A Few Things you Should Know

A few things you should know.

I am not God. I am a seeker just as you are. We are all on this journey together.

thumb_IMG_6490_1024

While we are all traveling down the same road, some of us are further along in the journey—Hence some of us are teachers and some of us are students. It is good to tell yourself this when you enter a new space of learning.

thumb_IMG_6491_1024

We all learn from each other. I learn from you. You learn from me. In fact, by then end of our time together, we may discover that you are further along the path than I am. You, instead of me, are the teacher. This is OKAY. We find our teachers and our students in the most unusual places. The point is to find them, identify them, and learn or teach with them.

thumb_IMG_6500_1024

Check your ego at the door. Open up your center to pain and process, to making and stitching, to vulnerability. It is in this space that the greatest works are made.  It will all happen if you are open. Say yes to this.

thumb_IMG_6501_1024

It is not easy. If it were, everyone would be doing it.

thumb_IMG_6505_1024

I cannot know what you do not tell me. I will be listening and watching to learn about where you are as a student and where you want to go. I will be looking at the work you put on the wall. I will be listening to what you say about your compositions. I will be observing your process—by process, I mean the WAY you build a quilt. I will be watching your body language and expressions for feedback and understanding. And I may get it all wrong.

thumb_IMG_6513_1024

Floundering happens. And when you are floundering, I am failing. We are in this difficult moment together.

thumb_IMG_6528_1024

I will frequently tell you things that you will not hear. I will tell you them again, and I will tell you them again. I will tell you things through images and words and actions. Trust me and eventually it will stick—you will hear and see what I am saying.

thumb_IMG_6533_1024

Construction is an issue that must be contemplated at EVERY step of the way. I will say that again. Construction is an issue that must be contemplated at every step of the way. It is one thing to have a vision, it is something else entirely to build it. Adjustments and adaptions will be made and the sooner you embrace flexibility, the further along your journey you will travel. You can also choose water colors or acrylics—construction is not a problem with these mediums.

thumb_IMG_6536_1024

We are building the surface. Connecting bits together with the dream of making something whole and beautiful. Starting from scratch we stitch into the unknown. Be fearless with your sewing machine. Be mindful with your iron. Be loose with your rotary cutter.

thumb_IMG_6540_1024

Piece work involves color, pattern, and repetition along with the craft of cutting, stitching, and pressing to perfection. We must hold all of these things together at the same time. This is a lot to carry. Practice will make it easier.

thumb_IMG_6542_1024

Not every idea will bare beauty. If you can, try not to think of these compositions as failures or mistakes. Instead consider them to be new knowledge and potential.

thumb_IMG_6556_1024

It is okay to stare at your quilt for a very long time. It is fine to walk away and return. It is perfectly acceptable to steal, borrow, and manipulate your materials—but please do it with honesty and respect for those who have traveled this road before you.

thumb_IMG_6577_1024

Like I said, I’m not god. I am a seeker, and these are just a few notes from my journey.

PS- These images are from the workshop Abstraction of Place held June 16-20 2017 at the Wrangell Mountains Center.

Quilt Workshop Flyer

My students went deep and the results were truly amazing. All three participants were beginning art quilters, and their work blew me away. Mark your calendars–I will be doing this again out here in McCarthy in June 2019.

This entry was published on June 20, 2017 at 2:37 PM. It’s filed under About Teaching, Thoughts and Opinions and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

21 thoughts on “A Few Things you Should Know

  1. pmgarrett2 on said:

    Awesome

    Sent from my Verizon 4G LTE smartphone

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kelly on said:

    I am DEFINITELY adding this to my calendar for next year. Same dates?

    Like

    • Kelly- I meant to say 2019! I am hoping to offer this workshop every other year out here in McCarthy, Alaska. Maybe I will get invited to teach at the Valdez Quilt Festival and we can meet up there. That is always wonderful event. Are you in Alaska? If I know where you are, I can share my relevant teaching info with you. Thank you!

      Like

      • Kelly on said:

        I live in Tennessee and could easily travel to Paducah to see you in the fall, but the Alaska experience sounds so phenomenal and unique that I want to save my pennies for that. I will certainly keep in it mind for 2019!

        Like

      • I would be really interested in attending any classes you might teach in Valdez — I’m only about two hours north of there. I had hoped to make it to McCarthy last weekend..but wasn’t sure about transportation out there those dates. 😦 Any idea when you would know if you’ll be teaching? Thanks!

        Like

      • Christine- the Valdez Quilt Festival happens every other year. The next time will be in September of 2018. I will keep you posted. I taught there in 2016 and they like to have new teachers, so they may or may not invite me back next year. We need to keep our fingers crossed. Either way, I think you would enjoy the festival. The committee always brings a great rooster of teachers!If you decided to come out to McCarthy in 2019 for the workshop then, contact me and I can help you with the logistics of getting here. Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

        Like

  3. Beautifully written and deeply felt.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, yes! It seems to me we get the most out of life when we can be flexible and open to experimentation and new learnings. But that can be hard!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Deborah Bight on said:

    Oh, Maria, I so want to do this! How exciting!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Your writing is beautiful and inspirational. Your writing makes me want to sew.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. debby on said:

    Construction is an issue that must be contemplated at every step of the way. Oh boy is that true. I just ran into a construction wall tonight on something new I was trying out. I’m still not sure what the problem was!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like to sketch as I am building it helps me see the construction lines. I also take photos and print them out so that I can draw on the “quilt” to see where my stitches lines work best. And there is always the partial seam which I avoid if I can! I hope your composition came out alright!

      Like

  8. It looks like the workshop was fantastic! Thanks for your images and words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Carrie! I hope you are having a good summer. It looks like I might be back Berkeley in the fall. I will keep you posted!

      Like

      • Kristi Willard on said:

        I’ve been contemplating what my goals are for your class at Sisters. When you wrote about staring at the quilt, I cringed. That is such a tough part for me. I stare, but don’t know what to do next. Is it unbalanced, chaotic, and unfocused? Or is it modern improv?

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Kristi- I am so glad you are taking one of my classes at Sisters! We will do amazing things together. Looking at your own work in a semi-public setting is hard work. I will help you. It is one of things we will talk about–how to look at our work and make it better. Please bring this topic up if I for some reason do not. Looking forward to meeting you!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: