Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ribbon, Art and Candace Kling

It's not every day that I have the opportunity to learn from someone as knowledgeable and accomplished as Candace Kling.

She is a Master, and she is a sculptor.


For 30 years, Candace has studied textile collections held by museums and private collectors, intrigued by the underlying construction behind embellishment in costume and fashions.

Through her own pursuit of sculpting ribbons and fabric into art, she has acquired a knowledge of such depth and breadth, it is absolutely thrilling to a student wishing to learn.

And the fact that the room was surrounded by board after board of amazing examples was enough to make me hyper-ventilate in my exhilaration...


This workshop was intense for me.

There was so much information to absorb, so many techniques to observe and to try to imitate in making my own samples. It was hard to force myself to break for lunch or even the bathroom. (We joked that Depends needed to be on our supply list!)


I had many, many A-ha! moments.

But my biggest "take-away" was the idea that the fabric has to be sculpted -- that the fabric has a voice and, through the manipulation of a skilled hand, the piece can sing...


Candace's hands honored the ribbons...her touch was light...and she approached the ribbon as if she were sculpting fine porcelain, not fabric, into flowers.


All too often she would notice us pulling too hard, tugging and distressing the material, in our pursuit of the perfect bloom...and she would remind us to be gentle.


She taught that each hand will sculpt the same ribbon differently. And each fabric and or ribbon will react differently to the same technique.



So just as oil paints and watercolors behave differently in different media and under the practiced hand of different artists...so too does ribbon.


Because we were learning, we made large samples so we could see and remember all of the techniques that were covered.


Candace uses a padded, covered board similar to a bobbin-lace pillow to sculpt her work. To improvise, we used empty fabric bolts to pin and sculpt our samples.


Over the three days, we filled up three cardboard display boards...


And they were all beautiful and varied from student to student and ribbon by ribbon.

My samples are very special to me and mark the beginning of a new journey...


In pursuit of the artful ribbon.

[Note: Candace's book, The Artful Ribbon, is out of print but you can still buy copies through Amazon or other used book dealers.]

39 comments:

Cheryl said...

Wow!! What beautiful work !! I bet that was so much fun, it reminds me of so many ribbon & fabric flowers I have made over the years when working with our family Costume & bridal shop. Whenever a dress called for the flowers, it was my job to make them ,however there is alot of work in here that I have never seen before.I wish I could see more .I love this type of ribbon work! I just know it had to be worth the trip.

Cathy K said...

O.M.G. If I do nothing else in my life, i MUST take a class from Candace Kling, the Goddess of Ribbon. There is nothing more beautiful... and I am amazed (but not surprised) at the beauty of your finished pieces. Gorgeous, gorgeous roses. Love those two-colored leaves. Must go back and study the pictures more. You lucky girl!! Thanks soooo much for sharing! Hugs, Cathy

Whytefeather said...

Gorgeous everything. Wow. I am only just beginning to explore a little ribbon embroidery even though I've admired the look for years. Your samples... all of those photos... are just stunning with the variety of the examples and your own sample pieces. Sigh. Thank you for sharing a little piece of the experience!

Vicki W said...

Oh my gosh, they are exquisite!

Lisa said...

So delicious! What wonderful eye candy! I tend to work so small, so it was something to see these lovely blooms executed with such wide ribbons!

Barbara C said...

The large scale makes these flowers extra stunning. I'm hyperventilating just from the pictures, so I can imagine the excitement they must produce in person.

Catherine said...

I can't stop scrolling up and down! Each time I look at a picture I see something different!!

I love "Be Gentle" and "So just as oil paints and watercolors behave differently in different media and under the practiced hand of different artists...so too does ribbon." For some reason, it made me think of my boys. We are the same hands sculpting the three of them, but they are all different!

Beautiful work! Thanks for sharing!

Rachel said...

And now I am fascinated to see where you go with what you have learnt! A whole new adventure for you..

Marty52 said...

Oh, Susan... how spectacular! I can see why you were hyperventilating! She is such a master with ribbon and fabric, it makes me want to get my hands on some and just play around. These photos are scrumptious, by the way. I look forward to seeing what you do with what you have learned!!

Betty said...

I had a great time in class too! And getting to meet you in real life, Susan. I can see we will be causing trouble together for years to come...

Allison Ann Aller said...

Thanks so much for this post of PURE INSPIRATION! I'm especially intrigued by the fabric sculpture.

Can't wait to see your hands at work with this gift you have received!...

Emerald Window said...

This post is so inspiring! I used to play around with making Ribbon Flowers.
I would love to take one of her workshops. Do you have more info on them?
Cenya

Elmsley Rose said...

oooooooooooooooooooooooo.

Do you know where she sources that ombre and French wired ribbon from??

verobirdie said...

Oh dear! I know your winter will be a busy one. How could it not be? Knowing you and seeing those pictures, I hardly can't wait to see what you are up to.

Sandi said...

All I can say is Wow!!!!!!

shirley said...

Absolutely fantastic class...your flowers are so beautiful..what a fun time you had. Candice King isn't called the Goddess of Ribbon for nothing is she.

Momma Bear said...

oooh!aaah!
sooo pretty!
what wonderful inspiration!
I know what your going to be doing this winter!

gracie said...

