Thursday, 17 September 2015

ExTex 4 - weekend 4 - Still Life and Collage - September 12th & 13th

I love how torn paper springs into a spiral.

Experimental Textiles is a course I have taught in various forms over the past 15 years. It started as a 4 year course up to diploma level. I have now taken out the design core and deliver it over 9 weekends at the IDC studios in The Old Needle Works in Redditch. This works well as it is in the middle of the country giving students from all over the UK a chance to get there. We have girls traveling from the Scotland and Cornwall and all places in between. Redditch is well served with budget hotels close Btritten Street where the centre is.

It is a big commitment to teach an ongoing course and I have decided to teach one more course after this one finishes. The last Experimental Textiles course taught over 9 weekends from June to March will start in June 2016 and finish in March 2017. I have other plans for the course which I will share with you later in the year. To see more about the course and next years dates - go to

I have a fish sculpture made from hub caps in my garden, he is always part of the the still life.

Still life can be a terrifying prospect, but is a very important exercise in looking and seeing. I encourage students to paint and draw strong lines and shapes and not to worry what their work looks like. This, of course, is easier said than done. Students who have never drawn or painted before can be reduced to tears. It needs to be very carefully handled.

Students use both wet and dry media on A1 paper.

Being told that most of their drawings and paintings will be torn and layered for collage the next day helps to keep things light. Things become less important.
Of course if a student is very pleased with a piece of work - they don't need to tear it up . . . 

It is NOT a competition to see who can draw and paint the best and I find by the 4th session that group is very supportive of itself. They have got to know each other better and are more comfortable with each other. It is not a session for the first time they meet . . . .

Caroline managed womanfully with her boot! She has had to wear it for 6 weeks so far.

A selection of the drawings and paintings.

The still life is on the Saturday and the collage is on the Sunday - The tearing up of paper tends to be quite - liberating.

Rosie colour washing some old maps to include in her collage.

I use a colour wash of procion dye powder and water to colour the papers.
It helps to have a coloured background to work with.

Jackie prefers to cut rather than tear . . . 

The homework is for the group to stitch into their papers. Next session is at the end of October - watch this space.


If any of you fancy doing this still life session over 2 days - I may be teaching it at Art Van Go Tuesday 2nd & Wednesday 3rd of August next year. I am not sure yet - I can't decide if students will sign up to draw - it's bad enough trying to get them to sign up for a design class . . . . if you are interested, do let me know and we will book it as definite course.


I am scrambling about getting the house ready to leave all the kit for the stand at Ally Pally and all my teaching kit for Geelong next week.  Ahhh!!! will need clothes too . . . . 


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