Landmarks with Cas Holmes

Last weekend I attended the third module of my Diploma course at West Dean, this was by far the workshop where I felt most in my element and even got to use up some of my extensive scrap felt and fabrics collection. Win-win! 🙂

Cas Holmes is an amazing tutor, her years of teaching experience were clearly evident in how she catered to each individual student’s interests and level of experience. In just 3 days she had the measure of each of us and was supporting us individually. If you get the opportunity to work with her I would definitely take it, and go along with an open mind, she has a lot to offer and is very generous with her advice.

The weekend was spent creating stamped and painted fabrics before assembling them into a collage with no predefined idea of what they would look like when finished. Working on a composition without an end in mind was really liberating and, for me, a totally different way of working, although I did have a moment of panic when I looked at this piece and had no idea where to take it.

This is where it is currently. The other students tell me it is their favourite but I still feel it needs more work.

For the next piece Cas let us select a piece of fabric / paper from a pile in the middle of the room (I pounced on the sheet music) and then she gave each of us another piece that she thought we would find challenging (mine was the dark grey paper  arranged in vertical strips in the bottom half of the composition). I think Cas has me pegged a bright colour enthusiast – can’t imagine where she got that idea from 🙂

This is what it looked like after the initial arrangement.

And after some machine embroidery and couching on some more felt scraps:

What do you think, should I add the orange triangle on the left? Or something else? Perhaps some machine embroidery to the right of the orange triangle?

I liked this piece right from the start,

but I’m not sure about the flower at the bottom – should I stitch over it to make it looks less like a flower?

I also made a piece using Cas’ technique but with a predefined image in my mind. I have been working on a new body of work focussing on animals (more on that in another post) and thought these fish would translate well. These images are from my sketchbook, I was thinking of creating screen prints from them but I have already wandered back to felt and textiles 🙂

This is the piece I made at West Dean, I had intended to remove the tissue paper entirely but rather liked the textured surface and how it resembles splashing water.

However, the paper is very delicate and not very practical so I have started a similar piece using heavy weight silk instead, this is the back, getting ready to start stitching.

7 comments

  1. That’s a lot of exciting work! We can understand why you feel so inspired.
    We hope the stitching goes to plan and we’d love to see the finished fish piece.
    With regard to the flower, what does the piece look like without the flower at all?

    1. Thank you ladies, I have a horrible feeling I glued the flower before stitching it but will explore the possibility of removing it…

  2. Hmmm…. I wrote a comment and it disappeared. Hope not to be repeating myself. I have admired Cas Holmes work for a long time and would love to take a class from her.

    Orange triangle – the proportion of orange seems to high with the triangle included. How about a yellow ochre triangle which would fade more into the background instead of jumping forward. You could then add orange back into that area with a bit of stitching?

    I agree with Lyn about the flower, it seems too overpowering and really draws the eye away from the rest of the composition.

    Love the fishies!

    1. Thank you Ruth, I will try auditioning some other fabrics in that area, not sure if I have any yellows at the moment, might need to spend a day in the dye shack!

  3. What a wonderful creative experience! Each piece is so inspired. I look forward to see them finished. They are all so interesting.

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