Thursday, 25 January 2018

Drawing and painting the ExTex still life.

 A 'squidgey' print taken from the left over paint from painting the colour wheel.

I have just about finished clearing up from filming the 3rd and 4th weekends of Experimental Textiles Online. The 3rd weekend looks at colour and the 4th weekend is the still life. Students will be encouraged to build their own still life - or they can paint and draw from images of mine. I find a large scale still life is less frightening than the usual bowl of fruit. The idea is to look at shapes, lines and positive and negative space. It is not a competition to see who is the best artist. Few of us can paint and draw really well, but we can try, and the more you practice, the better you get.

 Jayne has a new clapper board to help her with editing the videos.

 We filmed the colour wheel on Saturday and the still life on Sunday.

 I use paper plates as palettes.

 When I was teaching Experimental Textiles at various colleges I always used a few of the same pieces, the wooden bird and the big lantern are 2 of them. Past ExTex students will recognise them.

 When building up a still life I use quite large artefacts, with groups of smaller items.

 I posted this image on Facebook to show what we were up to . .

  . . and my friend Jill Crowther painted this from the image - isn't it FAB!!

 It's good to have a mix of sizes and shapes to draw and paint.

 Me having fun with paint.

Krystyna's hands. 
My friend Krystyna came over to play for the day. I am not particularity proficient with pencil and paint so it is good to share the experience.

Some of our drawings.

 One of Krystyna's colour drawings.

 As usual with Experimental Textiles (ExTex) students will be asked to tear up one of their paintings and stitch into it - but not their favourite one. It is good not to be tooooo precious about your work.

I have torn up one of my paintings - ready to stitch.

I shall be working along the students with most of the projects and homework that is set. I am so excited to be teaching this course online - and I couldn't do it without Jayne - now over there in chilly old Brighton.

Experimental Textiles Online begins this weekend, there is still time to enrol if you fancy working with me for a year? Have a look and see . . and there is a video and more information here -

New beginnings are so exciting.


Hello Jill - see you on Thursday.
Hi Diana - hope all is well.
Hi Tod - see you on Monday. Sending love.


Tuesday, 16 January 2018

The first Look.Draw.Stitch. weekend - January 2018.

A detail of one of Fiona's fab prints.

The first Look.Draw.Stitch weekend was a great success. 
I had met Fiona, Ann and Sidella last August when I was working on the Vlieseline stand at Festival of Quilts, NEC, Birmingham. They stopped to say hello and ask how I was getting on in my new home, here in Ireland. All three ladies are from Dublin and are deeply involved in the Irish Guild of Embroiderers. We had a good chat. They asked if I was doing any teaching in Ireland and I said I was thinking of running weekend workshops from home. We discussed it further and I asked if they thought if anyone would visit the back of beyond where I live in January? And they said Yes!! They would . . . and they did.

Fiona and Ann looking out. Fiona drew some of the landscape lines and Ann drew some of the stone shapes in the dry stone wall.

Sidella chose to draw Brachychiton or Bottle tree seeds that I have in a basket in my sitting room.

From a simple drawing you can take a section and create your own original design.

The ladies settling down and taking sections of their drawings with 'L' shapes. Isolating designs for their printing blocks.

Sidella's section of her drawing and her 2 printing blocks (one positive and one negative) from the design.

Trying out the blocks for the first time . . .

Ann trying our her first block in her work book.

I gave the ladies an A4 sketchbook/workbook each to keep all their drawings and tracings in. It is a also a good place to keep a record of your prints.

I love this block - such a sense of movement.

The second day of the weekend started a bit pink - it usually means we are going to get a bit of 'exciting' weather.

However - all was calm - until the evening . .

Fiona trying out her first prints, I loved how she kept over printing to build up rich colour.

I gave the ladies some cotton organdie to print on. It has a slightly 'open' weave which means if you lay paper of other fabric underneath it when you print - you get a 'ghost' print. This ghost print was just fabulous. Almost more beautiful than the 'proper' print.

One of Sidella's 'proper' prints.

I love this tangle of shapes and lines - random over printing.

