Sunday, August 23, 2009

Design & Construction Retreat with Sharon Schamber

Top left: Nat's original with her piece on right. Center- My piece. I was working on shading around the eyes, and Bottom: wide angle shot of our work space.

It's been a while, again, since my last post. This past month I've been busy putting the finishing touches organizing our 5-day design and construction retreat with Sharon Schamber. I am so lucky to have had this opportunity to spend a week with Sharon. She has changed my life forever. Not only will my quilting be forever changed, but more importantly, I have changed how I see the world around me. I can't quite put it into words, at least, not yet. Suffice it to say that life at the Harry home will never be the same again.

The retreat was a new concept that Sharon and I put together after we met at a guild sponsored class in Lakeland, FL last November. We were talking about how I'd love to come to one of those Quilting in the Pines or Desert type event that she teaches at. Sharon suggested instead, that she'd come to me, if I could get a small group together. That way we'd only have to cover Sharon's travel and lodging, etc instead of paying for a group of 7 to fly to her. Well, that's all it took for me to be off and running. I called her husband, Gene, Thanksgiving Week 2008 to beg a block of Sharon's time and he told me he had Sharon booked well into 2010. Then the following week Gene called and offered a week in August 2009 that opened due to a cancellation. I couldn't believe how lucky I was!!

My friend Kathy and I handpicked 5 girls to participate with us in this adventure. Sharon gave me cart blanche to design the retreat around any theme or technique we wanted to learn. It became a 5-day intensive retreat on design and construction of an art quilt.

The first morning of the retreat, each girl presented her drawing as a basis for an art quilt they wanted to make, but didn't know quite how to execute. The first step was for each of us to talk with Sharon, one on one, about our vision for the quilt. What was so amazing to me, was that Sharon saw things in each project, that none of us saw. After initial discussion, Sharon got us working on our master copies. She worked her magic on each of us, and by the end of the 5th day, seven gorgeous art quilts were coming to life. Now, I am making it sound so easy, but believe me, it was anything but. It was intense and completely mind blowing. But worth every second. No one wanted the week to end.

It was incredible how Sharon was able to move around the work room from one project to the next and know EXACTLY where each one of us was, what challenge we had, how to help us, and guide us. More incredible, actually, since each project required different techniques.

Evyonne drew a "gaudy fish" and, with Sharon's knowledge of movement and color, Evyonne redesigned her water and used piecelique to create unbelievable background for her fish. She also put patchwork inside some of the waves using piecelique- something none of us would have thought to do. Evyonne used Shiva paintstiks to add dimension to her fish, and did some amazing thread play too.

Barb sketched out an orchid scene and was off and running using piecelique, applique, micron pigma pens, Shiva paintstiks, and thread play too. It was great when she let out a happy squeal after seeing how easy and fast it was to make elegant and flowing stems using piecelique.

Natalie recreated a stone sculpture of a woman using only shades of gray fabric and black and white shiva paintstiks. It looked so much like the real sculpture that when Sharon sent a picture of Nat's quilt to Gene, he called and asked why we sent him a picture of the sculpture, not the quilt!! Natalie will NEVER look at anything the same way again. She has learned to read shades and light and everything with dimension. WOW!!

Sharon loved the 5-day retreat concept and doing art quilting. so much so, that I am going to organize more 5 to 6-day retreats for her. So, for those of you that want a life-changing week with Sharon, give me a call, or email me. I will get Sharon to your hometown for an experience of a lifetime!

As the girls finish their art quilts, I will post pictures for everyone to enjoy.
Until next time,


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