And here I thought I was going to a Fiber Artist Talk about using fabric paint. What I ended up doing was participating in 90 minute workshop that was full hands on! Of course I brought my knitting with me; wouldn’t leave home without it, especially for a trek to central Minnesota on a cold winter’s day. But who cares about knitting!

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The workshop took place in Hutchinson, Minnesota which is about 60 miles west of the Twin Cities. ‘Hutch’ as it’s known to people who’ve been there more than once, has a bustling downtown filled with restaurants, stores, a couple of banks, insurance agencies, medical practices, a quilt shop and the Hutchinson Center for the Arts. The Arts Center is home to fifteen area partner organizations that range from performing and visual arts to the newly formed Hutchinson Fabric and Fiber Arts Guild. The Guild is a newcomer to the textile scene in Minnesota, but their plans are BIG!

hutch arts guildSandy Tracy, local fiber arts go-getter and one of the Guild founding members, received a grant from the Regional Arts Council which makes it possible for the Guild to sponsor a fiber artist presentation every other month throughout 2014. If yesterday’s presentation and attendance of over 50 people was any indication of success to come, they will do well.

I knew something was going to be slightly different than my expectations of ‘a talk’ when I walked into the large brightly lit room with floor to ceiling south facing windows and it was filled with gate leg tables. Set up five across, four deep and facing the front of the room; they were covered with plastic tablecloths. My initial thought: things might get wet. So I asked the admission fee collector lady who replied with a cheerful, “oh yes, we’re going to make things with fabric paint! Have some cookies and coffee!” I’m not sure about the proper order of engaging in those two activities, but I just drove 60 miles so I made a beeline to the cookie bar. Does life get any better than this?

Resisting my usual temptation to lurk in the back, I settled at a table on the far side of the room in the second row from the last. I got out my knitting, partly to keep my hands busy and partly to fit in. I might not know any of these people personally, but with knitting in hand, they can see I belong to the same cosmic tribe.

Guild and Art Center introductions were given and the Paint Stick Talk began. Careen Pierson and Karen Lester have been friends for a very long time. Through sheep farming, shearing and spinning, quilting, weaving, teaching and workshops at the big Houston Quilt Show, they have an easy going style that is both encouraging and stimulating. After passing around examples and samples, they brought out kits.

hutch 4The kits included one huge paint stick, a toothbrush, muslin fabric, paper towels, a pattern, extra paper and instructions. Well prepared instructors delight me down to my socks and I eagerly opened the bag and dove in without reading the instructions. They showed; I listened; let’s go!

hutch 10Art play is different for everyone and while some participants put together compositions, I messed around with textures and shapes. I got both high contrast and low contrast results using the templates and really enjoyed making rubs off the textures of cut up pieces of rug gripper, tiles and stamps. (You’ll have to excuse the bug; I was creeped out as soon as it appeared).

hutch 11I used up the space on kit fabric fairly quickly asking the question, ‘what will this texture do, and this one and this one’?  It’s all red, it’s Valentine’s Day, so it’s all good! Thank you!

Here’s a list of contact links:

Hutchinson Fabric and Fiber Arts Guild

Hutchinson Center for the Arts

Teachers: Careen Pierson and Karen Lester

The Fabric and Fiber Arts Guild next presentation is May 8, 2014 at 4:30 p.m. The presenter is Joy Gerard, a professional weaver who will give a hands on demonstration in weaving techniques.