A Message from the Barn

Greetings from Ohio. In all honesty, this has been one hell of week. I should not be surprised–studying at the Crow Barn is always its own unique version of purgatory. Will I be redeemed? I have no idea. I really don’t.

We worked on two exercises this past week. The first focused on using motifs and a mad cap search for glowing figures on flat grounds. Unfortunately, few of us found what we were looking for.

After spending so much time making linear Color Grids, I decided to go with a curvy motif for the exercise. If you are interested in learning more about my color grids you can by clicking here.

Curvy Motif

We were to make a total of 16 units of the same motif. Each one was to be beautiful in its own right. I enjoy this sort of assignment. Approaching the same thing from different angles over and over again really makes me happy. It is all about the repetition.

16 Curvy Motifs

But then we were to cut all of them up! Here is a view of them close together, but not really arranged. I liked them a lot.

Un-Cut Curvy Motifs

Still I did it–I cut them up. In the world of literature, they call it killing your babies. And that is a bit what it felt like. Death by rotary cutter.

Out of the carnage, a better composition was supposed to emerge.

I found myself happily making circles. I know I have been there before. Like ordering your favorite item off of the menu, or finding a well-known movie playing on the T.V., returning to something familiar and loved always feels good and safe.

Circles form Curvy Motifs

But those feelings are not what the Barn is about. Intellectually, I understand this–you can’t grow if you only create what you are comfortable making. But emotionally, this was oh-so hard for me.

I did it though. And I mostly felt mad the entire time. I will say in complete truthfulness–I am not a particularly teachable student. I am much more interested in pleasing myself than I am in pleasing my teacher. Yes, I want their approval. But I want them to approve of my work as it is. Not the other way around. I also discovered today that I am a resistant learner. What does this mean? It means I, for some whacked out reason, always resist the exercise. I am a bit mortified at this realization. It really is an unflattering personality trait. This is what happened visually.

Final Curvy

On the outside it is okay. But on the inside it felt like something I didn’t want to do. Why? I do not know.

In an unprecedented–at least to my knowledge–move, we are working through Saturday and Sunday on assignment number two. After the tragedy of assignment number one, which involved lots of dead babies and no glowing figures, I am feeling good about the current assignment.

Nancy Crow

In the next few days, I will try to share my progress in photos, but for now I will tell you that it involves a traditional quilt block. Here is what my work space looked like on Friday afternoon.

Work Space

Yippppeee for traditional quilt blocks and eight hours of sleep!

P.S. I am sharing this post on Nina-Marie’s blog where you can check out all kinds of fiber artist postings about what they have been doing this week.

This entry was published on October 5, 2013 at 5:49 PM. It’s filed under News And Events, Quilt Stories, The Crow Barn and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

17 thoughts on “A Message from the Barn

  1. I’m with you…I loved the un-cut-up version.
    I’m not sure you’re a reluctant student; I think you’re a self-aware artist.

  2. studionysha.com on said:

    If you weren’t resisting at some point there would be no huge break though! Stick with it and you will grow! There is something special and flowing after you cut up the blocks and “uncircled” them!

  3. I wish I was there at the Barn with you….I can almost feel your pain…

    I like the idea of cutting things up, and I like your reworked composition. It has much more movement.

    • Heather, I wish you were here too. It is a great group. We are all focused and I would say that everyone has hit their stride and on to making amazing work. It has not been easy, but the barn is glowing with color and inspiration.

  4. Glad you are getting to do this.Soldier on!

  5. I love you
    I can feel your pain and frustration (?)
    Why do we keep coming back???
    Thanks for sharing, wish i was there with you

    • Thank you dear Rachel. I wish you were here to debrief with every morning as we drive through the beautiful Ohio country side. Things have been great since my first week crash. It is nice to get the melt down done early. love you.

  6. Pingback: Crow Barn Week 8 into 9 Part I | Maria Shell

  7. Liz Randal on said:

    I have to say I like the preliminary version better! Much better, actually, although the second version has a lot going for it.

    • I know, but the point of the exercise is to follow the instructions. It is one of things I struggle with when I am taking a class. There is a always a point when I want to take the energy and just run in my own direction. Which is okay, but it is not following the lesson.

  8. Good write up Maria – sharing your soul. I look forward to being there in couple weeks.

  9. I enjoy reading about your experiences at the Barn. Lately I’ve been wondering if it is an experience that I am ready to undertake..

    • If you are ready to take your quilting to the next level it is the thing to do. There is nothing like a Crow Barn class. The lessons, the food, the atmosphere, the other students. It is amazing!

Leave a Reply to Teresa WongCancel reply