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New Pathways into Quilt History written by Kimberly Wulfert, www.antiquequiltdating.com


Jane Davila & Elin Waterston Teach You Art Quilting Basics

Kim’s Review of a teaching DVD

Have you noticed over the past year or so that more and more teaching DVDs are coming on the quilt market? Most, if not all, are a take-off of the teacher’s book. C&T Publishing offers a teaching series of different, “At home with the experts” DVDs. I purposely asked for the DVD without the book, in order to take an objective point of view as possible about the value and lessons learned in the DVD, which is only a portion of the book. You know how it is comparing books and movies -- movies seldom win.

The title of this DVD is perfect for what you get! We are at home with expert teachers in their studio, and they teach the basics from an artist’s point of view and vocabulary, rather than a traditional quilter’s point of view or vocabulary. It is exactly what I needed but didn’t realize until I watched it.

I am closet art quilter. I used to make only contemporary quilts in the early 1990s, but I went toward reproduction fabrics full force when terrific copies of antique fabrics became available. Now I'm heading back to the art side, to include it in my quilt making repertoire. I love art quilts and the freedom and opportunities they offer me as the designer. I love the fabrics they use, including the hand-dyed and stamped fabrics. Beads, yarns, laces, photos and other embellishments are fun to use, but in this DVD, they discuss even more kinds of embellishments and how to make them fabric friendly when they come from nature.

Before I get too far away, let me return to what I meant when I said the teachers take an artist's point of view and vocabulary. For example, they seldom referred to the piece they were working on as a quilt; instead, it was a composition -- ART! I liked watching while hearing about how they used the artist's decision-making process in terms of the layout or composition. They were using design principles an artist uses to make choices and changes, so that their piece had the final look they were aiming for. The compositions are multi-faceted, and there are many choices to make. Nothing is right or wrong, but your vision is the goal. There are many design principles to consider ... they show examples of each, and then they show finished compositions of combinations.

As a traditional quilter, you might be saying that you already use those principles. Ok, but I know I haven’t; I have usually used my gut and camera as my guide. And, it would take me a long while to figure out what wasn’t right. Auditioning is fun to a point, but then I would run out of options. I learned more options as a result of this information, and now I will ask myself more questions when I get started or get stuck. Knowledge is power.

If you are a pattern person, the DVD will not fill that need. They talk about making your own designs and offer suggestions for where to get inspiration and keep it coming. They appliqué by fusing and quilt by machine, demonstrating free motion quilting. And there is a long and informative section on drawing a still life with shadows and highlights that make your finished fabric composition look realistic, because you make the pattern from the drawing. No EQuilter here! This section couldn’t be as helpful and illustrative in a book. The DVD is the best medium for teaching someone how to draw still life.

I recommend this DVD for people who are beginners to art quilt making, since it covers the basics of design principles needed in designing and making an artistic composition from fabric. If you are looking for different surface treatments, this DVD won’t address that. It addresses just 3-D embellishments and fabric choices. And, it will be a review if you took art classes in college, or maybe high school. Although, fabric may be a different medium than what you learned about.

I also recommend you watch this DVD in sections. The menu presents chapters and subchapters, which makes it easy to know when to switch off and easy to find where you left off. I have watched it twice; some parts three times. Would I have read the book twice? Some parts three times, probably more. With new material and ideas presented, the book may not have been as clear as the DVD.

Overall, I really enjoyed it, including the teachers' personalities. It was just like being in a girlfriend’s studio; words were made-up words, the ‘girls” were funny and upbeat, errors were made and corrected, and everyone was happy to spend the day together. This is a very nice pick for design basics in art quilt design and making.

Jane and Elin’s book:
 Art Quilt Workbook: Exercises & Techniques to Ignite Your Creativity

 

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© 2008 - 2015 Kimberly Wulfert, PhD. Absolutely no copies, reprints, use of photos or text are permitted for commercial or online use. One personal copy for study purposes is permitted.

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