Sunday, March 5, 2017

A Class--It Has Been a Long Time

I haven't taken a class (in person) for a long time. I have purchased many online classes through Craftsy and iQuilt and REALLY like those, but this past weekend I took a class at the Indiana Heritage Quilt Show in Bloomington, Indiana. I took a design class taught by Bill Kerr. I really enjoyed it and feel like I learned a few things.
Bill spent some time speaking about his quilts and elements of design for each one. The thing, though, that I found most interesting (partly because I have done A LOT of design work from Lyric Kinard's "Art + Quilt: Design Principles and Creativity Exercises" book) was his emphasis on intention/intentionality. He spoke about the "intention" behind each of the quilts he had with him in class. In looking at each quilt, I couldn't "see" the intention behind it; but when he explained it, it made perfect sense.
The first part of the class was organized to have have us create little (what he called) maquettes or models/samples/studies in a very short period of time. He gave us "assignments" throughout the day. This is the result of our first "assignment" for the class. We were (in 20 minutes) to make a STATIC design on an 8" X 10" background using 5 rectangles. (Static means stationary or fixed.) Doing ANYTHING quickly is a challenge for me since I do practically everything slowly.
Next, we put them up on the design wall and the class was assigned to put these little studies in order from most static to least static. We had to justify the placement of each (using complete sentences, as requested by Bill). I felt pretty good about this one (especially since mine was placed in the second position--turquoise and purple.)
The next assignment was to use the same 8" X 10" background and the same 5 rectangles we used in the static sample to make a dynamic design sample. (Dynamic means energetic, capable of action and/or change.) Again, we were asked to place the samples in order from most dynamic to least dynamic. The discussion revolved around our reasons for placing each piece in its designated position. Using the exact same pieces as the static maquette, I felt like I did a pretty good job of creating movement. We talked about the difference between "dynamic" and chaos here.
Next, we were asked to create a design we found personally pleasing using an 8" X 10" background and three squares of ANY color. The discussion here was about why we found the arrangement pleasing. What did we like about the design? It really took a lot of thought to articulate the reason behind the design. Again, each of these exercises (static, dynamic, and squares) was made in approximately 20 minutes and not meant to be topics for discussion not "actual" quilts. However, many of these could be made into interesting quilts.
The last thing of the day was to make a design depicting a feeling, a place, or a concept of some kind. I do believe he mentioned we should make the piece 18" X 18" or 18" X 24", but (as you see) not everyone followed those directions (which wasn't required). We were given approximately 45 minutes to complete this piece. We had to "explain" what we were trying to accomplish with the piece, and Bill spoke about each one. The discussion was VERY interesting. 
Doing these small "studies" was really good for me; I didn't have time to overthink the process. I can see me doing more of these, because I got some good ideas from really thinking about them and what I liked or didn't like about each one. Working quickly helped me find some ideas I might otherwise not have come upon.
If you haven't taken a class (in person) for awhile, I would encourage you to do so. You meet some nice people and you will learn SOMETHING if you go in with an open mind. If you have a chance to take a class with Bill Kerr, I would encourage that too. He is a very positive person and has a gentle manner when critiquing the work. He set the tone from the very beginning that the class would be a "safe place" to share. You can check out his website here.
I did take some pictures at the show and will share those later.


Lisa Greenbow said...

don't you just love it when you feel like you've learned something at a class. You didn't waste time, learned something and have some new inspiration. I find it very difficult to express what I am trying to do while creating. hmmmmmm

Anonymous said...

Just what you shared here was quite interesting. I think I might be at the edge of my depth in such a class, but I also think I'd walk away with something important that was new. Thanks so much for sharing this. I can imagine the discussion was fantastic!