Wednesday, March 27, 2013

back at it

I am still in the process of responding individually, wherever possible, to your generous and comforting comments to my last post.  Forgive me if I've missed you -- I am overwhelmed by your kindness.

Last week, as we sat shiva, the house was filled with friends, family, and more food than we could eat, from Monday through Wednesday night. Thursday I did nothing and Friday I shopped and started cooking for Passover.  I was probably insane to have the first Seder on Monday night, a week after my mother's funeral - but it also meant being with my family twice in one week: a pleasure!  Miss Emma kept us entertained, the boys were lively, and there was much hilarity as my kids remembered their Nana and looked at old pictures.  The memories were all good.

SO - back to where I was before this all happened! I was teaching at Quilting Adventures in hill country --New Braunfels, TX -- one of the most delightful experiences I have had.  The T Bar M resort where Quilting Adventures is held is beautiful, the accomodations are just fine, and the food is good.  Debby and Kim, who run the annual retreat (plus some shorter ones during the year) are warm-hearted and lots of fun.  I got to spend some time with Robbi Eklow, who is always a pleasure to be with.

I was also teaching one of my favorite classes - 4 days of Cinderella Quilts.  You can't believe the transformations that occurred as the students created magic from their old blocks plus new strips and squares.  Here are some befores and afters from class.

This is one  from a pile of blocks Betty brought with her.  By the time she redid the rest of blocks, she had the makings of a modern quilt.

Once she was on a roll,she started another quilt from scratch and ended with a finished top. She plans to attach it to a black canvas when she has quilted it.
I gave each student one of these 9 patches  to see what they would do with them. I don't have all the pictures, but everyone did something different.
 Donna used the 9 patch and the other block from her stash as jumping-off points for her quilt.
 If you look carefully, you can see bits of both of them in her finished top.

Louise started her new work with a couple of house blocks she had brought with her.
 By the time she had chopped them up and re-imagined new houses, she had a much more imaginative quilt than the original would have been.

When Ilene showed up with a pile of these blocks, I thought they were hopeless.
But she proved me wrong.  Here is the work in progress -- some original blocks, some transformed, and a bunch of strips she had just sewn together in combinations she liked. She didn't know how she would use them, but she found a way.
This is what she took home with her.

We spent a lot of time on ad hoc and slow design -- moving things around ad infinitum and talking about why a particular layout did or did not work.  After a while, their eyes began to know what looked balanced without being boring and they learned to trust their instincts. This was a class that made everybody smile because they were so happy with their results.  

Next week, I'm off to Atlanta.  Maybe by the time I get home it will be edging toward spring in NJ.

Thanks again for all your caring messages.
love,
Rayna


9 comments:

Connie Rose said...

Hi Rayna,
Glad to hear things are getting somewhat back to normal for you. Happy Passover to you and your family. I love the quilts from your recent class, each one is stunning.
Much love and happy spring! xo

Carol Stearns said...

All I can say is WOW! Would love to take a class!

tiedyejudy said...

Rayna, every time I see a quilt made using your techniques, I want to drop whatever I'm doing and go play with strips and blocks in my studio! They are such wonderful creations, and are a feast for the eyes!
I echo Connie's sentiments... it is good that you have family close by to help you through your loss by sharing memories of your Mom. And I hope Spring finds it's way to NJ soon!

Alice said...

Rayna, I was so fascinated to read about your techniques for reinventing old, discarded blocks and quilt tops! Also excited to know that you were recently at QA! I have gone to workshops at QA five different times, and I've come away from each class with new energy and new techniques to apply to my art quilts! I am so happy that your experience teaching at QA was a good one and that you liked the facilities and the administrators of the program! I hope you come back to Texas soon; I'd love to take a class from you!

patty a. said...

It is wonderful that you spent more time with your family and are sharing the lovely memories. The student's work is amazing! WIth your guidance they are turning out some stunning pieces.

Debra Spincic said...

Good to know you've been surrounded by your family lately. Thinking of you!

Deb said...

Hi, Rayna. I am so grateful for having purchased one of your books a while back. Following your techniques has allowed me to have so much fun with fabrics and designs. I don't find myself frustrated anymore because I know if I don't like what I just did I can easily change it. The no rules approach works so well for me. I have a stressful job and when I come home I get a bite to each, a cup of tea and head to my studio where I cut, sew, rearrange, etc., to my heart's content and am more excited by my work every day. Thanks for sharing your talents.

Eva said...

Sounds strange, but your blog and book inspire my painting.
I understand that it may be difficult to combine a holiday and a personal loss. I do hope that the support of so many people who love and admire you will make it easier.
I love the way your student worked on the "hopeless" piece. It is always good to find a new purpose or transformation for something that required time, work, and material; it is a wise way of "recycling" -- and fun!

Judy said...

Being surrounded by family and friends during a time of sadness and loss, is so therapeutic - the best medicine money can't buy. A bittersweet time for all.

I love the way those blocks turned out...it was particularly nice to see the 'befores' and 'afters' - thanks for including both photos.

I am so looking forward to your visit to Atlanta! I wish you could stay with us, but we are going through some big changes right now - all for the good - but very big.

I wish Emma could come with you, as I know she and Charlie would have a grand time together! ;-)

xxoo