The workshop is over, and it went really well! The students had a lot of fun, they felt the material was valuable, and I got a lot of great feedback, so it’s all good. We started by simply playing with materials – I brought paints, beads, embroidery floss, and tons of fancy yarns to get them started. I asked each of them to keep an “Explorer’s Log” describing what they tried, what they liked, what they didn’t, and what ideas for finished projects cropped up as they were playing with it. From there we went into generating ideas, making mood boards, and generating designs from ideas. That finished Day One.
On Day Two, I asked them to put together a more considered design from the ten designs they’d brainstormed the day before. Then we talked about what makes a well-designed piece of cloth – function, appearance, and construction. Each person showed off a design, and talked about what aspects of the design they still needed to investigate. I gave my perspective on sampling, namely, that samples are meant to answer design questions, and your goal in designing samples for a project should be to answer your question as absolutely cheaply as possible – in time, materials, and mental energy. And then the students proceeded to weave samples to answer some of their design questions – or, in some cases, simply to continue exploring the ideas they’d been working on.
While there are some things I intend to change about the pace and timing of the workshop, and maybe one or two content changes, I think it went well, on the whole, and I’m very happy with it.
Here (with permission, of course) are photos of some of my students’ work:
I’m teaching this workshop again next weekend (in Carmel), and hope to have some more examples ready by then. The students also thought it would be really interesting if I included an example of my own design process, so I’ll be toting along Autumn Splendor and a couple of the muslins and samples I made for it. Haven’t yet decided whether to put that at the beginning or the end of the workshop, but am leaning towards putting it at the end. It’s a nice way of summing up the workshop, and giving the students food for thought as they go home.
So I’ve taught my first workshop! It was a lot of fun, and I think I gave my students some useful material, so I’m quite content. Looking forward to the next one, next weekend!