What a treat it was to be able to teach a 3-day version of my Paint & Print-a-palooza workshop locally at Meissner’s Sewing in Sacramento. This was my second time teaching the class. The first time was at Craft Napa as a 1-day class. 3 days was great! It gave students enough time to take the fabric they made over the first 2 days all the way to the point of sewing blocks together with it.
On the first we focused on creating colorful textured base fabrics by applying acrylic inks in a number of different ways.
To help students effectively mix color, I made this color chart with the acrylic inks we use in the class.
This is just a sampling of the beautiful base fabrics. I wish I could show them all to you, but this post would get very long!
After pressing out our fabrics, we set to work first using a variety of different stamps; rubber, wood, and foam, then we switched to using thermofax screens and screen printing inks. Screen printing has the benefit of adding light colored imagery with a crisp graphic quality. Acrylic inks have a bit of transparency to them so you can only go darker with colors, screen printing inks are thick and opaque so you can use white and bright colors on dark backgrounds.
The printed fabrics students made came out gorgeous!
After I talked about my thought process on the way I like to make rules for myself when making blocks, like the kind I made for my quilt Bushwhack (left), I shared my process for piecing and gave my students total freedom to take this information and do what they wanted with it.
I was really interested to see the different ways students would use their fabric, whether it was by piecing, appliqué or both.
I’ve never been the kind of teacher that makes students do things exactly the way I do. There are many different ways to approach a project and I prefer giving guidelines and show techniques that work for me, but then give lots of freedom for interpretation. My goal is always to help students master skills, encourage and inspire creativity and let each ones personal voice come through in their work.
Wow, oh wow! I felt like a midwife, heh, I was so excited to see how each student combined and stitched the fruits of their labor together, bringing their unique blocks to life.
Some students chose to work solely with the fabric they created and others incorporated commercial fabric.
Such amazing work done by everyone!
For some time, I’ve been interested in combining commercial fabrics with my hand-printed fabric. Open space can really accentuate the beauty of hand printed fabrics, and by incorporating solid color, or low visual texture fabrics, it can give the eye an opportunity to rest. Sometimes when colors and patterns are too busy they compete with each other and get lost in the chaos. That open space, and graphic quality, is one of the things that make ‘modern’ quilts so appealing.
The concept of defining blocks this way can be achieved in a variety of ways. For example; having a strong value (light vs dark) difference between the blocks, or cool vs warm, or a very busy pattern next to a very simple or smaller scale pattern, or an organic pattern (floral or abstract) next to a geometric (stripe or polka dot) can all create definition between blocks. There are many many options, and it feels like there’s not enough time to explore them all, right?
I want to thank Meissner’s Sewing again for their generosity in giving me the opportunity to teach in their shop.
This was a really fun workshop, in fact it was so much fun, Meissners has asked me to teach my 10+ Techniques with Acrylic Inks workshop in August and there are already 19 people on the interested list 🙂 let Meissner’s Sewing know if you’d like to be added to the list for information on registering.
Some thoughts on the benefits of multi-day workshops
As a teacher I love teaching 2 or more day workshops, because for some classes one day barely scratches the surface of where we potentially can go when exploring a new technique or medium. A lot more growth can happen when there’s extended time to experiment and play, as well as having an instructor who can help you solve problems, jump hurdles and gently push you out of your comfort zone.
I know the problem for guilds lies in that students don’t sign up for 2 day workshops as often, and guilds can have trouble filling multi day classes if students are unfamiliar with what’s being offered. No one wants to lose money, so guilds rarely want to take the risk of booking a 2 day workshop, so it becomes a viscous cycle.
I’d like to make a suggestion, if you want more in depth workshops at your guild, take the initiative of talking to your friends, get a list going of people who would be interested in a taking a multi day workshop with the teacher of your choice and approach your programs organizer with the list. I think if they’re more confident about filling a multi day class they’ll be more likely to book one.
I’d love to spark your creativity at one of these upcoming events:
May 5 Prayer Flags 1-day
May 6-7 Paint and Print-A-Palooza 2 day workshop, SLO Creative Studio, San Luis Obispo, CA
August (date TBA) 10+ Techniques with Acrylic Inks, 2-day Meissner’s Sewing, Sacramento, CA
October 5-10 New Zealand National Quilt Symposium, Christchurch, NZ
Painting Imagery with Textile Paints 2-days
Tea & Ephemera
Paint & Print-A-Palooza
Blessings in the Wind: Mixed-media prayer flags