Each year the International Association of Professional Quilters selects a Quilt Teacher of the Year. Our 25th Teacher of the Year is Lyric Kinard, from Cary, N.C., who specializes in surface design and the basic elements of art and design. Here is some insight into Lyric’s teaching philosophy.
What standards of workmanship do you require of your students? What do you do if they don’t attain them?
The only “standard of workmanship” that I ask of students is that they try the technique, give it a fair shot. If it doesn’t live up to some impossible standard in their head after one try, they may then say, “I’m still learning this,” “I need more practice” or “I might just have learned that this isn’t the technique for me.” The only thing I don’t allow is the “I can’t” mentality. Beginners often compare themselves to those who have already put in many hours learning and mastering a technique then feel discouraged by their outcome.
How do you encourage creativity in your students?
I never tell students what they should do when creating a work of art. I ask question after question after question until they find the answers for themselves. Helping students to gain confidence in their own creative choices is one of my greatest goals.
How do you encourage students’ further growth in quilting, beyond the formal class?
Everything I teach is geared towards giving the students the tools they need to grow and develop their own creative abilities. Sometimes the techniques are simply tools to help them achieve the vision in their minds. Sometimes it is opening and freeing their minds and hearts so that they are able to give themselves permission to experiment without fear of failure. I teach that failure is simply a learning process and often a necessary step on the road to great and creative works.
What do you feel is your greatest contribution to the field of quilting?
I’ve recently authored the book Art + Quilt: design principles and creativity exercises. In it I express my firm belief that art can be learned and that creativity is present in every person. It takes time and effort, but it can be done. If I am able to help quilters to reject the inner critic that keeps them from experimenting and moving forward, if I can help them embrace and encourage their inner artists, that is all I can hope to accomplish, and it will be enough.
You can read more about Lyric in the Spring issue of The Professional Quilter, the journal of the International Association of Professional Quilters. The journal is available to members, and you can join here.
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