Now For Something Completely Different

I sometimes advise fellow quilters to take classes in other media to develop composition and design skills. Finally I took my own advice. I just finished up Jane Davies’ Sketchbook Practice downloadable class, which I took with a friend.

Working in tandem with someone else was a great idea. We exchanged photos of our responses to the numerous assignments and commented on each others’ work. It was amazing to see how differently we approached the prompts. I like to think we learned from each other. I know I did.

Jane described the goal of the class exercises as “inquiry. These are all studies, all experiments. Put them out there like question marks: What happens if I do this? Or that? These questions do not require answers. It’s enough to just put them out there.” The class is meant as play, to push you off balance. Finished compositions aren’t its goal.

That said, I’d like to share with you our joint output over six lessons. Because each lesson has several parts, I’ll save some of our work until my next post.

We began with line exercises to explore how different materials act and how line can express different emotions and feelings. I won’t make you look at our lines, but move onto the circles, which began with black and white and finished with color.

The first piece is P’s. The last are mine.

Again, the first is P’s. The last are mine.

Moving on, we did black and white scribble paintings and then chose interesting bits to cut out. We then pasted those bits on blank paper and extended the bits to fill up the blanks.

Top, P’s work, then mine.

In the paint-collage-line activity we were to combine a collage shape, a line shape, and a painted shape in small studies of the relationships of the shapes to each other and to the paper’s edges.

My pieces are on the left; P’s are on the right.

I’ll conclude this week with a piece by P, a narrative (airy, claustrophobic, etc., circles) that was part of the circles lesson. Mine are too basic to show you, just black circles on white paper, but P went beyond the brief into full color.

Maybe you can see the differences in our work – color palettes, compositions, lines, lightness, heaviness, etc. You can also see who was going for extra credit. Just kidding, P.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.

13 Comments

Filed under Techniques

13 responses to “Now For Something Completely Different

  1. Pingback: In The Rear-view Mirror | The Snarky Quilter

  2. Thanks for sharing this. Seems like very good exercises to get a person thinking and experimenting. It’s really fun to see your different approach and outcomes. I look forward to reading and seeing more.

    • That’s the reason I enjoyed the class. There’s no “make this thing that looks like the class sample”, though it’s easy to start painting like the teacher after watching 5 videos.

  3. Absolutely agree about taking classes in other mediums. There is something freeing about knowing your are beginner, since a learning curve is expected. Gives you the opportunity to experiment. Seems you and P had great fun exploring and sharing.

  4. This is a great idea. I can see where it would take my brain into a totally uncharted place. Very interesting.

  5. My sister and I started doing something similar but with a book study. We got sidelined but this has reminded me that we should start again. I love that you and your friend approach things in your own unique ways!

  6. Rachel Ratten

    I am so glad to see quilters explore art/composition and design skills! Keep up the fantastic work!
    I went to a Nancy Crow workshop in January in NZ and was very nervous beforehand (as most people who have never been are…) however, my art background paid off much more than I could have ever anticipated. Nancy mentioned she enjoyed having me in the class, which was wonderful to hear – I will probably never get to another one of her workshops, so I feel so much more comfortable with the direction I am going…

    • I get your nervousness about Nancy, but I think she may be tired of quilters who know the techniques but haven’t really thought about composition. I keep preaching about the importance of a grounding in design, but I haven’t met with much success.

      • Rachel Ratten

        Yes, my preaching seems to fall on deaf ears too…
        The Nancy class was a very advanced one, and the only reason I got in was because of my art training. I know she doesn’t take unknown students into these classes.

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