Artist Spotlight part 2:Jane LaFazio – teaching

May 18, 2010
You all know how much I love teaching! I think that’s another reason I love Jane LaFazio – she is a fantastic teacher – someone who willingly and generously shares her creativity and the joy of art! Here is part two of my interview with this lovely artist. 

Lyric: What do you gain as an artist by teaching?
Jane: On a concrete level, it keeps me making art. I’m always creating artwork to learn the process so I can then teach it to my students. I get great ideas and inspiration from what my students create, based on the so called assignment or technique I’ve shown them. And, teaching suits me. I enjoy it very much, I love to get people sharing stories and art with each other, I love to laugh, and make people laugh, I love seeing individuals access their own creativity, and I love sharing and encouraging the process of art making.

L: Tell me about the work you do a Mundo Lindo.

J: I created Mundo Lindo, a free afterschool art program for 4th and 5th grade kids in low income Escondido in 2007. It was funded by a grant for the first two years, and now the center, where the classes were held, has hired me to continue the program. For 2 hours each week, I teach about 20 kids an art project. We’ve painted palm husks to look like African masks, created papier mache sail boats, drawn and collage Trees of Life, woven watercolor landscapes, made Haiti House pins sell and donated the money to UNICEF for Haiti, sewn small quilts for the Dream Rocket project… wonderful fun projects that I think up each week. The arts programs in schools are nearly non existent, and I’m thrilled to be able to give these kids some creative time each week.

L: Tell me about some of the upcoming workshops you’ll be doing, and where we can find out about them. 

J: My workshop page on my blog is always updated, and tells me I have a very busy summer ahead! In July, I’m teaching for the first time at Idllywild Summer Arts program, it’s a beautiful mountain community about two and half hours from LA and San Diego. I’m teaching a two day mixed media workshop on July 4 & 5 and a wet-felting workshop July 6. I’ll also be teaching at the Long Beach Quilt Festival.
Another new venue for me is a Utah retreat, July 15-18. Limited to 8 students, and I’ll teach 6 hours or so each day. Should be very fun!
WHERE: Huntsville, Utah
WHEN: Thursday, July 15 – Sunday, July 19, 2010

So – do you love what Jane does as much as I do? Leave a comment and tell us about what you think makes a really great teacher. Have you had any fantastic experiences during a class? What was it about that teacher that really opened things up for you? Remember to leave a comment here or here to be entered to win a copy of her DVD (which I’ll review next week).


  • Reply
    Barbara Elmore
    May 30, 2010 at 5:16 am

    I've never met Jayne, but I feel I know her! My friend in San Diego has one of her original art pieces hanging in the guest room where I stay frequently. I love her terrific sense of design and style. My friend tells me she is a wonderful teacher!

  • Reply
    May 28, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    The world needs more great teachers – they always make you feel more like you made a discovery, than that you were taught something! – Barb

  • Reply
    May 27, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Such fun reading the artist spotlights. These are names I've seen in books and on Quilting Arts, and would truly love to meet. Here's hoping!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    I sure wish I could attend this retreat but the DVD would be the next best thing.

  • Reply
    May 27, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    wish I lived closer to take advantage of her workshops!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    I like to work small because I can start and finish something in a reasonable amount of time… I like to make smaller things to give away and scatter around my house too 🙂 This looks like a great DVD!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    I like to try out new techniques on small projects first. Then I can make all the mistakes, learn from it and then take on a bigger project.
    I too would love to be lucky and win Jane's DVD. Zoe Butler

  • Reply
    Jeanne Turner McBrayer
    May 27, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    I wish I lived closer to Jane and could take one of her workshops. The DVD would be a wonderful addition to my art quilt education.

  • Reply
    J.Marie Norris
    May 27, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    I find Iam doing more small art pieces and Jane's DVD sounds informative.

  • Reply
    May 27, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Thanks for giving us more on Jane! She is just fabulous! How I would love to be in one of her classes. I cant wait to try one of her small quilt designs in felt.

  • Reply
    May 27, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    I would LOVE this Cd. It sounds like Jane makes everything so easy that even I could do it!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I think Jane seems great…I am going to start following her blog too.
    A great teacher is definitely one who is willing to share their techniques without hesitation; one who holds nothing back. Also, a great teacher listens to her students' questions and really tries to answer them, not answer back with a prepared speech that just repeats part of the information she has already given (this is a teacher who doesn't know how to answer questions or who hasn't opened her own mind to possibilities beyond what she has already seen).

  • Reply
    Kay in SC
    May 27, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Still new to art quilts although have done sane and crazy quilts for awhile. Enjoyed the interview. Love your blog Lyric, you share so much great information. As a learning exercise I have been making a small quilt every month this year using Lyric's book and Jane Devila and Elin Watersons Art Quilt Workbook. Very fun trying different techniques in a small format!

