Feb 2, 2017

big news this week

This was a big, big week for me!

First, I was just notified last night that I have been selected to give a lecture at the Houston International Quilt Festival! This is such an honor and I am thrilled to be selected.

Second, my new book is listed in the Schiffer Publishing Spring catalog - which just came out. The book will be available in July.

Third.... I'm going to California. Well...  not till 2018!
I've been invited to give 3 lectures to 3 different quilt guilds - 2 in San Francisco, and 1 in Napa! I'll be spending 2 weeks there in all. Life doesn't get much better than that, does it?

Texas is also on my lecture list... and lots of awesome guilds have invited me to speak in 2017 and 2018.

All book tour lectures are listed on my website:  teresaduryeawong.com


Jan 24, 2017

writing, sewing, not so much blogging


This quote is truly precious. I feel like that some days. 

Book number two is in the editing phase! Possible book number three mulling around in my brain.

When you spend your days at the keyboard, or at the sewing machine - and I do both - important things like this little blog get neglected.

You already know - there are only so many hours in the day.

Not only that, I find myself more and more drawn to Instagram, and less and less to my blog, or other blogs for that matter. It feels odd somehow... like I've jumped ship to something more shiny. But IG has a lot of appeal... its creative, quick, all visual and very cool.

So, more IG. Less blogging. And more books - reading and writing them!


Oct 30, 2016

Nancy Crow workshop - an honest review

Nancy Crow teaches art.

Her medium is textiles and quilting, but she's not teaching 'quilting' per se. And this is the real difference in what she's doing, versus most other instructors out there in the quilt universe.

What I mean by teaching art is that Nancy is trying to open her students' eyes to art world training and getting makers to think about color, value, line, proportion, etc. 

She is the antithesis of a quilt teacher who is trying to perfect your skills in applique for example, or any other single technique class. Taking her class means you are in for a week of hard work.
My work-space and my work-in-progress at the 'Crow Barn' in Ohio.
I spent one week in her class - at the 'Crow Barn' in rural Ohio. My class was called "Strip Piecing and Restructuring" and its the second in a series of classes that continue up through the master level. I skipped the first class (it was offered, but I was not able to attend due to a schedule conflict). I thought I was experienced enough to miss this and jump right in, but in hindsight I would have been better off to start at the beginning.


Before I signed up for the class, I did quite a bit of research and talked to one person who has studied with Nancy for years. I had heard all the bad stuff, that there was a lot of crying for instance, and I also heard good stuff and saw the interesting work coming out of her classes.

Nancy is a strict instructor. She does not walk around smiling and when she stops to talk with you, she does not mince words. She speaks forthright, and for some that is very hard to hear. At various points during the week, I got some high praise and some very frank critique telling me what I was doing was pretty awful. 

At one point, early in the class, I heard from across the room.... "Teresa! I don't know what you are doing over there... but it is not right." This really made me kinda laugh inside... because frankly, I didn't know what I was doing either and it clearly showed. I wanted to shout back "honey, if you don't know what I'm doing, then that makes two of us." But I held my tongue. I walked around the room and did some thinking and finally the instructions for the exercise started to sink in. Then I wiped the design wall clean and went back to work. The result got me the high praise that my structures were well proportioned with line and shape.


A series of lines, shapes and new fabric combinations I created during the week.
For this workshop, the Barn was open from 7 am to 9 pm. I pretty much worked all of those hours everyday, as did most every other person attending. I stayed at a hotel about 20 minutes away and I drove there in the dark and drove back to the hotel in the dark (way past my normal bedtime, I might add).
We were at work long before sun up and left long after sunset.
There is a lovely woman who is the chef for the week and her meals were incredible, so it was awesome not to have to worry about where to eat.
I sewed all week on this "antique" Bernina.
(Its not really an antique of course, but it felt that way to me compared to my amazing
Bernina 820 machine at home).
 This little machine was durable and easy to operate, just a bit slow.
Nancy gives a series of exercises with tight deadlines. These exercises are delivered in a combination of lecture and notes. Some of the lectures are short, some are longer. There is no time to waste. Everything is run like a tight ship. 

I've always been one to stay on track and not miss deadlines, but doing so took a ton of work and was truly hard. Making students do these exercises in such a short time frame is intentional - she is trying to get students to not overthink. Just do it. Trust your intuitive feeling. For me, I felt that things like choosing colors and how to use them is something I can do quickly, but then you have to sew these things... and I did feel rushed for the most part. But when I compare this to other classes, when don't we feel rushed? Most every class is supposed to be a jumping off point, not a place to create your masterpiece.

During the class, we were asked to make dozens of new fabric combinations. There were many combinations I made by following her directions that I doubt I will ever use, mostly because of color choices that are not really my style... but that was part of the exercise - stretching your vision - try new colors - see what happens when you put one color next to another, and then take those two colors and add black, or add white, or add a neutral - and so on.

On one of the nice weather days, I took a short break to walk around and get some fresh air. The area around the Barn is quite peaceful.

