Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Day 1 - Ruth McDowell's Designing from Nature

It was not the best of days to be driving to Massachusetts but I got here moderately dry and safely. I am staying in Greenfield Massachusetts which is about 5 miles from the quilt shop where the class is being held. It is a beautiful shop with excellent lighting so it is a pleasure to be here.

An even greater pleasure is to finally meet Ruth McDowell who has been one of my all time favorite quilters and is one of those who most influenced my decisions to move toward art quilts. I fell in love with her early quilts about trees and the ones that had all the symmetry as I of course love radial symmetry. It is wonderful to be working surrounded by her beautiful pieces -- pictures of course don't do the colors justice!!

Here are two of the many quilts that were hung throughout the classrooms.

This was a piece done by one of our "remedial" as opposed to new students. These are students that are back for another time. A couple came in with their diagrams already completed and were starting to audition fabric.

This was Pam's second piece that she brought in. It was derived from Ruth's pattern of hollyhocks and it was beautiful. This is Ruth holding up the quilt.

Well, for those of you who know me know that I very literal and very prone to do curves for everything so I decided to choose this picture over some of the others and I decided to try a pretty much straightline version as I think it looks more abstract. This was my initial sketch with lines drawn which I then blew up onto a 3 foot by 4 foot piece of tracing paper and did some more detail in the area around the eye.

This is the LARGE version of the pelican. Still looks like a pelican! It was very very difficult to try to apply the colors as it is all shades of grey so I did some but will have to leave the rest for later. I did define where the water ended and the bird began! There are only about three curves but I wanted the emphasis in those areas and thought they were needed.
This was a quickie sketch that Ruth did to try to simplify a landscape that a class member brought in.

I didn't think through this whole thing enough or I would have brought more projects to do at night that didn't require a ton of desk space. So I am going to try to do tracings of some of the other drawings I did in preparation for future quilts. I am also going to do the bird of paradise through the next steps as I had got pretty far on that one already so really didn't need Ruth's input (I think...). We shall see.

To be continued...

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