Friday, March 31, 2017

Kathy Loomis at Quilting By the Lake - Off the Wall Friday

Quilting By the Lake 2011
 I love Quilting by the Lake.  I mean, I really LOVE it!!  Being at the annual quilt conference each year is really my idea of a perfect vacation.  Now I realize that most people's idea of vacation does not consist of schlepping all their stuff onto a college campus, spending 6 nights sleeping in a strange bed, sewing 12 hours a day and taking the risk of creating in front of perfect strangers.  BUT, mine IS!

After 15 yrs at the conference held in Syracuse, NY, I have a routine.  I always arrive early on Sunday afternoon to unpack my classroom, then my dorm room, go grab groceries at a nearby Wegman's and THEN sit down to pick out NEXT year's class.  I know that sounds funny!  But what can I say?  I'm a planner.  You can imagine my surprise when I saw that our very own Kathleen Loomis was going to be teaching this year during second session!  I thought - Hey  - I know her!!

Onodaga Community College, Home of Quilting by the Lake
So I thought it would be fun to ask her about it!

Kathy, I've been reading your blog for years and love it!  Can you tell my readers a bit about your back ground?

I retired from a career in journalism and corporate communication and decided I would become an artist.  Since I only knew one art-like skill – quiltmaking – and time was a-wasting, I have mainly worked in that medium ever since.  I learned to sew as a kid and made my first quilt (self-taught) in high school. 

Improvisational Strip Piecing


I didn't know you were teaching nationally.  Have you've been doing it long?  What kind of classes do you teach?

I don’t make a big deal out of marketing myself as a teacher because I don’t want to spend my whole life on the road – heck, I’m retired!! -- but I love teaching and will do it for anybody who invites me.  I’ve taught for groups in Florida, Boston, Philadelphia, Kentucky, Indiana, at the Crow Barn, and overseas in Japan, Germany and the Czech Republic.  

I’ve done classes as short as three hours but my favorites are the longer ones.  I don’t teach projects because my cosmic goal as a teacher is that nobody should ever have to use other people’s patterns.  Most of my workshops start with a specific technique but the real learning starts when people have to make decisions about color and composition.  I can be their guide, help them get the self-confidence to make those decisions, and show them ways to think those problems through.

Vendors at Quilting by the Lake


Can you tell us a bit about the classes you are teaching at Quilting by the Lake this year.  What can a student expect?

At QBL I’ll be teaching two workshops: two days on improvisational strip piecing and three days on fine line piecing.  In the first one, we’ll make strip-pieced panels and then cut them up and rearrange them into finished compositions.  There will be a lot of discussion and experimentation with color selection, and then on the second day, lots of work on the wall with discussion of  design principles.

Fine Line Piecing by Kathleen Loomis
In the second one, I’ll teach how to piece very fine lines, and then we’ll explore two different ways to use that technique in a quilt.  One way is large-to-small, where you start with a large piece of fabric, slice it apart, and piece it back together with a very fine line in between – then you do this again and again and again, like drawing lines across your paper with a ruler, with the intervening spaces getting smaller and smaller.  The other way is small-to-large, where you start with tiny modules and piece them together into a finished composition.  Again, we’ll end up on the design wall working with the basics of balance, repetition, all that stuff.

Quilting by the Lake 2016


A lot of times, I get people telling me that they are afraid to invest time and money into a national conference.  Why do you think its worth the investment?

I’m a huge believer in workshops, having been a student for 16 weeks with Nancy Crow over the years, as well as with many other teachers.  Let me count the ways.   You get away from the laundry and the husband and the social engagements and all you have to do for a whole week is sew and think about art; it’s so much easier to focus on your work without all those other distractions.  The facilities are great, with a big empty table all your own, good lighting, design walls, ironing boards everywhere, and somebody will always lend you a spool of black thread if yours runs out.  You hang out with other people who are keen on the same things you are, with lots of time to talk, share, learn, show-and-tell, bitch, moan and celebrate. And of course, you get to work closely with a teacher who has been there, done that, and will help you get there too.
  ( I would add that this is EXACTLY  how I feel - spending the week with a bunch of people that know the difference between a quilt and a tapestry and what you do does not normally involve yarn is priceless! - NM)

Thank you Kathy!!  I hope this has inspired you to take the leap to going to a national conference!  It certainly changed my life and it could change yours!!  

Quilting by the Lake is running  July 16-28, 2017.  Please visit the webpage for information on the full range of classes.  There are still plenty of great classes open for all levels and interests!  

So What Have You Been Up to Creatively?

5 comments:

The Inside Stori said...

What memories you brought up today......I've taught at QBL numerous times. One notable year I was the opening night lecture....presenting a fashion show. Roberta Horton and Mary Mashuto were on the same flight to NY......we were all to travel together to the event. The transporation was there to get us but one of my suitcases came off the carousel in a large clear plastic bag....open with some of the contents spilling out! Come to find out......someone had riffled through it and about half of my garments were gone. Having worked for an airline myself....I KNEW when reporting it to say the word, pilfered. The agent wasn't pleased I was making such a big deal about this....kept saying, was I sure things were missing. Heck YES....then Mary stood up, full height, hands on her hips and said "NO respectable professional quilt instructor would ever leave home with here suitcase half full!!" Sadly, the garments and other items such as books were gone.....I presented the lecture with half the garments I anticipated but added quilts to fill the void. Hated to think of these time consuming pieces in some dumpster somewhere. Airline employees only have minutes to steal....and I'm sure due to the weight of the bag, they must have thought there was expensive camera equipment inside.

Jenny Lyon said...

This is on my bucket list. I reeeeally want to go. It's pricey to fly from the west coast to east. This looks so awesome-thank you for sharing your experiences.

Andree G. Faubert said...

Hi Nina Marie, thanks so much for the post. I've been wanting to so something quilty for myself for a while and will definitely put Quilting by the Lake on my list! The facilities look amazing. I'll be taking a two-day workshop in May, offered through our art quilting group. I'm so looking forward to it. And thanks for introducing me to Kathleen Loomis's blog.

Martha Ginn said...

I've long been a Kathy Loomis "groupie" and love to follow her blog. Her philosophy (she calls it her cosmic goal!) of empowering us to create our own rather than following another's pattern is such a gift. Thanks for the interview.

Janis Doucette said...

I hope to see you there this year!I'll be taking classes with Kerr Grabowski! Sooooo looking forward to it.