Friday, April 20, 2007

Sitting at the feet of a famous artist

This past week I went to ArtQuiltClaremont...five days at a top-notch resort/spa, the likes of which I could never afford to stay in on my own. I shared a room with buddie Gerrie Congdon and spent four days in class with my bestest buddy, Carol Suto, in a class by Joan Schulze. I have admired Joan's work for years, and in fact, when I retired as guild president, I asked for a copy of her big book as a thank you. Joan also writes poetry, which she shared frequently with the class, as well as poems by other people.

I had signed up to take her class with hopes of learning more about her design process...not so I could copy her work or style, but to incorporate new ideas and ways of doing things.

That was not what she taught. She taught about copy printing onto fabric, using the copier (not printer, but toner copier) for things such as making transparencies for over copying onto monoprinted fabric, blowing up parts of monoprints to use for inspiration and then making transparencies out of those and printing. She showed us different ways of making marks on fabric via monoprinting and transfer of color. She showed us using glue transfers to fabric or paper, a few bookmaking stitches and ideas, and also showed us a great deal about presentation of one's work. Presentation is as important as the work itself, and can make the work or break it.

What I learned are a few more techniques but not Joan's design process, which I have come to believe is intuitive. It was not until the last day that she showed us some of her very small quilts and collages, which are just stunning in their simplicity. By carefully studying her work and knowing the techniques she uses, I was able to determine how the pieces were put together.

It was really interesting using the copier instead of a printer. Of course, doing a glue, or gel transfer, for that matter, will leave a bloom of paper on the transfer. It is easier to get almost all of it off with a gel transfer than a glue transfer. A secret though, that you see only in her work close-up, is that Joan does not always remove all, or sometimes, most of the paper...things take on a very different look this way. She also showed us ways to add color to a black toner image which could then be transferred, color and all.

This is a process I want to work with some more. She uses her different transfers as collage elements, along with various pieces of monoprinted fabric, both cotton and silk.

I had a great time monoprinting (although I had just spent a lot of time doing monoprinted discharging) and worked more on texture with the paint application rather than mark-making. I made several transparencies which include a page from an old (1888) journal of accounts, and also a part of a map. Both of these will be quite handy in future work.

I have wanted to do more and more multi-media collage work...I have tons of different papers and images and ephemera which I want to use.

But right now, I still need to finish quilting twelve more of the Life Circle pieces, get ready for an Introduction to Surface Design Class, which will be in my studio tomorrow, and then start this commission.

California Fiber Artists has a wonderful opportunity. We will be having a show in a gallery in Finland. We have gone international!

And I still need to sort out show entry things...I am so behind in entering one will know that I am alive!

So, my wisdom card for today says that "I am one with everyone on the planet" and, then, on the back it continues with "I am on the cutting edge of a new conscious awakening for the whole planet. I am willing to expand the horizons of my thinking."

And my Dr. Wayne Dyer card says "The loving, innocent world of animals serves as a good example for me" and then goes on "The more you stop to observe animals and learn from them, the more healthy and peaceful your life will be."

Good things to contemplate!


Té la mà Maria said...

We have visited his blog-web and find it interesting, congratulations

There visits ours, the irreverent and iconoclast of the world,
is in Catalunya - Spain

Http: //

Thank you very much for the visit


Gerrie said...

Great post, Liz. I love how you put the whole workshop into perspective. I will look forward to your collage work, when you get there.

Rayna said...

Liz - ditto what Gerrie said about putting the workshop into perspective. And thanks for the wonderful chat we had at breakfast on Wed. Oh - I forgot to ask where you got those wisdom cards - they sound like fun!
hugs from me

PaMdora said...

wow, the workshop sounds fabu! Someday I hope to have the chance to go to a week-long workshop like that. It's my dream. I'm so happy you had this opportunity and know you will add greatly to your bag of tricks!

Robin said...

So many wonderful quilt events; so little time. Thanks for telling about it and for your links. While you were in CA, I was in Chicago. I posted some pictures of fabric postcards and journal quilts.

Ferret said...

I took the challenge to visit random art quilt ring sites and ended up here. I liked you report here. I think a lot of design is intuition, even those who learn all the rules use them best when they are doing what feels right.

fiberfanatic said...

Wonderful web page and very interesting blog! I will visit often. Learned about you throught the Surface Design Group, that I only recently joined.

Your work is very vivid and uplifting! I love it!

Hope I will be at that point soon - lately my stuff reflects the state of the recent past of my life - a little muddy. But with the move to the new house with two wonderful friends, I think that is all about to change - Oh, to have a garden again! And a hobby room! I have been sleeping in the living room at the old apartment to let the bedroom be for sewing, pattern making, designing, etc.

Hugs - Lainy