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Ellen would be delighted to have a class with you or your group! You can check out her classes at www.ellenanneeddy.com. She also offers independent studio time in her studio in Indiana. Talk to Ellen about classes at 219-921-0885, or contact her scheduler Sarah at 616-485-5646 to set a date

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Ellen Anne Eddy
Author of Thread Magic: The Enchanted World of Ellen Anne Eddy Fiber artist, author and teacher
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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Musings Art outside the Box: Lecturing: Being the Voice in the Dark

I love lecturing! Perhaps it's because we were all told bedroom stories. Perhaps we're used to the voice in the gathering dark. It's the voice of someone who cares for us. It caresses us into a state where we can take things in perhaps differently. And it seduces us to let things go and simply listen to the voice.

There's an odd thing that happens if you are the voice. It seduces you too. You don't just tell the story, explain the theory. You become it. You too, are caught by the voice in the dark.

I remember my first professional lecture. I had not joined a quilt guild simply because I was too far out there. I began to quilt in the mid 70s and I was quilting by machine because I couldn't by hand. My hands already went numb when I tried to hand stitch. There was no way to explain it to a group then. The attitude was that if you were stitching by machine, it wasn't quilting. It was a strong enough sentiment that I knew it would throw me off what I needed to do. I didn't need them telling me no. I'm the only one who ever gets to tell me no. So I had worked alone and read anything I could get my hands on.But I did send work to shows, local and otherwise, and at some point, someone hired me for a lecture.

So I didn't know much how guild meetings worked. But I did know about giving lectures. When I was eight years old my teacher mother pulled out the overhead for a class presentation I was supposed to give and said"It's time now."She polished my presentation like a diamond. Like most of my mother's instructions, it was insane at the time, but has proved providential. She also threw me out of the house at five years old with a stack of potholders I'd made and told me not to come home until I'd sold them all. It sounds pretty rough, but if you're going to live as an artist, you can see the point. And our neighbors knew her pretty well. I was able to go home that night. It was good training for an artist-in-process.

I walked in to that lecture room and found a group of women handing out a pattern for crosses and losses, and I thought to myself, " This can't be it. There's another group of quilters in the building that wants to hear about bead work on machined quilts and I need to go find them." 

But they called me up, turned down the lights and there we were. I became the voice in the dark. I soothed, I titilated, I wound stories into ribbons of words. I told silly stories. Sad ones. And being the fabulous, gentle people quilters are, they suspended their belief in a world of nothing but hand-stitched quilts and they came right along with me, through that journey of words in the darkness. Except for the one woman who clearly needed a nap. There's always one of those and I'm never offended. If I'm in the audience, it's usually me.

I love giving lectures. That's good, because I'll be doing two of them for the IQF show in Chicago on Friday, April 16th. I'll be offering "The Visual Path" from 11 - Noon, and The Enchanted World of Ellen Anne Eddy at  5:30-6:30. It will be just about when you're ready to sit and rest for a moment. And I'll tell you stories in the dark.


1 comments:

dianedoodles said...

Best Wishes for a wonderful time at IQF! I am looking forward to the day I can attend a class and listen to your stories.

Safe Travels,
DianeL

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