Last week at this time I was buried deep with 35 students for five days teaching my Designs Workshop. I LOVE to teach this workshop as I get to spend good quality time teaching. This course can be a bit stressful for my students as each and every one of them is taken out of their comfort zone box. They are given permission to use their imaginations, play a little or a lot, and quilt like "nobody is watching". Each student is quilting at his/her own skill level and nobody is compared to any one else in the room. Each person creates their own personal project and the pieces that came out of this workshop were breathtaking.
This is the third time I've taught this course and I'm becoming familiar and more comfortable with the process that my students go thru while learning to design. At first I took the frustration they were feeling very personally but I've now realized that is only part of the "Disequilibrium" process that we all go thru when facing a new task or skill. I've learned to relax, not take it to heart, and try and help them along on this new journey.
Each morning was lecture where my students learned new skills/techniques, learned about threads, how to layer designs, create movement and dimension, how to design a whole cloth quilt, backgrounds, feathers, and so much more. I often feel I have the best seat in the house as I get to see the little light bulbs go off in their heads when a concept is grasped and understood and then I get to watch the magic happen in their machines. The afternoons were spent with group design discussions where students bring a top for designing. This is where the instruction provided in the workshop is used in "the real world" and students learn how to apply concepts to "real quilts".
Oh...and of course there was always the eternal search for "just the right stencil"!
I am going to be changing my workshops a bit next year moving them from the large ballroom where I am currently teaching to a more intimate classroom space at the Hyatt House in Rancho Cordova. My classes will be limited to no more than 20 students, there will be extended sewing hours, in-house meals, and no reason to leave if we don't want to. All the rest of the goodies of the workshop will come along too.
I am planning on adding an extended workshop on Linen Wholecloth Quilts (which could also be used for regular wholecloth quilts too); 2-3 Design Workshops; 2 Beginning Machine Quilting workshops and perhaps a couple more. I am currently working with the Hyatt to get everything set up and as soon as this is in place I will be posting this on my Blog as well as a newsletter blast. If you would like to be added to my newsletter, which goes out about 3-4 times a year, just email me.
Hugs, Cindy :)