Thursday, 16 February 2012

On-line course

I have been taking a wonderful on-line course with Liz Barton, through, called "Inspired to Design". I have just finished an art quilt based on work done for the course, and wanted to share the process with you. Above is a photo taken in Brooklyn last year, and below is the image translated into a line drawing.

We were encouraged to make value studies, filling in the shapes with dark, medium and light values, and to organize our fabrics by value. In the fourth and last week, Liz explained how she realizes her design in fabric. I used some of her techniques, but not others, and produced this version below, measuring 16" x 21", using hand-dyes.
I'm pleased with the result, and have already started on another project. The "virtual classroom" is open for another ten days or so, and I hope to get feedback from the teacher as I go along. One of the features of the course is that you can monitor the progress of all the other students, seeing what images they post, and eavesdropping on their exchanges with the instructor. Liz responded to every comment, usually within just a few hours. Her insights were spot-on, very valuable and instructive. Students came from all over the U.S., Canada and Europe.

I can't say enough good things about the course, and hope to take her class "Working in a Series", planned for May. It has been a lot of work, but I have learned a lot and have what I hope is the beginning of a series here.


  1. Such a fabulous piece Heather! It was a really successful course for you and it will be fun to see all the work that will come out of it with the beautifully dyed muted colours for forground and background. Way to go!

  2. It's a lovely piece and like most of our pieces, and all your dyed fabric in the previous post, it's even better in person. I think you have been very clever in how you've installed your windows.

  3. A great piece. Thanks for sharing and can we see more as it develops, please? One of my friends here in Durban,SA has done one of her courses online and thoroughly enjoyed it.

  4. What a lovely piece of work Heather. You've really got me thinking about taking a course with her - what a positive recommendation! Did she give you any ideas of how to quilt your piece?

    1. She didn't have much to say about quilting the piece. She did say she doesn't like to see patterns like feathers and flowers imported into a project if they bear no relation to the subject. Also, that she doesn't think the current fashion of quilting-to-death is necessarily the best approach. She herself uses a narrow zigzag in matching rayon thread to do the machine appliqué, and then quilts separately. I did a straight-stitch machine appliqué around each shape, which also serves as the quilting stitch. I think I'm going to leave it at that, as the piece will be mounted on a canvas. She finds fusing yields a result that is too flat, but likes to iron the finished quilt front and back.

      She encourages students to pick and choose from her recommendations. For example, I used freezer-paper templates for cutting out the shapes, as I needed more precision, but she typically advises drawing the shape freehand with chalk.

  5. Hilary and I both did a three day masterclass with EB a couple of years ago which has continued to provide me with food for thought. A fellow cq member, who was also on the course, is actually repeating her Designing in series class as she has found it so useful

  6. It is so interesting to see the process involved. Thanks for these photos, Heather, and also for the little comments that enlighten the thinking and way you approached the project.

    One telling comment is that you are going to stop at this point. That is one of the most difficult decisions - knowing when to stop. I would find it very hard not to go on and on adding more and more detail. Even though I have a wonderful quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupery passed to me by Linda B:

    "Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."

    I should read it more often!

    I look forward to seeing more results. What a wonderful advert for EB's classes!


  7. What a terrific process! Even though it was an on-line course, the benefit of having a dedicated instructor and access to the other students is priceless! Working in a series intrigues me and I will look into this course. Thanks for sharing this invaluable info.