Out and about: meetings & presentations

Last Thursday evening I had the pleasure of speaking to the Jewel Box Quilt Guild in Grinnell, Iowa, so named because of one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Jewel Box Bank Building in that community. This year I’ve given my powerpoint presentation four times: at the IQS Quilt Show in Chicago (April); a morning and evening session at Northeast Iowa Quilt Guild, and the most recent one in Grinnell. Previous presentations included guilds in Iowa City (130 attendees) and Waverly, Iowa.

My presentations usually start with an introduction and a few questions to gauge my audience. How many have tried dyeing? printing? I show some actual art quilts, explaining that I use only my own fabrics and that all my pieces start out as white fabrics. After explaining a few technical things about dyes, silk screens and monoprint vinyl, I launch into my power point, which is a visual tour of the part of my art career devoted to art quilts. I start with a few recent pieces, move to images of techniques, then launch into a chronology of how I came to make these and what has been influential over the years. When the chronology is done, I show some studio shots. Then I have a series of “mark making” photographs gleaned from travels and changes in landscape. I finish with a series of teaching images taken during workshops. Usually I bring books, magazines, Surface Design Association materials (yes, I am on the Board), tools and a big basket of sample fabrics which I circulate among the audience early on. Always there are questions, which I encourage and answer as needed. It’s really a lot of fun. And yes, I do charge for these presentations. There is this thing, needing to earn a living.

I also teach workshops and find that most participants enjoy starting with basics. I pack in a lot of information, hopefully not too much, but my aim is to give participants a rich immersion into the wonders of painting and printing with dyes and fabric paints. What do I enjoy the most? Watching participants slide into the pure joy of process, of expression, color and creation. I always tell them, don’t focus on the end product- you will need to practice! But enjoy the ride…