Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Licensed to Cut Loose--post 1

Susan giving the intro to her technique
At the end of September, my friend JoJo and I took a class in Sisters, Oregon from Susan Carlson. Ever since I saw Susan on an episode of "The Quilt Show," I have wanted to take a class from her. Susan lives in Maine so opportunities to learn from her when I live in Oregon were limited! JoJo noticed from one of her blog posts that she was going to be in Oregon teaching two classes at the Stitchin' Post.

Immediately, we signed up for the only open class which was a two day class to learn Susan's technique. I signed up March of 2017 for the September 2018 class!

Fabrics ready for play time
You had the choice of collaging a fish, a bug or a butterfly. I chose a butterfly. I was excited because I have been saving scraps for years. I reviewed the supply list. Batiks seemed to be the favored fabrics. I had a bunch of batiks that had a design in the fabric. I didn't have many of large motif prints; but, I took what I had.

I sorted my scraps into colors. I took a tub of batik scraps from Martha's sewing room. I reviewed the blog posts recommended to read. I reviewed Susan's book. I purchased the swallowtail butterfly pattern, enlarged it and transferred it to a piece of muslin. I was ready for class.

Learning to cut interesting lines
In the first hour of the class, Susan talked about fabric selection and she brought out samples. She told us to cut some shapes about the size of our palm with gentle curves. Oh-oh. . . .I was in trouble as my scraps were mostly small. I tried to so as she suggested. I did understand the importance of having a selection of scraps that were more like chunks instead of strips and squares!

Susan giving a "smoosh" lesson

After my first critique with Susan, she suggested that I build one side of the butterfly which was a great thought. As I pulled my scraps, I put aside similar scraps for the other side. She said the first step of the process was like a rough draft or the messy stage. The second step was the second draft and a refining of the shape stage. I learned to cut the shapes following the lines on the design. If there weren't lines on the design, I learned different ways of cutting the edge so that there would be an interesting line shape.

At the end of the first day, I learned that I would have been much further along had I a collection of Kaffe type prints. Susan suggested that I not trim the scraps and to use the shapes that I had as they were.
Rough draft or the messy stage

Then, she demonstrated what she meant. In about ten minutes, she moved some shapes around in her method of working with fabrics. I can tell that the smooshing and placement of fabrics is a Zenlike process for her. Her parting words of wisdom to me was to "cut loose!"

I took the project and my scraps back to the hotel and spent another four hours trying to make some progress.  It was tough. I liked the smaller shapes; but, it is a class. I paid a huge fee so it was to my betterment to follow through with her advice in doing the homework. (At least, this was some of the self-talk I engaged in as I worked.)
Progress at the end of day one

At the end of the day, I had two parts of the butterfly wing completed. I liked the side I had done in class with the smaller pieces much better than the side I did as homework with the larger pieces. I was glad that I had done both versions because now I knew which I liked better.

I was disappointed with how the wings looked as there just wasn't enough contrast. I was disappointed that I hadn't done more than those two sections!!! Also, my body was in rebellious mode as my back, neck and shoulders hurt from bending over my work all those hours!

JoJo provided lots of positive feedback and offered constructive comments as well as asked some great questions during the evening. After a good dinner, a soak in the hot tub and a fair amount of shut eye, I decided that I would continue with the process to learn all that I could. I was determined to at least fill all the spaces and then decide if I was finished or if I wanted to re-evaluate and quilt/embellish the piece.

I was thankful for JoJo's encouragement. Good friends are so dear!


Janice Smith said...

I’ll be curious to see if you were able to cut loose on day two. :-()

Unknown said...

Yes, Terry you need to tell "the rest of the story". Friends are very dear!
Sharon said...

Janice, it is work to cut loose!!!! I tried. . .it is a skill I need to practice! said...

Sharon, the rest of the story will be a long time in coming. . .but, on Sunday I will share a photo of what I had accomplished at the end of the second day!

Jocelyn is Canadian Needle Nana said...

I was fascinated with this post, Terry, as I've talked about Susan several times on my blog having seen her on Youtube. Her work is so beautiful and I can see that your beginning is quite strong, imo. We are hard on readers are always reminding me to cut it out, but second guessing my choices seems to be second nature for me!Can't wait to see more. said...

Jocelyn, Susan's skill with creating is amazing. I'm so fortunate to have been able to have been a part of her class. Her work is beautiful and I love how she works around a "story." It will be a couple months before I get back to this project. But, I am looking forward to it! Thanks for stopping by!