Sunday, 27 May 2018

A wonderful Weekend - Look. Draw. Stitch. May 2018

One of Ness's printed papers flooded with a procion colour wash.

I always enjoy teaching, particularly at home in Ireland, but last weekend was really special. I had 3 ex students from the UK travel to the May Look. Draw. Stitch. weekend. I had taught Ness and Kate in Worthing about 15 years ago and Sheila in Hove even longer ago. It was a complete coincidence that they booked the same weekend as they didn't know each other. it was a real treat. I have occasionally bumped into them over the years, but the chance to spend more time with them and catch up on all their news was fantastic.
As well as working with them . . .

This was the 3rd Look. Draw. Stitch. weekend. There are still spaces in June and August. If you would like to learn more - then have a look here. look_draw_stitch

The weather was good so the girls could draw out side, when I say draw, I mean make lines and shapes with a pencil. You don't need to be able to draw, 'properly'!!!

The girls drawing in the yard and garden.

Once the girls had got all the information they needed, we took 'L' shapes ad isolated sections of the drawing to create new designs.

Sitting around my big table.

Once the designs had been isolated and traced off - we made printing blocks with self adhesive foam and foam core board.

Kate's drawing, her traced sections and her blocks.

Ness's drawing, traced section and printing blocks.

Sheila's drawing, traced section and printing block

Once the blocks were made we could starting trying out the blocks on paper,  getting used to how much paint to apply . . . I think it is much less scary to print on paper first, then move on to fabric when you are ready.

 Sheilas first print.

 The first prints drying in the kitchen.

 Once the prints on paper were dry, we flooded them with a procion colour wash. This really make the prints 'sing'!
 Glorious colour.

 This 'shadow' print was made by putting spare paper underneath the fabric you are printing. The fabric was cotton organdie so was a very open weave.
The paper caught the paint that printed through the thin fabric.

 The girls produced a huge amount of prints, every area of flat space was used, even the spare bed.

 Here are a selection of the prints - on paper and fabric.

 Don't they look fab??

 Printing on my dining table.

 I am currently teaching in my big lounge that has the views across the bays. whilst it is not ideal to teach in the house, it does the job. However. Work will be starting on my studio next month, I am so very excited. It has taken a while.
To have everything in one place and a more professional area to work and teach will be FANTASTIC.

It was wonderful to work with the girls again and I hope to be seeing them again later in the year.

The beginnings of Sheila's appliqued sample

 Ness's piece, ready for stitch.

 Kate started to stitch her sample. This also has bonded

 And how did madam behave? Quite well once the excitement died down. If anyone books on a course with me at home and is allergic to dogs, then she have an away day, but she is getting better all the time. Lively and affectionate - just like her owner!

Poppy resting - puppies need a lot of rest . . 


Sonas Studio Online Teaching. 
There will be a big announcement on June 1st about some changes we are making to the Sonas Studio online workshops. if you would like to receive the newsletter - then you can subscribe here - on the bottom left of the page.


Hello Diana - hope you are having a great weekend.
Hi Jill - more sun to top up that lovely tan.
Hi Tod - hope you are coping with the heat. x


Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Whhoo hoo!!! half full. The Jaipur Journey - India. January 8th - 18th 2019.

 My first Colouricious holiday group in September 2016

It's amazing to think it is almost 2 years since I first traveled to Jaipur, India with Colouricious. That holiday booked so fast we had to put another one on in January 2017. They were 2 incredible trips. I love Jaipur city. It is full of vibrant colour, texture and pattern. 
Now I am going back - to teach my design course - based on all the sights and wonders of the things we will see around Jaipur. My first time in India I was just totally blown away - by just about everything . .  The second time I went my ideas started to formulate, this is when I began to think about teaching my Journey exercise there.

My Jaipur Journey.

What a perfect place to be inspired by all you see. 
From the sights and colour and excitement in the streets, to the calm, exquisite beauty of the palaces - and there are many. In fact we will be staying in one - have a look at the link
Such luxury - to be quite honest we wouln't really need to leave the hotel for all our inspiration. It is a remarkable building and so beautifully decorated. 
This holiday is now half full, so if you are interested, I  wouldn't leave it too long to book.

