Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Catching up with friends and online workshop news.

 An amazing array of brushes and mark making tools.

 I have had a bit of time in the UK to catch up with my family and friends over here and get a bit more planning done with Jayne for our Sonas Studio online workshops - more of that further down this post.

 I popped over to Eastbourne today to see Christine Chester.  I have always admired Christine's work, so sensitive and thoughtful. We have always had the chance to have have a quick hello at shows but it was good to sit down and have a good chat and not rush. 

As it is going to be a least a year until I can start work on my studio at home in Ireland, (it's a cow shed at the moment) I thought I might get some inspiration and ideas by having a look at Christine's studio. The studio is called Studio 11. My goodness it is fabulous.

Studio 11 is right next to Eastbourne railway station, so it is very convenient.
It is a bright airy space with plenty of room to move around. Classes are limited to 8 students so they get one huge table each. The studio is very well equipped and has a heat press and printing press amongst lots of other equipment and tools. The studio is print based which leads to all manner of excitements, the main one being stitch.

 All the tables are adjustable height so you can be sure of every comfort as you are working.

 Studio 11 has an amazing range of workshops and retreats with wonderful tutors, some internationals, do check them out.

Christine showed me the work she is creating at the moment - it is inspired by the book The Button Box which traces social history of women through the clothing they wore in the twentieth century. Christine was particularity interested in the fustian work featured in the book. The work shown here is her homage to the workers that worked so hard to create corduroy - by hand!

Rows of thousands of tailors tacks on black painted Bondaweb, so straight and even.

It was really good to see Christine, we have so much in common as we design and work through process.There aren't many of us about. . .  
We managed to find a date when she could come and visit me in Ireland next year and check it out to see if she might like to teach there in 2019. Whhooo hoo!!


The next Sonas Studio online workshop starts enrolling on Friday 21st July. Transforming Transfer will be our third workshop. 
We have learned a lot from the first two workshops. Because the workshops are available to view and work along with for 6 months, several students are working for much longer than I thought - it is amazing. Even students who enrolled on the first workshop then the second one are working both. You never stop learning. Because of this, instead of me just being available for the first 2 weeks of a workshop, I will keep popping in to each workshop to check everyone is OK. This is gong to take up a lot more time than I had planned - but I think it is worth it. If the students want to take to the time to develop their experiments within the workshop, then the least I can do is support them. 
The reason why we decided the workshops will be available for 6 months, is that we all know how life can get in the way of our plans.

 Ironing off your papers . .
  . .  working with resists . .

Once you have painted and printed off your papers the fun can begin - you will be encouraged to try applique - but using a soldering iron to cut the fabric rather than scissors.

Beautiful soldering iron cut applique samples from previous workshops.


A couple of endorsements from Betty and Carry who are on the first 2 workshops and still going . . .

Workshop 1 - Manipulating with Heat and 
Workshop 2 - A New Starting Point 
(there are still places on this workshop)

"The online workshop gives me the chance to watch details on the video whenever I wish for 6 months, with a chance to practice, and receive comments and encouragement from other members and Kim - always ready to guide me. 
This has been an advantage over "live" workshops."
    Betty Dawes

 "Engaging videos with easy to understand instructions. Very pleased with the results of my experiments .The best is waiting for encouraging comments from everyone and it is such a bonus to have Kim's expertise. It’s as though she is leaning over your shoulder with gentle hints and 'go on have a go - play'.
I shall be back for more."
  Carry Garney


Hello Tod - sorry I will miss you tonight. 
Hi Diana, hope you are having a great trip.
Jill, Jill - 4 more sleeps!!

x x x x

Friday, 14 July 2017

Fabulous work from online students.

 A Tyvek and polyester organza corsage by Mo Henderson in France.
Online workshop - Manipulating with Heat.

