A class with Janet Bolton


Yesterday's class with Janet Bolton was really fun.  Janet is so warm and full of stories.  We got to see many of her finished works that were for sale, though no photography of them was allowed.  Fortunately, there were some other pieces that were okay to photograph.  My favorite was this black and white cow that she couldn't get right.  Rather than obsess about it she finally cut it in half and even took out a circle of the muslin to use on something else.  Just another way to let go!


Her mistakes are pretty wonderful for the rest of us to see.  With this border collie she tried the bottom version and didn't like the way the legs were coming out.  Finally she made the above version (a print of the original) and liked it much better with the smaller format.


The above piece isn't actually a mistake, but she wanted to show that she had started with all neutrals (even the flowers).  Once she added the black bit at the bottom left she felt she could have the bolder flowers and then put the piece on the right there as another way to balance the black bit.


The two birds are an example of how the stitching makes the piece so much better.  I have learned a great lesson in that from Jude as well.


This is my piece in progress.


Janet gave us a look at how she stitches.  Here she was showing how the angle of the legs can change a piece.  Straight chicken legs and the piece is calm.  Below, splayed legs give the piece more action.


Oh, and this photo below.  I love it!  She doesn't worry about the backs.  She says no one will see them so why bother.  Her pieces are all framed except for a few that were put together into larger works.  Her framing method is so easy, but it was nice to see how she does it.  She actually sews the pieces to standard sized linen covered mat board.  Then she puts that in a standard size box frame.  She prefers no glass, but when she ships her work she includes the Plexiglass in case the customer prefers it that way.


Can you imagine how fabulous this was to see Janet Bolton showing my work to the class!  I actually made this piece a couple of years ago, but never displayed it because I wasn't sure how to frame it.  Now I can get that done, whew!  Also, Janet used the mat board quite a bit to audition pieces and for sewing.  


Nearly the end of class (too quick!) and we put out our pieces on either the light or dark mat boards for auditioning.   Janet picked up each one for critique (though always kindly, never anything actually critical).  Very few of us actually got to putting a figure on the background so we talked about our plans for the pieces.


Mine turned out best on the black so I took this shot tonight on my black sand board.  Not the best light, but you can see where I was going.  the cat is just pinned on.  One of the other things Janet does is cut applique pieces exactly to size so she can arrange the design, then re-cuts them with a seam allowance.  She suggested that I cut the legs and head out of separate pieces of fabric so they can be tweaked while sewing .  I actually just cut this out really quickly at the end so I'd have something more than the background, but I like her idea.  


It was a thoroughly enjoyable class, but I wish I'd been able to do the 2 day version as well.  I actually got into the 2 day class, but with the in laws here timing wasn't good.  I also missed the evening program last night.  I bet that was very good.  If you ever have the rare chance for a class with Janet, I highly recommend it!  These techniques seem to me to really complement the things I've been learning in Jude's classes.  Lots to think about!