Pamela titled her class "Think Like an Artist" and said that it would be focusing on design, I thought that it should be fine.

I admire Pamela's work. Go to her website and look at some of her pieces.   I love the spontaneity, her use of color and texture.  I laugh at the almost cartoon-like abstraction that she uses.  Since Pamela doesn't teach in the United States and since I don't think I'm going to be making any trips to Canada soon, I decided I'd sign up.

After all....I was thinking we'd handle a lesson a week.  How hard could that be? I was getting my daughter ready to take to her freshman year at college, had to take her to orientation, and was still fatigued from chemo. But hey, it's quilting.  How hard could that be?

Ahem.  Well....I once again thought I was superwoman, only I seem to have misplaced my cape some where.
It was really hard.  In fact, it was so hard that I'm still behind one project, and haven't sewn down and quilted the others.

Pamela does a huge amount of work with her students.  We had a good group and several had had classes with Pamela before and so knew what to expect.  She showed us examples of what she's talking about, using her own work as examples as well as fine art pieces.  We critiqued.  Pamela critiqued and used photo editing to show us what she meant....and it was brilliant.

We were not to draw anything.  We were to free-cut our fabric and create our pieces.  The first work you see here is my self-portrait with our personal symbolism.  One of the things that Pamela reminded us about is not to make our pieces trite and cliche...so, instead of holding a cat (I have three...as I am an animal lover, not just cats), I'm holding a Dutch rabbit.....sort of a reference to cousin Maggie's dutch house bunny.  The swirl represents my mastectomy....and look at the plant at the side of the composition....can you tell what kind of houseplant it is?

The piece above is another lesson involving personal symbolism.  This is my first attempt, what Pamela recieved.  I was amused, and sort of surprised, when one of the class members thought it was a salmon run (it's koi or goldfish pond).

This is the first bit that Pamela did to improve the composition....why I didn't think of using it as a landscape orientation which seems so obvious, I don't know.  I think it is because the brocade I used had the large gold strip along the side so when I was looking at the yardage I got mentally stuck in how it was "supposed". to go.

This is far preferable to my original work....but Pamela had no idea about the symbolism, and took out the small goose at the foot of the iris.

Obviously, a goose is part of my identity....I've been Michigoose a very long time on the web and of course my blog name and my Amazon store name both bear witness to this.
When I explained this, Pamela lifted a goose from one of her own works which was more monumental and dropped it into my scene.  Pretty cool, eh?

I hope to get back and finish these.   Was it worth it? In true Michiganese, "You betcha!"  In fact, I enjoyed it so much and felt that I learned a lot from it that I have signed up for another course, this time through Quilters University, this time with Elizabeth Barton whose work I also admire....However, I have all intentions of clearing my calendar and concentrating solely upon the class.  At least that's the goal.

I think I'll do some more work with Pamela's style...but I don't think I'll stick with it.  As much fun as it is, it is Pamela's style, and I have my own style.

5 comments:

KAM said...

Lisa, Michigoose, Your post was wonderful to read; thanks for putting your pieces out there for us to view and to share the process of your on-line learning experience. I have done several Quilt University classes and truly enjoyed them even when I did not have as much time as I wanted for the work. I love your symbolism in the self portrait... the piece is truly fun!
Your blog is one that often gives me a big smile and I appreciate your open, nature loving spirit.
Kristin

Vivien Zepf said...

Though it may not be your style, I absolutely LOVE your self portrait! I hope you'll find the time to finish it.

marshaleith said...

I almost signed up for this class but didn't because of prior class commitments....but I will definitely sign up for her next class. You did a great job, and her feedback seems good too!

Michigoose said...

Thanks guys!
Marshaleith, you'll have a lot of fun....but be prepared to spend a lot of time on this....you'll get a lot out of it, Pamela does a great job, but like anything else....you get out of it what you put into it. :) The exercises were really good. Of course, I found myself muttering some of the design mantras while working on the projects. Lisa

Shady Character said...

Wonderful! I really enjoy seeing your work.