A bit of news about the online teaching and how it is going. 
Not having taught online before, I wasn't too sure how it would go. Not having a frame of reference, I could only be guided by what other textile tutors are offering. 
It has been a steep but generally positive learning curve. We had one or two teething problems on the first workshop, Manipulating with Heat - but judging how a lot of the students are STILL producing work on this workshop, we have got everything right now . . . . . .

 A stunning cellophane bead and flower necklace by Mo Henderson.
Online workshop - Manipulating with Heat.

 As the workshops are based on a fast paced one day workshop, I thought the students enrolled on the workshops would work through the exercises over a few days, maybe a couple of weeks, depending on how much time they had.
Well the videos went up on May 28th and there is still some fabulous work being created. It would seem that a lot of the students value taking the time to experiment. As the videos will be be available to view for 6 months, I suspect many of the group will pop back now and again to see how everyone is getting on. The students that are continuing to post their samples and experiments are all very supportive of each other. It is quite wonderful to watch how the group are interacting. 
As several more students come back from holiday I expect there will be more experimenting happening this month.

When we started the online workshops I said I would be available every day for the first 2weeks, then every now and then. However, as it would appear the groups want to work longer than I had expected, it only seems fair that I am around to support, discuss and answer any questions. So I will be available for the length of each workshop - the full 6 months, as often as I can. I can't imagine there will still be students working after 5 or so months . .  but then I didn't think they would still working after 5 or so weeks!!!

 2 fabulous samples of distressed and foiled Tyvek by Carry Gorney
Online workshop - Manipulating with Heat.

One thing that I am particularly pleased with is that (apart from 2 dissenting voices) the workshops are being enjoyed by beginners up to experienced artists. This has always been my hope. I have long believed that anyone can learn something from any workshop - if it is only to invest the time in your yourself and your experiments. Even if you know every single technique, or think you do, there is always something new to learn.

 Beautiful Tyvek and polyester organza beads by Kathy Gledsdale.
Online workshop - Manipulating with Heat.

When you enrol on an online workshop, mine or anyone elses, one of the main things you are investing in is time, to spend on yourself. Time tends to be a bit of a luxury these days, and yes, you are worth it! Self directed study is not for everyone, once the videos have been viewed, it really is up to you. Your tutor can't do your work for you. The sharing of ideas by the students will always be a great benefit for all.

 A great textured Tyvek cuff created by Candace Berry from Arkansas, USA.
 Online workshop - Manipulating with Heat.

A great pair of Tyvek earrings and a collar by Frances Taylor living in Ottawa, Canada.
 Online workshop - Manipulating with Heat.

 It is very encouraging to see over half the students on Manipulating with Heat have also enrolled on A New Starting Point which has just gone live. It hadn't occurred to me that people would enrol on more than one workshop, I have a lot to learn. 

A New Starting Point isn't full yet, so we will keep enrollment open until it is - I know a lot of you are on holiday at the moment. A New Starting Point will be available to view until January 7th. You can choose to share your experiments on the website - or work by yourself.

A splendid sample by Catherine Chung. Fabulous layers of torn and layered newspaper and painted Bondaweb that have been stitched and beaded.
Online workshop - A New Starting Point. 

 If you are tempted to join A New Starting Point - this is the link -  


The next workshop to enrol will be Transforming Transfer. Enrolments will start on Friday 21st July with the videos going live on Friday August 18th. Enrolment will stay open until the course is full. The workshop will be available to view and interact up to 18th February 2018. 
We all know that life gets in the way sometimes - this is why the workshops are available for 6 months.


Hello Jill- you are very quiet?
Hi Diana - hope all is well.
Hello Tod - I just love your hair.

x x x x

Saturday, 1 July 2017

The blindingly obviious!

 A fabulous sunrise.

You have a plan. Things works out pretty well. You can't quite get the studio up and running yet, so you put off your plans to teach in your new home until you can get the studio sorted - in a couple of years time - maybe!
Aaaagghhh!!! WHY am I SO blinkered? Just because I don't have a studio to teach in like all my friends - I do have a large lounge, with a wooden floor, great light, and one of the best views you will ever see. Plus very useful outbuildings. Why does it take someone else to point out the obvious?  

