Teaching patchwork

Worshop at Tea Gardens, NSW

Teaching product vs process

When I began to teach quiltmakers in the late 1980s, I often was asked why some classes just taught students to make patchwork blocks, not quilts. My classes were based on the work of the previous teacher at the quilt shop near my home, and students made six blocks using various techniques, set them together, layered, basted and quilted, then bound the piece.
In short, they made a quilt!

I began to teach stage 2 and 3 quiltmaking, increasing the skills of the patchworkers with each new block in these sampler quilts.
I no longer teach this way.

Product vs Process

Remember the TV ad that talked about not giving people food, but teaching them to grow their own?

My teaching premise is that if I teach a certain pattern or quilt, then that is all the students will be able to make. If I teach them how it works, about why colours behave in certain ways, about re-sizing, designs and more, they can make their own quilts, not mine.

I said once in a lecture that I didn’t teach quiltmaking, I taught door opening!

Read more about my ideas on teaching patchwork (or anything really).

And the payoff for the students?

When they see a design that appeals, they can adapt it to suit their own ideas. When they are inspired by something, they have the confidence to produce what they want to make.

The payoff for me as teacher?

I love to hear students in my studio at Jan T’s Utopia discussing how if this or that were changed, then this or that difference would happen. They are confident when they go to buy fabric, they produce unique quilts.
They love making their own adaptations of designs.

They quilt!

Former quilt artist, now a painter having a great time creating art! For more than thirty years, I have been teaching (make that enthusing) people about making quilts, and am now retired! And now I make art every day!

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