Teaching

I teach workshops at various summer art programs and for organizations around the country and am willing
to consider teaching in new venues if my calendar permits. Please contact me for more specific information
about number of students, dates available and pricing.

e-mail: susan_brandeis@ncsu.edu

Stitching as Drawing

Drawing and stitching; making lines and marks. This workshop will explore ways to capture the quickness, spontaneity, and gestures of drawing through hand and machine stitching in the creation of expressive drawings on cloth. We will experiment with: optical mixing, color effects, cross-hatching, stippling, contouring, detailing, shading, gradations, gestural marks, scribbling, working at large and small scales, layering marks, and building texture on a variety of grounds. Emphasis will be on individual experimentation and developing a personal stitched mark vocabulary.

• Three day, five day, or two week versions.
• Minimum set up. Students bring own supplies.

Creating and Manipulating Fabric Surfaces

The workshop explores the possibilities in combining printed, dyed, pattern dyed, or patterned fabrics with each other and with solid color fabrics to create personally meaningful compositions. The compositions may be representational, abstract, or non-representational, may tell a story or evoke a feeling, may be based on personal experience or on fantasy. Fabrics may be hand produced or commercially produced. Focus is on the process of composition itself—the series of decisions and actions with which we organize parts into a harmonious whole as a means to most effectively communicate individual ideas. Piecing, applique, and fabric manipulation are used to construct compositions and explore the visual elements of successful compositional arrangements—shape, color and texture relationships, placement, balance, scale and dimension. Machine stitching, embroidery, and beading will be used to enhance the compositions with line, gesture, marks, shading, surface texture, and color modulation.

• Two day, three day, five day and two week versions.
• Minimum set up.
• Students bring their own supplies and sewing machines.

The Cumulative Cloth

This workshop explores the results of successive applications of color, pattern and image to fabric surfaces. The emphasis will continually be on that word “successive.” We will be looking at the combination of surface design techniques, processes and materials to build patterns, images and compositions on/with fabric. The class begins with a series of demonstrations and intensive technical “workshops” in which students produce a series of small studies/samples in each technique introduced—primarily those associated with color application to fabric using dyestuffs and pigments: immersion dyeing, resist dyeing, direct application, screen printing. The class then shifts attention to the “dry” surface design techniques: piecing, applique, reverse applique, fabric manipulation, hand embroidery, machine embroidery, and beading.

• Two week class requiring access to a dyeing and printing studio.

Demystifying Design

This is a low-pressure, low-risk, high-play experience with familiar materials to help students generate some exciting ideas for current and future fiber projects, and to improve the ability to get desired results. This is a class for people who already weave, knit, quilt, crochet, bead, piece, print or do needlework. Whatever your particular technical interest and skill, the class will help you to explore and improve your own design process.

• Three day, five day, or two week.
• Minimum set up required.
• Students bring all their own supplies.

Digital Printing + Hand Embellishment on Fabric

This workshop offers the opportunity to integrate the possibilities of digital imaging, the ease and cleanliness of inkjet printing, and the tactile joys of hand-needlework. Participants will learn to use Adobe Photoshop to manipulate diverse images on Macintosh computers (with application for Windows-based computers), print those images on inexpensive inkjet printers that are ideal for home use, and discover a variety of hand-embellishment techniques that will make their printed fabrics rich and expressive. They will begin by scanning carefully selected images from home or from a small library provided by the instructor. Each morning, participants will develop their Photoshop skills by cropping, sizing, adjusting, manipulating, and printing images on natural and synthetic fabrics, and by experimenting with increasingly sophisticated digital tools and techniques. Each afternoon, participants will turn their attention to embellishing their prints by hand, exploring ways to integrate high-touch handwork with high-tech printing to create evocative personal images. They will use a variety of embellishment techniques to explore line weight, surface textures, color changes, methods of outlining and filling in shapes, optical blending, layering, overstitching, and overcastting. The instructor will guide participants through the blending of high-tech and high-touch processes and offer individual attention for each person’s work. Previous experience with Photoshop is not necessary, but participants should have basic hand-stitching skills.

Embroidery (hand)

Learn basic hand embroidery stitches working with simple materials. The class will focus on a small sampler of embroidered compositions. Longer versions will move on to embroidered compositions.

• Two day, three day, one week for beginners.
• Minimal set up and simple supplies.

