Join Michelle May for “Adventures Down the Rabbit Hole”

By Susan Weaver Schwandt, APR

Tag along with your tour guide Michelle May, owner of The Raspberry Rabbits, for exciting “Adventures Down the Rabbit Hole Chat.” During her lecture, May will transport you into her world of “Folk Art Fusion” on GAAQG Quilt Day beginning at 9 a.m. on Jan. 20 , 2018 at the Morris Lawrence Building, WCC in Ann Arbor. Patterns and supplies will be available for purchase after her lecture and trunk show. 

If you’re looking for creative ideas and an open invitation to play, May will teach two, one-day (9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) classes: Beekeeper Pin Cushion on Jan. 19, and “Heart Felt Notes” on Jan. 21. Classes are $60 for GAAQG members ($80 for non-members). Register online at https://www.gaaqg.com/our-events/workshops/.

GAAQG Member Brenda Rigdon was fortunate to take a class in Hastings, in 2015 with May and became a fan. “I’ve been following her blog (www.theraspberryrabbits.blogspot.com) for years and emailed her asking for information on classes in Michigan. Or Ohio or Indiana or pretty much anywhere within a four-hour drive,” Rigdon enthused.

“Michelle May turned the world of Wool Appliqué inside out with her colorful, whimsical designs. She calls her classes “Play Dates.” They’re fun, relaxing, and typically you will leave with a finished project. You will want to make more of her projects.

Michelle was promoting slow stitching long before it became a fad. Because she uses wool felt there is no need for endless button-hole stitching around the edges, leaving a clean, modern look. Her technique of layering creates an easy reverse appliqué. She also uses beads and couched yarns for embellishments that enhance but do not overpower the design. The result is what I would call Modern Appliqué, as it has more in common with Modern quilting than traditional appliqué.”

May recently returned home from the International Quilt Festival in Houston and graciously took time to answer a few of our questions.

What classes did you teach in Houston and what can you tell us about your experience? 

Michelle May and Sallieann HarrisonTalk about a dream come true! What an honor to be a teacher among the biggest names in the quilting world at the largest quilt festival in the world! I’m still pinching myself!

I taught my “Beekeeper” pincushion. My class sold out in the first hour of opening. I had 25 students, 6 of which were from the UK and two from Australia. What fun to have them in my class. Everyone gave me a 5 star “Excellent” review on the survey and wrote the kindest messages. They all want me to teach another class next year.  

I was also at Open Studios on the show floor and it was standing room only during my demos. It really was fun to chat with so many people who were fascinated by my work. I met so many friends/customers who have been following me for years on my blog. 

One of the highlights and most memorable things was being able to share this Houston experience with my dear friend from the UK, Sallieann Harrison.I taught Sallieann to quilt back in 2000. She has gone on to be a bright star and teaches quilting in the UK. I’m so very proud of her and it brought me so much joy to have her help me in my class.

What led to your obsession with rabbits?

It all happened when I was 6, but I don’t want to tell you any more than that right now as it is all part of my “Adventures Down the Rabbit Hole” chat I will be giving on GAAQG Quilt Day.

How would you describe the “fusion” in your Folk Art Fusion technique? 

The fusion comes from fusing together my signature reverse wool applique with my folk art style—a style influenced by papercutting artists like Hans Christen Andersen. The reverse wool applique was influenced by my previous career as a designer and project manager for a custom home builder. 

What do you hope your students will learn from their experience in your Play Date classes? 

My focus is that my students have a joyful and happy “experience.” The biggest feedback from everyone who attends is that it was “the most relaxing and fun day.” My goal is to inspire individual creativity within the structure of learning a new technique. I am simply the guide down the rabbit hole, where there is no stress or worries. It is a day to remember how to “Play.”

Why should someone who’s experienced in embroidery take your class?

I have taught this class many, many times now. Those who are experienced in embroidery seem to have the most fun as they use all their wonderful knowledge to create extraordinary embroidered details. Plus—this isn’t simply an embroidery class. This is a class on reverse wool applique and being your own designer instead of adhering to strict guidelines and rules. I find those who are crazy quilters really enjoy it and inspire others at the Play Date.  

Classes are $60 for GAAQG members ($80 for non-members). Non-members register online at https://www.gaaqg.com/our-events/workshops/.

GAAQG members register in the Members Only section of our website.

 

 

 

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This post was written by Kathy Johnson

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