Monday, November 09, 2015

Reflecting on Workshops

I gifted myself with a 2-day workshop with Patty Hawkins for my birthday yesterday and so, today, my design wall is a portable one.

Work-in-Progess on my portable design wall

The organic-looking shapes are "me," but the rest of it is completely outside my comfort zone in terms of colors, techniques, process and ... well, just about everything else. I came home feeling completely spent and absolutely loved it.

We started by sketching and abstracting a shape from a magazine page, then constructing a paper collage from construction paper (with a bit of newsprint) ... not using scissors. Can you find the torn paper collage (value study) of my leaf-inspired shape in the gallery of collages?

Gallery of Paper Collage

Letting go and just following the process where it led me was not easy for me, but well worth the journey.  While my project is far from done, I came home with a clear idea of where I wanted to go.

As I looked around the room and the great variety of projects, I saw that some others had followed a different path, using familiar-to-them shapes in their usual color palettes–they stayed in their comfort zone and used what they knew would work ... and ended up with very successful pieces that definitely looked like "them," but I wonder if they came home feeling creatively spent and what they felt they learned from their effort.

A couple others raced through the workshop, as if it was a competition and produced multiple pieces–which may or may not have embodied the process and techniques we were there to learn ... but I have no doubt that they went home feeling like the "winner" of the day. 

We all approach learning in our own way.  As adults, it is harder to let go of what you think you know and try something knew.  I actively had to work at it as I know some of my classmates did.  Over the course of the two-day workshop, I felt like I could almost see the lightbulbs coming on over the heads of those  that had, like me, suspended disbelief and worked out of their comfort zone, following the path presented to us. 

Thank you Patty, for teaching me a new way to look at design and nudging me along an uncomfortable, but rewarding path. 


If you have a chance to take a class with Patty, don't miss it. She's a great teacher (and encourager).


Anonymous said...

It looks like a very interesting workshop. Is yours the 4th from left? Since I'm not an abstract thinker, I think that would have been a very difficult workshop for me!

Farm Quilter said...

What a wonderful birthday gift to yourself!!! Happy birthday, a wee bit late!!! I love when classes take me out of my comfort zone and help me learn to think and create in a different way. Disequilibrium is what teachers call it - make you a little uncomfortable to enable you to take a different path and LEARN!!! Sweet!!!!!

Kathryn said...

I love to take classes where I get out of my sewing room and get the energy of a teacher and a group. Glad you enjoyed yourself.

Cathy said...

Happy belated birthday!

I'm one of those who probably would have stayed in my comfort zone and then would have been wondering what the heck I was doing there to begin with!

Glad you enjoyed it. I never get these kinds of exercises. I guess I'm not this kind of creative. No light bulbs here yet - maybe never! Light can't shine through a dense brain!

Glen QuiltSwissy said...

I would love to take a workshop with her!

Your piece is amazing. I am quite impressed with you!

thanks for sharing your workshop journey. I am glad you had such a great job! And learned a great lesson!

Kaja said...

A belated happy birthday. This sounds like a great experience and well done for pushing yourself out of your comfort zone; you will really have got the maximum from your experience. I look forward to seeing the completed piece of work.

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