So - I have decided, with a little help from a friend - that I will start teaching a few selected weekends here next year and a 5 day residential in October. 
I only decided today so I have to work a few things out.

When I first moved to this beautiful place I thought I would never want to share my home environment. But now I have been here for a while I realise it would be a great shame not to share it a few days a year. 
I can't teach here too often as the online teaching is taking off and I need to have the time to interact with the students and develop new online workshops.
For more information about the online workshops have a look at the website -

 The house from my field.

I live on the Loop Head Peninsula in County Clare, Ireland. In the village of Kilbaha. Right on the tip, 2 miles from the lighthouse. It is bit remote, it is 40 minutes to Tescos! But you learn to plan around things like that. Everyone here is so helpful. Willing to help out whenever needed. I was a bit concerned that as a 'blow in', I might not be welcome - this couldn't be further from the truth. 
I had a party a couple of weeks ago to thank my neighbors and the new friends I have made - 45 people arrived at various stages throughout the evening bearing cards, gifts and several bottles of champagne. It was better than I could ever have imagined.

 It is a beautiful area, in a world of it's own. It is rural, the main industry is keeping cattle so it can be very muddy when it rains - and it does - quite a lot. Here on the end of the peninsula we have the Atlantic ocean on one side and the Shannon estuary on the other. The estuary is 10 miles wide at this point. You can see the Kerry mountains across the estuary most days.

There are several award winning restaurants and pubs in the area and lots of good B and B's. Loop Head is part of the The Wild Atlantic Way - www.wildatlanticway

You cannot rush around here, there is usually a tractor on the road or cattle being moved.

 Soft, gently rolling hills of green fields and silvery grey dry stone walls.

The weather is always a talking point, we can have days of glorious sunshine, a few days of rain but mostly it is windy!! There is nothing between me and America, except 2 fields. You don't really come here for the weather. You come for the warm welcome, relaxed way of life and the general feel good factor.

On any given day it can be - 

 Glorious . .

 Thick sea mist .  .
 . . or stormy.

 The hedge rows around County Clare are beautiful, from the first shoots of green in the spring right through to the brambles in the autumn.

 A riot of colour.

 There is little sophistication here, or convenience, which I love. It makes you appreciate things more - the little things - simple pleasures.

 Loop Head lighthouse is 5 minutes drive from my house. Wonderful walks, short, if you are short of time, or a couple of hours if you do have time - and the energy.

 Loop Head lighthouse

 The lighthouse has a great spiral staircase - I do love a spiral.

You can see gulls nesting all along the coast, there is a great view point just past the lighthouse.

The cliffs and their wonderful forms and strata in this area were formed in the Ice Age. They really are something. There is endless inspiration all around.
  . . and wonderful textures.

There are all sorts of local colour and shape to catch your eye.

 Lobster pots on Carrigaholt pier.

 An old, derelict cottage.

The jewel in the crown of Loop Head has to be Kilbaha Gallery.

This wonderful destination is also 5 minutes drive from my house - even closer than the pub. It couldn't be more perfect. The gallery stocks a variety of art from local artists along with local crafts. At the back of the gallery is a colourful and cosy room where they serve fabulous coffee and teas and just gorgeous cakes and pies, all made locally. The gallery is a magnet for the locals and visitors to the area alike. Everyone enjoys having a catch up over a latte and a slice of cake. The gallery also serves as a very knowledgeable and helpful tourist information centre.

 Kilbaha Gallery.

There you have it - if you fancy coming out here for a weekend workshop next year, as part of a holiday in Ireland or for its own sake - watch this space . .


Hello Jill - 22 days to go
Hi Diana - fancy a trip??
Hello Tod - you know this all sooo well. x x x x