My Brilliant (New) Career(s)

2016 has been quite the year so far.  In January, with Dayna Collins and Tory Brokenshire, I took on the Compass Gallery at the Willamette Heritage Center…shows that change monthly, and Thursday we put up a new show called “Mark Making”.



I wrote an essay for a book just out compiled by Salem-ite Deleen Riley Wills (book signing this Thursday in the Compass Gallery 5-7).



AND I arranged to teach two classes…though I have never taught in my life.  As luck would have it, the classes were back to back this past weekend which, though tiring, DID shove all the “teaching-anxiety” onto one week.  Verdict?  Total FUN!

Friday I showed up at the Art Department (our local and wonderful art supply store) and this is what it looked like from the novice teacher’s point of view….

Class 1 drawiingclass 2 drawing

oh my gosh, what if it’s like a party where nobody comes?  Of course, they all came and were lively, interested and polite…the subject?  “The Habit of Drawing”…keeping a sketchbook as a way of thinking one’s way through what drawing means and does for us as artists.  They were all given a small and portable Moleskine drawing book, asked to draw 15 minutes a day, given a list of possible “prompts”, and they will return to the classroom next Friday when we will have “show and tell.”  It was a totally fun morning.  Stay tuned for results (if anybody lets me photograph…)

Saturday morning nine quilters joined me for an “Improv Quilt” class up in the studio classroom.

Quilt classroomClass 2 quilts

Several of the attendees had seen a quilt of mine last year and wanted me to do a class.  (Here are two versions of my quilt…)

Quilt 1Quilt 2

As it was an improv quilt I agreed, only if they were willing to “wing it” and plunge in without patterns.  They were.

class quilts 3

And here’s that part that teachers of these sorts of creative classes all know (but don’t necessarily divulge)  the teacher learns MORE from the students than vice versa.

They started slowly, gaining speed as they worked and chatted…jokes, politics, food, families, the weddings of children, creative work and the balancing of a creative life with a “day job”…pretty much every subject you can imagine.  I sat quietly behind, quilting away and enjoying the work and the chat.  At the end I asked them all to   share their pieces, and was delighted on the totally different look each student had come up with.



Melanie (1)






Hoping for news of finishes….





  1. Hey Bonnie,
    I wish you lived closer. I would take your classes. I don’t have a creative bone in my body.
    Pam Kelly (met at Asilomar)

    1. Oh Pam I remember you played creatively…and that, like me, you couldn’t remember the chord progression in Del Ray’s class…even though we WANTED to…! You COuld draw 15 minutes a day though…no?? 🙂

  2. My 15 min.a day is flying by….you are so inspirational, thank you! there were some very gifted people in the group.
    and i love the results of your improv quilt class!!! You have a way of setting people free.

    1. Oh Shirley what a pleasure to find you in the class. The class was so good and ready to get to work…can’t wait til Friday for the reveal. I’m spending more like an hour a day and enjoying it. See you very soon!

    1. LeeAnn I was blown away by how they all jumped right in and how each brain wrapped around the project differently. I came away with 10 new ideas! I advised the drawing class to steal from other artists, and I hope the quilters don’t mind if I steal from them!

  3. Bonnie, you fantastic woman, you! Imagine YOU having such nerves about teaching.
    Both classes sound great! Glad you survived the back-to-back demands and delights.

  4. we can’t wait until friday, either, bonnie. hope you get some good pics to show us. believe it or not, this quilting biz is a total mystery to me. i keep looking at the pinned pieces and wondering things like… are the edges of those shaped pieces ironed to the back and then stitched? i should have taken your class.

    1. I told the class about the one and only time I was going to use fusible backing and bonded the fusible to my ironing board cover…all pins and thread San…all pins and thread…

  5. Very very cool, Bonnie. All of this! Let me know when you do a quilt class again. I have zero quilting skills and I would rather do some sort of free style thing versus patterns. This would have been a great way to get started!

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