You know how mild-mannered dogs quickly become pogo sticks when a squirrel hops by? That’s how I felt this past week. Oooh! look at that! Oh my! Look at this! Squirrel! Bear! Food!

Mozart, Hendrix, Simon, Florence and the Machine. I listened to a music mix on the way home from Arrowmont as a way to mirror what my brain was doing. Mitchell, Dylan, Rice, Morissette, Danny the Dog, Cohen, Young, Chopin, Sieber, Gabriel, Bowie, Einaudi, Glass, Hunger. I am a creature of variety. And surprise. And drama, and delight.

The workshops at Arrowmont give each artist ample space to work and display their stitching.

The workshops at Arrowmont give each artist ample space to work and display their stitching.

Drama and delight. That’s what my students brought to me. Their fearlessness and sense of humor gave us all a chance to laugh, contemplate, and compare our thoughts. The group was as diverse as the music I listened to on the way home.

Thank you, Arrowmont for the opportunity to teach these talented stitchers. And thank you Holly, Sam, Cindy, Jane, Carlie, Martha, Ellen, Katie, Sharon, Linda, Lynn, Claire, Alex, and Holly for sharing your insights, your struggle and your stick-to-it-tive-ness with the class. We filled the walls with inspiration.

Stitching begins with drawing. Not difficult drawing, just simple lines that talk.

Stitching begins with drawing. Not difficult drawing, just simple lines that talk.

Here are some of the experiments we tried this past week.

Davis, Coltrane, Rimsky-Korsakoff, Sinatra, Stones, Hooker, Dead can Dance, Cline, Piaf, Pavarotti, Bono, Morrison, Lamb, Rachmaninoff, Gerrard, Calexico and by all means….Waits.

work hard. play hard.

I had some incredibly hard working students at the recent North Country Studio Workshops class I taught at Bennington College. I highly recommend this biannual event.

Bennington College is in Vermont so the weather outside was cold. But the heat generated inside via creativity and the boiler system was unmatched. On the first night of introductions I met professional artists of all stripes. They are avid students with energy and a sense of camaraderie that made me feel welcome at once.

Here's a sampling of the many pieces we all worked with this past week at North Country Studio Workshops

We experimented with textural effects, line quality and trusting the thread to tell us where it wanted to go. I wish now that I had taken a photo of each and every one of these practice squares so that I could remember some of the ways my students explored the techniques. These students were serious worker bees and very talented.

Every time I teach these techniques I learn something new from my students. They energize me and inspire me.

I'm looking forward to the next opportunity at the Hudson River Valley Fiber workshops in April. Sign up now! I would love to work with you and learn from you too.

Let's spend some time together. Join me in July!

I am teaching a 5-day workshop July 16-21 at the Quilting by the Lake fiber program this July. The class is called
Follow the Thread: A New Approach to Free Motion Quilting. And I can't wait! What could be better than spending five days with like-minded explorers? Quilters, artists, curious travelers. What fun!

Our objectives?

We will loosen up and explore new territory with line and stitch. We'll learn to focus on the character of line and personal symbols through simple drawing and stitching exercises. We will accumulate a toolbox of techniques for seeing, interpreting and completing concept-driven work.

  • First we make a mess. Begin to see that line is active and reactive. Remember scribbling? We'll do some of that.
  • Embrace the wonky. Learn to make the most of whatever occurs by joining ideas to line motifs to see what develops ... and perfection is not the objective.
  • Think in thread. Translate what you see into pathways by stitching in continuous line to spur ideas. This is where we prove that 1+1 can really add up to more than 2.
  • Chart a new path. Recognize alternative solutions by using composition to navigate pathways. It really is about the journey. Trust me.
  • Walk the walk. We ask the questions: What did I see today? What inspired me today? What have I learned today? We'll focus on generating ideas through research and observation. You will build your stitching vocabulary and learn to trust the thread to tell your story.

So join us! Register today.

Decision Tree, detail, Paula Kovarik

Let's spend some time together.

Open to all skill levels, free-motion quilting experience a plus.