Sunday, June 08, 2008

Day Four at the Crow Barn

Ok, so I finally have a moment to blog to my hearts content! We had a full house at the inn yesterday which meant I was making 30 breakfasts this morning.

But back to the regularly scheduled program . . .

Day three ended with the critique and since the critique didn't hurt (I had heard that Nancy was quite strong with her opinions), I retired to my hotel room exhausted but anxious for the next day.

The assignment for day four was to create a composition in black and white using squares, rectangles, triangles, and lines in various sizes. The size was to be relatively small. You were suppose to just pin something up on your wall and then sew it together quickly. Nancy "encouraged" us by saying, "the Japanese students had the design created and sewed together in less than 2 hours."

No one in our class came close to completing something that fast!

This is what I came up with.

I'm still seeing very architectural elements in everything I've created so far! (My Dad was an architect, so maybe I have a repressed desire to follow in his footsteps. At the very least I know that I am very much my father's daughter.)

This simple little desire was quite the bear to sew together. I was still working to finish it when the next assignment was given in the afternoon. But I wasn't too far behind, so wasn't worried.

But then came the next assignment . . .

We were to recreate that black and white design but with a few little twists: it had to be MUCH larger, instead of black and white it had to use 30+ colors, and all of the shapes had to be "whobberjawed". (Whobberjawed is roughly translated to mean "Wonky" or "Larger, Twisted, Bent, and Generally Skewed".) Again, Nancy mentioned the speed of those Japanese women!

This is the assignment that caused the most teeth-gnashing, hair-tearing, and the desire to sit in a corner and cry. (Ok, I'm exaggerating about the crying, but not by much!) I think I must have put up a design on my wall and taken it down about 5 times. At one point, when Nancy came by to see if I needed any help, I looked at my composition on the wall and pointed to one piece of fabric in it and said "that's the only part I like." And then I took everything down off the wall except for that one piece.

The really hard part was the whobberjawing because you also had to maintain the design elements of the original black and white piece so that when they were put side-by-side anyone could easily see how one was abstracted from the other.

Many people commented that another difficult part was using 30 colors. This wasn't too much of a problem with me because this time I had come with enough solid colored fabrics to have a choice. It was a little tricky to keep the dark/light contrast that the original black and white piece had in the color version, though.

So, drum roll please . . .

There it is - pinned on the wall. If you're wondering which was the one piece I had liked and kept from my previous design, it is the orange and the blue piece in the upper left corner. It is still my favorite part.

I think at this point I had just started to sew it together. Gads, I think I must have paused to stare at the thing so many times just trying to figure out how in the world I was going to piece this thing together. Where was some fusible when you needed it!

Nancy is very opposed to fusibles because they are not archival. I hear you, Nancy, and while I do love piecing and will continue to do a lot of it in my work, there are times when a fusible will make things so much easier! I can definitely see the value of using a fusible to create design studies, so that you can knock out several designs quickly to find the one that works best and then maybe recreating the best one in a pieced design.

In any case, I wouldn't have dared bring a fusible into the barn! So I struggled and struggled to get this beast pieced together. At 9:45pm I gave up. I too worn out to think straight, let alone sew straight. (The next morning, I heard that a number of classmates had begged to stay past the 10:00pm barn closing and were there until 11 - 12 pm.)

I got back to my hotel to find the front door locked. Obviously I was out after curfew! Luckily, an employee who was just driving out of the parking lot saw me at the door and stopped to let me in.

I fell into bed, had my champagne and piece of chocolate, reviewed the millions of emails that my husband sent to me about a million little things and tried to reply, only to have the emails sit in my outbox because the internet connection was too slow. Very frustrating.

Too tired to even knit. I'd definitely need a double shot latte then next morning.


Exuberant Color said...

That assignment was a lot harder than any that we had in 1992. It does look like a tough one to sew together, especially with a deadline.

TALL GIRL said...

Kim, this is amazing and more and more reassuring that I NEVER want to take a class from her! Thanks for being the guinea pig for the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

I am curious. How does one begin to sew something like that. Do you inset? What? I don't think I would be able to do it. Can you tell us how you did it please?