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City and Guilds has three patchwork and quilting courses: certificate level 2, certificate level 3, and diploma. An experienced quilter can start with certificate level 3, and then continue to the diploma. You can't go to the diploma directly. All the courses include design and execution aspects. All courses emphasize working in a sketchbook.
Certificate level 3 course includes 10-12 modules, according to the specific study program created by each school. Linda and Laura Kemshall, for example, created a 10 module course. You can pay for the whole course in advance, pay for each module as you go, or pay for the first module, check if you like the course, and then pay for the rest of the modules at once. Upfront payment is encouraged by significant discounts. The course can be completed in 1-3 years.
After payment, the module materials are provided to the student. Each module includes several lessons in PDF format. The lessons explain the subject using text and images, and include activities that have to be submitted to the teacher using digital images. The teacher evaluates the activity and sends comprehensive feedback with suggestions for improvements and additional exercises. Once all the module activities are completed, the student can continue to the next module.
This is the quilt I have made for the "Local Visions" exhibition. The quilt size is 48"x48". It is based on an aerial view of a terraced hillside near Jerusalem. The "ruins" are not in the original picture and are a fragment of my imagination. I added them initially on a whim, then they started telling a story and raising questions. Is the main building a synagogue or a mosque? Or maybe it's a church? I was drawn into my village and added paths and paved areas for the village square and courtyards.
The top of the quilt is pieced from hand-dyed Cherrywood cotton. The one-patch design is the most basic of the traditional quilt designs and also connects to the concept of image pixelization in digital images. After piecing I added stencilling with oil sticks to indicate the topography and terraces. I then quilted and embroidered the quilt sandwich with big-stitches using cotton perle and couched wool yarn. The quilt is embellished with wood beads and slivers of sem-precious stones.
On Thursday, April 1, the "Local Visions" group exhibition of art quilts opened in Gallery on the Lake in Ra'anana. The exhibition includes 36 quilts by 12 Israeli art quilters: Eti David, Niza Hoffman, Gisha Wogier, Ita Ziv, Maya Chaimovitch, Yemima Leven, Nava Liberman, Shula Liss, Rahel Kovo, Bella Kaplan, Shulamit Ron, and Orna Shahar.
The exhibition is a tribute to the landscapes of Israel and has a special concept. Each of the twelve artists created a large quilt inspired by a place in Israel. Then she created a small quilt as a tribute to a randomly chosen quilt of one of her friends. The quilts are displayed in pairs - a large and a small quilt depicting the same subject. Every artist has in the exhibition an additional quilt on the subject of Israeli landscapes that she has created earlier, or specifically for this exhibition.
10 Park road, Ra'anana. The exhibition is open till April 14, Sunday-Thursday and Saturday from 9:30 till 20:00 and Friday from 9:30 till 13:30.
Today we drove to the north to see an exhibition of textile wall hangings by Noa Eshkol in the open air museum in Tefen. I've heard a lot about this exhibition and was not disappointed. The wall hangings are striking and impressive. The exhibition as a whole is a powerful tribute to an artist with a boundless, explosive creativity.
Noa Eshkol (1924-2007) was a dancer and a worshiped dance teacher who is best known for developing the Movement Notation. In the 70's of the 20th century she started making textile wall hangings from left-over fabrics that she received from sewing workshops. Over the weekend she would collage the pieces on a fabric foundation, using hundreds of pins. The next week, the dancers in her group would sew the pieces to the foundation fabric using a herringbone stitch, usually with a similar color thread, so that the stitch color would not interfere with the overall design. A few of the displayed works have not been sewn and are displayed with the pins holding the layers together. It is especially interesting to see the fabric shapes - it is easy to see that many of the pieces were used exactly as she received them from the garment sewing industry. The negative shapes of clothing patterns, pockets, and such, are very noticeable in some of the pieces.
Noa Eshkol has made approximately 1500 of these wall hangings, 30 of which are displayed in the exhibition. The works are very large and bold. In the middle of the exhibition space hang translucent banners with images of Noa dancing.
Pictures of all the wall hangings can be seen on the Tchochkes blog.
