Workshops are always a fun time for me. I sometimes take them because there is a specific technique I want to learn. I’m always curious about another teacher’s work process. And often, it is simply uninterrupted time dedicated to having fun.
The most recent one for me was from Joe Cunningham. I’ve certainly seen and admired his work for a long time but I didn’t check out his website in detail as I usually do for those with whom I am going to study. I always try to go in with an open mind and eager anticipation of learning and that attitude almost guarantees a fun time.
As we got into the class and he found out that I was already an improv piecer, he wasn’t sure that I would be learning anything. WRONG! Joe has a particular way of working that is quite different from mine. That is exactly why I took the class! It was very challenging for me to work in the way he does and I truly loved the challenge.
Now, the piece I made still looks very much like my work.
You can’t leave your style behind, but finding a different route to get there is wonderful. It adds to your toolbox and opens your eyes to ever more possibilities.
But Joe has a particular style, too, which uses lots of bias tape and that was part of what we are ready to explore.
I am not sure if I will add bias to mine or not. I don’t want to make a piece that looks like I’m trying to imitate Joe, but I do like the idea of playing with the bias tape. I’m really torn. I have the same dilemna with a workshop project from another teacher. It looks so distinctly like her work right now, which was fine for learning the technique, but I want to make it mine now!
Of course, often workshop projects never get finished because they are just that–learning exercises. But for those that you do want to finish, what do you do? Go ahead with the style of the teacher, or absorb their techniques and make the project your own?
For me, right now, it’s bias or no bias……………..