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  • Teaching

    In the past month or so I've made my first foray into the formal teaching arena with two workshops, one a variation of the other. Both experiences were wonderful - I had fun and the participants all seemed to enjoy the classes as well, learning new things, creating small art pieces and having fun all at the same time! Those of you who teach know that the preparation for a workshop takes about 4 to 5 times longer than the actual workshop day. By the time you get to the class the work prep is done and it's just time to share and enjoy.

    The first class I taught was at my local quilters' guild - the one I've been a member of for over 20 years. It was a great starting point because these ladies are my friends already, a good audience to start with! We had a terrific day making fabric postcards. It's a good way to learn some new techniques and about some materials one may not have ever used, AND to finish up one or two small pieces that go home with you. I brought my camera but, of course, was too busy to take photos. Too bad, because there was such a variety of unique postcards created that day. I find them addictive to make and evidently so do some of the class participants! I've been seeing new cards at guild meetings and hearing about what fun they are having making new ones. Postcards are quick to make and a fun way to try a new idea or technique, but not so precious that they need to be 'perfect'.

    My next class was No Sew Fiber Art, an adaptation of the sewn postcards workshop. Taught at the TraillWorks Gallery, it was the first of the 'guest artist workshops' that Jennie is introducing at her spacious new gallery and studio space in Newton NJ. Talk about a good creative vibe - we had such a great group of artists on the beautiful October Sunday that we met! There were six of us there creating small art. These women are all practicing artists in one way or another, so other than some technical questions about the new materials, they needed no prompting in getting started on their own visions. For this version of the workshop we used no stitching or thread. That is a real challenge for me because sewing is my first love and it's what I do to create my art. It was a good stretch though, to think outside of my usual process and come up with non-sewing solutions. Below is the line up of the art created that day.


    L-R: Mona's Ode to Long Lost/New Found Love, Jennie's Housewife with Apron, Mary's Thanks to the Season


    L-R: Sarah the Fashionista, Martha's Free Bird, Joanna's Carnevale di Venezia

    As you can see all the pieces are quite different and tell us something about the maker. I just love them all! I was ready to cut down my card (seen in the center of bottom photo) to demo how to finish off the cards, when it was suggested that it should stay "as is", with frayed edges and the bird's wings extending beyond the borders. Everyone agreed that it was a stronger piece left alone and I'm really glad I did. I'm going to mount this one in a shadow box frame. Thanks for the input, fellow artists!

    TraillWorks has another workshop coming up in just a couple of weeks - "Japanese Stab Binding" - a bookmaking workshop with Renie Garlick. Click on the link to find a class description and sign up. You can always call the gallery directly too, to learn more.

    So far I have really enjoyed the teaching experience. I have some ideas about other workshops to develop and Jennie claims she'd like to have me back again! I look forward to it.

    Until next time -



  • Counting the Days

    I'm counting the days to the "No Sew Fiber Art" workshop that I'll be teaching at TraillWorks Studio and Gallery. It is taking place on Sunday, October 24, 2010 from 10:00 - 3:00. We'll be creating small pieces of art with fabric, papers, stamps, inks, ephemera and also learning a variety of basic surface design techniques. I should mention that there's a yummy lunch included! What more could you ask for - a fun and creative day, good company, AND delicious food!

    Time is running out, so grab a friend and sign up here or you can register directly at TraillWorks. Call Jennie or Corrie and they'll be happy to help you register and will provide the supply list. The phone number is 973-383-1307. I look forward to seeing you for an art-making day on October 24th!

    Abstract_Streamers_postcard Chameleon_postcard

    These examples include stitching, but we are going to adapt our art to a no-sew method. Your imagination is the only limit!

    Until next time -


  • Opening Reception

    Last Saturday was the opening reception for the "Two Sides to Every Story" exhibit. Jennie Schaeffer and I are showing our work - Jennie's paintings and my quilts - side by side, using the subject of the apron to reflect on ideas of domesticity and women's work.

    The opening was successful and quite fun! Many of my friends attended (thank you loyal friends!) and I met a number of new people during the evening. There were lots of great questions asked and some engaging conversations about art.


    Jennie's painting "Tied and Released" flanked by my quilts

    There are several typical questions or comments that tend to come up when people view quilts. I was ready to answer as best I could, but surprisingly and happily, they didn't really come up. One question is "how long did it take you to make that?" I think when someone asks that question it's their way of inquiring about process, so I try to steer the conversation in that direction. There was plenty of interest in my process, but most inquiries on Saturday were very direct about that rather than framing it in a round-about way. I'm happy to speak about process if that is where the interest lies.

    I think there was only one mention of a grandmother making a quilt once! This crowd really "got" that we were here to view art.


    "The Daily Round"
    Collaged Quilt
    20.5" x 20.5"
    © 2010 Martha C. Hall

    Now, another thing that usually happens is that people LOVE to touch the quilts! Most people don't enter a gallery and run over to fondle paintings, but quilts are another story. It's an instinct to reach out to feel the quilt. I think that's all about the fabric. Early on, as we were hanging the show, I suggested we might put up "Do Not Touch the Quilts" signs, as they do at almost all quilts shows. Jennie was resistant to the idea and I could understand why. But as the show was hung a full week before the opening Jennie started to understand where I was coming from. She noticed that people who entered the gallery were all touching the quilts!! Even her mail carrier who comes in every day and has never touched a painting! By the time opening Saturday arrived, Jennie said "I think we need to put up those signs", and we did, discreetly of course!

    Until next time -


  • Labeling Art

    Last Friday I went to TraillWorks Gallery in Newton NJ to hang my quilts along side Jennie Schaeffer's paintings for our new exhibit, "Two Sides to Every Story". After everything was hung we went over the details of pricing and labeling the art. It's so refreshing to get the perspective of an artist who is not in the quilt world. In the quilt world we see labels like "hand-dyed cotton, pieced and appliqued, 42 beads, glitter, 10,000 yards of metallic thread, ........ and so on". I have to admit that those long labels have annoyed me for quite some time. What these labels are describing are "quilts". So that is how we decided to label my quilts in the "Two Sides" exhibit - "quilt". And if it has some other element attached we called it a "mixed media quilt". Because that is what they are - quilts. Nice and straightforward.

    Here is a preview of our show - my largest quilt, called "Laundry Day".


    "Laundry Day" 
    Mixed Media Quilt
    75" x 41.5"
    © 2010 Martha C. Hall

    There will be an opening reception this Saturday, October 9th, from 5 - 8 pm. I hope some of you can attend. And if you're interested I can give you all those crazy details on how these pieces were constructed, although I really don't know how many yards of thread I used. Lets just say 'lots of thread, many colors'.

    Until next time -


    P.S. I apologize that I have not yet figured out how to be able to click on the image to see a larger, detailed photo. I'll be working on that. So much yet to learn Wink

  • New Work

    I've been working on an idea that's been incubating in my mind for quite some time. I figured I'd better get on with it before someone else does.

    Have you ever seen a quilt or other piece of art and thought, "Hey, I had that idea."  Well, I've heard it said that the universe scatters those ideas out to a whole bunch of people, but not everyone acts on them. I'd like to act on this one so I don't have to slap my forehead some day saying, "Hey, I was going to do that!"

    Until next time .....


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