Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Workshop with Nancy Crow – viewed in retrospection

Day before yesterday I returned home from my two-week-stay in Falera (CH), where I participated in two workshops by Nancy Crow and translated two workshops by Jan Myers-Newbury.

results from shibori class drying on the line

my first attempts at shibori...

Because some of my boxes are supposed to be stored in a room where a guest of ours is sleeping I have not unpacked the car yet. But this morning I took out my notebook from another workshop with Nancy Crow which I took a couple of years ago and which had a similar topic („Figure/Ground Composition“) and tried to compare what we did then with this workshop („Lines, Curves, Circles, Figure and Ground“). I had consciously not looked at the older notebook before leaving for Falera, because I wanted to approach this new class with a clear mind.
It was very noticeable that the design exercises differed a lot, both classes were structured on a different principle. For one thing, we did not do any black-and-white studies a few years ago, and we were supposed to bring some inspirational pictures, which had not been asked for this time around.

"The Walks of Life in Yellow" -
 finished quilt from a figure/ground workshop
with Nancy Crow four years ago
I have to admit that I had found the figure/ground class a very difficult one then, and I still think it is one of the most challenging parts of composition in my quiltmaking. However, during this class I sometimes had the feeling that the whole problem got more and more complicated if I think about it too consciously. I don’t want to say that working from the guts is always the best way in this matter, but certainly a lot of careful thinking doesn’t make it any easier. It is definitely an aspect that will keep me on my toes for a long time to come.

This time, I had started the last design exercise almost a whole day later than all the others. I had fallen behind due to the interpreting, and had decided that I wanted to finish the second exercise before I started on the last one instead of taking it back in pieces. At least that I managed.
First sketches for the last exercise were put to paper during a nice chat with my house-mates after dinner.

Nancy pretty quickly approved of them, with the addition „We’ll have to see what it looks like when you put it up on the wall first, though.“ So although I did feel a few reservations about cutting more black shapes, I did go about it, put up a first design,, and was pushed a bit by Nancy to make it better before she gave me a ‘go ahead’.

Black-and-white design for last exercise in workshop

When receiving the instructions I definitely had the feeling that the result of this exercise could look nothing better than a workshop piece, which had not exactly enamoured me of it. The last exercise in the earlier class had been much more openly formulated and resulted in individual and original designs, whereas already the three-part format that was a strict given this time must result in much look-alike. Add to that the “use as may colours as possible”, and you get many tops that somehow look alike. 
Nevertheless, I did begin putting my design into fabric, and I might even go ahead and continue to sew it. For one thing, I want to practise and familiarize myself with a new technique that I learned about. But I also think that I could definitely learn a lot by pushing this one through. It might look just like a workshop piece in the end after all. But that’s ok. That’s what workshops are for, to learn something, and then to have a piece which reminds you of the fact that you did learn that thing doing exactly this piece.
I hope that these two weeks will reamin with me for a while – and not only because of sewing this top together and finishing the other three that are completely sewn.

No comments:

Post a Comment