Tuesday, April 08, 2008


I took an excellent workshop from Katie Pasquini Masopust on Friday. The workshop was called "Composition." Well, that's pretty basic. Who doesn't need bit of study about such an important principle? I did! I was especially drawn to the workshop since the only things on the supply list were paper, pencil and scissors.

It was excellent. We started by picking a picture from a huge pile of interesting images from magazines. Then we picked a ziploc bag full of pre-fused fabric in a specific color scheme. I chose this picture of two little soup bowls and an analogous bag of fabric.We looked carefully at the picture and tried to define the basis of its composition. This is a diagonal composition. Then we re-created the image in fabric paying special attention to composition.

I was really pleased with how it turned out. I think the spoon lacks a bit of contrast, but that could be fixed with some kind of outline or other surface treatment.

Then we picked another picture and made several thumbnail sketches of the photos converting the composition into all circles, or rectangles or triangles. I picked this landscape. After sketching tons of thumbnails, I cropped the photo to just the lower left corner which has a bridge and a small covered landing, plus trees and shoreline. That allowed me to emphasize the horizontal composition.Then we picked another bag of fabrics and created our "two-steps from reality" composition in the cloth. I think this is a split complimentary color scheme. I think the house shape is based too much in reality to really qualify as an abstract, but I like it. If I were actually going to finish this piece it would need some surface design. It's too flat in this state.

Look at all the interesting work! We had a very thoughtful critique period at the end of the class. Each person briefly explained their exercises and commented about what they liked or didn't like in each.

In another exercise, Katie challenged us to look at our first composition (my soup bowls) and crop it way way down to one strong composition and make it again in another color scheme. I chose the rainbow color scheme. Bleck. It's tough to use all those colors and not make it look juvenile. Obviously it's not impossible. See here. But, it takes much more careful planning, I think.
I had time to do one more exercise. I chose another photo and simply copied it using a monochromatic color scheme this time. I love the way this one turned out -- the asymmetry, the subject matter, the colors.
These were excellent excersizes. My "one nugget" from the class is learning to spend more time sketching and planning before cutting into the fabric. Of course, I think there is a place for improvisational design. I guess I need to continue to learn when I can be successsful spontaneously and when I need to plan ahead.
We also talked a bit about creating work directly from magazine pictures. Being inspired by a photo is ok... copying isn't. These are for my own personal study and enjoyment, so that's fine. But I don't feel like I can really say that the soup bowls or the vases on the mantle are really "mine."
And after class, we went out for sushi. Yum.


Kristin L said...

Great exercises! i really need to get back to the ones in Katie P-M's design book.

kathy said...

oops! I thought your sushi was another of your designs:)
what a simple concept with striking results! Maybe something for AQM to try?

Kara Lennox said...

Wow, this was so interesting. I love your blog, your photographs are beautiful. I don't sew but I collage and mosaic, which is very close to quilting in a way.

Kara (memopause on etsy)

Karoda said...

After reading the post I thought the same as Kristin...I would love to take a workshop from KPM.

Anonymous said...

Love Katie!! This is such an important class for quilt artists. Since taking Liz Berg's online class, I find myself moving away from working intuitively and doing more pre-thinking, sketching and planning.

Heather B. said...

Sounds like it was a wonderful class! I love the pieces you made.