Thursday, September 27, 2012

Design Outside the Lines, Day One

Entrance to the work room area.

Building that houses the work room.

This is interesting.

Day one of DOL is done and my mind is unable to shut down. I'm hoping that posting a quick summary of the day will allow me to sleep.

There are three aspects to the format of DOL.

First, there are the morning classes. After a hearty breakfast prepared by the lodge cooks, we sit in a comfy room and Marcy and Diane alternate lecturing. So much information is presented, so many garments and ideas shared, that it would be a lot to absorb with even half as much info. The phrase "drinking from a fire hose" comes to mind.

Loving Diane's Trippens!

The second aspect is demos.

After the morning classes, we enjoy a delicious lunch, also prepared by the lodge cooks, and the rest of the day is spent in the work room. Diane and Marcy perform various demos (today's demos included silk screening, stenciling, and tricks of sewing with bias, though I might be forgetting something). Both Marcy and Diane are completely open and generous with their information.

The final aspect is free time to work on our individual projects, or run into town, as needed.

I didn't feel ready to run into town today, so I focused on a skill that is waaaaay outside my comfort zone - stenciling. I am a person who is comfortable with pattern manipulation, fabric collaging, and fitting myself. I am pretty comfortable with needle felting, embroidery, fabric dyeing. But the more traditional artistic pursuits, drawing, painting, sketching... not so much.

Nevertheless, I feel that even I should be able to master stenciling, or at least achieve competency. Following Diane's advice, I cut samples of several pieces of fabrics in light and dark colors, selected a couple of stencils, filled my plate with blobs of paint, and got started.

This was not as easy (for me) as it sounds. By dinner time, I had created some stenciled fabrics, but was feeling frustration with the results. I even considered switching gears and moving to a project within my comfort zone, but I resisted.

Diane, sensing my mood, talked me down. She pointed out some ways I could move forward with the samples I had already created.

Her suggestion of using them as piping just might give you an idea as to the quality of my experiments. :) But it also shows her brilliance, because they were pretty darned good in that form.

I had an enjoyable dinner with some of my hall mates, followed by some good sewing conversation and sharing, and things are looking up. Diane emphasized in her lecture last night that "to get a different result, you have to do things differently", which is pretty astute. Growth happens outside of the comfort zone.

I can't imagine a more supportive environment for this sort of experiment.

P.S. By the way, thanks so much for all of your kind comments! While it's true that my room does not have wifi, the lodge has wifi in the very comfy lounge in the main building.


  1. I am just in awe of what you are up to! This will influence your creative juices for many years to come. Yes, my eyes are turning very, very green...

  2. So so cool- thank you for sharing this!

  3. I meant to comment yesterday and say thanks for the reports from the front lines. Keep it coming, I love them. I know that feeling of frustration so well. Glad Diane was there to help you through. I have wanted to go to this for years and your reports may be just the push to consider this for next year. I look forward to seeing your projects and the next installment.

  4. Thanks for the report. It is fun to follow along 'virtually' for those of us who can't be there in person.

  5. This is wonderful. Thank you so much for posting about your experience, I just love it.

  6. This looks like so much fun! I hope you continue to have a great time.

    Your stencil experience reminds me of when I learned how to screen print. I could not believe how many samples it took to get the hang of it.

    Claudine (

  7. This is so exciting to read. How lucky you are to be a part of this wonderful experience that will allow you to open new paths for your creativity.

  8. What a lovely space in which to work! The light is gorgeous! I appreciate that you are sharing your experience with us.

  9. I'm glad that you're experiencing new things and leaving yourself open to them. I'm sure that this is going to move your sewing in directions you'd never thought of going before.

  10. I am enjoying your experience vicariously. It sounds like you are pushing your comfort zone which I assume is one of the goals. Enjoy!

  11. Thank you so very much for sharing your experiences.
    I understand perfectly about the stenciling.

  12. Funny, I only know you through your blog but I can easily see a bit of stenciling on many of the garments you love to make and wear. Not entire blobby stencils, more just bits and pieces of bits so that they are just abstract highlights.

    I am green with envy that you are where you are. Lucky me though I am spending next week with Susan Khalje in Baltimore.

  13. Thanks so much for your blog. My friend Emily is at the same DOL retreat. Can't wait what she has to say.

  14. Bliss. This is my idea of a perfect retreat - busy, challenging, like minded people and away from all the everyday sh**. Perfect. Enjoy your stay and thanks for sharing - in a ha ha ha you're not here kind of way! LOL

  15. Breathe and enjoy!, how fun for us all to live through your time there.

  16. oh you are so brave to try something new! I am sure I would be reacting exactly the same way you are. I hope you get some sleep tonight!

  17. Thank you so much for what you have shared. It's helpful to know the structure of the workshop, as I've wondered what it is like. I'm glad you're moving into unknown territory.Fear is an important part of the creative process. It usually unlocks a growth opportunity! Have fun!!!

  18. So enjoying this vicarious experience with DOL. I hope to go to DOL during 2013. Hope springs eternal.