LS: Art of Quilting Column November 30, 2008
Quilters’ giant playhouse opens in Junction
Local quilt artist Jane Aldoretta has been busy furnishing a giant playhouse. She’s filled the inside with all the goodies a quilter could possibly imagine, and she’s inviting others to come and play with her.
After two decades of quilting, Aldoretta says quilting “is my total passion.” She also has two degrees in education, so teaching comes naturally to her.
Aldoretta’s newest endeavor is the opening of Fabric Arts Studio, a state-of-the-art classroom at 564 Commercial Drive, Unit 1, in Grand Junction.
Artists also can rent time in the studio at $5 an hour to work on their personal projects. This fee includes the use of many of her supplies.
Classes are to start in January with daytime, evening and weekend spots available.
Aldoretta’s regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
The space is 26 feet by 45 feet with a 20-foot ceiling. It offers large design walls that run the length of the building, ergonomic rotary cutters, mats and rulers in all sizes, a computer, inkjet printer — even a midarm machine on a 10-foot table, which Aldoretta will teach you to use.
“I’m all about teaching people to do it,” she says, rather than operating the machine for them.
Cost for an initial two-hour training session is $40; rental of the machine then starts at $60 for three hours.
For fabric artists, she has stocked her shelves and drawers with textile paints and inks and specially treated fabric. She also has a double sink, a washer and dryer and a microwave for
Mixed media fans will find cabinets of stamps, marking tools, brushes, sponges and embellishments.
Aldoretta is a member of the Art Quilt Association but says she appreciates both contemporary and traditional quilting and welcomes both types of quilters to her business.
Inside the door, she’s posting calls for entries in various contests and other helpful information on a bulletin board.
“I want this to be a clearinghouse for people,” Aldoretta says.
A resource library with quilting books, magazines and DVDs also is available. Books and magazines are free; DVD rental is $3.95.
As a classroom, the space holds tables for up to 14 students and a teacher with multiple electrical outlets at each table. Slide shows can be projected on an overhead screen with wireless headsets.
In mid-April, Aldoretta is bringing a national teacher into her studio for four days of workshops. “Original Cloth-Original Quilts” will be taught by professional fiber artist Rayna Gillman of West Orange, N.J. Gillman specializes in surface design. She has a new book titled “Create Your Own Hand-Painted Cloth” (C&T Publishing).
If you are interested in the April 14-17 workshop, Aldoretta has five spots left. Cost is $150 for a two-day session, $300 for all four days.
In addition to sponsoring national teachers each spring and fall, she plans to organize winter retreats for quilters. The first one is scheduled Feb. 6-8 at Red Cliffs Lodge in Moab, Utah. The intention is give artists a weekend of uninterrupted time for their works in progress. The cost is a mere $10 plus the price of a room ($99.95 for two queen beds and that includes breakfast).
Aldoretta’s personal artistic goal is to combine her main interests: quilting, travel and photography. That’s why she included among her studio equipment a computer to alter photos, a photo scanner, an inkjet printer and archival printer and photo transfer fabrics.
Because proper quilt photography is essential for showing and entering contests, Aldoretta says, she installed a 10-foot by 8-foot photography wall in the studio. Black fabric provides the background with a tripod and special lights.
Her plan is have classes that teach quilters how to photograph their work for the optimum outcome.
Upstairs in the studio is Aldoretta’s own sewing area, 12-feet by 24-feet, and a closet full of her fabrics, both hand-dyed and commercial. She even has a couch that pulls out into a bed, and
it’s available to traveling teachers if they want to spend the night there.
I believe she’s thought of everything.
Aldoretta’s enterprise reminds me of that scene from the now-classic movie “Field of Dreams,” in which one of the stunned players sees the baseball field for the first time.
“Is this heaven?” he asks.
The memorable reply: “No, it’s Iowa.”
I imagine a slightly different twist on that question when you visit Aldoretta’s newly created dream venue.
“Is this quilt heaven?”
But the answer you’ll undoubtedly hear is, “No, it’s the Fabric Arts Studio in Grand Junction.”