Monday, September 20, 2010

Disaster and Discovery

Sewn Together, © 2010 Ann Fahl
This past weekend, I taught a great bunch of quilters in South Dakota. This was only my second time to teach in this state, so I was looking forward to my trip.

Following a successful full-day workshop on free-motion embroidery, I was to give a lecture about my work following the banquet. Everything had gone well that day, but I was quite tired after a long day of travel the previous day. I was ever so grateful for a wonderful chocolate frosted brownie for dessert, I needed the energy! Yum!

I was able to hook up my laptop to the convention center's digital projector. It was a challenge to make sure  everything was working and focused.  The lights in the banquet hall were turned down, and I began my Power Point presentation. I turned around and looked at my first illustration: a red and green quilt block; and the color was green and yellow. What was wrong here? 

I kept going, and the color didn't get better. I asked if anyone in the audience knew anything about correcting color on the projector. Someone left to get assistance from the hotel staff. No one came.  I gave my entire lecture, looking at my quilts without all the powerful color:  the red, yellow and orange. I think I repeated my request for assistance, but no one had any suggestions for me; and I was tired, so my problem solving skills were non-existent at the moment.  When I finished, the lights came up, and I showed the audience 4 of my larger and newer quilts.  There were oohs and aahs, they looked so different than my digital slides. Although the evening finished on a positive note, the whole experience was rather devastating.

I'm home now. As I was telling my husband about the disaster, I realized that I had learned something about my work.  My work is all about color. Looking at my work through that skewed lens, made me realize how important all those saturated colors are, they give my work strength.  I love to sew, embroider and quilt, but this isn't enough, quilts truly come alive with the color.
Sewn Together © 2010 Ann Fahl

This may seem obvious, but it is so good to be able to "see" your work from a different point of view.



Rachel said...

Ann, Ugh-- what a lecture nightmare. You deserve another chocolate frosted brownie plus ice cream. Your observation is right on about color in your work. Your quilts vibrate with color. They're day brighteners. And we all need that! Welcome home.

Elizabeth (ev005) said...

Technology is great--when it works. When it doesn't work, it causes no end of frustration. That said, it wasn't the end of the world for the audience. I was lucky enough to be in the audience that night, and even if the colors weren't right on the slides, we still got a great look at your awesome art! Even better, I got to be in your class for two days and see your gorgeous quilts up close. I came away from the weekend inspired. Thanks for the best classes I have taken in years!

annieQ said...

Thank you Elizabeth, you've made me feel soooo much better, and given me yet another view!

scooter said...

Hmmm...I saw the black and white photo and my first thought wasn't "what happened?" - it was "oh - a gray scale photo!" As an artist who works primarily on canvas with various mediums...only recently moving into the unknown realm of quilting...I frequently take photos of my work in progress, download them to my computer and, on photoshop, grayscale the image to assess whether my color values are in sync with the gray scale I am working with on a particular project. Yes, it's all about color...but if the values, hues and temperature are off then it's not going to work no matter how exquisite the brushwork or threadwork is. Frequently I work on very large murals and I will have a reference photo that needs to be enlarged many times. I will send it to the reprographer's for enlargements to work from and request a gray scale enlargement as well as the color enlargement.

Anyway - the photo made sense to me as it is.