Because I wanted to concentrate on my teaching over the weekend, I asked Teresa of the Old School B & B at Cross to cook and deliver the lunches for both days. It was wonderful not to have to think about it. Particularly as we had 2 different food allergies to deal with. Teresa is very experienced in cooking for different tastes and allergies. Teresa will be catering for all my workshops and the Kilbaha Summer School.

Gorgeous hot and tasty food.

The second day the ladies really got down to business, the ladies were obviously very experienced in printing. However they hadn't made printing blocks my way or used inspiration drawings in the way we did on this workshop. They loved taking time out of their busy days for two whole days of PLAY!!

A lovely messy table of colour.

The 'before' print . .

We started off printing on white cartridge paper to test the blocks.
Once the prints were dry, we washed the paper with dilute procion dye powder and water. It really lifts the prints. Fiona used a yellow wash on this print.

A couple of fabulous monoprints taken from the acetate sheet that Fiona was using as a paint reservoir .

And of course - there were stunning baby wipes.

Ann created several printing blocks based on my dry stone walls.
Aren't they fabulous?
Ann printing one of dry stone wall blocks in her workbook.

Fiona was quite prolific - this is the print of a random block she made.

I had hoped to get a bit of hand stitch into the weekend - but the ladies were so enjoying the printing - they didn't want to stop - it was their weekend after all. 
Being keen embroiderers I am quite they will be stitching into several of these gorgeous prints. One of the group who is due to go away on holiday this week has already emailed to say she would rather stay at home and develop her prints . . .

Another great print from Sidella.

The Irish Guild of Embroiderers have a website and a Facebook page. 
Do have a look at these links - there is some fabulous work on them.

I remembered to ask the ladies to sign my visitors book that was made for me by Mary Smith, one of ex ExTex students. It has the most amazingly textured cover. I love it.

The visitors book cover by Mary Smith.

Not only did the ladies write in the book, they also printed one of their printing blocks. What a great idea. Now all the groups that follow during the year can do the same.

Fiona, Ann and Sidella also left me a rather nice bottle of fizz (pink, my favourite) and a card. What a lovely surprise.

Thank you ladies. I hope to see you again. 

We had some great discussions round the table over the weekend. One of which was how useful a Scan & Cut machine would be to cut the printing blocks. Fiona, being quite a gadget fan, loves hers. Yes - you could easily cut your designs by machine - but I still prefer the 'hand cut' look. We agreed to differ on this point.
It was a fabulous and very lively weekend - these girls really know how to have fun. Thank you for being my first guests on my Look.Draw.Stitch.weekends.

The next one is in February, then April, May, June, August, September and October. Have a look here if you are interested.


Several students are getting back into the online workshops after the Christmas/New Year break. Transforming Transfer and On the Surface are still running and finish in the next couple of months. 
The next workshop to enrol will be Manipulating with Heat. This Workshop will start enrolling on February 16th and the videos will go live on March 9th and the workshop will be available to view for 6 months from then.

Transforming Transfer - samples by Gill Sugden.
Transforming Transfer - there is a big difference between ironing your painted papers onto a poly cotton mix fabric (left) and pure polyester fabric on the right. Such glorious colour. This workshop closes next month and will be available again later in the year.

On the Surface. 
A decorated Bondaweb sample by Kay Coombes

On The Surface closes on 6th April, so if you fancy playing on the workshop for a couple of months then have a look here.

I am so excited about Experimental Textiles Online. This course goes live on January 27/28. The students that have enrolled are getting all their kit ready to start. Teaching this course online has been something I have wanted to do for a long time. For students to be able to work through the course in their own time and have Skype sessions with me once a month will be wonderful. It doesn't matter where they are on the world - we can talk to each other - brilliant!
There is still time to enrol  - if you are tempted - have a look at the video and all the information here. Experimental Textiles Online
I can talk to you via email, Skype or phone if you need any further information.

So - exciting times ahead. 


Hello Jill. 13 sleeps till you arrive and 14 sleeps till I actually see you!! 
Hi Diana - hope you enjoy Craft4Crafters. x x x
Hello Tod - see you very soon. Sending love. x

 x x x 

Monday, 8 January 2018

Jaipur Journey - 8th - 18th January 2019 with Colouricious Holidays.

