Surveys Point To Change

Alison Schwabe small blog

I just love a good survey – and I’m always happy to give my opinion on something that interests me.  I suppose you could say that the greatest of all surveys is a national election that either brings a change in government or avoids it.   In just the last couple of weeks,  I responded to interesting surveys in the general area of textile and fibre art education, principally art quilting.  

(1)   Lisa Call  asked around fellow SAQA members to see if any one knew of classes on basic techniques of what you can do with fabric for aspiring art quilters, saying she was looking for “an overview/survey type course for art quilts…. a variety surface design techniques … collage, and a bit of piecing …”  ending with asking for suggestions on how one might learn such things, and clearly favouring online learning.  I felt she was looking not for someone to teach ‘it all’ for I think the field is too vast to wrap one’s mind around.  Her student will need guidance, help in recognizing what technique has been used in a particular work she likes, and then finding a good online location to learn the basics of that technique, after which its all up to her to run with it, or not.

(2) Fellow SAQA member Roxanne Lessa asked us and her blog readers to let her know what they would like to learn from her, citing an extensive list of  things she’s be interested in teaching or tutoring on.   I’m not looking for a course or a mentor just now, so just moved on.  From this list, though, you need to have some idea of what you wanted to learn before you even contacted her, perhaps how she did something in one of her works pictured on her website.

(3)  Teacher and art quilt maker Dena Crain recently surveyed quilt artists seeing their comments on how art quilters rank the value of learning the same course material through  (1) attending workshops/courses taught in real time   (2)  classes taken online  (3)  learning through a lesson in a book or periodical  (4)  ditto via a digital or eBook format.  Of course, the costs of accessing each one could never be exactly equal, but for the survey we were asked to assume they were, and rank our choices with any comments/reasons for them.  She summarized her findings in today’s very interesting blog post The Future of Education for Patchwork Quilters  She is an American living in Kenya – and in her remote location faces varying kinds of location from what US, UK, European, many Australian, New Zealand, Japanese and other Asian quilt makers take for granted – relatively easy access to real time classes, easy access to vendors of supplies or mail order that works beautifully, and so on.  Knowing a lot about Dena and her geographic perspective, and seeing similarities to my own situation, of course I had views on this and did not hesitate to respond !

While I’m certain workshops and classes that you physically attend will always will always rank high for learning because of the huge potential offered by real face time between all students and teacher involved, technology is changing fast to make recorded and live online demonstrations, classes, courses, seminars,  etc.  all feasible and highly worthwhile, with different advantages to suit the individual.  The offerings in fabric and thread alone are massive, and include some extremely good on almost every technique you can think of,  but also plenty of mediocre ones; with costs ranging from free to rather expensive.   How fortunate are today’s craftsmen and artists to be able to choose to learn wherever we look from the comfort of our own homes.  And on that note, even though I don’t plan to leave the house on this rather wet day, it’s time I showered and dressed before spending time in the studio.   I’ve been doing some samples and am keen to start pursuing a couple on a larger scale – but to get started there, “I like to be clean and tasteful” as my fav. Aus satirist comedian Barry Humphries, speaking as Dame Edna Everage,  would say  🙂



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