Meet Debora Konchinsky – First Year at MAQ

Each year when collecting proposals for classes to be offered at MAQ, the Board looks for a variety of classes, teaching new/old techniques, from traditional to modern. We hope to offer quilters a good mix of classes so that each participant can find workshops that interest them. When we saw the proposals from Debora Konchinsky with her fantastic work in wool, we knew that those classes would be a big hit.

We asked Debora to tell us more about what students can expect to learn in her classes and to send us additional photos. Here is her response:

“My students are always amazed.  They come to class with no special skills, and within minutes of the beginning of class, they will be felting.   The tools are easy to use (a 3 needle pen style holder, and a piece of foam).  Even using a kit and pattern that I provide, each project comes out different.  There are many different textures for the fibers and the colors can be natural or bright.  I dye my wool fibers  and some of my wool fabrics.  This is a detail photo of my latest quilt, Woolly Alphabet:

This is a detail photo of my Sheep Wannabees quilt, showing that any animal design can be felted:

The possibilities are many.  I was making animal-themed machine applique quilts in cottons in 1989, and wanted to make my animal designs more realistic when I found the felting tool in 2009.  I fell in love with the technique of poking wool fibers into wool appliques on wool backgrounds.   I had to figure out how to teach what I developed to someone who couldn’t draw.  Transferring detail lines using a light box is impossible because you can’t see through wool fabrics that are used.  I’ve learned how to make 3-D butterflies and bees that stand away from my wool quilts for added interest.  I love doing hand work and so I incorporate hand embroidery in my projects.  I use #8 pearl cotton to draw trees and flowers to go with my animal subjects.  Then I might include beads on my flowers, building up my designs to make them more textural.   This direction that I’ve taken, is so different from my pattern making beginnings.  People were looking to make quilts faster then.  Now quilters want to slow down and enjoy the process.  It is so much fun to work on a project in your lap, in front of the TV, at the doctor’s waiting room, or riding in the car. Time passes quickly.

This photo shows two of the sheep from my new Flock of Sheep class.  The piece is worked on a piece of my hand dyed wool fabric:

I have designed 85 patterns over 25 years, always looking to tweak the next quilt so it is different from the one I just finished.  Each quilt is built on a previous one, exploring shapes,  textures,  and colors and subjects.
I give lectures and workshops for quilt guilds on the East Coast, focusing on felted applique, and showing my quilts and how my style and techniques grew over the years.  I try to infuse a feeling of curiosity and wonder in my students when teaching my techniques.  Making lemonade from lemons always has me searching for a better way of doing whatever strikes my fancy at the moment.  There is no wrong way to do art, but there are rules to learn, and you can break the rules whenever you need to do your own thing.”

At MAQ, Debora is teaching “Dragonflies in Wool” on Friday, July 10, 2015 which is full;
“New Flock of Sheep” on Saturday, July 11, 2015 which is nearly full;
and “Sheep Faces Blocks” on Sunday, July 12, 2015.
Thank you, Debora, for sending these beautiful photographs of your wool quilts, and for sharing your creative process. I am excited to meet Debora at MAQ in July, and to see her stunning work in person. You can see more photos of her work, and see the complete quilts which these detail photos come from, on her website




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