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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.