Translucent Fabrics Class

Five days seemed like a lot of time when I signed up for Jeannette Meyer’s Empty Spools class. It wasn’t.

Jeannette had organized the class well. We spent the first morning painting silk organza with solid colors after some explanation of types of acrylic and fabric paint that work.  To save time each student painted many squares of the same color. My color was terracotta. Some of the pieces had great texture due to the brushes and rollers used to apply the paint.Jeannette Meyer painted organza Then came a day and a half trying out the various techniques Jeannette demoed.  The techniques covered included hand and machine sewn seams for transparent fabrics (flat fell, French, pojagi, raw edge overlapped), ways to attach the organza to a base and to itself, ways to weave organza strips, and making tucks. I’ll show some examples in a later post. We could make a small book of our samples. Some of them (not mine) were exquisite. I don’t see a lot of hand sewn pojagi seams in my future. transparency book We took another day (or so) to design our response to the prompt “light.” We could use only 10 to 15 fabric pieces with 90 degree corners. I added to my piece when I got home so, as with remodeling costs, I’ve exceeded the original number. Windows light exercise With the remaining time we could begin an original project, enlarge on the class exercise, or develop variations on and expertise with the techniques. I chose to begin a design I’ve named “Not So Tiny Bubbles.” The background fabric called Intersections is part of Carolyn Friedlander’s Doe line. Print fabric can look amazing under silk organza. Some of my classmates brought sumptuous hand dyed fabric to use in their projects. Anyway, this design is changing daily, so what you see here isn’t the final layout.Bubbles start We closed our class with a group critique of one piece we had made –  our classmates’ reaction to the piece, what worked, what could be added/subtracted, and suggestions for further development. We could opt out of this process if we chose. I don’t think anyone did, and the comments were supportive and helpful. It was exciting to see how different everyone’s work was. Some pieces were based on our teacher’s samples, some were already conceived projects, and some (like mine) used an idea from a photo. As always, we learned from what each other created.

From what I could see, in about half the other classes students followed the teacher’s patterns. In some classes everyone bought the kit. Empty Spools seems to offer a wide variety of classes, many of which appeal to folks who enjoy traditional approaches to quilting. I mention this just so you don’t think it’s only about art quilts.


Filed under Fabric Printing, Techniques

12 responses to “Translucent Fabrics Class

  1. I was on the road when you posted this so am catching up to you. What beautiful effects from the transparency of the fabrics! As Kerry mentioned, it will be fun to see how you use this in your art.

  2. jennyklyon

    Jealous! That looks like a fabulous class-I love sheers!

  3. Nena

    Joanna don’t rule out pojagi but don’t do it by hand. I know the traditional Korean way is by hand but I took a class many moons ago in Dallas. Jack did all of his seams on the sewing machine. He did garments and hangings. Really fun. Google Through Our Hands, an e-zine. The current issue has a woman who does pojagi hangings in white then sets them up in a gallery with cups of dye which are then poured from the top down. Really cool.


    • Whoa, that ezine ( is fiber art with a capital F and A. And the pieces you wrote about, by Clare Smith, are incredible yet ephemeral. They’re on p. 53 of the ezine.
      She says that she’d have to remake the undyed pieces each time the piece is exhibited. But back to hand sewn pojagi, our teacher wanted us to try hand sewing just to see if we’d like it. I didn’t, but others lovingly caught one thread on each fabric with 100 weight silk thread.

  4. That looks like an excellent class!

  5. So very interesting! It is amazing how much can be done combining different types of fabrics and techniques. It will be fun how to see your piece as it develops.

  6. The course sounds wonderful! And, from what I’ve seen of your quilting, I imagine you’ll find a lot of creative applications for using organza–won’t it be useful in some of your landscape quilts?

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