TBT – Class with Carol Taylor

First of all, just know that it is raining as I type this post. That makes me so happy!!

Today I thought I would share about a class I took with Carol Taylor back in spring of 2013. If you aren’t familiar with Carol, she is an extremely talented quilt artist from New York. She works on quilts that are often abstract and are always beautiful. Her talent with thread is beyond belief. If you are unfamiliar with her work, check out her gallery. It is a treat to look through.

One day (a long while back) I was looking at the website for my LQS and there was a post about a class with Carol Taylor coming soon. At first I didn’t think much of it because it didn’t seem possible that this Carol was the same Carol whose site I had looked at so many times. Then I saw the description of the class and was thrilled to see that it was her. Wondering how the heck our tiny guild could afford to bring her out, I called the shop. Apparently, we had partnered up with a guild about an hour away and the two guilds were splitting her travel expenses which made it just barely affordable.

I was very hesitant to sign up though. I felt like the class was out of my league and it was also fairly spendy for my budget. I talked to my husband and he encouraged me to go. I really wanted to just learn from her at whatever level I could, even if I wasn’t quite up to speed on the techniques. I am so glad I did becasue it was fantastic!

At the last minute, I talked one of my friends into going with me. There was a woman that had signed up and was ill so her spot was up for grabs. This was the second quilting class I had ever taken and I was more than a little unprepared for it. When Sophia (my friend that went with me) and I entered the room it was obvious that we were newbies. We both came with a tote bag of supplies and fabric, plus our machines. Yikes, the other women there had (literally) suitcases and duffel bags filled with fabric. They had large boxes, or kits, filled with needles, thread choices, mysterious feet for their sewing machines etc. I was overwhelmed. I brought exactly what the supply list said, no more than that.

After lecturing for a bit, Carol had us get out the colors we wanted to use for the background. I had about five fat quarters. She came by and actually asked me where the rest was. I was baffled. Then she said to the class, “we need greens over here” and it was like the story of the ‘Loaves and the Fishes’. Twenty women started to hunt through their fabric, pulling out greens of every shade. This was really my first exposure to the kindness of the quilting community. I ended up with plenty. 🙂  We started cutting strips and playing with them.

Coleus class

One of Carol’s strengths is her use of color and that is something that I have mentioned struggling with. She was so helpful. When she looked at my first choices (above) she explained there wasn’t enough value difference. Working together, and using donations from classmates,  I finally ended up with my backgound. The lightest solid green is a gorgeous silk given to me that adds a wonderful texture to the collection.

Coleus process

Beyond learning about value, I learned about design and free-form applique. I wanted to make a wall hanging that was inspired by some pictures of Coleus plants that I had brought to class. She had me cut huge leaves with my rotary cutter without drawing them or making any sort of pattern. It worked great and was so much fun.  (I wish I had taken pictures of the process but this was long before blogging so I don’t really have any.) Below is the end result of the class. I did have to finish much of this at home. By the end of the two day class, I had the background done and the leaves in place. It wasn’t quilted and much of the thread sketching down the center of the leaves was incomplete.

20140514_0740

One of my favorite aspects of the quilt is the little point of the petal that hangs below the finished edge. Carol suggested this and it worked perfectly. There is a cute story behind the idea. As a well-known artist, many of Carol’s quilts hang in different shows and galleries. She had made a quilt that she wanted to enter in a show and it was 1/2″ short of the size requirement. The show held firm on their size requirement so Carol added a tiny fish that hangs off of the edge of the quilt.  They took her entry. You can see a photo of this on my Flikr page. Carol did a fantastic trunk show and was kind enough to let us take pictures.

This class was actually my first exposure to thread play. We used Sulky threads (which she sold in class in every color of the rainbow.) I love the veins that are sketeched in the center of the petals.

20140514_0740

I also learned to incorporate texture with simple ideas such as cutting the center of some of the petals to show the green behind it as the center vein.

