Four-day classes resumed on Thursday, and new two-day classes began. Attendees revisited the Education Department exhibits, the pieces for seminar 2012, the EGA booth, and the bookstore.
In the evening, attendees gathered for the teachers’ showcase, final bids of the silent auction, the lively action of the live auction, and the drawing for the opportunity baskets.
Friday could have presented a challenge, for electrical difficulty in some classrooms interfered with the lighting. Hotel personnel quickly set up tables in the main ballroom and ballroom lobby areas. Classes continued without a hitch as students cheerfully participated in a new Stitch-in-Public venue.
The week ended with the Closing Banquet. Seminar Chair Donna Christie introduced and lauded the members of her committee and thanked the hotel staff. Liz Saylor, marketing consultant for DMC presented an engaging talk on the ways DMC is currently promoting education and providing inspiration through product development.
Caela Tyler presented highlights of Seminar 2012 in Santa Fe. Class listings are posted on the EGA website.
Congratulations to Donna Christie and her committee for providing such a wonderful seminar!
Twenty-four classes are underway in Naples. There is an amazing array of techniques offered.
Outside the boutique, and throughout the registration area, bowls of thimbles with state names, flags, birds, and flowers are available for the digging. Many interesting conversations have occurred as attendees help one another search for just the right state. It has been a great way for people to meet and establish friendships.
The annual meeting was held in the evening, followed by the Fiber Forum meeting.
When an artist takes a traditional style of stitchery and adapts it to her or his own form of expression, the results can be quite fascinating. Below are two blackwork pieces from the collection that illustrate this point beautifully.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any information on the origins of this sampler beyond the initials and year stitched at the bottom. It is a straightforward presentation of 16 blackwork stitches in black on a cream-colored ground. The row of snails at the bottom add a touch of whimsy.
Taking a different approach to the same technique, Jacqueline Winton created this piece based on the classical element, Earth.
Part of series that also includes the elements Fire, Wind, and Water, Winton has used traditional blackwork stitches of varying densities in shades of brown to create a landscape and convey the feeling of earth.
Inspired to try your hand at blackwork? Check out Carol Algie Higginbotham’s group correspondence course,Roses, or these titles and more available formEGA’s lending library:The Art of English BlackworkandBlackwork Embroidery Patternsby Jane Zimmerman,Reversible BlackworkandBlackwork & Holbein Embroideryby Ilse Altherr, andWhy Call it Blackwork?by Marion Scoular. Ilse Altherr has also created a blackwork Technique Basics projects available on theFree Projectspage.
Things are finally starting to settle down at EGA Headquarters. Just about all of the boxes have been unpacked and staff is getting into a new routine. The great thing about this is I finally have the time to go through the permanent collection piece by piece, making condition reports and notes of all sorts. Today one of the pieces I looked at was item #269.
I had seen this piece before but never really paid much attention, probably because the detail of the two cherubs form Raphael’sSistine Madonnaare reproduced so frequently. I just assumed this was made from a late 20th century kit using that popular image. Today I learned that it’s actually about a hundred years older than I suspected. While we don’t know who stitched the piece, it was donated by Mrs. L. K. Benedict in 1985, who bequeathed it to EGA in her will. She wrote that the donation was being made in memory of her late husband, Leo Kauffman Benedict. She described it as a “gros and petitpoint painting.” The original frame was in poor condition when it arrived; it was re-framed in 1987.
The cherubs’ faces were painted on after stitching. This detail shot also shows the interesting areas where the larger stitches meet the tiny ones.
One more thing I appreciate is the “painterliness” of the background. It’s a little more subtle in person, there is more color contrast in the photos. I’m sure there are more surprises just waiting to be discovered. I’ll be sharing them here.
On Day 2, we developed grids and worked with embellishers, keeping in mind what we might be able to use in developing a project.
To make the grids, we layered threads, yarns, and beads on top of a water soluble stabilizer and covered it with Giulietta, another stablizer. Then, we linked the threads by hand stitching or machine stitching them. We need to make sure that they are stitched, or linked securely, otherwise our creation will fall apart.
We used an embellisher machine to fuse scrim together. We get lovely effects on both sides. Bits of color from the scrim underneath bleed into the one on top.
Day 3 was a day off. But really, we were thinking about our assignment—to attend to strips and stripes in the environment. This wasn’t difficult for those of us who drove to Ghost Ranch. We took detours to view places that Georgia O’Keeffe rendered in her paintings. Strips and stripes abounded.
The last two days were spent creating a textile or textiles that exhibited strips and stripes. Beaney and Littlejohn demonstrated other techniques, including gilding. Attendees worked steadily to achieve their goals. Forty people delivered quite a body of work. It was a productive and energized week for Fiber Forum.
We met as a class today. I remembered several things that I had intended/would have liked to have brought. Stash enhancement events are sure to happen as Santa Fe has excellent shopportunities and we will be eager to search out just the right materials to develop our ideas for a final project. As Jean Littlejohn put it, one of the class rules is that you can’t have everything you need because you couldn’t get all of it in the car. And one student quickly added another rule: Your neighbor brought better stuff than you did.
There are forty of us, and the energy level is very high. We are learning techniques that will culminate in a resolved stitchscape. We had a go at three exercises today: creating a needle-felted stone that is mindful of Santa Fe, both geologically and culturally; recording design patterns that we find around us in Santa Fe; and creating stitch samples and variations with different threads and yarns that we have brought with us. These are to act as references for the work we are to create. We are working at seeing more clearly and developing an idea for a project. Beaney and Littlejohn are master teachers who keep us motivated by guiding us through the exercises, demonstrating constantly, encouraging always, and being ever accessible. They well know learners and learning, structuring each exercise to lead to student success. They break down a task into manageable steps, all the while building toward the larger goal of a completed stitchscape.
Don’t you love preparing for a workshop? Assembling all the supplies? It can be stressful, too, wondering whether you have the right stuff. So much you want to bring, but you’ve just the suitcase you can take on the plane. You’ve done the best you can. And after you arrive, you look up all the needlework, bead, quilt, and knitting stores in the area. Hire a car, too, to make sure you can search for just the right thread, just the right bead, just the right yarn in case you need to.
Fiber Forum begins in the morning in Santa Fe with Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn. Time to dive into stitchscapes. Let’s go on the journey just a little bit together.