January 10, 2016
Right at the beginning of our 2016 calendar, fiber artist, designer, quilter and author Grace Errea, will teach her techniques From Inspiration to Amazing Quilt Top at the Hudson River Valley Fiber Art Workshops. This is a three-day class, March 30 to April 3 – fun, inspiring, and NO SEW!
Grace is a self-taught artist and her work illustrates and has been recognized for exceptional primary use of values and secondary use of color. Her focus on value makes it easy for her and her students to create inspiring botanicals, landscape scenes and portraits, in any color.
Grace recently shared with us her philosophy on teaching, and art.
How long have you been teaching and what got you started teaching?
It seems like I have been teaching my entire adult working life. My first job, albeit not in textiles or quilting was teaching. I taught programming at IBM where I worked. Later I spent many years in the management ranks but when you think about it, management is also teaching and coaching.
I started teaching quilting around 2003 on a part time basis. Once I retired in 2005 I taught quilting and textile art, first in quilt shops, and later and now at Quilt Guilds, Seminars, and Retreats.
What is your favorite part about teaching?
Sharing what I know and am passionate about. Above all I love seeing students suddenly “GET IT!” Teaching and being out with students is a means of meeting new people with similar interests, helping them solve textile challenges, and it is also a great way to learn from students some of what they know.
What would you tell your prospective students are three best reasons for taking a workshop?
There are so many of us (and I started as one) who do not know how to draw, have no time to learn, or no patience. In this workshop one of the things that attendees will learn is how to take a favorite photo and with simple tracing, develop a winning pattern to create an amazing quilt.
When looking at their photo students will develop an awareness of shapes and how to find them. Shapes can be selected by recognizing their value (light and dark). In this class students will learn my amazing 8-Value Scale which will enable them not only to identify the shapes in the composition but also value-lize them. This will then allow them to select the fabric in any color rather than having to follow the photo.
Finally, once the pattern is created and they start the construction of their art piece students in this class will learn an amazing and revolutionary new machine appliqué technique that I developed and call “Heat-Set”. This technique is extremely easy to do, allows total flexibility and control while working with it, the product used stops any fraying that you may have with raw-edge appliqué but the end result still feels like soft and manageable fabric. This technique is so easy and fast, it takes the drudgery from appliqué and will allow you to focus on the creativity of the art rather than in the method.
What are you currently working on in your own art?
So many things, so little time to do them all! Inspiration is all around me so I continue to focus on Fauna and Flora quilts depicting nature to encourage the viewers to see the beauty in it.
I am experimenting with new ways of doing things, new techniques and easier, more creative ways to do textiles. I am now beginning to develop my “Negative Appliqué”, not that is a new technique but I am looking to make it easier to do.
Where is your art currently being exhibited?
At this moment I have some of my work exhibited at the Road to California Quilt Show, the Wisconsin Museum of Fiber Arts, a traveling exhibit of “Seasonal Quilts” by SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates).
For the latter exhibit I was assigned “SPRING” as my season. “Family is Coming” shown on the left, was my interpretation of Spring where I live. But I so enjoyed the-not-so-California dogwood flowers that I remember from New York when I lived there.
Is your work represented in galleries?
No, I sell my pieces directly to buyers or I do commissions for sale. Here is Jack, one of my commissions.
Do you sell your work in any online gallery?
I sell my pieces directly from my online website, Quilt Shows where I participate or by commission work.
What is your favorite art quote?
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Lao-Tzu
Describe your studio.
One of my workspaces is a small 10ft x 12 ft bedroom. I converted it into my studio. By the time I put my sewing machine table, my worktable (large conference room wooden table), ironing station, and all the storage I need for my fabrics, there is really not much room for anything else.
The closet has all my books and my fabrics and it is the whole width of the room. The doors to the closet are mirrors so; I placed my design wall opposite it. This way when I am working, I can inspect the growing piece via its reflection in the mirrors. It is amazing how many little problems can be easily found this way instead of looking at it straight on.
My second workspace is a bedroom that I took over after my younger daughter moved out on her own. I use it for my computer work both in the communication and business aspect as well as my computer tools that I use to create my patterns.
Name five of your “can’t do without” tools/products.
1. Freezer paper
2. My “Bernina” sewing machine. I have two; one for back-up or to use while the other one is being serviced
3. The “Heat-Set” Product I use
4. My Apple desktop and iPad
5. Best quality fabrics. My favorite is Hoffman of California Batiks and hand dyes