Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Week with Original Thinkers

Realized that I had not yet posted about my wonderful adventures with Jean Littlejohn and Jan Beaney - aka Double Trouble . I was fortunate to attend one of their rare week long retreats here in the US. On their website they state their philosophy of teaching as "Our aim is to give students the confidence to design and create their own unique work". They sooooooo live up to this.

They gave us exercises and then we proceeded to do them. They would come around and check on our progress. They brought and shared examples that they had done which utilized bits from the exercise so we had concepts, ideas for application and examples of execution. What was really wonderful is that no one in the class proceeded to get the same result. Some student pieces were so out of the box and wonderful that it added quite a depth to the class. Also each of us in the class came from quite different backgrounds and had different focuses for our art.

Each exercise was designed to give us a tool, concepts about creating additional similar tools, and a jump start for a project. In the past I had looked at their books - mostly at the pictures and little bit at the words. Now I am reading their books and seeing how they applied and developed the concepts that they shared in the class. The books may be "thin" in pages and contain lots of pictures - BUT take the words to heart. There are layers of advice contained within them.

These 2 ladies have taught college level textile arts for 30 years. They produce art constantly with several showings each year. The don't accept that there are rules unless they have played with all the possibilities. That is what the class and their thinking is all about - the possibilities.

Will have to let the ideas percolate for awhile. Sorry no pics - nothing is finished and I am not comfortable showing unfinished work. I will tell you that we played with natural fabrics, creating our own block stamps and using them, gold foil transfer, various stitches, soluable fabrics, scrim (similar to cheese cloth), silk waste, yarns of all types and sizes, threads, poly sheer fabrics, The Embellisher, #14 Chenille needle, lots of layers, and our imagination/interpretations of things in nature. I am not sure I will ever look at objects, shapes, nature in the same way again.