Saturday, October 17, 2009

Robin Atkins comes to Phoenix

I had the distinct pleasure of attending a 2-day Improvisational Beading class taught by Robin Atkins. Wow, was it an eye opener! So much to learn and so little time... but I gave it a whirl! She started us out with the basics and then moved into more advanced stitches. First we practiced on a trial piece and then we moved into making our own pieces. More about that later!

I took a few pictures; however, I was too shy to take a picture of Robin while she was teaching (didn't want to disturb her) but I did get a great picture of her hands as she told us about her "Marriage Bag."
Robin's hands
As she taught us the different advanced stitches, Robin would bring around examples of her work to show us how she had used that particular stitch. It was a wonderful way to see how the stitch looked on a beaded piece, as well as a great way to get up close and personal with the artist and her art.

Here is another of her pieces that I just love... Rosie!
Isn't she something else? There is so much going on with this little lady! Here's a close-up of her garden...
Rosie's garden

As you can see from Robin's post about her visit here, there were some talented people in that class. Apparently Lisa has a new love!

As I said earlier, by afternoon of the first day everyone was working on their own personal beaded piece. I started in on mine and got quite a few beads embroidered on it and then Robin said she wanted to show the class my piece... as she took it she said "I hope you don't take this wrong, but..." Oh, dear. Then she used my piece as an example of how improvisational beading should not start! Hoo boy, not the impression I wanted to leave her with! But I soldiered on and got a bit more improvisational with it instead of making it so symmetrical and I think she was a bit happier with it at that point. So was I!! I could see that I had planned it out in my head instead of being spontaneous and just letting it flow the way she had shown us. Wanna see it?
My piece
I started it with the buttons and then added the rhinestone beads around the top button and it was altogether way too symmetrical. The bottom part is where I actually started just beading without a plan. I like the way it is going and I'm going to use it as a practice piece as I work through the beading on my Midsummer CQ.

Oh, yes, there will be scads of beading around Titania! I think the techniques Robin taught during those wonderful two days will really help to bring some dimension and extra emphasis to many areas of the center portion. I can't wait to dig into it!

And, speaking of the center portion... all blocks have been pieced! WooHoo! ;0)
Center blocks pieced
I had such a hard time piecing the tree... it took every evening of the past week. The center block and the left block took 4 evenings, then, this morning, I got up and pieced the top right block in 3 hours. Quite a steep learning curve! Of course, I can see where I need to do some revision on the piecing here and there but at least you can now see the idea that was in my head! On my monitor, these colors are pretty true. When I first envisioned this, it was going to be much softer, lighter tones; however, when the muse speaks, I listen! Of course, this is just the base and there will be many additions along the way!

We're off on a long road trip for the next couple of weeks, but I'll be stitching the entire way... WooHoo! Va-ca-tion!!


Debra said...

Have a Fun Vacation!

I can certainly understand the struggle to work improvisationally. It takes a whole different mindset.

Love those ferns!

Jo in NZ said...

Beautiful work, both yours and Robins. I LOVE your piece (so far), and being a symmetrically minded person, whether planned or not, I am sure that any improvisation I did would be symmetrical too.
Just L.O.V.E Titania too...

I will ask you the same ?? I asked Robin an couple of weeks ago. What is your camera. It takes wonderfully clear close ups. I am in the market and looking for advice.
Email me??

Threadspider said...

It's difficult working with a master, sometimes. I love both aspects of your beading-I don't know which way I would prefer to work so I will be interested in how you approach Titania. Speaking of the lady, good to see you are nearly there with the piecing.
Have a good trip.

Sharkeysday said...

Marty, on her post it says you might be joining the Bead Journal project? I just signed up - it would be nice to have a group of crazy quilters to hold hands throught the experience!
I love your piece! I took a class from Robin this summer and she has a unique style - nice to get some new input tho, eh? :)

Rian said...

Oh, man those beaded pieces are phenomenal! Good to see Titania again, I love the greens! Beautiful! Have a fun holiday!

Magpie Sue said...

I've just come from Robin's blog and her report on her trip to AZ. I've been fortunate to have at least one class with her (but I don't think it was improvisational bead embroidery; I think the focus was elements of design. Weird that I can't remember exactly...). Anyway, I have the same difficulty you had: unintentionally planning my bead embroidery as I stitched rather than just letting it happen. I can piece improvisationally but I can't seem to bead that way yet!

Plays with Needles said...

Titania looks as if she's inside a magical hollow filled with her own light! Congratulations on soldiering through the piecing.

I got a whiff of you on Robin's blog and jumped over here to see your thoughts. I remember taking Robin's class and I did my very first (and very last) truly improvisational piece as my October piece for last year's bjp. I enjoyed beading improvisationally but, in the end, it didn't completely convey the message i wanted to...Now, I have a journal image I want to convey and then I begin...and improvise along the way...but it isn't 100% improvisational and it's not 100% planned either. But I like it best for me. I have learned a TON about myself and my work over the past year however, so if you choose to join the group, know that you are free to develop your own style.

Glad you had such a good good time. xo SUsan

P.S. I'm on the Fiery Cross and it's killing me that I can't download it from audible because they don't have the digital rights for it...I'm reading it instead and it is definitely distracting me from other things!!!!

Cathy K said...

I love your Titania piecing and what Susan said is so true - she looks like she's in her own happy hollow! BTW, I love your beading piece, and hope you continue to show us your progress on it. Have fun on your road trip! Hugs, Cathy

Rissa said...

Woo hoo! I am so jealous! :-)

Allison Ann Aller said...

Titania just keeps getting more and more magical, Marty!

I like your improve piece a lot...I do have to wonder though, can't symmetry be spontaneous and unplanned?

wandar-wanda said...

Hi, your works are beautiful, warm greetings, Wanda