One of the wooden printing blocks we will use for 
the metallic printing workshop.

This time next year I will be at Heathrow airport ready to fly to Jaipur. 
Whhooo hoo!! it is VERY exciting!

I am going back to Jaipur, India, to be inspired by the remarkable textures, patterns and colours. 
While I was wandering around this amazing city in on the Colouricious Textile Holidays in September 2016 and again in January 2017, I kept thinking to myself this would be the most incredible place to teach my journey design exercise. Everywhere you go there is something beautiful, interesting or just plain incredible. The palaces, the gardens even the roadside has inspiration at every turn.
So - I approached Jamie Malden, owner of Colouricious Textile Holidays with my idea and she Yes! - immediately. Just like that. Isn't a good feeling when people have faith in you?

I am leading The Jaipur Journey textile holiday January 8th - 18th 2019 
Fancy coming with me? Here is the link for the information.  

We will be staying at the Alsisar Haveli -

The Alsisar Haveli Jaipur

One of the bedrooms - is is big enough?

The stunning dining room.

The hotel is booked and Jamie and I have arranged all the activities. I hope to get a balance of trips out, a bit of teaching and time for exploring this remarkable city. I have various places to take you to give you inspiration to draw, takes rubbings etc. Please don't worry, this is not a DRAWING holiday. If you can draw that is great but I just want you to look at shapes, lines, colours, patterns and textures and record them however you wish. You can take photos on your iPad or phone and use them as reference. The 'looking' is as important as the 'doing'.
The hotel will be as inspirational as anything else you see in Jaipur, it is exquisitely decorated. It is, after all, a palace.

You will paint your own interpretation of the shapes and lines you see in and around Jaipur. From your Journey exercise you will take a section and make 2 printing blocks. We will then print up fabrics with your own designs. These prints can be further embellished with stitch if you wish. It will be interesting to see how you all develop your ideas. I will give you as much, or as little, support as you need.

My Jaipur Journey.

The printing blocks I made from a section of the Journey exercise.

Applique from my design ironed onto hand dyes silk fibres.

More applique plus Bondaweb cut to my design and the foiled.
There are so many ways to use just one design, and hopefully you will develop several.

i am looking forward to showing you the places that I love and inspire me.

 Patterns, shapes and designs at a salvage yard.

No visit to Jaipur would be complete without a visit to the Amer Fort Palace. Even if you have been before there are always new things to discover, it is a remarkable place. Palace even.


We have also planned a visit to SatGurus, my favourite place to have clothes made. It is an Aladdins cave of colour and sparkle. With salesmen who are not too pushy, a great relief.

 Stacks of embroidered textiles - sigh

 So much to chose from.

 It was very hard to choose which pashmina to bring home - for the cold weather in Ireland you understand!!

I find the roadsides just as much inspiration as the grand palaces - Colour, lines and shapes everywhere.

Wonderful colours and textures.

We travel in an air conditioned coach for the group outings . .

 And maybe by tuc tuc for your own explorations - there are taxis too.

We will be going to my favourite print workshop, out of all the printing workshops I have visited, this is my absolute favourite - it is well oraginsed for such a large group and they have the most beautiful printing blocks too. The factory workers help us with the printing, they are very patient, and try to keep up with the all the metallic paint we use. Everyone gets so excited.

Anne King showing perfect deportment for printing! Hello Anne.

The metallic printing workshop is a highlight for me.

As is a trip to the Blue Pottery, I aim to buy a piece every time I travel to Jaipur. There is such an amazing array of pieces and styles - all hand decorated. We also have a talk on how the pottery is made, it is fascinating.

Part of the Blue Pottery showroom

One of the main outings will be to Jantar Mantar. It is a collection of nineteen HUGE architectural astronomical instruments, built by the Rajput king Sawai Jai Singh II, and completed in 1734. I find the simple but beautiful shapes a rest from all the colour and bustle of Jaipur. It is very peaceful within the walls, a chance to rest your senses but still be inspired.

Incredible shapes and lines - just stunning.

There are still few things to finalise, but everything is now basically in place for us to have a fabulous time.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask me -

Catherine and Caroline planning a tuc tuc adventure.