I just spent the last two days at a class with Christopher Nejman of 'Pillows' fame. He uses pillows as the product for his innovative fabric manipulation techniques. I was really looking forward to this class as I love his work even though I had heard from several others that he was autocratic and a real pain in the butt as a teacher. I was prepared to love and hate the class and, surprise, surprise, I loved and hated it both.
This was a class sponsored by a sewing machine and fabric store called Fabrics Etcetera. The store sells Babylock machines and the 'Embellisher' was the main tool used in the class. One of the store's goals is to sell machines and as Nejman is a Babylock spokesman, it seems like a match made in heaven. The love part is that the only supplies needed by the students were a pair of scissors. The bad part is that there were THREE students per machine. That meant that only one third of the time available for actually working on the project was productive time. I am too impatient to sit and watch others work and I am not nice enough to smilingly offer encouraging advice to others when all I want to do is get something done.
The other love/hate part of the Babylock link is that there were presentations during the two days on several Babylock products. Good to hear about the products and have a chance to use them but bad to waste time on products you really have no interest in purchasing. I also hate paying, even a modest sum, for a sales pitch. The class was extremely well priced, only $100.00 for two days of instruction, use of the machines, all the supplies and food, but all the waiting to actualy do something and the wasted sales pitches made me wonder about my desire to take other classes in this format.
The big love about the class was Nejman himself. He does have a great method for combining many techniques to make innovative items and his love for the topic is clearly visible. He had all of us, even me, with my two left feet and no sense of rhythm, up and dancing during breaks. Laughter was the order of the day and stories about his life added a lot to my enjoyment. On the other hand, my inability to gracefully wait through all the other garbage was visible to all but the brain dead. During the down times I finished up knitting a sock, got its match started, completed half a dozen games of Sudoku and read about 50 pages of my current science fiction novel, so all was not lost.
Here are a couple of shots of the examples from his book that he brought with him:
and a couple of shots of the first day's project.
One shot of an example of what we tried to duplicate on the the second day.
In the small world category - Nejman is a hair dresser and lives in New Port Richey in Florida, my parents former Winter home. He worked at J. C. Penney for many years and my mother used to have her hair done there once in a while... I wonder if she ever had him do her hair?
It looks like he will be back in town later this year with a two day class associated with his as yet unpublished new book - Celebrity Bags. The cost will be two to three times higher than the class I just completed because of the qualty of the kit needed. Once again we won't need to bring anything so there will be a lot of sitting around waiting to get something done. I would like to make one of his bags but I don't think they make chill pills strong enough to over come my inner boredom beast. Maybe I just need to find a distracting project for the down times or to rent a room in the hotel where the class is held so I can nap or sew on my own projects between times.
No matter what I decide, do not miss an opportunity to see Christopher Nejman. His techniques and the creative energy they release are not to be missed.