Monday, 26 November 2012

Up coming courses . . .

 Playing with colour.

I have three courses coming up in December and they all have spaces, so if you fancy two or three days away to recharge your batteries, then you might like to consider coming out to play!

 Water colour paper colour washed then torn, then colour washed on the torn edge - simply beautiful.

 On December 4th - 6th I will be delivering a 3 day workshop - Colour Works! at Art Van Go. 

This is a new course especially written for Art Van Go and will involve painting you own colour wheel and a tints, tones and shades chart. After this we will be colour washing all weights and types of papers to manipulate and play with shapes and overlaying colours. Whether you wish to work in two or three dimensions this will be three days of colour, play and stitch. There should be time to create a considered stitched sample or 3d piece

Working with colour is something we all need to do regularly to help us build our confidence when choosing colours for our own work. The course will be a be simple one with plenty of support - literally - a chance to play with colour!
 The course is - £128 

       ART VAN GO, The Studios, 1 Stevenage Road, Knebworth, Hertfordshire 
SG3 6AN    

Art Van Go have a great workshop space and we are always looked after with teas and coffees and of course - chocolates. It is a great place to work and learn . . . .and then, of course, there is the Aladdin's cave of gorgeous things in the shop.


 My next course is a 3 day workshop December 10th – 13th at West Dean College, Nr Chichester. West Dean has to be the most beautiful place that I teach. The grounds are stunning, even in December they walled garden is full texture and shape, and the food . . . . well lets just say every time I teach there I put on about four pounds. The price is based on your being residential and there is a five percent discount if you book online. Whether you are a tutor or a student, West Dean is an amazing experience.

I will be teaching a newspaper based course - Jewelled Surfaces for Decorative Textiles - £286

 Painted Bondaweb and torn newspaper used as a background for print.

 Who would have thought newspaper could be so exciting? By layering old dyed and painted newspapers and painted Bondaweb we will create beautiful surfaces with gilding and mica flakes. These layers can then be stitched into by hand or machine and then ironed onto various weights of interfacing to make bags, boxes, jewellery or vessels – the choice is yours.
The outcome of the course is very flexible – if you wish to stitch a panel that is fine, if you wish to make a 4ft vessel that is also possible. The joy is in the layering and the unexpected effects we will create . . .
All you need to be able to do is to use an iron and stitch if you wish to! 


My last course this year is at Foredown Tower which is on a hill on the outskirts of Brighton, it is an old water tower with views over the downs and the sea (in the distance). The tower is home to a camera obscura on the top floor. The middle floor houses the teaching studio and the ground floor has a small cafe.

It is a great place to get away from it all, you feel very cosy and away from the noise of the outside world

December 15th & 16th  2 day workshop  Decorated Book Covers - £95

 Decorated and torn newspaper ironed onto pre dyed 'Decovil 1' then sealed with acrylic wax

 Using the latest iron-on interfacings we will create beautiful, sparkly surfaces to stitch – or not. We will be making slip covers for books as well as decorating directly on to spiral bound sketch book covers using painted Bondaweb. (your decorated books would make fabulous Christmas presents).

Foredown Tower, Foredown Road, Portslade, Brighton, BN41 2EW 

for a booking form go to –

If the booking form doesn't work - just email me

The photo and text below are from Jen Henley. Jen has been on a couple of my courses and is a teacher as well. She is a great experimenter (not a proper word, but it fits) and is good at letting me know what she is up to.

"Here is a collage of the book – the images do not convey the yummy feel of the cover. The photo on the left is a section of the inside of the cover, which was sponged with textile paint. Brown paper was used for the outside – it had had a pattern rolled on in gesso, then given a wash of Koh-i-Noor paints. For the wash a very wide paint brush was used over the whole palette to give a mucky colour. Finally two coats of acrylic wax has sealed it. The 'Decovil 1' is a perfect book cover weight. Must experiment now with fabric and stitch."
 If you would like any more information about these courses then do contact me.
 I must carry on with the book . . . .

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Making printing blocks, Foredown Tower, 17th - 18th November

 One of Val's beautiful prints on black paper.

 I love teaching at Foredown Tower, the views are amazing and you feel as though you are in the middle of nowhere, not just off the A27. It is very peaceful.
 Just the Downs and the sky.

Making Printing Blocks was a course I really wanted to run, it is important to be able to design your own blocks and print your own fabrics and papers, it is what makes your work different to everyone elses.

There were four intrepid students on the course which meant we had plenty of room to spread out. Because I run these courses myself, I don't need to have a certain number of students booked before I can run them. It is a great luxury and I am able to work more closely with less students - poor students . . . 
 We started off by deciding which designs would work best and taking sections from previously made designs.
These blocks were created from one of Lea's designs showing the 'positive' and 'negative' parts of the design.
 The 'positive' block  . . . 

 The 'positive' and 'negative' blocks.

 Lea's second block.

 Tracey trying out her first block.
 The 'positive' and 'negative' over printed and then procion colour washed to colour the paper - pink in this case. The acrylic paint we used to print with resists the colour wash. It saves buying coloured papers to print onto and you get FAB effects.

 Another of Tracey's designs showing the 'postive' and 'negative' blocks over printed.

 Showing a different colourway.

 The group cracking with printing - they couldn't work fast enough, they kept getting more ideas as they worked.

  These are two of Kim's (yes! another one) designs that have been over printed.


The group tried printing over foiled Bondaweb - Gorgeous! 


Taking photos at the end. Just think, none of these designs (or the printing blocks) existed the day before. It is amazing what can be achieved on a two day workshop - with cake!!!

There was a very beautiful sunset to finish the day off . . . .


