06 April 2016

Things and Stuff

What's this blog supposed to be, anyway?
Good question. As you might have seen from the last sporadic posts, this blog has been like your across-the-street neighbor who you sometimes wave to on the way to work. You're friendly with each other but can't remember the last time you've had a conversation beyond this:

"How's it going?"
"Can't complain."
"Looks like it might snow."
"Yeah, we'll see."
"Take care now."
"You too."

So. I'm asking myself what is the purpose of this blog? If it's to post photos of my work every few weeks or months, I already have that on my website's gallery page. There are any number of apps to quickly post photos and announcements.  I realize that blogs are for story-telling, not just posting photos.
I've decided to change course and turn this directionless blog into a regular journal. I'll use it to share some kind of narrative about my artwork and the creative process. New rule: I will post something every week, regardless if I have actually completed anything.

To start things off, here's where I'm at.  I've been developing a workshop based on Water Lilies. When I say "develop", I mean I draw a bunch of sketches of water lilies, then I pick a few promising ones and move on to creating a pattern. The pattern needs to depict the complexity of this flower while using only 3 shades of color and one white fabric. After I work out a pattern I set about making the flowers out of fabric, timing myself to see how much we can get done during class.  I don't like leaving students with a UFO to take home! Once I have a handle on the quilt sample we will make during class, I write the step-by-step instructions that will be printed and included in each kit.

Here are just of the few of the prototypes that got far enough to be made out of fabric, not counting the ones that were completely scrapped or dismantled and made into other things:

Each one of these represents a couple dozen drawings and a few hundred views of water lilies and water lotus flowers of all colors and types. Some of them looked good as sketches but turned out to be too complicated to tackle in a one day class, or too big, or too small, or they relied too much on free motion quilting to create the necessary details. 
I can't base it all on how I would make a water lily quilt by myself.  I need to think about how a dozen students can have fun, learn a new technique and create something to take home at the end of a 4-6 hour workshop.
Once I think I've REALLY got that down, then I go through the whole experience as if we're in class, from beginning to end. I create the pieces again, while timing myself and measuring the materials each student will need (freezer paper, glue, fabric).  By the time I get to teach this class, I will have already used up several of Carol Eaton's fabric kits.
If it sounds like I'm complaining, I probably am. But that's part of the creative process and I've decided to share whatever is happening each week.  Getting a new class off the ground is a lot of work, and it involves many futile attempts, missteps and restarts. I went through similar trials and errors developing the Magnolia Kit workshop, but over time all the kinks were worked out and now it's a joy to run that class. I'm sure the same will be true for this one. In the end, I'm confident that I've given my best effort to make these patterns easy to follow and fun to create.

My first workshop using the Water Lily patterns is Saturday (3 days from now). I hope the students don't mind being the "test subjects" for this new workshop.


  1. Waterlilies are my all time favorite. I have attempted to make quilts with them as the subject. I would love to take your class!! However, I am in Buffalo, NY. I would love to take any of your classes, your work is gorgeous!

    1. Thank you Linda! After the workshop this weekend, I'll post some photos of our class project. :-)

  2. Glad you are going to blog again, I check your site often. I'm excited to hear about your process. Thanks.

  3. Glad you are going to blog again, I check your site often. I'm excited to hear about your process. Thanks.

    1. Thanks Karen! It's nice to know someone's out there checking in with me. :-)


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