Franki Kohler — Artist in Residence

I was invited in 2010 to be the Artist in Residence during one of the five sessions that Empty Spools Seminars holds classes at Asilomar Conference Grounds in Pacific Grove, CA. Arrival day was Sunday, June 17, classes ended June 22. My sister Christy met me here (she is taking class) and was invaluable in helping me to hang my work and set up my work space in Merrill Hall, a stunning Julia Morgan designed building. The size of the hall allows for ample space.  The free-standing wall behind my space holds Princess Bliss of the Land of 4 x 6 who came along to keep me company and display postcards for sale.

And here is the opposite side of that free-standing wall where I displayed more of my work. This also captures a portion of the balcony where we hung my Christmas quilt. It is so fun to see the work together in this large, important space!

Across from my work space Carolie Hensley, owner of Cotton Patch in Lafayette, sets up a pop-up quilt shop. Carolie has been doing this for over 12 years now. What a job! But what a necessary luxury it is for the attendees to have those supplies just steps away from the class room.

I wasn’t kidding — it really is a pop-up quilt shop!

The first evening during the conference involves a gathering in Merrill Hall to introduce all of the instructors and the resident artist. A bit of anxiety here, of course.  I spoke about the events that took me from being one who makes bed quilts to becoming a fiber artist, complete with Power Point images. The first minute or so of speaking the tension was high, then I settled down and began to enjoy it. Whew! It seemed to go well — no one walked out of the hall while I was talking.

Here’s the stage, taken from the balcony.

Following the introductions there was a buzz at my work space with lots of questions about the fabric postcards, my book, how I work. Lots of fun!

My experience at Asilomar Conference Grounds was exciting for so many reasons. Just being at this jewel-in-the-crown California state park is a wonderful experience. Here are just a few reasons why.

This is the sunset view from my room. (Click on photos for a larger view.)

Walking on the boardwalk. . .

Interesting stumps!

Notice the three new plantings that will replace the decaying tree.

So, back to the primary reason I was there. Because my work area was the first spot with quilts people saw as they entered Merrill Hall, my brother-in-law Marshall commented that I was like a store greeter. Well, not a bad observation. As Artist in Residence I was the only art quilter who wasn’t taking a class, so I had the opportunity to interact with everyone who entered Merrill Hall and there were plenty. Empty Spools Seminars was just one of many conferences scheduled for the same week. (Their 2013 schedule of classes is available now.) And we had many day-tripping folks wandering in to see the Julia Morgan building we were in as well.  I was working on two different projects during my stay so I could demonstrate a variety of techniques that I use often during my creative process. I did not finish the broken ginkgo piece I took, but I got a very good start.

The fact that I used dryer lint as a background for this project always drew a smile. I needle felted the lint directly to a fast2fuse backing, hand-stitched sea grass cotton thread for the outline of the leaf shape and beaded like crazy.

This was a wonderful experience. I will treasure the memories for years to come.

6 thoughts on “Franki Kohler — Artist in Residence

  1. So happy for you to have this outstanding experience, Franki. Just as happy for the Asilomar peeps to experience you and your beautiful art!

  2. It was great to read about your experiences at Asilomar-you have “made it”! Glad too that others got to appreciate your art in person.

    • I heard the same comment many times: the digital images I shared during my talk could not come close to what one experiences when they see the work in person. We’ve all had that realization but it was good to be reminded.

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