If you want a quick look at the holiday details befroe you read further - have look here -

As you will see from the itinerary there are planned trips out and daily teaching sessions. We have included a reasonable amount of spare time for those of you who wish to catch up with their drawings and patterns, or wish to explore the city (in groups of 3). It is difficult to pace the holiday to suit everybody. For some it will be their first time to India, for others, they will have been before and know what to expect. I will always be on hand to help where I can.

 Wonderful palaces to explore, with such ornate decoration.

There will be plenty of opportunity to explore the streets in Jaipur - find the amazing markets - it is all so exciting.

 So much to see and enjoy . .

 Colour just hits you in the eye . .

We will be visiting an architectural salvage yard as part of the trip - yes I know it sounds a bit odd - but my goodness, when we get there - you will understand why. Such treasures in shapes and sizes, just aching to be drawn on the spot or to have photos taken to use as inspiration later.

  . .  and if something catches your eye - and it will fit in your suitcase, you can buy it and take it home.

One of my favourite trips when I was there before, was to print fabric in the metallic paint block printing factory.  What fantastic blocks we had to work with and the metallic paint was so - SHINY!!!! It was a real treat. And of course - you take your printed fabric home.

Silver block print - so beautiful.

I will be posting dedicated posts on this holiday regularly - even if you can't go - hopefully you can enjoy the images.
Here is the link to the holiday to find out more

If you have any questions about the trip - do email me

 x x x

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Lots of information - grab a cuppa and have a read . .

6.30 am. Sometimes it's worth getting up early . . .

This photo says it all. Sunshine and showers . . 

Well I think we had all had some decent weather over the bank holiday weekend.
Here on Loop Head we had the annual Oyster and Trad Music Festival. There are some fabulous photos and videos on the Carrigaholt Facebook page - do have a look. 

Fabulous music outside The Long Dock.

There was also music at the lighthouse this weekend. It has been great fun.

The warmer weather is encouraging all our wild flowers to show their lovely heads. The Sea Thrift is looking glorious and the Gorse is starting to get to it's full technicolour yellow. In another coupe of months the hedge rows will be a riot of colour with Montbretia, Purple Loosestrife and the beautiful white, fluffy Meadow Sweet.

The first arrivals in my field.

I am learning which flowers are growing in my field. Clockwise they are - Lady's Smock, Ragged Robin, what I thought was a Pyramidal Orchid is actually a Broad Leaved Marsh Orchid and a lovely little Violet.

I had the opportunity to go out on the first Dolphinwatch trip of the year earlier this month. If you are ever traveling anywhere near the Loop Head Peninsula in County Clare, you really must get to Carrigahiolt and take a trip with them. Weather permitting.

I actually managed to get few decent shots.

And we saw dolphins. There are approximately 200 living in the Shannon estuary. Do have a look at the their website. 

OK - that is probably enough of the Irish Tourist Board Information for now!!! 


Way back in March I had a stand at Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch at the NEC in Birmingham. Some of you will know that used to teach my course Experimental Textiles at IDC in Redditch. I used to meet all kinds of students there on the different courses that the centre offers.
 Kira Foster was one of the students that I used to see regularly there. 
As part of her final project on her fashion diploma Kira created a collection based on my teaching - mostly my design exercise - The Journey.

One of the many features of the ICHF Fashion and Embroidery Show is the catwalk and the amazing collections that are showcased there, and Kira's collection was on show there. Wow!!! it did look good. I was really flattered to have a whole collection dedicated to me.

Just a few of the photos I took of Kira's collection. 

Kira is now studying fashion at Falmouth University. I have no doubt we will keep in touch

Experimental Textiles Online
 ExTex (as we call it) is now up to module 4 out of 6. Still Life!! AArggh!!! 
Yes - I know, few of us will sit down and draw unless we are encouraged to - and it is such an important way of learning to 'look'. The current group are working through the module which begins with the still life and then moves on to other related exercises. I always ask the students permission to post photos of their work. This is Pat's still life that she built at home and made various drawings, paintings and pastel sketches from. These are just a small sample of what Pat has produced so far.

