I am doing a new 5-day workshop! Improvisational Stitching!
But what does that mean, exactly? Well funny you should ask, because I’ve given it a great deal of thought. Improvisational Stitching is what I call what I do when I begin with a piece of fabric, usually a piece of hand dyed linen, with no preconceived notion of what I’m going to do other than follow the striations in the fabric and begin stitching. I don’t sketch anything out, I just begin stitching.
Over time the piece develops and I begin adding other elements. Sometimes I’ll add other materials, other times that means painting directly onto the fabric and even over the stitching, as I did with my piece, Perseverance.
Eventually the piece takes on a life of its own and then it’s up to me to follow as best I can.
Olea began as a 14″ by 16″ piece of olive green hand dyed linen. I started stitching and adding things, like the hand painted t-shirt strips to the left.
Eventually it became this, which I titled, “Olea” but my friend Anna Bates called, “After the Wedding”.
Improvisational Stitching is so much fun! There are no rules, nothing is forbidden, anything goes. I absolutely love it!! Which leads me to the workshop I’m doing: Improvisational Stitching!
Have you ever wanted to create an improvisational piece, but felt too intimidated to start? This is the workshop for you!
We begin with a hand dyed piece of linen, loosely woven cotton or wool. I suggest starting with a piece that isn’t too large – say 14” x 16” or smaller. It can be a square or a rectangle. Choose a color that you love for the background. It can be any color, just make sure you LOVE it! If you want to piece a background together, you can also do that.
This is a “hands on” workshop, in other words, everyone will be working and creating during the workshop with me cheering you on. Using a wide variety of threads, and other materials, we will embellish with no preconceived ideas. I will hold your hand, encourage you to explore and try new things. Each week you will be given a challenge to expand and add to your piece. This is a dive-into-the-deep-end workshop. We will have a blast. All levels of stitchers are welcome. You will not be alone. I will be with you every step of the way.
Workshop Length: 5 Saturdays from 1pm – 4:30pm EDT
In January I had the opportunity to go to one of Sue Spargo‘s fabulous workshops in Tucson, Arizona, a place I’d never been. While there I met some lovely people, one of whom was Anna Bates, who has a blog, Woolie Mammoth, a YouTube channel – Quilt Roadies, and blogs for The Quilt Show once a week under the heading – Anna and G on the Road. During the course of our five days together, Anna interviewed me and wrote a lovely post about me and my work. Though I realized afterward that while I sent her photographs of my early designs in fashion and knitting, even a photo of one of my hand thrown and hand painted pots, I didn’t send photos of my jewelry! (insert wide eyed emoji). So here are a few additions to her post…
Because of my conversation with Anna, I reflected on the past (almost) forty years now, when I began my studies at Parsons School of Design and now, when I am learning everything I can about quilting, quilts, dyeing, and manipulating fabric in different ways to create an image, a feeling, an idea…
All of which led me to a recurring topic – finding one’s artistic voice. How does one find it? How can it be nurtured, cultivated, encouraged?
While listening to a podcast a few weeks ago, two musicians were discussing this very idea and one of them repeated something they’d been told by another artist friend, who basically said – the only way to find your voice is by doing, and in the doing, you will not only find your voice, but it will make itself heard.
I love that! And it aligns with what I have learned through my experiences designing, whether that was fashion, knits, jewelry or quilts and fabric art.
A few months ago I decided I needed to learn how to piece. In quilting terms this is the ability to make something that looks like this: (This hen block was designed by Janet Nesbitt of One Sister.)
I have had a number of design ideas, such as combining pieced blocks with appliqué blocks and overlapping design elements that I cannot realize because there are some pretty basic things I do not know how to do. Piecing was one of them. I’m working on two quilts at the moment that cover all of these things, but in order to do them, and do them well, I need to learn how and then to practice, practice, practice.