Classes & Events

(*Pricing listed below)

Since I first started making my giant gem portraits 20 years ago, I've explored lots of traditional quiltmaking techniques in search of the best method to capture the brilliance and fire of faceted gemstones. I'm delighted to share these techniques in a series of workshops that will guide others as they seek to play with faceted light in their own work. Half-day and full-day workshops are available. Pricing is listed below. For more information, please click CONTACT in the navigation menu above and give me a shout. I'd love to hear from you!

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Trunk Show

Diamond Divas & Drama Queens: Colored Gemstones as Design Inspiration (60-90 minutes)

The most beautiful gemstone captures light and reflects it back to us with unique brilliance, revealing its fiery personality. These are the divas and the drama queens of the gem world. Every one of them has a story to tell…just like people. This slide lecture and trunk show chronicle my story – my 20-year adventure in learning how to create the biggest diamonds in the world in cloth.

In addition to showing the diamond quilts, I'll talk about how I select gems that qualify as “divas and drama queens” and what they teach us about how to add sparkle to any art quilt. I'll also talk about about the techniques to create and assemble the hundreds of pieces in each diamond, materials I use to create the wash of color and light across a gem's surface, and the quilting techniques that enhance a gem's facets.

And, as so often happens with any artist's decades-long journey, I'll share what I’ve learned from my leap from the Corporate Life and into the Creative Life, starting with the startling message I received just after I made the leap, and its joyful deciphering years later.

Equipment needed:

  • Slide screen and extension cord (I will bring my own computer and digital projector)

  • Hanging system to display quilts vertically

  • 6- or 8-foot table for horizontal quilt display

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Full-day Workshop (6 Hours)

Bite-Size Gem Quilts: Creating a Small Faceted Quilt
Skill Level: Confident Beginner to Advanced
Subject: Pattern-Making using Freezer Paper Piecing Techniques

Using the design and piecing techniques I rely on to create my diamond portraits, students will create their own singularly beautiful work of faceted light. After choosing from one of several pre-selected images based on their skill level, students will learn how to code each piece for color, location, and adjacency; position template pieces onto hand-painted fabric to achieve the desired light effects; and ultimately create their own unique study in faceted color. Students will leave the class with a small top that can later be hand- or machine-quilted at home. Student supply list will be provided at time of booking.

Equipment needed:

  • Slide screen and extension cord (I will bring my own computer and digital projector)

  • Table for slide projector placed 10-15 feet from the slide screen

  • 6- or 8-foot table for materials


 
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2-Day Workshop

Treasure Hunting
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced (This class is perfect for makers who want to dive into the exciting world of art quilts by learning how to find inspiration, create a composition, and chart a pattern using a powerful technique.)
Subject: Elements of Design, Pattern-Making using Freezer Paper Piecing Techniques

The concepts and techniques shared in this class will become powerful tools in any student’s toolbox, regardless of their subject matter or source of inspiration. Students learn how to find hidden landscapes deep within gorgeous gems and then create a fully-charted freezer paper template that will allow them to create their own singularly beautiful 18” quilt block — a study of light and color.

During our first morning together, students learn how to find the faceting pattern hidden inside every gem. This provides the clues to how they will eventually piece together their final quilt top. We’ll also explore the elements of abstraction, as well as the tenets of basic composition. Finally, students will use actual images of gemstones and cut-outs of various sizes to find a landscape that delights them to transform into an abstract quilt design.

During the afternoon of the first day, students will then learn how to translate their hidden landscape into a freezer paper pattern using the same techniques I’ve used to create my giant gem quilts for the past 20 years.

This first day challenges students to blast beyond the borders of their comfort zone. We’ll address how to work through anxiety, confusion, and questions that inevitably arise whenever we move beyond our limits.

The second day, however, is the day we return to the safety of the familiar when we break out glorious fabric, rotary cutters, mats, and sewing machines. This is the day magic happens as students transform their ideas into fabulous work!

The maximum class size is smaller than other classes. This allows me to spend one-on-one time with each student as they work through the process, finding the answers to their questions.

Equipment needed:

  • Slide screen and extension cord (I will bring my own computer and digital projector)

  • Table for slide projector placed 10-15 feet from the slide screen

  • 6- or 8-foot table for materials


 
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Bourbon tasting (2 hours)

Taste of Kentucky (Featuring MJ's Bourbon Diamonds)
Skill Level: All (no sewing required)
Subject: Bourbon!

Celebrate Kentucky's great bourbon with me during this fun and informative tasting event. Whether you're new to bourbon or have been sipping for years, this event is for you. We'll take a tour of the bourbons that have inspired my diamond quilts, including Maker's Mark, Jim Beam, Old Forrester, and Angel's Envy (subject to availability in your area). You'll learn about the history of bourbon, how it's made, and what to pay attention to as you take in bourbon's marvelous color, aroma, and taste. As a certified Executive Bourbon Steward with The Stave & Thief Society, I'm delighted to share this unique aspect of Kentucky history with you!

(Note: All participants must be 21. Venue must allow alcoholic beverages to be served. Host group to purchase the bourbon and tasting cups, based on the number of participants and the availability of the bourbon at the venue or in the area.)

Equipment needed:

  • Slide screen and extension cord (I will bring my own computer and digital projector)

  • Table for slide projector placed 10-15 feet from the slide screen


 
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Half-Day Workshop (3 Hours)

Wild-Motion Machine Quilting*
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced  
Subject: Free-Motion Machine Quilting (Domestic Machines)

Students will experiment with the unique free-motion quilting techniques I use to enhance the facets of my large-format diamond quilts. Quilting adds an additional design dimension to every quilt. In order to allow the flow of light and color to remain the focus of my work, I’ve developed random, non-directional quilting that allows the faceting pattern to shine through. This class is for students who use domestic machines rather than long-arm machines. Student supply list will be provided at time of booking.                                               

* Participants must have a solid understanding of -- and relationship with -- their sewing machine, since I won't be able to trouble-shoot mechanical issues during class.

*Pricing (for 2018 & 2019 classes)

Trunk Show/Presentation (without booking a class)                $450
Trunk Show/Presentation (with booking a class)                      $400
2-Day Treasure Hunting Workshop (10 person min; 16 max) $1200
6-Hour Workshop (10 person min; 24 max)                               $700

3-Hour Workshop (10 person min; 24 max)                               $450
Bourbon Tasting (20 max)                                                           $300

Additional customary costs related to travel, lodging and per diem expenses are outlined in my contract and available at the time of booking.