With more than just a bit of anxiety I made a Big Commitment-I signed up for Elizabeth Barton‘s year-long “Design Master Class” course. Elizabeth is a very accomplished artist/dyer and I have long admired her work. When she announced in December that she was offering an on-line design class with a very small class size, I immediately signed up.
I know there are two things I really need to work on: my Photo Shop skills and my design skills. I’m tackling one at a time. If I had unlimited time and money I WOULD be in Hawaii Feb 5-7 taking Photo Shop from the Pixeladies-sigh!
I am excited to be going on this journey of strengthening and challenging my design skills. I’ll be documenting my monthly assignments here so you will see it all-the good and the not so good.
Elizabeth has structured the class with monthly assignments and focus. January’s focus is on value. Yeah, I need to work on that one! Each month she sends out a lesson and instructions for our assignment.
We are to submit a sketch by the 10th, a mock up of a quilt by the 20th and completed quilts by the end of the month. We have our own private blog and Elizabeth posts our assignments there with her comments, so we get to learn from her as well as from the other students.
I submitted several inspiration photos to work from along with their value sketches. With Elizabeth’s suggestions I chose to work from this one. I wanted to keep it very simple-something I have to work at! By keeping it simple I hoped to focus on value, not technique or construction.
Well nothing seems to be easy for me. I decided I was not going to even try to make something that I would expect to hang on my wall-I just wanted to feel free to experiment and play. I decided that my background would not be my focus. I created a collaged surface by simply Misty fusing hunks of fabric to muslin-no batting or backing even. Those 2 hunks of lighter gray fabric screamed next to the warmer and darker fabrics.
I changed them out and this worked much better. I decided to add more plants than were in the photo. I could not find the colors from the photo in my stash so I went for the value more than the actual color.
I’m all full of hope here but I know it’s not shaping up to be my best work. I missed the deadline of the 20th so I did not receive any feedback on my mock up quilt -that’s part of the class structure. So I just plunged ahead anyway. I have the feeling if I had made the deadline and received feedback that the end product would have been much better.
Wow, really missed the mark here. The stitching adds no real value contrast. I forgot to take photos of this part but I also tried Tsukineko inks on a scrap leaf-oh that did not work! I need some time to develop those skills.
I thought I would go back to thread so I ripped out the green and tried gray thread. Maybe this is a wee bit better but I am not capturing the values from the photo. I know it doesn’t look like much but I had invested a lot of time. At this point I had to just let it be-I’ve got approaching deadlines, my home guild’s upcoming show, a SAQA meeting…you know how it is.
Even though I’m not at all happy with the piece, I tried, I learned, I played. I’m confident some month’s work will be much better than this.
This all gets back to one Really Big Point. I’ll paraphrase from Art and Fear (David Bayles, Ted Orland), a great book: “Ya gotta make a bunch of poor or mediocre work on your way to make great work.” Oh that is so loosely paraphrased, but that is the gist of it. Onward!