The last Foredown Tower workshop this year is Decorated Book covers, December 15th & 16th. There are a couple of places left. If you are interested in coming out to play have a look here. If you can't download the booking form - email me.

There are also still spaces on my other workshops in December.


Right back to writing the book . . . . .

Monday, 19 November 2012

A New Starting Point with Worthing Embroiders Guild - 15th November

A rather delicious 'pretty'.

  I apologise for the rather woeful delay in writing this post, I haven't been this behind for ages. What with teaching over the weekend and being a bit busier I am a wee bit behind with answering emails and all the usual admin. 

I am rather fond of the Worthing Embroiderers Guild. Being local to me I have delivered several workshops and lectures over the past few years and many of them turn up from time to time on other workshops. So I was looking forward to spending a sparkly day with them last Thursday. The workshop was 'A new starting point' - my newspaper based one day workshop.
A few of the ladies getting stuck into their 'pretties'.

The Guild hold their meetings and workshops in a fabulous room with plenty of power and light, it was a great treat to work in there. The plan was to create some 'pretty' backgrounds to print onto and also create a faux chenille sample using newspaper and polyester organza. ('pretties' are layers of torn newspaper, painted Bondaweb and glitter and gilding flake . . and a few sequins)
  The ladies had great fun throwing glitter about with gay abandon.

The following six images are some of the 'pretties' before they were printed


  . . . .  and a few of the newspaper faux chenille samples . . . 


. . .  and some of the backgrounds printed with wooden printing blocks  . . .


 These backgrounds can be used for all kinds of decorative purposes. As you know I iron mine onto the heaviest pelmet Vilene (S133) and make brooches and earrings. If you iron them onto either of the new Decovil pelmet Vilenes
then you can use them for book covers. They can be further embellished with hand or machine stitch and then sealed with acrylic wax. Acrylic wax can bought from Art Van Go or, they both also stock the wonderful gilding flake that comes in many colour combinations. 
We had a great day, the group were good fun and even went along with the exercise session after lunch with us all stretching and twisting to ' Shake a tail feather' by The Blues Brothers.

Who would have thought you could have such fun with newspaper?
I also use old paperback novels, the pages take the dye colourwash well and the odd words that show are always intriguing - now you know what to do with Fifty Shades of Grey . . . !

I will write up about the weekend printing block workshop at Foredown Tower in a few days time.


I am starting to think about my next 2 workshops that are coming up - my brand new course written especially for Art Van Go - 'Colour Works' at Art Van Go December 4th - 6th and 'Jewelled Surfaces for Decorative Textiles' at West Dean College December 10th - 13th.

'Colour Works' will involve creating you own colour wheel and tints, tones and shades chart. You will learn the basic colour systems and better understand how to use colour in your work by painting, printing, stitching and manipulating papers you will create colourful vessels, boxes or wall pieces.

'Jewelled Surfaces for Decorative Textiles'. By layering old dyed and painted newspapers and painted Bondaweb we will create beautiful surfaces with gilding and mica flakes. These layers can then be stitched into by hand or machine and then ironed onto various weights of interfacing to make bags, boxes, jewellery or vessels – the choice is yours.

There places left on both courses.


Have fun and keep warm! 

Monday, 12 November 2012

ExTex 7th weekend - playing with Vilene Spunbond

 Emma had great fun layering papers with her transfer prints.

Here is the second part of the 7th weekend of ExTex, a little late but as usual I have been out and about spreading the joy of textiles!!!! The Sunday saw the girls experimenting further with the disperse dyes (transfer paints), ironing them onto Vilene Spunbond and other synthetics that were lurking around. They had such a good time with these dyes on the 6th weekend and wanted to try some more samples. As we were using synthetics the group used soldering irons to cut the fabrics and heat guns to distress them.

 Disperse dyes painted on to paper and then ironed onto synthetic fabric.

 Transfer printed fabric decorated with painted Bondaweb and gilding flake.

A transfer print further decorated with stitch.

 Vilene Spunbond printed with a paper bag.
 Transfer printed Vilene Spunbond that was then distressed with a heat gun.

 Torn transfer paper ironed off randomly then decorated with painted Bondaweb and heat transfer foil
 Transfer printed Vilene Spunbond (with Bondaweb on the back) cut with a soldering iron and ironed into place.

Transfer printed Vilene Spunbond decorated with heat transfer foil.

Claire and Sally zapping their work with heat guns.

Layers of transfer printed Vilene Spunbond cut with a soldering iron and decorated with heat transfer foil.

 Layers of transfer printed Vilene Spunbond and polyester lace.

 Transfer printing using a resist.
 Shaun moving her cut outs around to find the best composition.
 Vilene Spunbond decorated with transfer print, painted Bondaweb and heat transfer foil - cut with a soldering iron.
 Polyester organza decorated with painted Bondaweb and heat transfer foil which was then zapped with a heat gun.

Polyester organza decorated with painted Bondaweb and heat transfer foil. Shapes from decorated Vilene Spunbond have been cut with a soldering iron and applied to the sample.

 Emma's sketch book is bursting at the seams.

This was the last weekend until January - so the girls have homework to cope with over the festive season and they need to start thinking about their final project - no pressure!!! 

I shall be up in Redditch at the end of the month for the IDC End of Year Show, I'm helping my lovely friend Brenny with the food. The show is being held at the Town Hall and should be great fun with all kinds of shopping opportunities, a Chinese raffle and of course, an amazing catwalk show.


There are a few spaces left on my Making Printing Blocks workshops at Foredown Tower this weekend - if you are interested go to
or email me -  

The photo shoot for the next book went well and now I need to start to return all the work to the relevant artists. And then - I need to write the book . . . !