Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ruth McDowell Workshop

I have just returned from Kalispell, Montana, where I took a week-long workshop with Ruth McDowell. This was my second workshop with her, and even more enjoyable than the first. Perhaps because I had a little more confidence going in to it. Ruth is such a generous and relaxed teacher, spending lots of time circulating around the classroom, and seeming to have unending patience in demonstrating the finer points of line drawings and section definition - the preparation that takes place before the quilts are pieced. We all started with a photo of our subject matter - everything from flowers to old family
photographs to landscapes. We began by making a tracing of the photograph, and then simplified this into lines and sections. Once that was completed - no quick and easy thing to do - we moved on to making fabric selections. While one person had her quilt top together by the end of the five days, most of us were still choosing fabrics, and some decided to do a second line drawing, rather than start sewing in the workshop. One thing I've learned about myself, is that I am a piecer. While I have dabbled in and quite enjoy many other methods of construction, it is piecing that I find most deeply satisfying. My goal in taking the workshop again, was to see if I enjoyed it as much this time as I did the first time (I did!), and then to commit myself to working in this method as much as possible over the next year. At the end of this time, I will evaluate how much I want to use Ruth's method in my ongoing work. I am so admiring of the flowers represented by people like Linda, the whimsical quilts, like Bonnie's Volkswagons, and the family photos interpreted in fabric, like Becky's piece. But the real draw for me is to landscapes,
particularly west coast landscapes. For now, I'll finish up the Yorkshire scene I worked on this time, and see where it leads me.


  1. Hi Pippa!
    I just found your blog, I like to follow Canadian quilters. But no Follower button, or well, will just do it the old fashion way, to my Blog Roll!
    Take care, Leslie

  2. Your piece is lovely Pippa. I took a class with Ruth about 5 years ago, I've not chosen all my fabrics to sew my piece together yet!

    You inspire me to get back on track.


  3. You can always tell her style, but each student expresses their own image!