Friday, April 17, 2009

Dilemma & choices, part 3

I have great respect for Nancy for teaching and sharing her knowledge. Because she willingly expresses her viewpoints, she deepens my understanding of art. She's an interpreter -she translates art into quilting.

Thursday night Annette accused me of getting into a fight with her over the colors of my final composition. What fight? There was no shouting. Just expressions of differing viewpoints. Okay, so I may not always agree with her, but I like to hear what she says.

It's a classic student's dilemma: whether or not to yield your own opinion in favor of the instructor's. In the process of going along with the instructor, you may learn something new. But ultimately, the work is yours – your decisions, your mark, your eye, and your convictions. How else can the work be truly yours?

Here are the three sets of blocks that make up my final composition. First, brown and blue. Colors are flat she said.

Second, blue, green and fuchsia. Colors are flat and combination is especially depressing.

Then finally, blue, green, fuchsia, yellow, pinkish cream, and another brown. She liked these - colors are rich.

She expressed disappointment because she thought I have better color sense and I could do better. I am a colorist but not every color combination will be successful. But then not every color combination needs to wow! For this exercise my intent was to start with a subtle two-color combo and build up from there.

This is my first draft on the design wall when I asked her for feedback. She didn't like the arrangement – the separation of areas. She said I could sew it up but it was only okay. She recognized it as an exercise I needed to work through. You know, I wasn't really happy with the arrangement either. Not so much the separation into blocks of areas, but the proportions.

Friday morning I worked on it more – a failed attempt to integrate the second and third sets. Worked on the proportions and arrangements. Then ran out of time. For the final presentation I basted blocks together and left seams unpressed. Didn't have time to add the first set of blocks. Oops - didn't have time for a photo either. I'll post one later.

I was about done with the final presentation, when Nancy pressed me to talk about my color choices for this. She's not afraid to retread murky waters. I like that about her. So I related my intentions for this piece and the story of our disagreements.

She thought it looked better. So did I. You see there is more than one way to skin a cat.

This piece is not done. I'll work on it more. One of my classmates said don't back the first set of blocks. But don't be surprised if those blocks worm their way back in.


  1. Thanks for your thoughts on your workshop once again. I know how hard it is to hold your ground when the instructor wants you to go somewhere else. In the end it is your own gut feeling that will make it truly yours.

  2. We were all very rushed and very tired on Friday, so IMO these last pieces from us don't represent the progress in our learning during this class. I liked your approach of starting subtle and getting bolder as you made more blocks. I suspect that all of us felt the pressure of making a big piece, hence the urge (from some people) of including all the blocks, appropriate or not. Sometimes the piece should be smaller. I like where you were going with this final piece, so I hope you keep working on it.
    -Connie in Alabama

  3. Believe me, Connie, there were a few times when I wished Nancy would just say sew it up. But much as I'd like to hear that, deep down I also knew it wasn't up to snuff. We felt the pressure of getting work done, but thankfully Nancy has high expectations and standards to which she tries to hold us.