Pamelala is Pamela Allen, an artist who has come into her own in recent years using fabric and through quilts. Pamela came from a painting and assemblage/mixed media background. Her background includes classes that many quiltmakers never take: college level design classes. She brought this background and shared it with students at Quilting Adventures on Staples Mill Road in Richmond Virginia.
If you haven’t been to Quilting Adventures, make the trek. Joyce and her team have done a fantastic job selecting fabrics that speak to those of us who don’t do reproductions, small calicos or brown. You won’t see these varieties of fabrics at Quilting Adventures. If repros and brown are what you are looking for, Joyce and her staff will cheerfully direct you to other stores in the area that have the fabrics you need. There are lots of bright fabrics as well as many, many tone-on-tones. I could have bought the entire store. I did my best.;-) In addition to fabrics, Joyce also carries a nice selection of fabric alteration supplies: dyes, paints, fabric crayons. She carries the supplies, but also has samples of what happens to the fabric when you use the various supplies.
I took two classes from Pamela. The first, a fabric portrait class, was an exercise in negative space. The portrait I made is NOT a self portrait. We were given the assignment of working with the negative space first and later filling in the details. It was interesting to think about the fabric of the negative space defining the portrait. I have a hard time seeing the negative space, but I got some practice in during this class. I was able to use the Glitter thread from Superior on Joyce’s Babylock machine to appliquilt the pieces down. I have to figure out the hair (if any), the mouth and the nose (OH GOODNESS!!!). Pamela has a gentle manner in directing her students without being a doormat. She also has firm boundaries, which I appreciate and takes care of herself. I probably could have spent a week with her working on this piece. Of course, I didn’t finish, but am well on my way.
The second class was a class on composition. My piece is a garden and was limited by the distance I had to travel and the supplies I was able to bring. It also helps to remember to bring your supplies. 😉 Mrs. Kristen, a fellow Mavette, was quite generous in sharing her stash with me, so I was able to make a small piece.
First we assembled the background and then we laid our design on top of it. I used some of the leftover circles from the bullseye quilts and created a garden. This piece lends itself to hand stitching and I hope to be able to do some and complete this piece. During this time when the machine is better left under plastic, the timing is perfect. I’ll try to get to it. The piece is on its way to completion, but also not completed.
I would recommend classes with Pamela. She is a teacher who forces her students to think, is diplomatic about student work and gives the class the opportunity to work in a positive critique situation. She is an artist and also a teacher, not an artist who thinks s/he can teach. You can find more of Pamela’s work at her website.