Your ribbons look wonderful. I do a bit of ribbon embroidery and know the feeling when it turns out just right. You did a great job....

MosaicMagpie said...

Susan,
I now can fully appreciate the title of Candice's book, " The Artful Ribbon". As you have shared with us the ribbon speaks it's own words, the manipulator adds a verse and the result is truly artwork. I would have never thought of ribbonwork in this way. It some how gives me a much greater appreciation for a gentle hand. I thank you for sharing this and other workshops you are so fortunate to participate in. I always feel so relaxed after reading your posts.
Debbie

Gerry Krueger said...

They are all just gorgeous... I do have that book and will have to go through it... I REALLY like the folding on the ribbon bottom right on your board... That's the one I want to do ...hope it's in the book... Hugs Ger

Carol said...

O Wow! Your samples are so beautiful. I love the size. I know it was for education, but they are simply wonderful.

How many roses will be on your Christmas tree this year?

Createology said...

Oh My Goodness...I have never seen such wonderous ribbon configurations. Sculpting the ribbon, finnessing the ribbon...all sound like such a good way to interact with the ribbon so it does just what you want and will love. Happy learning...

a2susan said...

I am so glad that you had a wonderful, inspiring, and fantastic learning experience. I can't wait to see what you do with ribbon now.

Anonymous said...

I'm drooling. I have Candace's books and have made ribbon flowers for years, but I know I could do better with help from the artist herself. Your work looks very practiced and lovely. I've never pinned my project down as I'm working because I get in such a rush to see the finished flower, but I'm making a promise to myself to do it the right way from now on. Thank you for keeping us inspired with your beautiful work. I ALWAYS learn something from you.
Andrea
adayinthegarden@comcast.net

LindaSonia said...

Ever since I first saw Candace on the Carol Duval Show (who BTW encouraged her to write that book, the Artful Ribbon), I have been head over heels in love with ribbons and flowers and all the beauteous creations that can be made from them. Your photos are divine!! I may just have to seriously consider taking a class somewhere and experience it all first hand. Thanks for sharing!

LindaSonia said...

and p.s. all those many moons ago on the Carol Duval show, I specifically remember Candace encouraging Carol Duval to "be gentle" and let the ibbons "speak" to you - obviously her ribbon mantra to this day.

Kate said...

Thank you SO very much for sharing this! I've been waiting for this post... and thanks for the fantastic photographs. <3

Rosali said...

Son muy hermosas sus flores con listón, gracias por compartir, saludos desde México.

The flowers are very nice, thanks and regards from México.

Creative Mind said...

this is amazing..super cute...

Hélène H said...

So beautiful !!!

coral-seas said...

Oh wow, what an amazing class. i bet you thought you were in heaven. There is so much to love here, I have scrolled up and down the photos, trying to taking in everything. The folded ribbon roses are just lovely.

This is going to be an amazing journey, i can't wait to see where it takes you :-)

Ingrid Mida said...

OMG I am almost breathless at seeing this ribbon work. I can see how it would be hard to tear yourself away even for a minute. Funny thing is I spent about 2 hours trying to unravel my collection of ribbons in my studio. I cannot wait to see more of your creations. Thanks for sharing this.

Designs by said...

Wow! I am speechless... They are all beautiful. I wish I had talent like that and that I could go to one of her classes :)

Elizabeth said...

What a wonderful time you had!! Your samples are glorious and I especially love th large blousey purple rose on the right hand side of your board!! So special for you to be able to live a dream!!!

vicki said...

Ribbon embroidery - absolutely stunning - the colors - the textures -your photograpy - I am amazed!

Vicki

Bear said...

Susan
when I began my journey through Silk Ribbon embroidery - Candaces' book was the very first one I bought I had looked at some examples in a magazine and worked out how they did it but I knew I needed some help so I bought this eye opening tome- its still the book I go to if I want to do something different or just want to look at pretties - for they surely are that Candaces' ribbon flowers so pretties. I wish I lived that side of the big pond- classes with Candace, and Maureen oh my..
love n hugs bear oxoxoxoxo

Cindy Caraway said...

I just found and purchased this book! What was the name of the session you took? She teaches classes in Chicago sometimes but I want to be sure to take the class you took :)

Ribboness said...

Wow, what amazing, amazing photos! I bet you had quite a lovely time at this retreat!! I'm a huge ribbon enthusiast too, and I totally know how you feel when you say the amazing examples were "enough to make you hyper-ventilate in your exhilaration" -- I was basically hyperventilating just reading about your experience! So many beautiful ribbons and flowers!

The Crow said...

Years ago, I bought Candace's book, "The Artful Ribbon," after reading about her in Threads magazine. I tried to make some of her flowers but was discouraged by my less than wonderful results. I put away her book, thinking I would try again when my life was less hectic and I could devote more time to ribbon.

I've recently started making hats (simple ones) and decided to dress up some of them with ribbon flowers and other ribbon trims. I re-read Candace's book and am having better luck, but still not completely happy.

I found your blog today when I searched for more info from Candace. So glad I did because you taught me that I'm probably bulling my way through the process, not listening to what the ribbon was trying to say.

So, thank you, Susan for your valuable lesson!

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