I had the privilege of spending a week at a Shakerag Workshop with Michael Brennand-Wood this past week. It was partially an escape from Memphis and the quilt festival that has entangled my spare moments and partially a way to peel back ossified habits and open up new space in my brain.
It worked on both accounts.
First, let me praise Shakerag Workshops. This place is a magical oasis in the hills of Tennessee that brings serious artists (both skilled and unskilled) and teachers to play with each other. The atmosphere is educated, welcoming and full of joy. And the food was from the gods. Go there. No, really, go there.
Michael’s class was called Random Precision: 3-Dimensional Line, Stitch, Structure and Light. We used drills, saws, glue, paint, thread, nails, twisty ties, wires and our thoughts to explore space, light and structure. Michael talked about building artwork physically but also conceptually. We considered the push and pull of dark and light, hard and soft, and structured and unstructured bits. It was a joy. And, it will change the way I look at my own work.
I have been eager to explore 3D qualities with my stitching. Through quilting I can build or deconstruct a flat surface that speaks to my fingers. The traveling thread becomes a narrative element that translates my thoughts. Now I will explore how that thread can build space, encapsulate ideas and stretch the boundaries.
These figures and assemblages spoke to me. They tickle my fancy and release the prankster within. They breathe life and rhythm into my space.
Thank you Michael. One of the most generous teachers I have had.