Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Quilter's Affair in Sisters, Oregon will take place from July 5 to 9, 2010, and I'm thrilled to be part of it again this year! I'll be teaching two very fun fabric stamping workshops during the week: I bring a couple of seriously large boxes of hand-carved Oshiwa blocks from Namibia and teach students to use them to print with fabric paint, make rubbings with paintstiks, and emboss velvet with these exotic African carvings. With the variety of techniques we explore, students make their own fabrics for their art pieces or quilts, and we have a terrific time experimenting with color and texture along the way. I bring lots of different examples of my work showing how I've used my printed fabrics, and I give students handouts to remind them of the techniques we cover. It's an action-packed two days, and when we're done, the students have a beautiful collection of unique fabrics and a small piece already put together that they can finish and show off proudly! One of the best things about this class is that even though the students all work with the same variety of blocks and paints, no two fabrics or finished pieces are ever the same. Each student brings different fabrics to stamp on, combines colors in his or her own way, and builds a piece that reflects a unique vision. We work freely in a spirit of exploration, and no one gets too upset if paint drips, spatters or spreads---all these things happen now and again, and we treat it like an opportunity to get even more creative! This is so much fun for me as a teacher that I can hardly wait to get there and get started! I love teaching this class because no matter how many times I teach it, I always learn something new from the questions students have, from the "accidents" that happen, and from the inventiveness of these groups of artists working together.

If you haven't heard about the Quilter's Affair before, it's not just a week of classes with a wide variety of teachers, it's a phenomenon! Sisters is a small and charming town in Central Oregon that gets taken over by quilters during this week, and is positively flooded on Saturday when the town hosts the annual Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. There are so many quilters in town that they close off the main street and route traffic around the perimeter. There are quilts displayed all over town, in most of the shops, and on most of the buildings. Quilters come from miles around and from several foreign countries just to be part of the festive day. There are bigger quilt shows, but I don't know of any place that gives itself over so completely to a celebration of what we do! All this excitement is organized by the staff and dedicated volunteers working with The Stitchin' Post, a terrific place to spend hours (and dollars) looking at the gorgeous fabrics and all the other things we need to create. I don't mind repeating that I don't own stock in the shop, but I sure wouldn't mind if I did! You can see the details of the Quilter's Affair and the Quilt Show at the Stitchin' Post website www.stitchinpost.com/quilterclasses.html

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