I would never recommend taking three straight class at the Crow Barn. Most of us are in the studio from about seven in the morning until ten at night for five days straight. The commute from the Barn to the hotel is about 30 minutes. My usual strategy is to wake at 6AM throw on some clothes and go out into the hotel lobby and see if I can hitch a ride with a fellow student. I then hitch a ride back to the hotel at 10PM. I shower and try to calm myself enough to go sleep by eleven-thirty. I then get up and repeat.
After two weeks of this, your body is pretty much tapped. But I didn’t know that going in.
Fortunately, they do feed us VERY well. Chef Margaret makes magnificent healthy meals that fuel our creativity and keep us going.
Despite being tired, my third week at the barn was a good one. The class was called Improvisations: Let’s Experiment! For many of Nancy’s students, this is their favorite class. My favorites are Strip Piecing and Restructuring which I wrote about here and here, and Sets and Variables II: Using a Compound Motif which I took the following spring.
Our class was very small which meant there were few distractions. Every member of the class was super focused and intent on creating new work. This made for a very productive week.
Nancy made it clear from the beginning of the week that we would be traveling at the speed of light–she was going to work us! All of the exercises were designed to get us making compositions without a lot of formal planning.
Our first assignment was to make strip sets of black and white and create a composition. I completed it, but I have no idea where it is located now. And I don’t have a photo of the finished composition. But here is what it roughly looked like. You can tell that I am not getting it.
Next we moved on to a black plus color composition. First we made our strip sets.
I will say that this is the piece where I began to get a grasp on figure ground composition. For me, interesting figure ground composition is when the two argue with each. Black says, “I’m ground.” Blue says, “NO. I’m ground.” They fight, and it is interesting to look at. This quilt received the Nancy Crow stamp of approval. Yeah me.That moment always feels good.
Next we made a bunch of really wonky, wavy fabric. We wildly cut curves and then stitched them together. This was challenge for me. I like to be precise. Having only just given up my ruler a week ago, this was a stretch for me.
Once you cut these wavy strips into small units the curves are released and the fabric is really interesting to look at. I played and played with these bits, but failed to create a final composition.
Until I got home. This quilt is called Do a Little Dance.
We quickly moved on to what I call curvy cut and swap. My attempt at this looked a bit like someone threw up Christmas. Oh well, they can’t all be winners. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
The last exercise of the week was my favorite. We were to take one of our previous compositions from the week, isolate a part of that composition and blow it up into its own composition. I choose a section from my black and white composition.
And then I just started throwing fabric on the wall and moving it around. We were all doing it, and it was great fun. Everyone got amazing work out of this exercise. Here you can see the section of the black and white composition and how it is influencing the larger color composition.
Once I felt good about a particular area, I stitched it up. The piece was very close to being finished.
Looking at it now, I want to dig it back out and put it on the design wall, but now is not the time for that.
Because it was a small class, there was lots of room to display, not just my work from that week, but work from all three weeks. Here’s a very tired and very happy me with some of my favorites from all three weeks.