This post is the product of serendipity, all those hours spent (wasted?) on Facebook finally paid off when a mutual friend posted about Ochre Print Studio in Guildford. I still can’t believe I hadn’t heard of them before, they are only 6 miles from me.
They offer a variety of print courses as well as open studio sessions and a variety of services such as photo emulsion exposure for silk screens.
I took a 2 day class with Annee Robson and think the results speak for themselves. I took the course with the plan to use the new skills on fabric but am suddenly hooked on printing with paper…. 🙂
Yesterday was the last day of a 3 day workshop with the genuinely lovely and inspiring, Louise Anderson. Normally I feel a bit deflated and sad when a workshop comes to an end but this time I think I am feeling too energised and excited by the new possibilities to feel sad that I will not be meeting up with my classmates again. It sounds trite but this workshop really has changed how I look at even the most mundane of objects, I am noticing colours and shapes that I was previously oblivious to.
Louise is a lecturer from UCA, a university that I mentioned a few weeks ago, but she was teaching this course, Colour and Abstract Design for Textiles, from City Lit in London. To be honest I wasn’t really sure what to expect but it came recommended from another UCA lecturer so I signed up and kept and open mind, and I am so glad I did!
The first half day was spent on the basics of colour theory, a favourite topic of mine and one I would have happily spent all 3 discussing. Then we moved onto using view-finder techniques to find interesting combinations of line and shape from various still life objects. The second day was spent predominantly working from photos for inspiration and the 3 day for me was spent working with scale and repetition (I went off on a bit of tangent here, I don’t think this was intended to be part of the class).
Here are a few of the designs I produced over the 3 days…
This next series was derived from the photo on the left, the panel in the top right was drawn from the photo while the panel below was a more geometric representation of the one above, focusing on the elements I found most pleasing.
Then I played with repetition and scale, out of all the designs this is the one (or at least sections of it) I can see myself translating into felt and fabric prints.
This next one solicited the most interest from my classmates, this is it after playing with scale and repetition.
I’m not sure I like the large layout, it is too chaotic and makes me feel tense just looking at it, but small sections of it are appealing and worth further exploration…
We also had a brief discussion about rust dyeing as part of the “how to translate your designs into textiles” segment, so when I spotted a rusty, ornate metal plate in the garage, I had to give it a go didn’t I? 🙂
For a first attempt a rust dyeing I am enormously impressed with the results, the print is far clearer that I expected and it only took 2 hours (I was told to leave it for 2 days but could see the rust seeping through after just 30 min). On the left is cotton muslin and the far right is a scrap of habouti silk.
A close up of the cotton print…
I have already wrapped another piece of cotton around the plate for attempt number 2, fingers crossed it is as beautiful as the first!
I have been considering my developmental options since I completed a City and Guilds certificate in felt-making in 2014, very high on my list is a BA degree but it is a big commitment both in time and money. I am very fortunate to live only a few miles from the University of Creative Arts in Farnham so went along to an open day on a reconnaissance mission.
It was quite an eye opener, I hadn’t really considered the need for a portfolio or how my sketchbooks appear to anyone else. I have a tendency to work out my designs and ideas directly in wool, my sketchbooks are primarily used to work out template designs or jot down ideas for future projects, they read more like a technical manual than an artists sketchbook 🙂
That was a couple of weeks ago and I decided to continue with the “stories of the trees” brief that Fiona Duthie set last year, with my main focus being on bark. It is still very early days but my sketchbook is already looking much more colourful!
I treated myself to some inktense blocks (they work on fabric too), these are my first couple of “getting to know you” pieces working with them and already think they are wonderful!
We have just returned from an amazing 2 week tour of Rajasthan in north-west India, what an incredible part of the World! If you have not been, it is definitely one for your bucket list. The people are so beautiful and (especially the ladies) colourful , the food was out of this world (my other half was in his element eating curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day!), the wildlife was amazing, the culture, history and melting pot of religions were all real eye-openers. It is rare that I return home feeling a more rounded person for my experiences on a holiday but I can honestly say India had that effect, it was a real adventure for both the mind and soul.
I think the photos speak for themselves….
The wildlife, most of these photos were taken on Jeep Safari in Ranthambore National Park, the main draw to this park is the tigers, we saw plenty of other wildlife and even tiger paw prints but no tigers.
The monkeys stole my heart, they are so comical and child-like in their expressions and behaviours, I defy anyone not to love them:
This little chap managed to scale up my leg and then the sleeve of the jacket tied around my waist to make sure he got his share of the food!
And of course all the wonderful, beautiful, friendly people:
This chap was feeding dried chillis into a grinder to make chilli power, the air was thick with chilli dust that made me cough and my eyes stream but they guys who worked in the shop seemed to be unaffected:
This chap was throwing pots on a wheel that was set in motion by placing a long stick into an indentation in the wheel’s surface and levering it around, once the wheel was up to speed he threw the ball of clay into the centre and had until the wheel lost its momentum to make his pots – here he is making the third and final pot after setting the wheel in motion. Having thrown pots on a foot-propelled wheel, I can appreciate just how difficult this was but he made it look effortless!
The people and animals on India’s roads were a shock for the uninitiated (me), first of all there really aren’t any rules for the car/bus/truck drivers, it is a bit like being on the road where everyone is a learner driver, the lane markings on the road are just for decoration, no one follows them; if there are markings for 3 lanes, their will be 5-6 lines of traffic crawling along them, with vehicles weaving in and out and the only indication being a honk of the horn, as if to say, “I am right here and you’d better get out of my way”. Added to that you have all manner of livestock wandering about, pigs, cows and dogs and people driving elephants, goats and camels down the road too. We were surprised not to see any serious accidents or more road kill (there was less than I see on the UK roads).
And finally a few photos of historical monuments, temples and landscapes:
Thank you for making it the bottom of the page and indulging my memories of India, I hope you enjoyed it and I have inspired you to visit this wonderfully diverse country. I promise the next post will be more textile related!
I spent a fun but exhausting day last Tuesday with art-centric holiday club, Art Box. Approximately half the children took part in the autumnal themed felt picture making class in October, so already had a little felt-making experience. All the same, I think it was a little ambitious to have 22 children making felt over a resist with only 1.5 teachers (Wendy, who runs Art Box has made a few pieces of felt before but not over a resist). Most of the children did very well but some of the stockings had holes or came out an odd shape (I can only imagine they laid all their layers in the same direction) and some of their decorations came off during fulling. On the whole, I think the children were happy with what they had made but I suspect if I had been working with a smaller group, their stockings would have been better quality, I think it might be prudent to spend a few hours training the assistants before the next session…. we live and learn 🙂
As always the ideas the children had for decorating their stockings were amazing and blew me away!
I’m afraid I only managed to get photos of about 2/3 of them amongst the mad dash to clean up at the end of the day. The first 2 were made by friends who wanted to have matching stockings… how cute is that?! 🙂
I hope you are having a wonderful day and enjoying the holidays.