As most of you probably already know, every year a group of my family (and friends who are like family) get together for a week of creating and sharing. Different people teach different skills and projects. Pretty much anything that could fall under the category “fine craft” is fair game, and there’s usually something more “art” thrown in as well. My grandmother started this idea, and at this point it’s a huge group effort. My job is to make up the schedule, using the topics everyone votes on as favorites, communicate with the participants before the workshop week, and to try and keep things running smoothly throughout the week. (Participants, if you are reading this, I’ll get that survey for next years’ classes done, um, soon . . . )
Every year, I leave wishing that I could live in that atmosphere of communal creative energy forever . . . and then I go home and sleep like I have rarely slept before!
This year, there was actually quite a lot of sewing. I kind of shoehorned in some garment/project sewing time, I was really excited about sharing sewing with some real-life students again after spending months working on Hello Sewing Machine. One of my students went to town making drawstring bags, and three made Miette skirts! I was SO impressed with how hard they worked and how beautifully the finished projects came out. This is my skirt, which I made as a (definitely wearable) test, to try the pattern and see how the alterations I was thinking of would come out.
We also sewed books! My aunt, who has been making variations of these book binding techniques for quite a while, walked us through the whole process—from cutting board and tearing paper to sewing the whole thing together. It was horizon-opening for me to take needle and thread to paper—actually, I’m trying to keep that on the back burner of my brain, otherwise I could easily be swamped by more ideas for new things to make than I can handle.
If you are interested in trying bookmaking for yourself, our teacher’s favorite resource is the book Books Without Paste or Glue by Keith A Smith. Quite coincidentally, I came home to find there’s also an article in the latest Threads magazine (September 2013) with a rundown of very similar process to the one we used.
Probably my favorite thing I made all week (ok, tied with a mosaic sea turtle that I helped to make) is this travel book. I’m soo excited about having this! I’ve been thinking about it ever since my aunt showed me the ones she made in a workshop with Gail Rieke (check out her site to see some crazy-cool collage and amazing variations on journals). I totally love it when “real artists” make practical things as well.
Sewing meets books, fabric meets glue, my ideas/techniques/background/expertise meet yours—that’s what really makes the magic of this week. If you have the chance to get together with other creative types, even for just an afternoon some time, I totally encourage you to go for it!