Friday, July 11, 2014

Reflections on Create NJ and rhythm


This week I took 2 classes at the Create NJ retreat. This is the 3rd year I have taken classes at this event. The price of the classes this year went up a lot from last year and they cost $152 each. Apparently one day mixed media classes cost more than taking one day quilting classes.

I took a class on using plastics to create and art piece with Natalya Aikens. I have taken 3 classes with Natalya before so I know that she is a good teacher. She even brought one of her wonder plastic art pieces with her. See it here:

So I wanted to make a piece with buildings in it and chose a scene from Boston where my daughter lives. Well mine came out like something a 6 year old would have made!  The colors of the plastics I chose were too intense and the stitch work is horrible. They had Berninas for us to work on. I never would have used free motion to do all these straight lines. Plus we had no way to mark where we wanted to stitch so I had to wing it. I am not a wing it kinda girl as I am sure you already know. And I know that it is a Bernina, but not a machine that I am used to sewing on. I don’t know what happened with that yellow building. This is not a forgiving medium since you cannot take out quilting stitches because you then will have holes! This piece was then stretched over a canvas and is only 5 by 7.

Would I do this kind of thing again? YES! But, I would make it larger and use more subdued colors and use a walking foot for all the straight lines and mark them somehow. At least I now know how to do this. I think the fact that the glue is somewhat cloudy until it dries made the colors seem less garish than they turned out to be. I have a lot of plastic bags to use up so I need to do this again just to prove it to myself that I can make something wonderful.

  (sorry for the reflection off of the plastic from the flash)

The other class I took was monoprinting with a gelli plate with Kari McKnight-Hollerook. It was a lot of fun and I finally used my gelli plate that I have had for 2 years. Not sure I created any earth shattering fabrics, but at least I broke the plate in. I used seta colors opaque paint, but I think I will use the transparent the next time I do this. Some of what I created I want to over print again. Some of them were printed on dyed fabric that I was not crazy about.



What I liked about Create NJ:

  • It is close to where I live so I only have to drive about 30 minutes to get there and not have to stay at a hotel to add to the expense.
  • I like hanging out with others doing creative things. The students were really enthusiastic.
  • The teachers were great.

What I did not like about Create NJ

  • As is typical there was not enough room in the classrooms to work. Not so bad with the Natalya Aikens class since there were only three people in the class, but really way to crowded for the monoprinting class.
  • The lighting in both classrooms was terrible. So I blame my bad plastic piece on poor lighting! That’s my excuse and I am sticking with it.


Our lesson for July for the Master Class is rhythm. We had to listen to 3 musical pieces and come up with 3 sketches to fit the musical rhythm. You know what I have to say about this? Meeehhh…hokey, contrived. While I do like the idea of rhythm I am not sold on the listen to music thingy.

EB did like all three of my designs a lot. In fact she said they were great! So that is good and makes me very happy. Only one really fit the rhythm of the music and she said that piece was even FUN! It is the 3 sketch below. I do have to tweek the values a bit on the outside since I have some dark values going off the edge of the quilt. OK I can do that. I think the one with the birds on a wire I would add a 3rd row of birds. Why did I not do that in the original sketch? Too lazy at the time to think about a 3rd row plus I was getting ready for Create NJ. Hey I have been teaching since 1974 and I know all about excuses!

Not sure which one I should make. What do you think?




Thanks for reading and I love comments.

Linking to Nina-Marie.



  1. What an interesting post.....I'd not heard of the plastics thing. I think you should make the second one....maybe exaggerating that one tile (reminds me of a rooftop) that sticks up a bit.
    Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  2. girllllll you are brave to me! All that art in one bite! Your work with EB is really good too. Why plastics, because they're there? Did you like working with them, feel wise? Kudos for using your tools! I even forget I have tools, and have quite a few I haven't tried yet. Yet, I am happy in the studio! Time...
    LeeAnna Paylor
    not afraid of color

  3. ohhh I'm so glad these were yours! When I saw them - I thought - well that's a no brainer - the second of course - LOL - it truly is a perfect sketch and you should have great fun playing with values with it! thanks for the rundown on Create NJ!

  4. You're back! And back to work! Eek - I see what you mean about your plastic one. Followed the link to your instructor's work and my but it is subtle. Guess I have the same question of why for the material. I'd be afraid a walking foot might tear the plastic as the little teeth grip along.

    Your printing on the other hand looks like it turned out great. Of course, I am partial to the tree ones... ;-)

    As for your sketches, I too am quite taken by the second one - so unusual and I like the optical illusions it might create. But I really like the bird one too and know that is something you've been wanting to work with. Yes, the eye tends to go straight to the blank space between the two lines so a third line of birds is probably a good idea. Maybe not equally spaced just to keep it interesting.

  5. Hi Chris! Your three rhythm offerings are each completely different from one another. So interesting. I like them all, and for different reasons:

    A. Birds on a wire: I like these the best and as rhythm they make perfect sense. I don't think they need a 3rd wire to be effective.
    B: Uneven 3D shapes: I love this drawing! So interesting and it seems very 'you' in light of your plastic piece above and your concerns about correct perspective. It's my 2nd choice for rhythm because I feel this rhythm is very complex and hard for me to feel.
    C: Your free style sketch is unique with a great deal of movement. I agree that sharpening up the values will bring out its rhythm. I feel music flowing with it, but I'm not catching rhythm as easily.

    Good work on all and thank you for sharing.

    Sue Kaufman
    Drums PA


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