Not-Quilting . . . by the Lake

There’s no lake at the mid-summer “Quilting by the Lake” conference in upstate New York – at least not since its early days at another college campus.  And despite spending a week at a quilting conference, I actually did not bring my sewing machine!

I enjoyed my week of surface design exploration with Jane Dunnewold tremendously however.  I’d heard Jane speak at the International Quilt Festival in Houston and had participated in several of her lectures and demos there.  But there’s no substitute for getting your hands dirty during a week of surface design.

Actually, there’s no excuse for that either!  Jane is appropriately diligent about studio safety practices and made sure that we did not end the day with dye-stained hands. The light winds and 90+ temperatures dried our fabrics quickly in between steps, while the cicadas hummed in the trees and we enjoyed our spacious air-conditioned studios.   I’ll have to confess that I use most of the techniques in my work already, but the flour paste resists were a great discovery and could be the technique to get past a stumbling block in a series I’ve long considered but never started for lack of the “right” fabrics.

Jane is one of if not the most organized instructors I’ve ever met and she always made sure we completed the preparatory steps in time for the next steps in a process that we’d learn in the coming days.   Other than short breaks for meals, just across the ravine from our classroom, we worked diligently in our studios for at least forty hours that week.  What a great way to spend a “vacation!”

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