When I was ready to quilt it I used a different FMQ pattern in each of the green fabrics, repeating the pattern wherever that particular color strip was used.

Coleus Close up FMQWith a faced edge, rather than regular binding, the quilt finished out at 28″ wide by 25″ tall (including the tip of the leaf!)

This class was such a fantastic learning experience. If ever you have the opportunity to take a class with Carol, I cannot emphasize this enough – Do it! She has such talent and is a very good instructor as well.

 

Linking to Let’s Bee Social, Throwback Thursday and Crazy Mom Quilts.

24 thoughts on “TBT – Class with Carol Taylor

  1. JanineMarie

    Thank you for sharing this, Bernie!! I learned so much from your explanation. It will be an excellent resource for me (eventually). I have had a coleus quilt in my head for awhile, inspired by my garden (and just this week by the colors in some trees when I was on vacation). Your quilt and Carol’s work might be just what I need to follow through.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi Janine,

      I still have some of the info from the class – I’d be happy to share it with you if you think it might help. When you are on her site, take a look at the gallery section titled “Foilage”. There might be some great inspiration there for you.

      BK

      Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Thanks Linda. It really was a great experience – kind of early in my quilting experience but well worth it. I just love her work!

      B.

      Reply
  2. Linda

    Love your story. I’ve never had any interest in “art quilts” except to admire them at a quilt show, but by gah your beautiful coleus and post are very persuasive. My fave part was your newbie description in contrast to the more experienced attendees. Lol! You’ve made me realize that I need to look more closely at classes as a resource to learn about color and construction and learning to be creative.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      I have definitely had to work to learn how to be creative (or how to allow myself to be). It isn’t a natural flow for me. This was an excellent class for that very reason. It was so helpful to me.

      Take care Linda,
      B.

      Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Thanks Diana. That was one of my favorite parts. It was just a zig zag stitch with the feed dogs down and then a narrower zig zag on top of the wider one, using a different color. Very fun to do! As you stitch, you just sort of slide the fabric back and forth to get some movement to it. Try it!

      B.

      Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Thanks Jenn. I am really enjoying reading all of these TBT posts. What a fun link up. Thanks for hosting it!

      Take care,
      Bernie

      Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Good! Let me know what your thoughts are. My favorite sections of her gallery are the Coral Reef and Foilage. Soooo pretty!

      Reply
    2. Bernie Post author

      …me again! If you look at the Coral Reef section, look closely at the thread sketching. She uses it to define everything and creates an amazing effect.

      B.

      Reply
  3. Sandra

    I enjoyed reading about the process, and I’ve just spent many minutes perusing Carol’s site…wow, I love her studio especially, and checked out that particular fish she added on your flickr link. Love how you found the generosity of quilters in the workshop, and how beautiful the finished piece is. This reminds me of a flower-pounding class I took many years ago. Always good to try different techniques; we learn so much, right? And gotta love those Sulky rayons mmmm used them on my girls’ makeup bags I just finished!

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi,

      Yes, Carol’s studio makes me drool just a little bit. It’s gorgeous. As is her work. She is such s talented artist. As always, so nice to hear from you!

      –Bernie

      Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi Elle,

      It was so funny to come in thinking I had plenty of supplies and to realize how little I truly had! Everyone was so generous tho. So glad you stopped by!

      Take care,
      Bernie

      Reply
  4. Patrica

    Wonderful description of your eye opening class, you make it sound like so much fun and I can tell it was a great experience. Thanks for linking up with Val’s blog. I also live in the Sierra foothills outside of Auburn and blog at dogwoodlanerambles.blogspot.com

    Reply
  5. Valerie Reynolds

    I’m inspired by your use of thread….I never really saw this before. THanks for Carol’s link:) I love the combination of plum, pink and turqoise against the strata of greens.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Oh, thank you Val. That is such a nice compliment. It was a great class. If you ever have the opportunity, go for it.

      Best,
      Bernie

      Reply

Leave a Reply to WesternWilson Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.