The AHA Moment

I have been in class for the past two days with Pamela Allen. Pamela is much more than a quilt teacher. She is truly an art teacher who works and encourages work in fabric. I had THE Aha moment in her class today and it really thrilled me. I could feel the difference in my work after that moment.

As you may have read, or noticed, I felt crappy all week. Barely any blogging got done even though I have a pile of sticky notes with reminders of things to tell you. My house is a wreck and my to-do list is still long. A cold was really beating me down and I was doing everything I could to conserve energy so I could go to class. A good move on my part was to take Thursday off of work rather than working straight through and then going directly to class.

I have taken several classes with Pamela. The first one I took was in Richmond, Virginia at Quilting Adventures. I actually took two different classes in one weekend. The first was a self portrait class and the second was on composition. I started one piece in each class.

Self Portrait
Self Portrait
Garden (before)

Pamela also came to California in 2008 to teach at EBHQ. I took her class there as well. I don’t think I ever wrote a blog post about that one, but Julie wrote one, which is probably what I would have written anyway. 😉

The quiltlet, House and Garden, that I did at EBHQ has been worked on more since the class and I am almost finished with it.  Maureen sent me a link to facing directions from Jeri Riggs site and I plan to use them to make a faced edging as soon as I finish the beading.

House and Garden
House and Garden

I brought all three of these pieces to the workshop with the intention of working on them and not starting anything new.

The first exercise was a monochromatic exercise. I didn’t do it. Don’t worry! I warned Pamela that I was planning to bring projects from previous classes. I did enjoy the pieces that others in the class made.

I worked and made progress on the Garden. I am actually ready to handstitch on it, though I do still have a bit of piecing to add. I am really pleased with the work I did on the Garden. I think it looks very different from what it was when I started.  I also think it looks a lot better.

Garden (after)
Garden (after)

I am really pleased with the petals that I added. I wanted to create a little more interest in the space where the blue petals are now.

Garden (detail 1)
Garden (detail 1)
Garden (detail 2)
Garden (detail 2)

In the bottom part of the piece, the flowers were all middle ground. Pamela helped me create a foreground by putting some darker blue behind the red flower with the petals. I also created a little bit of a different foreground with the flower in the bottom right hand corner. I was thinking of it as kind of a coneflower, but some people said that it also looked like the petals had dropped off. I have a little work to do on the bottom. During the critique, Pamela and the other students suggested that I extend some of the stems to the bottom of the piece and make the bottom of the piece longer as well. They also like the brown border. That brown is currently the back, but I will cut it off and add it to the new front, but only on a couple of sides.

I didn’t succeed in doing my own thing. Pamela is such an engaging teacher that it just wasn’t possible for me to ignore her completely. She did help me with the projects I was trying to work on, though.

After a quick litle quiltlet exercise (15 min), she gave  us a piece of fabric and we had to make something with it. My piece was brown. No other colors. None of my colors. Bleah!

The exercise was about accentuating or extending existing lines in the fabric she gave us. I liked the idea of the exercise.

Line Exercise
Line Exercise

This is the piece that came out of it. The colors aren’t me, and you can see that I injected quite a lot of blue into the surface.

Today, we worked on critiques and one piece using stripes and prints to create movement.

Final piece, stripes and prints
Final piece, stripes and prints

This piece brought the AHA moment for me. The AHA moment was a point where I finally got all that I have been learning from Pamela. I finally understood about the background and how to put stripes and prints on the piece in different ways in order to achieve movement and the illusion of something. I am really pleased with this piece and think it is very strong.

I can see how some of what I learned today will help me with the Tarts. I am going to use some of the techniques and thoughts to get that piece finished.

Thanks, Pamela!

Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

9 thoughts on “The AHA Moment”

  1. I love all the texture that the prints added to your work. Especially like the final piece. And I can’t wait to see any updates you do to your “Tarts” project, which I am in love with already!

  2. I’m glad you had an AHA moment, that is great! I bet Pamela will be happy to hear it, as a teacher and as a friend. It was really a fantastic class and I’m glad we got to sit together.

  3. Hi all! Thanks for your comments!
    Beena: thanks for reading and for your encouraging comments.
    Julie: I am so glad that you were able to take the class as well. I appreciate all the fabric that you threw my way.
    Nancy: we missed you in class. Thanks for your kind comments. They mean a lot coming from you.

  4. Wow! That must have been an amazing class. The pieces you took with you are wonderful, too, and I love where you got with “Garden.” (Seen on Twitter, just FYI)

  5. Amy: Thanks for reading (and letting me know you saw my post about the class on Twitter!). Pamela is an amazing teacher! You and Opal should consider taking the class together (Road to CA next Jan). You would learn so much. I have taken her class a number of times, as I mentioned in the post and each time I move a little farther ahead in my process.

  6. And what is really, really cool is that your pieces do not look like Pamela’s work! That is the mark of a really good teacher. I envy you your aha moment. And your quilts. Love ’em.

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