Workshop Preparation: Local Color To Wear

It takes a lot more time to pack and prepare than it will to unpack and set up for the Local Color To Wear workshop when I get to Sievers on Saturday.

Packing for the Local Color workshop at Sievers.

Sievers is close to home — just over three hours plus a ferry ride. That’s so much simpler than packing and shipping materials to teach in an unfamiliar venue. And familiarity plays a huge role in designing a workshop like this.

Actually, this is a redesign, a melding of elements from three workshops I teach — a photography on fabric class with surface design elements, a digital fabric design class, and a natural dyeing class. It wasn’t an easy decision to combine them. I have no trouble saying no when people ask for things that don’t make sense or that I don’t think I can deliver. But students were asking for and when I thought about it, it did make sense. It will be a fun exploration of the local color on Washington Island, and I’m excited to see where students go as they express a sense of place in their work.

My students are coming with a broad range of goals for this class. And they’ll be working on a variety of devices and platforms — from digital cameras to iPhones, android tablets, and computers with operating systems that range from the latest Apple has to offer to the orphaned Windows XP. So before I even considered submitting this proposal last fall, I had to figure out how we would be able to print from all those devices. That was just the start.

Preparing handouts for fiber art workshop.

Since then, I’ve been sampling (and mostly ruling out) various apps and alternatives to GIMP (the image editing program I teach for digital fabric design), distilling concepts to what I think are essential skills, planning how to meet the varied learning styles of the group, plotting ways to work around any curves the weather throws our way, preparing to help troubleshoot problems on a variety of devices, and revising handouts.

It’s a huge help that I know what equipment I don’t have to pack because Sievers has it. Because I pack a lot of stuff for this workshop. That way, students get a very lean list of things they need to bring.

I know that for some students, sorting through and deciding what to bring with them to a class is joyful mental preparation. But over the years, I’ve seen many students bring vast quantities of materials from home, then spend a lot of time sorting and resorting through it to delay taking that next step into the unknown. Having done that myself, I know a stall tactic when I see it. So this class will have plenty of raw materials to work with, and plenty of options for making them into interesting things to transform into local color to wear.

So my laundry is on the line and I’m almost finished packing clothes as well as, well, a bunch of stuff. And I just remembered that when I woke up this morning I forgot to put spritzers on the list. Better do it right now before I forget again.

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Donna Kallner

fiber artist, teacher and explorer, inspired by ancient fiber techniques and all the ways contemporary fiber artists give old ideas a new spin

2 thoughts on “Workshop Preparation: Local Color To Wear”

  1. Donna,
    Even before reading your post I was thinking about how easy it is for me to pack for this class – because you’re doing most of it! Thanks in advance for all the prep you do. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in those bags. Now I need to go pack – clothes, camera, computer, cash – good to go!

  2. Thanks for the suggestions that led to this class, Ruth! What’s in all those bags and bins and boxes isn’t nearly as interesting as what you all do with it 🙂 See you soon.

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