Quilting-The Twelve Step Program

Until recently I thought I was a quilter.  I have a sewing machine and many quilting tools and a nice little fabric stash.  My friend Caroline and I have taken several classes together over the years.  During a recent class I had an epiphany.  I am not a quilter.  I am a class taker.  It starts and stops there.  I hope this will change over time but here’s the pattern we have observed-oddly enough it’s a twelve step program. 

  1. Notice a class and like the sounds of it
  2. Get excited about the class and the mythical outcome
  3. Ask the quilting ladies at the quilting shop- “how much homework?”.  They say “not much”
  4. Get the class instructions and supplies list.  Don’t look closely at the instructions
  5. Shop for fabric-very exciting-still on a high
  6. Look closely at the instructions-what?  You have to do a lot of things ahead of time?!
  7. Pack ALL the stuff you need and schlep off to class
  8. The quilting instructor is very nice and very accomplished
  9. There’s homework.  You realize the quilting ladies, nice as they are, lie
  10. You think-why did I sign up for this-so much work!!!
  11. You come to end of the class-hey that’s not so bad-but there are things to be finished after the class
  12. The items becomes a UFO in your closet (Unfinished Object)  

You may or may not be a quilter but perhaps you have taken classes or courses and then …well things wither on the vine-or in a heap in the closet.  Is our experience unique or are we among friends?

Haliburton School of the Arts experience. Will this be another spitoon?

A History of Attempts at Creativity-A True Story

There’s some part of me that enjoys being creative.  It might more accurate to say some part of me enjoys making things, the results might not always be seen as creative.   Over the years I have ‘expressed my creativity’ in a few ways with varying degrees of success. Sewing is something I have done on and off for many years.  Some of the “deliverables” have been things I could wear in public (my wedding dress, for example) while a number of other creations were thrown in the corner in a fit of frustration and there they stayed until they found their way into the bottom of some drawer and then finally they went out with the garbage.  Some things were constructed but never saw the light of day after their initial fitting.  For example, early in our marriage I set out to make my spouse a pair of slacks.  To this day we refer to them as “the clown pants” (due to both lack of fit and wonky construction).  Needless to say I was liberated from looking for a pattern and material for him again.  

Other pursuits of mine bordering on creative have included knitting, macrame (that’s dating me, isn’t it), making greeting cards, tole painting and making door wreaths.  One year while at university I signed up for a free-form pottery class.  I think that was the name…it was making pieces of pottery without using a potter’s wheel.  I remember making two pieces.  One was a smallish bowl that turned out pretty well and the glaze chosen was relatively pleasing to my eyes at least.  The second item was to be a small, handle-less pitcher.  When I took it home, my practical mother looked at it and said “Oh, look!  A spitoon!”  .  And so, throughout the years as I tried to make things, if they didn’t turn out very well, people in our house say “Oh, look! A spitoon!”

Haliburton School of the Arts-Quilting The Art Quilt

Over the past few years I have started to do some quilting.  I’ve taken a number of classes  but have not really completed many projects.   Now, in my Next Chapter, that is, beyond full-time work, I can decide to devote more time to things like quilting.  With this newfound freedom, I attended a week-long course at the Haliburton School Of The Arts recently.  The class was Quilting-The Art Quilt.  The village of Haliburton is home to its own School of the Arts and the summer programs are really worth checking out. 

Earlier this year I was fortunate to take a course related to quilting from Elaine Quehl.  Elaine is full-time artist, teacher (and a very good one) and dyer from Ottawa. Her work has won many awards.    Reading Elaine’s blog a few months ago, I learned she was giving a class in Haliburton and decided it would be a wonderful experience to spend a week learning about art quilting.  When you sign up for a class you also have to find accommodation-mine was at Bonnie’s Lavender Farm and Bonnie will be the subject of my next blog.

It Isn’t Easy, Being Creative

There were 12 of us in the class.  We had some reading assigned ahead of time and the materials list….well it took me several hours to amass all the stuff we were going to need.  The “deliverables” from this class were an opportunity to hand dye 16 pieces of fabric and to make two small art quilts.  We learned about finding inspiration, about colour, composition and design and about planning and creating the art quilt. Elaine has a wealth of experience and she shares her lessons learned and her tips freely.  

We put in full days and I spoke to more than one of my classmates who, like me, felt pretty tired by the end of the day.  Trying to be creative can be exhausting.  Everyone enjoyed the class immensely.  The final products were very nice-and all very different from each other.  We had an opportunity to discuss each other’s work on our last day.  Elaine wrote a piece in her blog on the class.  When you look at the blog page, you can see some of the pieces-lots of talent and creativity.  To be clear, the leaf design quilt by “Barbara” is not me.  It was designed and sewn by the creative Barbara in the class.  While she was doing that, I was still trying to figure out the pattern.

I may get up enough nerve to show what I made…but for now, I think I’ll keep it under wraps.  I wouldn’t want to put it up here and have someone comment “Oh look!  A spitoon!”

P.S.  Being creative runs in the family!!!  My daughter just reported she and her friends spent an evening crafting tonight.  They were making underwear to throw onto the stage at the NKOTB-BSB (New Kids on The Block-Back Street Boys) concert this weekend.  Unfortunately I don’t have pictures.