I signed up for two textile printing classes-- Block Printing on Textiles with Lizzy House and Textile Printing with Lotta Jansdotter. (My other workshop was an incredible freezer paper piecing course with Penny of SewTakeAHike that will get it's own post.)
In Lizzy's full day workshop, we spent the first half of the day sketching ideas and carving our blocks. The sketching part was the hardest, I think, for everyone. My sketches were crap. I know that's not the way we should regard things during the process, but they really were. I ended up going back to my sketchbook for old designs that I wanted to explore.
Lizzy had sent a supply list of what we needed, but I wasn't totally clear on which blocks I'd like the best, so I brought a bunch of options. In the end I only carved on the basic unmounted linoleum. I loved the amount of detail I was able to get. My elbow ached by the end as it's a lot harder to work with, but it was definitely my block of choice.
My workshop with Lotta was a half day. I was lucky to be able to sit with Faith Jones and Violet Craft.
I also finally got to meet Rossie, plus there were quite a few other recognizable faces in the room. Martha Stewart even had a crew in there taking photographs, so maybe there is a magazine feature in the works?
We used completely different materials in this class-- softer speedy-cut blocks and Pebeo Setacolor inks.
As someone who loves improv and does not seek perfection when quilting, I was really surprised to find that I needed perfection in my block prints. I got frustrated that I couldn't make my sketch look anything like what was printing out. I didn't like the softer blocks, and I didn't like using water-based inks. In the end, I didn't like what I produced.
Stenciling was more satisfying, but not something I could see myself doing on a large scale.
You might read this as me saying that Lotta's class was a flop. Not at all! Lotta is an incredible inspiration. Just hearing her story about how she came to do what she does, and learn her process of design, was invaluable. I also love her work. And so many people were making beautiful prints. The methods just weren't for me. I see it as a huge and important learning experience, as I had assumed prior to QuiltCon that this would be the style of printing I would want to pursue the most. It helped solidify my direction.
As I was writing this post, I went down to a storage closet and pulled out my high school art portfolio. I went through a phase years ago where I threw out so much of my old work. I remember thinking that some of the paintings and drawings were ugly. Boy do I regret that. I'm grateful I had some things left, including the lino cuts and prints from a semester of printmaking.
I loved that course. LOVED it.
One of the projects I am most proud of is this multi-color print of me in the doctor's hands after my mom gave birth.
It's just funny how things work out. I feel like my printing classes at QuiltCon, particularly the one with Lizzy, brought me back to something that I felt so passionate about years ago but had pushed aside, thinking I needed to pursue a more practical life. I can't wait to do more. Lots more.
Leslie Keating of Maze & Vale, handprinted fabric artist extraordinaire, is hosting her third Handprinted Fabric Swap. Sign ups close this Thursday. If this is something you've dabbled in or have been wanting to pursue, think about joining! There's no better way to learn and explore than having a swap where you HAVE to produce something that you're proud of.