Fabric Collage and Construction

Fabric collage, creating images from a combination of sources and materials, lets you contrast a variety of different fabrics for a visual effect (startling, provocative, exciting, serious or fun), to make a political or social commentary, or simply to tell a story or delight the eye. Work with materials you love, and even include text, photographic images, memorabilia, and non-textile materials.

Learn about joining techniques (stitching, adhesives, stabilizers); the nature of materials and their combinations (compositional considerations, archival processes); adding color, marks, and images to the surfaces (stitching, stamping, painting, drawing with markers and pencils); integrating found images; and presenting the finished work (mounting, matting, hanging).

• Two day, three day, five day.
• Minimum set up.
• Students bring all supplies along.

Machine Embroidery

The sewing machine can be a very effective tool to embellish fabric with stitches. The weights, characters, colors and textures of stitches you make are only limited by the capabilities of your specific machine and your imagination. This class focuses on preparing your machine for free motion stitching, stabilizing the fabric, stitching techniques, machine speed and stitch length, and experimentation.

• One day, two day, three day, five day.
• Requires that each participant have a table, chair and their own sewing machine which is capable of free motion stitching with a darning or quilting foot.

Reverse Applique

The technique of reverse appliqué is portable, low-tech, and can be done almost anywhere. It requires only some pieces of cloth in contrasting colors, a needle, and some thread. It is a quiet, reflective, meditative act, but can create images of great power or subtlety.

This workshop concentrates on traditional techniques of layering fabrics, cutting through to reveal the fabrics underneath, and turning the edges with hand stitching. After mastering those, we will sample some more non-traditional ways of layering, cutting, and stitching. We will use a variety of dyed, printed and pattern-dyed fabrics (hand or commercially produced) and will explore uses of non-traditional bases.

• One day, two day, three day.
• Simple set up and materials.

 Brainstorming Ideas in Fiber

This class focuses on brainstorming—uncensored imagining and fantasizing—encouraging your mind to drift, bubble and flow. Through creative “play” we will explore how to use sources of inspiration, generate and develop ideas, and discover seemingly disconnected or unrelated elements that unite in unique comparisons. Using hands on exercises with simple materials—papers, magazine photographs, pens, markers, pencils—we will collage and sketch to capture your imaginings. Through short written exercises an discussion, we will explore ways to come up with a wealth of ideas to keep you energized after you leave.

• Three day, five day.
• Minimal set up: tables and chairs.
• Students bring their own supplies.

Surface Embellishment

Focus on combining printed/patterned/solid color fabrics to build a fabric surface through selective use of piecing, applique, reverse applique, fabric manipulation, inlay, hand and machine stitching and beading. Emphasis will be on personal expression through materials choices, composition, and color.

• Three day, five day.
• Students must each have access to a sewing machine.

Textiles and Meaning: A Master Class

This is a workshop for intermediate and advanced textile artists who want to explore ways to infuse greater meaning into their objects or break through to new levels of conceptual content. We will focus on the processes of creation and composition – the series of imaginings, decisions, and actions with which we organize materials into a harmonious, evocative, and communicative whole.

Through creative “play” we will explore how to use sources of inspiration, generate and develop ideas, and connect your ideas to deeper values and passions through design processes. Using hands-on exercises in creative process, class discussions, and written information, we will explore way to use inspiring sources to generate good ideas, to better visualize the end product before the hand work begins, and to better coordinate the details along the way (color, texture, composition, choice of materials and techniques appropriate to the idea)—so that what you imagine is stronger and better focused, and what you make is closer to what you imagined. Initial work will be with paper, pens, and pencils, followed by translation into familiar textile materials and techniques.

• Three day, four day, five day.
• Simple materials and set up.

Transparent Fabric Collage

In this class we will dye and pattern silk organza and use it along with other transparent materials to create fabric collages, building up intricate surfaces that combine color and pattern in a sequence of transparent layers. We will do low immersion dyeing, resist dyeing, direct application, and discharge to color and pattern the organza. We will use overlapping layers of applique to construct collages and explore the visual elements of successful compositional arrangements—shape, color, and texture relationships, placement, balance, scale, contrasts with opaque materials, illusion of depth. Stitching and embroidery will be used to enhance the compositions with line, gesture, marks, shading, surface texture, and color modulation.

• Five day, two week.
• Requires access to a complete dye studio as well as sewing machines.