The last day and a half of the class were the biggest struggle for me. I think I understood the directions, I just couldn't get there. After thinking about it overnight, I think I realized that what I was being asked to do was not something that I would enjoy doing. 

So I decided to take what I'd learned about repetition and symmetry, and line and balance, and take the fabric combinations I had created in the exercise and do my own thing. The quilt top in the first photo above behind the picture of me is the result - but it's not finished yet. This quilt below is the quilt top from the first day. This was a quilt in a day challenge for sure! And I think it works well... and was fun to make.


In my opinion, this workshop and the way it is taught, is equivalent to art instruction at the graduate level... and I truly appreciate that. For me, it would have been better to start with the first class because I needed that first part of the education - rather than jumping to the second one. 

All that said though, I learned a great deal and I am glad I attended. I left feeling exhausted and energized at the same time.

I created two new pieces of art that I love. And most importantly, I truly feel more informed as an artist who makes quilts!




Oct 24, 2016

Nancy Crow workshop - day one

Today was a great first day of Nancy Crow's "piecing & resturcuturing" workshop.

I'm at the 'Crow Barn' - out in rural Ohio, near Baltimore. Its a lovely setting.

As for the workshop.... today felt a bit like I was a contestant on 'Project Runway' ... (in a good way!)  We were given "one day" for the "challenge" and a budget of 12 "fabrics" (aka knows as finished improv pieced blocks) that we created!

I started with this....


Then made 12 sets of new fabrics....


Then... I sewed like a crazy woman and turned those strips into this...


A few small things to fix on this tomorrow morning. Not bad for "quilt in a day" challenge!

Sunday we also visted the Dairy Barn Arts Center - in Athens, Ohio. There is a fabulous exhibit on view of master quilts curated by Nancy. Unfortunately, no pics allowed. But the barn is a very cool space ---- this is the same venue that hosts/exhibits Quilt National.


Stay tuned. More to come. 


Oct 22, 2016

heading to Nancy Crow workshop today

Heading to a week-long art quilt workshop with Nancy Crow today.

I'm looking forward to the critique on my recent improv.... and the inspiration to do more.

More to come throught the week!


Sep 23, 2016

Blogger's Quilt Fest - Hand Quilted category


Its fall and that means its time for the Blogger's Quilt Festival. 

I've entered this online festival for the past several years and its always fun to be a part of it, and to see all the great quilts that people make and blog about.

I am entering the HAND QUILTED CATEGORY.

Take time to visit and vote for your favorites.


This quilt was created from antique Japanese cotton. Some of these pieces are a century old, some older, some newer.

I stitched these pieces in layers with white cotton sashiko thread. Here is my original post about making this quilt.


Sep 19, 2016

this is what obsession looks like

This is what obsession looks like.

A dozen + handbags!!! I've done nothing but design and construct purses. And along the way I have neglected my blog! :(

Its all been purses and more purses... for weeks! I've built them, and then redesigned them and rebuilt them... so its hard to actually count them. On some designes, I built them and then took them apart and started over and built them again, till they're perfect. 

This is obsession for sure! I've been obsessed before... over quilts... or work... or kids... or whatever. But I don't think I've spent this much time with such a single focus, ever! I have truly lived like a hermit... or maybe just an artist obsessing over the work.
 

Its all been so interesting because working with leather is so different and its been good for my mind to have a totally new challenge. 

In addition to the mental challenge. leather is also very physical... there are hole punches, screwdrivers, mini drills... hammers and knives ... and strong-arming leather into forms and shapes that work. 

Leather is unforgiving! Mess up and you gotta start over.

Why the obsession? Well, I'm starting a new business making and selling leather and cotton handbags --- something I've wanted to do for quite some time!

Back in 1969, my dad started a business making wooden purses and I used to help out working in his shop after school and on weekends. Back in those days, child labor was not looked down upon! haha. Everyone was expected to work and help out, so we did. To honor those early days, I've named my new company mariejay- a combination of mine and my dad's middle names.

I plan to focus mostly on leather handbags, lined with beautiful quilting cottons.  

Each one is unique and I start each project with an open mind and let the leather and fabric speak to me.

But I also plan to use unusual materials such as canvas, vintage feed sacks or upcycled coffee bean sacks (we don't say "used" anymore... haha). The feed sacks and coffee bean sack bags have leather interiors!

I plan to sell online for now. I'm in the process of building a new e-commerce site. And I've opened a new Etsy store for my new brand (mariejayshop.etsy.com

Setting up websites, taking professional photos, keeping up with social media stuff... all takes time and patience. But at this point, I think it is a better option for me than selling through retail boutiques. Although, later down the road that may change. 

Of course I will keep quilting! I love quilting and will always be a quilter. In fact, its the very skills I've learned with 20 years of quiltmaking that are helping me in my new business. And hopefully, I will turn this new passion into a real day job... and keep quilting for fun.

Thanks for reading... and for coming back to my blog after the summer absence.