Sunday, August 08, 2010

Carol Shinn, Machine Embroidery Artist

It has been my great privilege to spend the last five days taking a class from Carol Shinn..  The class was held at Quilting By the Lake in Syracuse, New York.  It was a last minute decision and I was encouraged by my husband to “just go.” I think he wanted to paint on his own as he is convinced I am a messy painter (???) We are at the last stages of the upgrades we planned to do this summer and I truly believe he wanted me out of the way! All that’s left for me when I get back is scrubbing and re-varnishing the interior walls!

However, I digress. Check out Carol Shinn’s website at Her work is stunning, I own her newly published book, and now I’ve met her in person and learned what a true and total artist she is ( work didn’t begin to compare to hers!) However, practice makes perfect and I do intend to practice. I LOVE the technique.

But best of all, besides the teacher and location,  were the people in the class. Firstly there was Carol Shinn, not only an artist, generous in spirit and with her knowledge, who has a great sense of humour and best of all, is an excellent teacher. She leads the class keeping everyone on track while doing their own thing. Each day of sewing was interspersed with little demos that showed us tips and tricks for different results, problem solving, color mixing....I can’t begin to cover all that she taught......I think just buy her book: Free Motion Machine Embroidery.

I loved her philosophy on teaching her skills to others. Unlike some who teach but not everything they know, Carol’s approach is that if the base of skilled people is broadened, it makes those who are presently on top try harder to stay there, thus increasing the skills of themselves and everyone else in the “pyramid”. I didn’t quite say that as well as she said it, but you get the picture.

The class was one of the best groups of students I have ever been part of. Usually there are one or two students who don’t quite fit with the mix when you are in a group that big, but this time it was absolutely the most perfect mix. Humour was rampant, design skills shared, personal stories told, and ideas offered freely. It was a precious group I hope to have the pleasure of meeting with again. Carol has promised she will put in a proposal to teach an “Advanced” class and we all hope to practice enough to go and take part in that one when it happens. Here is a picture of one of the pieces I did. I have to get in touch with others in the class before I post pictures of their work....I hope they say yes because there were some very talented people there and it showed in what they produced!

All in all, "Quilting by the Lake", Carol Shinn and the fellow students, were a fabulous experience.   Look for more work including this technique!!!!