Every once in a while we encounter people in places and our minds expand. Material Obsession just hosted one of these experiences and I am stuck in a moment of digesting what just occurred. We have hosted Kaffe and Brandon six times now. I admit I wondered if there was anything left to learn. The answer was clear from the minute they arrived...of course there is!! It is never too late to open our minds to those around us with honesty and truth...and what happens with the open door of the mind? We find ourselves!
They arrived a week ago bringing with them their acute awareness of not just color and pattern but also simple beauty. There is something magical about being aware of our surroundings and being slightly off kilter makes us more aware of the things we might otherwise pass by. No matter where we went it seemed as if the world was on hyper mode. The beach was a shimmering aqua surrounded by rippled sand and patterned bathing suits. The galleries were full of ideas for knitting, quilting or tapestries. The streets were alive with funny signs like "Like her Here" or outlandish outfits on strangers. Brandon is the kind of guy that brings a smile to the face of those around him. He is a spontaneous delight to have around...always joking and completely uninhibited.
We started the week by going through the shop and finding exciting fabrics to play with in the workshops. I like this part...they have the extensive experience based on what has happened before in the workshop. The result was a carefully curated collection of fabrics that provide the best results. It means that the quilts made on the day have a great chance of being a success as the trial and error of so many before have helped to narrow down the choices.
Its fun to see such busy artists relax and enjoy a bit of down time. They find joy in simple things. Leafing through my rather extensive collection of quilting books commenting on designs, color combinations and the like. I am proud of my collection of books so it is gratifying to share the pages with those that appreciate the contents. Most of the people in our house just walk by them without a care or thought to how much love has gone into making it diverse and comprehensive. I also appreciated having four quilts bound by the time they left!!!
Every time we host these guys we do a lecture which is an opportunity to see the vast array of designs created. Kaffe waxes lyrically about the events and influences of his life which are most unusual. Although I have heard him speak many times it is always exciting to pick up on something new, see new slides and generally to treat the mind to things not seen in the normal steps of life. I particularly like how trends work from the knitting to the fabric designs and into the tapestries. The pages of the books reveal the attention to detail in the settings chosen and how they enhance the work. As is often the case with good design they make it look so easy! We take for granted that each book is filled with beautiful quilts in perfect settings without really considering the experience needed to see with such clarity.
It is always a great pleasure to share the experience with the people of my life. I love this photo of my Taking Shapes class as we all soaked up the excitement while enjoying the quilt that Lynn Stevenson had made in a previous workshop with Kaffe and Brandon. Someday I'd like to gather all the quilts made in all the workshops and do an exhibition so we can all see how much we have grown and developed thanks to their efforts.
I decided to actually participate in the workshop this time and here is the result of my day with Kaffe and Brandon! I wanted to work with coral and selected a range of prints from my stash to use on the day. Unlike the rest of the participants I was lucky to have a bit of help selecting the choices by my house guests!
The rest of the room was alight with wonderful examples of exploring colour, hue, value and saturation. What may not be obvious is that the work done on the day is really inside everyone at the start of the day. It is carefully coaxed out of each maker. It is with the careful observations, encouraging comments and objective decisions made by Kaffe and Brandon that each quilt becomes the masterpiece of the participant. I very much enjoyed watching the fear turn to confidence on the day. It was not an easy assignment but it was, as is any challenge, rewarding in the end. Every quilt was a masterpiece.
At the end Kaffe and Brandon go around and tell the romantic story of each quilt. The subtle nuances or the bold statements that make it a winning performance.You could hear a pin drop at this stage as we all soaked up the illustrative story of the composition learning to see with our minds what our hands had done.
So much personality comes out in a workshop like this. What I noticed was a slow growing of communal acceptance of each other. We walked around the room looking at the work from near and far discovering the details and broad strokes that are as individual as each person. We helped each other with cutting and pressing but left the color choices to the maker and the encouraging leaders. I liked that there was a bit of respect for each makers choices and little interference. We were encouraged to work independently and to let the music set our minds free to move from choice to choice.
When we think of these workshops we automatically consider projects made with Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics but the opposite was true. There were of course many designs from their ranges but also from many others. From black and white to explosions of yellow we worked the full schematic of possibilities each one a lesson in iteself.
We ended the week last night with lively conversations with a few friends, drinks and dinner. As they drove off today it felt as though a big hole appeared in the world. One that was filled with lively chat about things I love to talk about. Observations, dreams, stories and the rest are all what make up the compositions of our minds. Relationships built over creativity are the best.
There was so much to digest from all the visual clues and conversations but one thing is for sure, it is always a good thing to be exposed to the masters. There are few among us that have such single minded creative focus. It was clear that the vision was strong. We all have our strengths and weakness. Some we use to make us strong and some we let deter us. I am on a mission in life to always let the experiences brings something positive to my day. I like that I am pensive now and wondering how what has just been experienced will transform in future creative decisions I make. If you are wondering if you should take a class or workshop with Kaffe and Brandon do it...for that matter, grab every learning experience you can. The result is a better you! Enjoy. k