Nancy Crow workshop at Shakerag part 1

Nancy Crow. What can I say? She isn't kidding when she describes this as a graduate level class. It seems to me that she structures each workshop according to the average artistic level of the entire group, once she gets the feel for what we can accomplish. Although Strip- Piecing and Restructuring is described as an beginning to intermediate class, it is the second in the series of workshops that she offers. As far as artistic training, I am a babe in the woods. As far as the sewing stuff, I can handle that fairly well. So. Nancy Crow. What can I say?  She is one of the best teachers I have ever had.  Tough, but fair.  Lots of excellent teaching critiques.  I was constantly screwing up, but boy howdy, did I learn from those mistakes.  And that is what I wanted and needed.  
I had brought with me tons of fabric as noted in my last post. Right away, I was "awarded" recognition for having a huge "candy store" of luscious fabrics. That was about the only thing I got right all week.  I did, believe it or not, find that I still desperately needed more dark-darks, dark brights, and some light values. (Off to the dye studio I go.) Lesson learned.  At any rate, Nancy seemed delighted.

For the first composition, (day 1 and 2) each student sewed together free formed cut strips of fabrics following specific parameters, then free form cutting these strips into all sizes of rectangles and squares.  Then, place/slap those cut pieces on the design wall very quickly ( as in a New York minute) and intuitively. So here is what I did. Hardly pausing to to glance from one to the other.  

Nancy approved and told me to run with it, filling in the white spaces. I heard her words, but I didn't follow through. I tried to hard to make it all balanced, matchy and nicey nicey,etc.  Just had to keep messing with it.  I have yet to wrap my slow brain around the concept of line/space or figure/ground as it applies to abstraction. So I ended up with this. To which Nancy commented, "I liked the first one better". And so do I. Lesson learned.

(actual colors are brighter)
You know, when I got home with this, I had several well duh! moments.  Such a simple assignment, and saying that I never perform well in a workshop situation, is an understatement.  Were I following her instructions at home, all alone, it would have been great fun.  Now that I am home, I will be able to follow her directions and as she challenged us ,  "make lots of strips of fabrics and make one large quilt each week."  There's that old adage leering at me yet again,  "practice makes perfect".
I cannot begin to tell you everything that I learned last week.  I learned a whole lot about myself (better late than never, huh?)  And I think am beginning to grasp the composition concept. Nancy wants us to learn how to critique our own compositions, which is what I need.  Still working on that part.  She said so many things to me that are only beginning to sink in.  
I am still in recovery. I don't think I have ever been so exhausted in my life. Childbirth was a snap compared to this workshop!  Come to think of it, the results were much better with the birthing of the babies.  And oh yes, I recovered more quickly from childbirth than this 5 day (and night) workshop.  
More to come, gotta go rest again.