I don't remember when I learned of City and Guilds for the first time, maybe 5 years ago, maybe more... I don't remember what exactly I knew about it or how I knew it. It was as if the quilt virus had released this knowledge directly into my brain. No matter, I simply knew that this organization exists and that you can learn "there" the art of quilting. Where is "there"? "There" is in Britain. "They" have tradition, and great courses, and wonderful teachers. At some point I heard that you can now take the City and Guilds courses online. I looked it up and learned that a course costs 1500-2000 Pounds, a sum that with the exchange rate to the Shekel at the time, seemed astronomical. I've put my dreams on a shelf and went on.
Time passed, I made progress as a quilter, learned and evolved, but all this time I had this feeling of dissatisfaction. A feeling that I don't know how to approach an idea, how to develop it, how to find my personal voice in quilting. I've bought many books. I learned from all of them. One of my favorites was The Painted Quilt by Laura and Linda Kemshall. Other than enjoying reading the book, I confess that I didn't do much. And time went on, and the discontent grew. One day the decision came - I must study to develop as an artist. I started checking option to study art not as a formal degree. I found a college not far from where I live, that offers specially adapted programs for people like me. It involves 2 days of study a week and costs 11,000 Shekels a year (almost $3,000). The studies are not focused on textile art and would take two workdays out of my week. It wasn't an easy decision. Then I remembered the City and Guilds course. When I started to check it again, I found that Laura and Linda Kemshall offer online City and Guilds courses for approximately 1500 Pounds. With the better exchange rate today, it suddenly seemed much more feasible. I talked my best friend who lives in Belgium and also quilts to join me on this adventure. We registered with Linda and Laura and dived right in.
To be continued...
Phyllis is coming to Israel in less than a month, and holding here two workshops.
A two day workshop on March 10, and 11 and a three day workshop on March 21, 22, and 25.
Both workshops will be held in Beit Berl, from 10:00 till 18:00 every day. There are a couple of last minute cancellations in the two day workshop, so if you're interested or know someone else who might be, don't be shy!
Since email has become very unreliable, I am posting the materials list and workshop information here, for the students to access.
Please note that the sewing machine is not required for the first day of both workshops.
Materials List: Art Quilts from Photos
§ 4 photographs (8”x10” preferably) to choose from (we will discuss pros and cons of each selection and choose one, or elements from several if related)
§ if you choose a photograph that you did not shoot, be sure you have permission to use it, or be sure that you will never, ever sell the quilt if you make it from a magazine or other published photo
§ if you have a photo that you are sure you want to turn into a quilt as is, and can get it enlarged,( in black and white is fine), to the size of your finished piece, this will save you time doing the enlarging exercise in class and you will get further in your finished piece this is optional however, and it will still be useful to bring some other photographs
§ we will be discussing composition, contrast, values, and textures. There will be handouts. You may want to take notes
§ 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of transparency (I will have these available for you)
§ piece of foamcore board or insulation board large enough for your finished piece.( Recommend 20x30” if you are new to this)
§ Saral or transdoodle transfer sheet (I will have this available in your kit)
§ an ultra fine-line Sharpie™ in black and red or other waterproof smudgeproof markers
§ separate non-waterproof marker that WILL wipe off plastic
§ scissors , fabric and paper
§ tweezers (optional)
§ glue stick
§ box of pins. the best are long and flat headed but bring whatever you have
§ sewing machine in good working order (with feed-dog down capability)
§ darning foot, quilting foot or embroidery or appliqué foot
§ assorted threads. See the note below on thread types.
§ basic sewing supplies
§ consider non-slip work gloves (cotton gloves with dots on palms) or sort kwik ( I will have samle to use in class)
§ needles should be Metallica, Metafil or Topstitch. They have a longer eye without added width and help prevent the fraying of threads.
§ I generally use a #80 for the cotton lightweight threads (#60).
§ A #90 needle is better for metallic threads or thicker threads. However, to save the effort of changing needles often, use the #90 for everything.
§ lightweight tear-away paper stabilizer (optional)
§ a few pieces of assorted fabric to practice on. Include solids, large flower prints and large geometrics.
§ monofilament invisible thread, both the clear and the smoke. Get a good brand because it makes life much easier. Monofilament thread can be tricky to work with. Sulky rayon invisible can be less temperamental.