  • Reply
    Sunny -- aka Matriarch
    May 27, 2010 at 1:17 am

    I love Jane's work, and would love to have her DVD. So many workshops — but all on the other end of the country it seems. But I do love the teaching DVDs, and Jane's is high on my list.

  • Reply
    May 26, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    I like the teachers that put the students so at ease they open up and feel more comfortable to engage the teacher with questions and ideas along with feeling free to put more of themselves into their own work.
    I hope I am that sort of teacher.

  • Reply
    May 25, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    A good teacher keeps on learning.(I also think this is a good quality in artists as well.) The more we know and practice our craft, the easier it is to share and teach others our techniques. Never stop growing!

  • Reply
    May 24, 2010 at 12:25 am

    I love Jane's work. I only wish I lived close enough to actually go to the workshop. The DVD would be the next best thing.

  • Reply
    Carol C
    May 19, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    I think a great teacher is one who can laugh at her mistakes and makes you feel like you can do anything. I haven't had much experience with taking classes but I do know that I don't like to be talked down to.

  • Reply
    May 18, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    I think a good teacher is one that is passionate about creating, encouraging, enthusiastic, well prepared and can help to extend the skills of their students. Someone who is flexible and isn't threatened by others expressions of their creativity, that may differ from those of the teacher. Jane is a good example of a wonderful teacher. I've done a few of her online classes and have learnt so much in them.

  • Reply
    May 18, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    I think being enthusiastic and encouraging as well as respectful and able to be focused, organized yet flexible enough to adapt to abilities of the students.

  • Reply
    Leslie Tucker Jenison
    May 18, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    My idea of a good facilitator is someone who accommodates a variety of learning styles, is open to give and take between students but is able to maintain a constructive workshop environment, and celebrates a student's ability to integrate a technique into his/her own personal esthetic.

  • Reply
    May 18, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    A great teacher is one who tries to give his/her students what they came for, whether they are there to learn something new, add to their skills, or maybe just be among people. I've been fortunate to have mostly good teachers, but there are a few on the other side.

    A not-so-good teacher does the opposite. An example is a teacher who is selling their class as one in which to learn how to do what the teacher does — then the teacher refuses to teach or share this under the guise of "not giving away all their secrets." Hey — that's why we took the class!

  • Reply
    May 18, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    A good teacher always has a sense of humor, expects to learn from her students and respects what they bring to the class, from fabrics to skill level. The ability to present in all the different learning styles is a great bonus and letting each student know that their work is unique is priceless.

  • Reply
    May 18, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    I've never taken a class from Jane, but I've wanted to! To me, a great teacher is 1) enthusiastic, which I think comes from a real love of the subject matter; and 2) generous with her time and knowledge. I HAVE taken classes from Lyric, and she is both!

  • Reply
    May 18, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    I like a teacher who, although presenting HER class, encourages students to make it THEIR class – no cloning, molding, rubber-stamping!

  • Reply
    May 18, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    I agree with being able to accommodate different learning styles and levels of ability. I took a class through my local guild (why?) I thought for fun, but it was not. the teacher was brusque, expected everyone to make copies of her blocks. Then she looked at my bright colors and made a remark about baby quilts. Heaven forfend!! Both my kids were in high school at the time! NO baby quilts in my house, thank you. I just like bright colors. Teachers need to respect that some of us are nonconformists.

  • Reply
    May 18, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Good teacher have a sense of fun and a sense of humor in addition to what Janice said!

    The ability to describe and show things in different ways to accommodate different learning styles is also greatly appreciated. One who does this extremely well is Shirley Stutz. Probably one of the best classes from a teacher with a sense of humor was Linda Cantrell.

    I've also had some really bad classes….one of which from a nationally known machine quilter and author of several books started the class by demeaning anyone who had art backgrounds, telling how horrible a person her ex-husband was and being extremely negative about everything, and all of this was in the first 15 minutes.

    Then, to top it off, she was threatened by some of her students and was constantly flexing her muscle as "the authority." Not a good experience and a waste of my money.

  • Reply
    May 18, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    You are doing a good thing, Lyric. Thanks for sharing the interview.

  • Reply
    Janice Paine-Dawes
    May 18, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    A great teacher is one who is not afraid to learn from the students and respects the level of skill of everyone in the class.

  • Reply
    May 18, 2010 at 3:49 am

    A few years ago I did my very first online class with Jane, the subject was learning how to make small art quilts and incorporated various techniques I had never tried before. She was an excellent teacher, very encouraging and I loved it! I think I would have to credit her with the change in direction I have taken since then, from years as a traditional quilter to now doing all sorts of contemporary quilting and textiles. I would love to be lucky enough to win a DVD of hers.

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