Simple Steps to Surface Design

Aha and AHHHH…These are the words you want to hear from participants in your workshop. That lovely moment when something clicks or they can see a connection to what you are presenting and the type of work they already do…a new way of working, a slight twist, an “of course”… I’ve had all these moments myself at workshops and artist talks. Some of them are defining moments in my work. Often a small, seemingly insignificant part of the whole, has made the difference.
I had the great pleasure of running two half day workshops for WAFTA late last week. Simple Steps to Surface Design was part of a series of Textile Techniques Toolbox workshops to coincide with the launch of “Altered States” WAFTA’s member challenge exhibition. The challenge is to create a small work of art from the surprise contents of a bag of materials. These workshops are designed to inspire and expand possibilities.Print wsahop 4In my half day workshops we covered screen printing in various forms, gelli printing, stamping, spray stencils, fugitive medium, Dylon and RIT dyeing. A lot to cover in a few hours, just a taster to explore further if it was of interest. The participants made lots of A4 size samples – reference material for future work.Print wshop2Print wshopPrint wshop 12Print wshop 10Print wshop 7I loved seeing my stencils and stamps used in ways I would never have thought of…how each participant explored new possibilities. I loved their delight when something surprised them and they were excited to explore further.Print wshop 3Plastic dyed 4Print wshop 5

Print wshop 9Dyed PlasticPlastic Dye 3 Dyeing DylonI am really looking forward to seeing all that comes from this.

Busy working

Screen 1

I’ve been very busy these past few weeks preparing work for some exhibitions.  Above are some texture rubbings applied in water soluble crayon onto silk screens. Below – some of the prints on grey silk.

Texture rubbing print 1

These we’re used in combination with other layers of silks, stitchIng, cutting away sections and fraying.

Below is another piece I am working on, from side on. It has 625 pins holding all the 1 inch squares in place until I am completely happy with the arrangement. Yes, there are 625 pieces to sew onto the canvas!

Pins 1

I had the great pleasure last weekend to attend a workshop by UK Shibori Artist, Jane Callender,  Jane presented two Shibori and Indigo dyeing workshops for WAFTA as well as a very comprehensive lecture on repeat pattern making and the Indigo Dyeing process. The workshop was a great immersion into many stitching, clamping and wrapping techniques by a master practitioner. I like many others, left the workshop wishing I could spend a few more days exploring all the techniques.

Shibori organza

Above is one of my workshop samples on silk organza, still holding the folds from the stitching. Prior to being washed.

Cut away and mark making

Colour Project – Purple, Part 2

Hand dyed silk fabrics bonded together with random cut out shapes. These are more impressive than they appear in the photos, held up to the light or with contrasting backgrounds.  Below – following a bubblewrap print for the cut out design.

Fugitive Media – Chalks drawn directly on silk with a print paste extender scraped over to seal. I’ve experimented with various chalk colours, weights and shades of fabric to discover what works best.

Below – Testing the whole box of chalks…

Above and below – Habutai hand dyed silk, below the colours have mostly disappeared during the scraping of the extender. Although scraping extender directly on the fabric is quick to do and clean up, I’ve since learned from Kerr Grabowski that printing the extender through a screen gives a more even and much lighter coverage, which of course gives the fabric a lighter hand.  You need to clean a screen though!

Below – Hand dyed cotton.