§ fabric for the back (can be selected after top is finished)
§ thin cotton batting. Buy the kind that advertises that stitches can be up to 8" apart, and recommends that you do not prewash.
§ dark colored tulle same size as finished piece (you can wait until class to determine which to get if they are available locally)
§ dark tulle 1 yard- brown, black, turquoise, dark green etc)
§ novelty yarns for embellishment (Tree trunk texture, foliage, hair, fur, feathers) if you wish. I will bring some that I like for you to use
regular crayons, fabric markers in colors to draw features or fold lines are optional. I will have some available for the class, (and will be happy to help with facial features and coloring if you want me to)
You can let your photo dictate your choices. Do not be afraid to change any color to your liking. You do not have to slavishly follow the photo!. Make it uniquely your own. It will read accurately if the value is the same and if warm colors substitute for warm and cool for cool. This will all be discussed in class and hopefully we can all exchange pieces if someone else has just the right fabric.
You will need lots of assorted fabric pieces such as skin tones, prints that read as a solid from a few feet away, light mauves, light olives for shadows. Batiks that shift colors are good, as well as marbelized fabric and tone on tones. Highly contrasting patterns are usually not useful for this, but patterns that suggest elements of your photo may work great.
You will be doing a lot of fussy cutting, so you may not need more than 1/4 yard at a time, if that much. For larger expanses, such as a sky, buy enough to cover the entire area. You also should check to see whether the pattern of the fabric runs with the selvedge or horizontally.
A nice extra is fabric that shows a little lighter on the back than the front. You get two fabrics for the price of one. Such a fabric comes in handy when you are creating a garment that has shadows. The difference in the back and front of such a fabric is ideal, since the pattern usually remains the same, but the value varies.
There are thread types and sizes available.: cotton, rayon, polyester, silk, monofilament and metallic. Choose thread to serve specific purposes. Each type has distinct physical properties and characteristics. Polyester, for example, retains its round shape at all times, whereas cotton, rayon and silk tend to lie flatter on the fabric. I would choose the latter for shading and the polyester for distinctive outlining, as it will be more raised.
Thread size plays an important role in your choice of thread. The standard size used in regular sewing is usually 40 wt or 50 wt. Machine embroidery and fill in thread play uses 60 wt and 50 wt. Heavy-duty sewing uses number 30. Sometimes you will see the thread size shown as 50/2. The top number is the size and the bottom number is the ply (the number of filaments wound together). The larger the size number the finer the thread.
For shading, I like to use number 60 (fine). With the finer thread, I can go over the same area with a second color (creating a blend) without adding bulk or stiffness. However, color choice is the first consideration, and if we cannot find the exact color we want in the finer thread, we will use any weight thread with the right color. We can adjust the stitches accordingly
Try to match the colors closely to the tones in the fabric you selected for the skin, hair, eyes and mouth if you want a realistic portrait in your piece. You might also want some colors that may be used to highlight an area, like light shining on hair (usually a slightly lighter hue than the original) or a deeper color than the fabric to emphasize a shadow
I like variegated threads to use for grass or reeds, tree trunks, foliage, water ripples wind ripples etc . I’ll bring a few to be used in class.
Since the exhibition I've been keeping busy with my City and Guilds course, and with a quilt for a group exhibition in April this year. The quilt is heavily quilted and embellished by hand, and most of the work for the course is also done by hand.
I don't know about you, but when I work by hand I need something to occupy my head. Sometimes I've got a lot on my mind, and it's ok, but other times, I need to divert my thoughts in other directions. We don't have a functioning radio in the house, and I am not so much a music person. Words are more my cup of tea. The best would be to listen to audio books, but these are not common in Israel. So I have found a great solution - I listen to podcasts.
That's how I discovered Marisa Haedike and Creative Thursday website, blog and podcasts. I went back to the first podcasts and have been listening to them sequentially. I love Marisa's podcasts! They are humorous, absorbing and very insightful. It's incredible how accurately she identifies and treats various aspects of everyones lives, but mostly the issues that bother creative people.
Thank you, Marisa, for giving me some of the most delightful moments of the last couple of days!