Tuesday, July 30, 2013

California Fiber Artists Profile

Read this and see if there is any part of it you can relate to as a fellow fiber artist. Let me know!

Meet CFA Member Marjorie Bartolome McWilliams

July 21, 2013 at 6:35am

MarjorieBartolome McWilliams
Email:  marjie@fabricdesigns.com
Website: www.fabricdesigns.com

1.  How would you describe yourself in 20 words or less?
            I am on a quest for simplicity in my life.

2.  Where is the first place, and what was the year, that you officially entered your artwork into a show?
            A park in Santa Barbara, CA-1971. A dog peed on one of my paintings.

3.  What drew you to your particular art medium?
            I took a batik class in 1969 and the smell of the wax, the feel of the fabric, the color of the dyes.  It grabbed me immediately.

4.  Has your style changed since you began your journey in art?
            I used to throw all caution to the wind when it came to color and design and approach. These days I am much more thoughtful and plan out my attack on the fabric before I ever start the process of making art.

5.  What is a major goal you have as an artist?  Why is that your goal?
            I make art to challenge myself. I rarely make art that doesn’t contain a problem to solve. My major goal these days is to focus, think, attack, and learn. If I finish a project without gaining new insight then it’s a waste of my time.

6.  What are you proudest of so far in your art life?
            I am proudest of the fact that I have taught fabric designing to over 12,000 students in 13 years at Quilt University.

7.  Which artist(s) in any medium do you most admire...  why?
            Amedeo Modigliani and Franz Marc.  Both capture emotion and design in a simple and elegant way.

8.  Describe your studio space:
            My studio is in the basement of our Victorian home in Woodland, CA. Yes, it is dark but I can get as wild and sloppy as I want and I walk away from it by closing the door and shutting off the lights. My beloved restaurant sink is my pride and joy, along with my huge glass topped table made from sliding glass doors.

9.  How in the world do you balance your home life and your work?
             I don’t.

10.  What exciting things might be coming up on your art horizon?
            Expanding my love for natural dyes by taking advantage of local farmland and cultivating dyeable plants. I already have four farmers who have generously offered portions of their land for this use! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Transition Times

Many of you are asking me what I am going to do once Quilt University closes its doors this fall. I have been teaching there for 13 years and have had over 12,000 students journey with me through miles of fabric and mountains of dye and wax and spices and rivers of gutta and truck loads of potato dextrin. So what is next? The thought of stopping the 7 day a week, 11 months out of the year check-in process is mind bending. I have done this almost non-stop for so long. Should I? Could I? Would I? 

You wouldn't believe the inconvenience this has been for me. Teaching my 13 courses (sometimes five classes at a time), causes hours and hours of question answering. Usually they are the same questions year after year. The vacations paused so that I can check in with the discussion forums every day has been inconvenient. Trying to find hot spots was harder in 2000 than it is now! Finding free ones only to have the sprinklers turn on unexpectedly and soaking me and my lap top; dogs chasing me; getting ratted out by hotel managers; having waitresses scold me for not buying something- "so okay...bring me a cup of tea please"; sitting on filthy curbs on busy streets teaching classes to happy unknowing students- my favorite dirty curb is outside a sports bar in Mt Shasta City, CA where they sometimes offer me a cigarette. (I don't smoke).

That's the down side. 

Here's the upside- students who have been grieving and are in need of a diversion have been cheered through the creative process found in these classes. Caretakers who needed a break also found escape in class. We survived 911 together. There have been extreme droughts and we have figured out unique ways to still dye fabric. There have been famines. World wide calamities have been shared. The fires in Australia. The strife in Egypt. Having to teach in two hemispheres at the same time is tricky- the extreme cold in the northern regions and the blasting heat in the southern. Women facing surgeries and the death of children. Loved ones moving away. Husbands and partners dying (dying without the "e"). We have shared the heartache of children in prison, mothers not caring, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, children and grandchildren going off to war. Drugs. Alcohol. Accidents. New passions flamed into a fire that roars. New avenues of creative endeavor have opened up for countless students. Financial benefits have come to women in remote African villages who learned my batik methods using home made bar-b-cue pits. Its all happened to us and with us and it's been a great part of the QU experience for me. 

Most of the ramifications I do not know. I have no way of knowing the full impact these last 13 years have been on so many people's lives. I only hear a little bit when someone reports in telling me how this has changed or affected them.

In my own life, my students have humored me and taught me so much about what I do. I have been challenged, and taunted. I have been humbled, encouraged, and amused. I have been tickled and angered...enraged at times. Carol would always calm me down and teach me new ways to be professional and encouraging.

This has been a great ride. I will take a break for awhile as I want to market my new hand dyed wool products and my wedding chuppot as well. We'll see where that takes me. In the meantime, I am making all of my QU classes into workbooks and PDF files so that those who missed a class or two can still play.

Thank you to each and every QU student who has passed through my life. You know where to find me. Stay in touch.


About Me

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Woodland, California, United States
I am a fiber artist. I am a teacher. I am a Reverend. I teach, I create, I counsel, I listen.

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