Sunday, 10 May 2015

Up coming courses - lots of colour and excitement!

Designs from Rachael Singleton's work book - ExTex 3. 
Prints from blocks made from sections taken from her 'journey'.

I am very much looking forward to getting back to work . . . 
Whilst it is good to have time to think and plan - I am missing my students and colleagues.

I have at least another 3 weeks recuperation ahead of me, and I aim to use it well. There is quite a lot of planning to do .The first session of  ExTex 4 (Experimental Textiles) will be starting on the weekend of  June 13th & 14th. It is amazing to think this will be the 4th group of students to enrol on the course which will finish March 2016. I love teaching the course - it is the best thing I do - the culmination of all I have learned through my teaching practice, mind you, you never stop learning.

 Part of the ExTex3 end of year work at the Excel show March 2015.

 Equally exciting is a new group starting - of ex ExTex students, we are calling it ExTeXra!!!! 
They will be meeting for 5 weekends between July and March 2016. It is my intention for this to be an exhibiting group, with me steering and mentoring and the girls making their own way, working more independently. 
Both ExTex 4 and ExTeXtra will meet at the IDC studios at The Old Needle Works in Redditch.
These studios have every we need and with it being in the middle of the country, access is reasonable from Scotland and the West Country where 2 of the students travel from.

It is especially exciting when a new, longer course starts. There is a special kind of energy . . . Every ones hopes and fears - all the wonderings . .  very special. Whoo hoo!!! I just LOVE it!  
If you want to see the course outline - have a look at the website -


Taking a section for the 'journey'.

But before all that excitement - I will be teaching my design course at Art Van Go on Tuesday 9th & Wednesday 10th of June. Creating Original Designs is my 2 day workshop where you paint a 'journey', play with black and white designs and then make printing blocks from your designs. This is the only time I will teaching this workshop this year. (In the Uk). There are still spaces left on the course, We have a great time and learn a huge amount. Creating your own designs and your own printing blocks help make your work different to everyone elses. 
If you fancy coming to play - here is the link - Workshops/Programme

A variety of images of printing blocks, prints and designs.

And sometimes we have time to stitch . . . . .

And sometimes we can sit outside in the garden - always a treat . . . 

And of course - there is the Art Van Go hospitality - we are always so looked after there, we do get some work done - I promise!!!!

You will leave the course with lots of ideas, many designs and several printing blocks - enough to keep you busy for a long time . . . . 
Why not come along and play? 

x x x

Sunday, 3 May 2015

On the Surface at The Bridge, Brighton 18th & 19th April

Just strips of torn paper, laying, waiting to be ironed down. They fell into a rather splendid design.

Am slowly catching up after my op. I am moving about pretty easily - just a bit stiff and sore. I start physio this week, that should sort me out!!!! 
I hope to start sending out orders this week. has been busy in the last 2 weeks, I should be able to get most of the orders out by Friday. Whilst I can't drive till the beginning of June. I can get the bus to the post office. 

The last workshop I taught before the op was 'On the Surface' at The Bridge, Brighton. This venue is only 10 minutes from my house - such a treat!
There were only 4 students booked on the course - so we were a select few - 2 of the group have been on other classes with in the Brighton area. I decided to run the course with 4. I like teaching at The Bridge, it is very airy and spacious.

I teach in the art room, we can get messy in there.

'On the Surface' is my original workshop, the first one I ever taught. It is based on decorating painted Bondaweb, though I now include Tyvek as well. It never ceases to amaze me that people still don't know that it can be painted and decorated. Regular readers of this blog will know how much I love Bondaweb.

Painted Bondaweb very often needs no decoration, just the process of painting the Bondaweb, tearing it and then ironing it down - can be enough of a background. Or even for the sake of itself.

Simplicity is sometimes best.

This sample was created on the Saturday and then stitched into overnight and brought in to class on the Sunday. A very keen student.

We started by painting the Bondaweb, while this was drying, we had a play with old newspapers and un-painted Bondaweb. Using un-painted Bondaweb lets you see through to the copy or photograph on the newspaper.

Layering up torn strips of paper onto a background that has un-painted Bondaweb ironed onto it.

Layering and tearing, again and again.

Here are a few of the more finished samples  -

As you can see , the choice of colours and width of torn strips can make quite a difference to a piece of work.

We then worked on fabric with the painted Bondaweb -

Torn painted Bondaweb decorated with gilding flake and torn skeleton leaves.

Torn painted Bondaweb decorated with gilding flake, torn sweet wrappers and bits of lace. There is the beginnings of some stitch on this sample.

KK Glue is now a best seller on and I am always being asked about it. This workshop was no different. So we had a play for an hour. This great powdered glue fits into most of my workshops as it works so well with transfer foils.

The KK Glue is sprinkled LIGHTLY through a stencil.

The stencil is then very carefully lifted off, taking care not to smudge the design.

The design is then carefully covered with baking parchment and ironed with a hot iron to fix it.

