SEW FUN Recap 2014

I know SEW FUN happened in June, but I still want to tell you about it. Blogging is my closure, my finishing moment for events.

And, I–not so secretly–hope my writings might entice you into visiting Alaska and attending SEW FUN 2015. It really would be a great way to see Alaska, make new friends, and get some stitching done all at the same time.

In 2012, I taught a five day art quilt class called Creative Cloth at the Wrangell Mountains Center (WMC). I lead my students through a series of exercises to help them realize their ideas in cloth. You can read about the amazing time we had by clicking on this link.

Creative Cloth was a real good time, but in the end, I realized what the community of McCarthy really wants is the time, space, materials, and assistance to stitch. That might be an art quilt, but is could just as easily be an apron, a skirt, curtains, oven mitts, really anything you can make with a sewing machine is fair game.

So, I restructured and “rebranded” the class to reflect the needs of the community. Viola, SEW FUN was born. I set everything up in the Old Hardware Store which is the WMC’s main classroom space. Maria Shell SEW FUN Recap 2014I bring the materials and sewing machines–although you can bring your own if you like. The idea really is–if you want to sew all you need is to bring yourself, and it can happen in this class.

I think of SEW FUN as a three day stitching extravaganza. You can sign up for one, two, or three days. We stitch from ten in the morning until ten at night. Of course, we break for yummy meals. Maria Shell SEW FUN Recap 2014Look at how clean everyone’s plates are! Maria Shell SEW FUN Recap 2014These meals are made by the happy and hardworking Hardware Store Staff. Maria Shell SEW FUN Recap 2014I love each and every one of them. Maria Shell SEW FUN Recap 2014At eight, we have cocktails and wine. Maria Shell SEW FUN Recap 2014This is the first year of the Meg Hunt Residency Program at the WMC. We were very lucky to have expert dyer and internationally known art quilter Ann Johnston join us. She shared with us her methods for raw edge appliqué. Maria Shell SEW FUN Recap 2014She also gave us a slide show presentation on her most recent work which explores the Sierra Nevada from a range of views. Maria Maria Shell SEW FUN Recap 2014She was available for conversation and assistance.  Maria Shell SEW FUN Recap 2014It was great to have her involvement in the class. My hope is that this will happen every year during SEW FUN. For any of you professional fiber artists who are out there–the application process for the 2015 residencies will open at the beginning of next year.

For twelve hours straight, I move from student to student with the goal of empowering each of them to realize their stitched dreams. If they want to talk design and composition, we do that. If they want to learn how to make a button hole, that’s what we do. It is a weirdly exhilarating and exhausting experience for me. Sometimes I do feel like my head is going to pop off–I do kind of look like that might happen. What can I say? I’m thrill seeker.Maria Shell SEW FUN Recap 2014To add to the chaos, my boys are always in the background. Sometimes they are behaving. Maria Shell SEW FUN Recap 2014And sometimes they are not. Maria Shell SEW FUN Recap 2014This year, students made a wide assortment of stitched things. Andrea used scraps to make these lovely appliquéd bits for a quilt for her baby sister. That’s one lucky baby.

Christine made a very cool bag out of a tent, a dry bag, and some webbing. Christine is clever AND an excellent seamstress.

Claire made a bag out of vintage upholstery fabric and quilter’s cotton. Maria Shell SEW FUN Recap 2014Maria Shell SEW FUN Recap 2014 Beth made a baby great baby quilt, and she even started to quilt it during the class. She’s just that good.Maria Shell SEW FUN Recap 2014Cynthia finished up some book covers she had started in another class as well as got to know her new sewing machine.

Tamara (who is a bit of a perfectionist) made a skirt out of an old wool blanket. She didn’t like it, but her second attempt using fabric from her travels was looking like a success. Maria Shell SEW FUN Recap 2014Mark finished his quilt from SEW FUN 2013. It is a masterpiece composed of 30 years of shirts. I love how he included details from the shirts in his work.

We will be setting the dates for SEW FUN 2015 in the near future. Maria Shell SEW FUN Recap 2014If you’d like to know more about this unconventional sewing experience, please ask. I’d love for you to join us.

And if you are hankering for even more SEW FUN stories you can read all about last year’s SEW FUN right here.




Thank you for stopping by!


This entry was published on August 8, 2014 at 10:54 AM. It’s filed under About Teaching and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “SEW FUN Recap 2014

  1. This REALLY makes me want to come! But alas, money IS an object here. Lord willing, though, it could happen.

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