Friday, 26 October 2012

Creating Original Designs - Foredown Tower

One of the 'expanded' exercises - a rectangle of black paper cut into strips and then expanded to experiment with spaces in between, or positive and negative spaces.
It seems like a long time since last weekend, so much has happened. 
The weekend was great fun and the group worked really hard. Foredown Tower is a great place to teach with wonderful views across the Downs and out to sea.
'Creating original designs' is a two day course designed to encourage students to look at positive and negative space and taking sections of a design.

 The 'journeys' hanging side ways on.

The workshop involves using three different design formulae, the journey, expanded and flipped out exercises. All these are very simple to do, in fact the whole workshop is - it's just that we never take the time out to do these kind of things. You get brilliant results, you just need to be encouraged to get on with it, so going on a workshop can get you started. If you are interested in trying this by yourself or in a group all this is in my book Experimental Textiles. I will be teaching this workshop again at Art Van Go in May.

The group trying out the 'spaces in between' before they stuck them down.

The 'expanded' exercises hanging on the wall.

 Some of the 'flipped out' exercises displayed on the floor - we ran of room on the walls.

One of the 'flipped out' exercises - take a square, cut a shape with a scalpel (and cutting mat), then flip out the shape like a door on a hinge.

The taking sections from their journeys with 'L shapes'.

One of the groups sections that have been traced off from their 'journey' then transferred into their sketch book with carbon paper.

These designs can then be flipped and mirrored to create further designs. 
Playing with colourways is an important part of the workshop.

You can see the design (heavily pencilled) that was used to create the flipped and mirrored design on the left of the page.

Another design that has been flipped and mirrored.

The designs that are created are totally original and can be used for virtually any creative process. The next workshop at Foredown Tower will be Making Printing Blocks - November 17th and 18th for more information go to kimsworkshops
We managed get through 2 large Victoria sandwich cakes over the weekend. I think I will make them in batches in future and freeze them ahead of time.

 I feel it is my duty to feed my students with cake to keep them going, so if you come on one of the Foredown Tower weekends - expect cake!


My week has been rather busy with me getting everything ready for the photo shoot for my next book. Having collected all the work in, I needed to photograph everything and create a shoot list. These things always take longer than you think. I delivered the work to Michael the photographer and the publisher joined us to go through the shoot list, looking at each piece and discussing how to photograph it. The meeting went well and all the work I wanted to include in the book - will be included.

I am very excited, I have work from several popular textile artists as well as work from schools and colleges. Now I just need to write the the book . . .

Have a great weekend - I'm going to kick fallen leaves in Sheffield Park and see Skyfall - Yeeha!!!!


Sunday, 21 October 2012

ExTex 6th Weekend - 2nd day, transfer printing with disperse dyes.

A lovely print by Jo.

A few days later - I was going to continue this sooner but preparations for the photo shoot next week and my teaching this weekend at Foredown Tower just sucked time away - plus I have a new distraction . . . 

My ExTex students produced some fabulous prints on our disperse dye/transfer print day. If you are not sure how to create these prints there is a chapter in Hot Textiles (Colouring your fabric) that will help. 

The three prints below show some experiments with cutting and printing.

A simple print showing how translucent the prints are. This print was created by printing with two different paper bags, first one, then the other.

The six prints below show how using resists such as grasses and feathers can create very beautiful and simple effects. You can then turn over the resist (which is covered in dye) and then take a print from that..

Torn strips of dye painted paper over printed.

Two fabulous prints on polyester satin.

Emma started to build up layers using transfer printed fabrics and her procion dyed fabrics from the day before.

Cut and torn papers printed onto polyester satin.

The girls using soldering irons to cut the prints (that have Bondaweb ironed on the back) and then ironing the cut shapes onto a transfer printed backgound.

One of Claire's lovely applique pieces.

 . . and one of Sally's - that I very nearly ruined - arrghHHH!!!!

We had a wonderful weekend of colour and also managed to have great fun, they are brilliant group. I will be back in Redditch in a couple of weeks.


I have just finished teaching my 'Creating original designs' weekend at Foredown Tower. Some great work was produced and I would like to say I will show you tomorrow but as the shoot for my next book is on Wednesday I suspect it wont be until Thursday. I have a lot left to do. . . . 

 I hope you all had a FAB weekend 


Thursday, 18 October 2012

ExTex 6th weekend - colouring fabric - 13th and 14th October

The 6th weekend of my ExTex course was dedicated to colouring both natural and synthetic fabrics and threads. I think it is important to be able dye your own fabrics if at all possible, it is one thing that can help make your work different. Saturday saw us dyeing natural fabrics in plastic bags with procion dyes. This is such an easy process for smallish amounts of fabric and it is always interesting to see which type of fabric comes out darkest and brightest. We were dyeing cotton, viscose and silk.

Some of the 'stashes'
As Shaun travels up from Plymouth and stays in a hotel Saturday night she wasn't able to take her dyeing home to rinse out like everyone else -so she did it Sunday morning - and for a change it wasn't raining so she could dry them in the sun.  

 Heidi started to layer up some of her dyed fabrics and tried a little hand stitch - very sensitive, quit lovely.

After mixing up the dyes and dyeing the fabrics there isn't much else to do except wait - so we got on with painting up papers with the disperse dyes (transfer dyes/paints) ready to transfer onto synthetic fabrics. It is great fun just letting your students loose to paint anything they like. A bit like play school, lots of fun. The dyes are painted onto a non absorbent paper such as the copy paper we use to go through our printers.

Jo painting up her papers

Emma had great fun trying all sorts of techniques to apply colour - without splashing Sally who sits opposite her!!!!

I will show you the results of the transfer printing in another post tomorrow - there are so many images to show you.


The group are encouraged to do homework and keep up with their folders and scrap books in between sessions as and when they can. They all have busy lives, they work - 3 as teachers, have children, lives etc so I just ask them to catch up when they can. Poor Tracey moved last week so she couldn't even find most of the kit she needed for the weekend let alone do any homework, but she got to the class and produced some fabulous work.

Claire had a chance to get quite lot of home work done last month. several pieces are being worked on over a period of time.

The above pieces are an ongoing project, decorating their earlier prints (from their own blocks) with stitch.

This a favourite piece of mine that Claire printed on the print weekend and is continuing to build up the stitch.

Claire started these felted samples on our last weekend and has started hand stitching into them

Claire's weaving from our last session taken off the cardboard loom - note to self - always make sure your feet are not in the picture!!!!!! At least my nail polish co-ordinates with the weaving . . . 

I will leave it there and show you all the lovely prints they created tomorrow.