You can see when the glue has melted, it goes dark.

Once the baking parchment and glue are cold, remove the parchment. Cover the design with transfer foil (colour side up). Cover the foil with baking parchment, and iron with and iron on wool/medium. If the iron is too hot, the foil with pucker and not release the colour.

 Foiled KK Glue.

Once the foil and glue are cold, remove the parchment and transfer foil. The foil will have stuck to the melted KK Glue design. This is washable up to 30 degrees.

There was a lot of experimenting on the workshop, one of the most exciting was foiling on top of foil . . . .

The first design was foiled (bronze). This then more KK Glue sprinkled through the same stencil, fixed and then foiled in purple transfer foil. It is a great effect.

I have 16 different coloured foils and various colour packs on the website.

We also played with texturing Tyvek.

Textured Tyvek laid onto painted Bondaweb.

I have 2 more courses coming up at The Bridge, one in July and one in August. The workshops will take up to 8 people, so places are limited. This is the link to The Bridge website.


Coming up -
My next workshop is 'Creating Original Designs' at Art Van Go on Tuesday the 9th and Wednesday 10th of June. I do so love teaching there. We are always so well looked after. This will be the last time I teach this workshop for some time. I will continue to teach it as part of my Experimental Textiles course. 
This design technique is very popular in Australia and New Zealand and I have taught it there several times with great success.

The following images show you what we will get up to and there is a link to the same workshop I taught at Art Van Go in 2014.

Making printing blocks from your designs is exciting and very satisfying and helps make your work stand out from the rest. 
This is the link to last years course - 

This is the link to the June Art Van Go workshops.
 Art Van Go June workshops

Do come along and play - you will leave with several printing blocks and lots of gorgeous printed and dyed papers.


I hope you are managing to enjoy this rather chilly and damp 
Bank Holiday Weekend.


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

'Transforming Transfer' at Fantasia Textiles Studio 8 - 10 April - Part the second

The beginnings of something by Norah.

Now for the next part . . . 
The group produced a huge amount of samples - it did help having my heat press there. 

It isn't always necessary to 'muck about' with your work too much. Sometimes the beauty of the process is enough. I know I can be the first one to encourage layering and stitching, but I can also recognise when it is time to stop. 
This sample is just 2 prints, one on top of the other. A sheer on top and a heavier fabric underneath. Torn layered transfer prints give a very lovely shadowed effect.

These 2 layers just need a little stitch to define a few of the lines. Gorgeous.

The great fun of working with synthetic fabrics is that they can be cut and distressed with heat. Cutting applique shapes to iron onto a background is one of the techniques I include in this workshop. 
The student irons Bondaweb on to the back of the fabric that the shapes will be cut from. Shapes are then cut with a soldering iron. You need just need enough pressure to cut through the fabric, pressing too hard will bend the tip of the soldering iron. You move the soldering iron slowly, making a continuous line, going as slowly as the fabric will cut. Thicker fabrics will take longer to cut, just settle down and enjoy the ooozy, melty feeling.

 Cut the shapes and then lift them off the backing paper. If you have cut through the backing paper from the Bondaweb, you are pressing too hard.

I use Margaret Beal's system of terracotta flower pots as stands for the soldering irons and wire wool in cardboard tubes to clean the soldering iron tip.

Here are some samples of the applique ironed onto the chosen backgrounds.

 . . . and then there was the stitch . . . subtle and not overpowering. Fabulous.


A more three dimensional sample - Beautiful layers of transfer printed Spunbond/Lutradur - hand stitched.


 . .  and some beautiful layers and simple stitch.

Some more of Norah's beautiful birds.

It was wonderful to be able to spend three days working on and developing one process. The quality of the work at Fantasia Studios was very high. They are a fabulous group of ladies. The end of workshop 'show and tell' was good fun, though we had to be selective on how much worked was shown, there was so much to choose from.

The end of workshop display.

I had a great few days with Norah and her girls - thank you all for a fabulous time.

Transfer paints and crayons can be bought from Art Van Go, now online, or in the shop. Art Van Go

x x x

Norah's Design2Stich group has an exhibition coming up, it's bound to be good.

x x x

Workshops coming up - 
I could do with a couple more students on my course this weekend at the The Bridge in Brighton - On the Surface is my basic decorated Bondaweb course.

That will be it until after my op. My next workshop will be on the 9th and 10th of June at Art Van Go.  Creating Original Designs is my design workshop where we work through 'The Journey' and make your own printing blocks from your designs. Workshops/Programme

 x - 
I am having my left knee replaced on Monday the 20th so will be off my feet for a while - I won't be able to post any orders for from April 17th to May 4th as I will be hobbling about and not able to pack up, let alone post orders. Things should be back to normal after the 4th. If nothing else I can pack the orders and friends can post them for me. I have had a new delivery of KK Glue so there is plenty of stock. It has been selling well.

So that's me done for a while . . . . the next time I post - I will be bionic!!!