presentations & workshops

Put a diamond in front of me and I'll stop dead in my tracks. Flash an image of a gorgeous gemstone on my PC monitor and I very nearly lose all capacity to form a coherent sentence. I love gems and all things "bling".

Since I first started making my giant gem portraits 20 years ago, I've explored many traditional quiltmaking techniques in search of the best methods 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.

During my presentation, I'll discuss 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 display the actual art quilts inspired by some of these divas.) I’ll talk 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 Workshops (6 Hours)

Bite-Size Gem Quilts: Creating a Small Faceted Quilt
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Subject: Single-Foundation Piecing

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

Lunch & Learn (45 - 60 MINUtes)

Treasure Hunting: Discovering Abstract Designs in Exquisite Gemstones
Skill Level: All (no sewing required)
Subject: Design

Take a new look at familiar subjects through the magic of online image editing tools. Zoom into the heart of a diamond to find hidden landscapes. Spin them around to find different perspectives. Set them on fire or cool them down with color management controls. Or mash several images together with combination tools. I'll show you how I find new inspiration by taking some of the most beautiful gemstones on earth and manipulating their images online. 

This demonstration can be presented during Super Saturday gatherings at your shop, tucked into the lunch break of my "Bite-Sized Gem" class, or used as a feature presentation during a reception or cocktail event.

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

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 it 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

 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


    haLF-DAY WORKSHOP (3HOURS)

    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 classes)

    Trunk Show/Presentation (without booking a class)                $450
    Trunk Show/Presentation (with booking a class)                      $375
    6-Hour Workshop (10 person min; 24 max)                               $700

    3-Hour Workshop (10 person min; 24 max)                               $450
    Treasure Hunting Lunch & Learn                                                 $150
    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.