It’s all about opening up doors and tearing down walls! How often have you heard this statement? Last fall a personal experience and many deeply encouraging comments helped me make a decision: I began to actively plan opening the doors to my personal studio and convert the space once a month to welcome design students.
Before I carry on with my report: I want you to understand that when we built the studio a little over 4 years ago a fleeting thought was quickly dismissed when someone suggested I contemplate running classes and workshops from my personal studio, my sacred creative space.
Never say never – famous last words! I abandoned this personal pledge late last fall and began in earnest to entertain the thought of gathering students to explore the study of design in my space. The brochure was designed, I mentioned it briefly in my monthly newsletter and within days I had 5 registration cheques in my hand. The sixth student confirmed her attendance the same day two more people informed me that their cheques were in the mail.
I was humbled: Eight students serious enough to put their faith into me were anticipating opportunities to learn skills they can employ in their own designs, freeing them each from following patterns for quilting and fiber art in general. Eight might not be a large number when you live in a city or even a town, eight students for me was an overwhelming show of support. Three students travel 2 1/2 hours, one student 2 hours, another 1 full hour and 2 drive 30 minutes (in good weather) to make it to my studio.
Getting ready for the workshop , which will run for three Saturdays (once a month) took some planning. I invested in 8 folding tables and chairs to ensure comfort and equal work space for each participant. Caution was thrown to the wind… I knew I could comfortable accommodate 6 more bodies in my studio – then I tried to visually arrange the space and began to worry. However, pushing my cutting table, sewing machine center and ironing station a few more inches toward the windows and the storage cupboards provided a large area for six workstations. Two more stations were set up in front of my mid-arm quilting machine and frame. As you can probably glean from the slideshow above the transformation was successful and once everyone arrived and took their seat the space quickly transformed into a creative classroom buzzing with energy.
Smiles all around and eager execution of the design exercises presented made time fly by in a flash. Lunch was a nice change around our dining room table, ensuring to accommodate food allergies, dislikes and getting to likes individual participants were getting to know each other, chat and share personal stories. Soon everyone was anxious to head back up the stairs to the studio to continue their work.
We covered the topics of contrast, which included various exercises to explore gray scales, and we concentrated on recognizing line and form. A detailed handout includes a design glossary which will help with the clarification of some new words pertaining to design and the homework.
The word “homework” generated some exciting responses – nobody objected, everyone was going to use it to get out of doing dishes or general house work. Imagine! Homework is viewed as something pleasurable and positive. We have come a long way from our school days.
So far, so great (not just “good”- you read it correctly). Yesterday’s workshop day has set the tone of positive anticipation and laid the groundwork for the future of leading workshops close to home and my studio as a teaching venue. Thank you to all who have committed your time and support. I look forward to February and a day filled with color and infinite possibilities!
For anyone not familiar with where I live and work, visit my website to view some scenic images in the gallery under studio tour.