Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Workshop with Cheryl Arkison

  
   
     Way back in June my friend Wendy and I managed to get the last two spots in a workshop on Value,taught by Cheryl Arkison.  The workshop was hosted by Hyggeligt Fabrics in Saint Mary's Ontario. What would have been our first choice Improv with Intent was filled but we were still excited because we had heard from friends that Cheryl is an awesome instructor. The workshop was a couple of Fridays ago but I've only had time to gather my thoughts and photos in the last week.

     We were instructed to bring at least 30 different fabrics, larger than 6 1/2 inches to the workshop, making sure we included lights mediums and darks. It was suggested that scrappy was best.  I was quite busy in the time period leading up to the workshop so in preparation I went through my scrap bins and pulled out everything that I could cut a 6 1/2" square from.  I then added a few fat quarters of lights and darks from my stash to round things out.  My fabrics were a real mish mash containing everything from kids brights to dark traditionals.

     The workshop was wonderful.  Although Wendy and I both felt we knew a fair bit about value, there was still lots more that we could learn.  To start Cheryl had us divide our fabrics into lights mediums and darks , then take a photo and switch it to black and white. Although I had heard of this technique I always do best when someone actually has me do something, especially if it involves machinery or technology.  Here is a photo of my fabrics taken on Wendy's tablet.  Unfortunately I don't have the photo in colour for comparison.



     You can see that I did a fairly good job of dividing up the fabrics and you can also see that some of the fabrics in the light pile are a bit more in the medium range than light.  Wendy's fabrics were more problematic as they were all large patterns with a mixture of colours.  Her light fabrics were pretty much all mediums when you saw them through the black and white filter. Which was a bit of a surprise.

     We learned from Cheryl that you can still get contrast in a quilt using similar valued fabrics by finding other differences like scale of design and the differences between warm and cool colours. 


     After pairing up our fabrics with contrasting fabrics and making several 1/2 square triangle blocks we headed to the  design walls to try out her instructions.  Here's what I came up with.


           When I first put my blocks up I hated them, but then I started grouping the fabrics into bands of warm colours and cool colours and I started to like it.  I'm glad that I brought a mixture of styles of fabric because I think it helped me learn a lot more about value and contrast due to the fact that  I couldn't rely on the  pretty fabrics to make the quilt. I'm pleased with the overall design of the quilt and  I think that with a little bit of tweaking this could make a pretty nice comfort quilt.  It's on the back burner for now.

     Here's a shot of Wendy's beautiful arrangement.  As you can see the value variations are much more subtle and these blocks were far more difficult to arrange.  Cheryl did an amazing job of helping Wendy to see the differences in the fabrics and how they could be arranged to showcase those differences.


     The best part of the workshop was seeing how Cheryl helped everyone arrange their blocks.  She is incredibly talented at seeing the differences in value in fabrics and she has a really nice easy going teaching style to go with that strength.  I would highly recommend taking a class with Cheryl if the opportunity comes your way, and if an opportunity to take improv with intent comes my way again, I'm jumping on it.

    Cheryl  brought copies of her latest book "You Inspire Me To Quilt" along to the workshop.  Of course I had to purchase a copy which she very kindly signed for me.


     This lovely book contains several quilt patterns by well known designers.  What is unique about it is that each quilt was inspired by someone close to the designer (often their partner) and it gives details of how the quilt design came about.  If you, like me have aspirations to design your own quilts one day, you would probably find this book quite inspirational and interesting.  I'm linking up this post with Let's Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts.  Have you had inspirational workshop experiences you would like to share?  I'd love to hear about them.

12 comments:

  1. I think both quilts are lovely and it is great to see what a difference fabric makes in quilt design. Thank you for sharing!

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  2. What a fun workshop! Looks like you had a great time. Your design wall looks fabulous. Did you guys get a chance to sew them into tops?

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  3. Sounds like you had lots of fun! Looks like the beginning of a great quilt.

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  4. Sounds like a fun and informative time and your blocks / colors look great!

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  5. Very interesting post Lisa. Love how both quilts turned out. So different. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. I really enjoyed reading this post - I love Cheryl, she is super talented! Wish I could have been there...

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  7. Thank you for sharing the highlights of the workshop with us. I am particularly happy to learn that you can create contrast with warm/cool colours. That immediately opens up more possibilities.

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  8. This sounds like a great workshop: you come away with something promising but also with a better understanding of how fabrics work in relation to each other that you can take into all your work.

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  9. Sounds like it was a great workshop. I'd love to learn more about value.

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  10. Lucky you! I did a ton with value way back when colourwash and bargello quilts were in, but one can never have enough info, and a fresh look at it would be great. New to me is the idea of using value between warm and cool and design scale.

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  11. Looks like an awesome workshop, I really like your quilt top you made.

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  12. They both look awesome, it sounds like a fun workshop. It is amazing the impact of a few triangles.

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