Friday, November 17, 2017

Houston 2017 -- Classes Part 2

Hi all -

Today I'm going to describe the remaining classes that I took in Houston this year. The other classes I took are described here.

Wednesday 9-5, Animal Portraits with Esterita Austin

This was the class that I think I looked forward to the most on this trip to Houston. I have this picture of Lance that I know I want to make into a quilt so I've been taking every animal portrait class that I can find to try to gather ideas and techniques for this quilt.  Here is the picture:

It's actually one of the first pictures I took of him on the day that I brought him home, and it remains my favorite! It shows how cute he is and how incredibly expressive his eyes are.

As I mentioned in my last post, I didn't get started on gathering my class supplies until a couple of days before I left on my trip. So I was frustrated with myself when I read the supply list and saw that we were supposed to send a copy of our picture to Esterita ahead of time to "ensure success." I felt that it was too late to do that, so instead I picked some other animal pictures from my trip to New Zealand many years ago as possible alternatives. When I got to class, I apologized for not sending her and email and showed her my pictures. She said that I should have mailed my picture because she was zooming them in and she thought I should do one of my emu pictures rather than my picture of Lance. So this is the picture I worked on in class:

I absolutely love this picture so I wasn't too disappointed. Based on the picture, Esterita chose a single piece of hand-dyed fabric for each of us to use for our animal portraits. The choice was base not on color, but on range of values.

Before going over her animal portrait technique, Esterita showed us several examples of her new technique where she creates a painted quilt using fusible web.

Her examples were really cool and she had another example in the show. I might have to take this class sometime in the future.

Then we got on to the animal portraits. She had a slide show where she described her technique and showed examples of how to handle different types of fur, etc. Then she demonstrated some stuff and got us started. This is a fused technique and the start was a bit frustrating because my picture seemed to require very small, wispy pieces of fabric, which would just move around without having an iron right there. But then Esterita gave us an iron to share at our table and that made things a lot better. Here's what I was able to finish in class:

I think it looks pretty cool, but I have a long way to go! Here's my piece along with my piece of fabric so you can get an idea of where the colors are coming from:

I look forward to finishing this project someday.

After three long days of classes, I took a break from classes and started to enjoy the show itself. Wednesday night is preview night in Houston, where IQA members and people who are taking classes get a VIP first look at the show and the vendors from 5-7. Then the show is first opened to the public from 7-10. It makes for a long day with a lot to do! I also left Thursday and Friday completely open to enjoy the show and to meet up with friends.

Saturday 8-5, Freehand Patchwork Class by Danny Amazonas with Danny Liu

When I signed up for this class, I had never heard of Danny Amazona/Liu or seen any of his work, but I wanted to take a class on Saturday and his class sounded interesting. His class is billed as "painting with fabric" and we were to make a little landscape quilt in class. It turns out that Danny was a featured artist at this year's Festival and he does some incredible work like this sample he had for us to look at in class:

Wow! And to add to the fun, I was taking this class with my friend, Dawn!

Danny supplied all of the fabric (pre-fused) for this class, and we brought our rotary cutters, cutting mats and glue sticks. This is another fused technique, but Danny had us glue the fused pieces to the background since we had to share irons. I found the project itself to be very boring. What he had us do was basically recreate his version of the landscape by fusing the same fabrics in the same positions on a print of his landscape, basically a paint-by-number quilt. You can see the supplies in this picture:

We were given two pieces of the background picture: one to fuse on and the other to use as reference and to play with at home. The first step, as usual, was to put the fabric pieces in order by value. (The biggest lesson in all of these classes is that value is much more important than color.) While we worked, Danny walked around and talked to us both individually and as a class.

Danny did pass along some valuable information, but overall this was a more mediocre class. His work is truly amazing and I hope to use some of it in my own work. I was able to finish up my project before the afternoon class began, so I skipped out on the afternoon portion of the class. Here is what my project looks like (it still needs to be sandwiched and quilted):

Here you can see it along side the unused background piece so you can get an idea of what we were doing:

Sunday 9-12, Free-Motion Applique with Karen K Stone

I wasn't originally planning on taking a class on Sunday, but I saw this Karen K Stone class on Sunday and I had to take it. I love Karen's classes and her techniques. They are just so much fun! I had no idea what this class was about, but I signed right up! This is the quilt that this class was based on:

And here's a close-up of one of the blocks:

This was a fun class to take at the end of a long week. The technique uses a lot of bias tape and glue, and ends up being a quilt-as-you-go project. Karen brought fabrics, batting and backing so that we could complete two blocks in class, if we had time. I knew from the start that I wouldn't finish my blocks in class because I will want to use some of my fancy threads at home to do the stitching, so I took my time and just made the bias tape "plumes" for one side of the feather.

I think I'm going to have fun finishing this block and making a bunch more, starting with her fabrics and then adding in my own:

And I'm thinking about how I might put this together in a different way than she made hers......

Well, that's all of my classes from this year. I hope you enjoyed reading about them. I think in my next post I'll share my purchases for this year.



  1. Wow. I’ve loved seeing each of your classes. Thank you for sharing. You must continue to work on that emu! It is going to be stunning. Terry and I were able to attend Esterita’s fusible, paint class this year and it was fantastic. You will want to take it next time if it’s offered. We both want to take her animal class if she comes back to Oregon next year.

    1. Thanks for letting me know about the other Esterita class! I'll definitely watch for it next year!

  2. Fab all of it Nancy even Danny's class. Your head must be buzzing.

    1. Definitely buzzing! I wish I could continue working on some of the projects once I get home, but there's just too much to do for Christmas. Hopefully I can get back to some of them after the new year!

  3. When I retired, as a gift to myself, I attended Esterita's workshop in Tuscany. She is an excellent teacher, and it was an incredible week.

    1. I was really tempted by that trip, too! I might have to sign up one of these years!

  4. Esterita is one of my most favorite teachers. Your emu looks great and her painting class as JoJo said is worth attending. I had an absolute blast! All your classes took great. I can't imagine your stamina to attend so many classes in so few days!

    1. Thanks! It's tiring, but worth it.