I always build a large scale still life. I find them easier to draw and paint from.  See the strong lines and shapes. After the next 2 modules the group will work with me over the following 6 months to develop a new piece of work. Communicating via Skype is working well. I am able to keep in regular touch with each of the students. 
On a recent Skype session one of the students Kay said that my course was 'the missing link' for her. Kay has worked through various technique and project based courses, but nothing that helps you generate your own style and way of working. It was very good to hear.

Experimental Textiles will run from September to August in future, to keep in line with the academic year. So will be enrolling again from the end of August this year. Here is the info in case you interested. 

The Jaipur Journey - January 2019 

I am going back to Jaipur, India next January. My holiday will be a bit different to any trip you have been on before. I have been working with Jamie Malden of Colouricious who owns and organises all the Colouricious holidays. 
We have developed a special trip which we hope will be a good balance between teaching and inspirational trips out, plus the chance to explore as well. There is also spare time for your to relax in the hotel, catch up with any drawings or printing you would like to, or go off and explore with me/or the new friends you have made in the group.
Here a few of the places we will be visiting. . .

 We will be visiting The Amer Fort Palace.
A remarkable place with so much to inspire.

 Metallic block printing. I just love this workshop and the all factory workers - they are so helpful and patient. 
We always have a great time here - and its shiny!!!

 Exploring Jaipur in a tuk tuk is a must - in groups of 3. Never on your own.

 The streets are full of colour and pattern.

 The architecture is just out of this world.

One place I particularly want you visit is Jantar Mantar. 

Jantar Mantar is a collection of nineteen architectural astronomical instruments built by the Rajput king Sawai Jai Singh II, and completed in 1734. The instruments are incredible with wonderful strong lines to draw. It is one of my favourite places in Jaipur. The simple shapes give your brain and eyes a rest from all the colour and pattern outside the gates of this beautiful, restful place.

If you are interested in finding out more about this trip - have a look here. 
You can see the itinerary and the fantastic hotel we will be staying in.

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

Look. Draw. Stitch Weekends with me in Ireland.
I do love these weekends - we have such fun. They are starting to book for the rest of the year now, there are still places in June, August, September and October.
The April weekend saw Carry and Sandra coming to 'play at my house'!
Carry traveled from the UK and made the weekend part of a holiday with her partner and Sandra is from Northern Ireland, she and her husband drove down and Sandra had a fun while her man went off exploring.

 We were blessed with good weather, not something I can ever guarantee!!
Poppy, my new puppy, was particularly helpful at the drawing stage.
Carry and Sandra were happy to have a lively puppy as part of the weekend, they were given the choice as I have friends who can look after her for the day if anyone isn't keen on dogs.

 Sandra making her printing blocks.

One of Sandra designs showing the positive and the negative prints.

Having fun with colour.

 Carry starting to print with one of her flamingo blocks.

 Carry starting to print with another of her flamingo blocks.

 Sandra also played with a flamingo theme.
Yes, I do have flamingos in my garden. Plastic solar lights!!

 One of Carry's applique pieces.

 I think you can see we all had great fun.  I have 3 ex students coming over from the UK for the May weekend. It will be wonderful to see them. It must be 15 or so years since I have taught them. And they still speak to me!!!

If you are interested in any of the weekends - I can take up to 6 and there are plenty of local B and B's. If you come with your partner there are many opportunities to bird watch, walk, take photos, paint, go the pub, play golf. Whatever they fancy, leaving you to enjoy 2 days of play.


Sorry this is so long - thank you and well done if you have got this far!
Do please share this post if you enjoyed reading it. x
x x x

Hello Jill - love the new stitching.
Hello Diana -very many congratulations again. x
Hi Tod - hope this comes in OK. Sending love.