Sunday, July 22, 2012


I have always wanted to see one of Hollis Chatelain's quilts.
Thanks to the Ebony Quilters of Atlanta, , I not only saw  Hollis' quilts , I went to her lecture and took her dye painting class. The Ebony quilters of Decatur , a small group of approximately 20 lovely ladies hosted Hollis this weekend.  I plan to stay in touch with this talented group , as I am not fond of traveling so the Houston Quilt Show and the Paducah Quilt Museum are probably never going to happen. 
I love to dye fabric , but have always wanted to learned how the thicken the dye and paint with it. I work better when I am working on something I want to keep , not just a practice piece or one of Hollis' lovely patterns . One of the selling point of this weekend was the class on Sat morning didn't start until 12 , giving me time to drive back over to Atlanta , and get a picture of my  dog,  Biscuit, enlarged to 18 x 20.

Hollis' lecture was very good. I knew a bit about her from magazine excerpts but I didn't know she was a Peace Corp volunteer in Mali . Hollis is someone who learned on her own to piece and quilt and that can be a very freeing experience , no one to censor her method. I can honestly say I had never heard of anyone layering a quilt using foam for batting . I love it  ! Hollis' lecture and love for the African people was very evident . A woman thanked her , said she had never heard anyone speak of her people so lovingly . Sadly in March  , an Al-Qaeda group has over run northern  Mali . At times like this I don't mind that George Bush didn't find any weapons of mass destruction .  Not that an 8 year was very effective.   Knowing about  struggling countries like Mali we can better appreciate our own country and the immigrants who come here seeking refuge.
The dye painting class was fun , Hollis teaches drawing classes and paints her own masterpieces . She is gifted with the ability to break down a process into words not just demonstrating but instructing how to paint a line, leaf , etc. I knew I was in a good place when one of the handout stated that to require perfection is to invite paralysis. I was the only one painting a dog , I have always wanted to turn a photograph into a quilt and I have a lot of dye ! The good news is I don't have to sign up and learn to draw , Hollis suggested I tape the blown up photo on the window and trace the outline on the back , then I was able to lay my fabric on top and trace the outline. Painting that first bit was hard , and of course I was heavy handed with the dye ( the 1st time I made soap I added so much blue soap color that my hand turn blue when I wash with it , this cracked my teacher up.)
thanks  Hollis,  for a new point of view on the art of quilting and on Africa .
Now I just need to rinse out Biscuit and consider how to quilt him. He was the best dog ever , no offense Belle and Lucy and they would say , none taken.

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