Sunday, January 30, 2011

Quilting in the Desert

My teaching year was launched in an ideal way at Quilting in the Desert last week. It was a gentle way to break from the recent weeks of concentration in the studio. The excitement and sense of anticipation was contagious. I taught three classes and, as always, am delighted with the students willingness to try some new techniques.

The Abstracting from Nature workshop was three days, just long enough to really make some progress. Nature is our theme and I was thrilled that Betty Gilliam decided to use the Venus Fly Trap as her subject.  There have been many Sunflowers and Morning Glories, but this was a first! I'm jealous!!! Her interpretation is quite effective.

Jan Sheets did this very clean and graphic interpretation of a Poppy. Here is a picture at the "cropping" stage. Her plans are to substitute a few areas of background fabric with different black prints to add some depth and interest. Quilting will really be fun in all those big areas of color.

It is interesting how the surrounding environment affects every ones choice of subject. When I taught in Japan, many students chose familiar and traditional Japanese plants for their theme, like the cherry blossom and chrysanthemum.

Here in Phoenix the desert plants were common choices. Sharon Brooks worked on the Bird of Paradise in class. This flower is always a challenge because it is so simple to begin with... Mother Nature has already stylized it.
I enjoy the way she has condensed the orange petals into a single piece and used the unexpected turquoise to improve her composition.

The scale of each project is as variable as their themes. Becky Schroeder's Shooting Star, below, grew quickly and is at least five foot tall. The gradation of blues in the background works quite nicely. The stem fabric proved to be the toughest challenge and changed throughout the process. Then in the last half hour they changed again to a rusty wine color, which seems to be the winner.

So I'm back at home for a few days before I leave for classes in Florida. As always, my students have encouraged and inspired me, too! I will be full of ideas and energy when I get back into the studio again.


Melissa P said...

Looks like a great time was had by all. That Venus Fly Trap is going to be stunning.

LuLu said...

Howdy Jane,

Happy New Year!
Hope you are all well.

Your class looks like it was a lot of fun and very productive. Can't wait 'till I get to take one of your classes.

Have fun in Florida - Bon Voyage!

Mary Lou

Karen S said...

These are gorgeous! What a fun class that must have been.