At the Glendale Quilt Show in March of 2008, I took a two day class from Deborah Sylvester. The pictures of her quilts with the description of her techniques in the class brochure intrigued me. My own pictures posted here were taken with a basic camera phone from three and one-half years ago (and in phone camera time – dark ages.) Deborah’s pictures of her quilts on her website are really good.
Deborah’s quilts were just gorgeous. She used small and medium sized fabric pieces from nearly solids to hand dyes to create her faces and bodies, eventually sewing the raw edges down with Living Colors thread from Superior. I remember Deborah said her mentor/teacher was Hollis Chatelain. Pretty cool mentor. There is also a blog article about Deborah on The Quilt Show from 2007 and it is viewable by non-members. I think I must have read this article before I signed up for the Glendale class a few months later.
Deborah first took the students in her class through drawing background patterns using a series of free drawing exercises. We used these drawings as patterns for gentle curved piecing. Then using a photograph that we had brought to class we spent the rest of the first morning and much of the first afternoon becoming acquainted with the how-tos of Deborah’s portrait techniques. The second day was for practical work with Deborah walking through the class helping the students.
I do remember in the very back of the room was one of our Los Angeles County supervisors. She is an amazing quilter and quite a person, too. I may remember acting a little fan girl when I spoke to her – maybe.
Tomorrow: The Price of Admission: Deborah Sylvester