Experimental Textiles - session 8 - Students choice!

One of Val's samples from the 'Backgrounds and Pretties' technique.

Session 8 of Experimental Textiles is a student choice. The groups negotiate with me what they would like to do - I become their resource. 
Half of the Thursday/Friday group wanted to catch up with workbooks and the other half wanted to try my 'backgrounds and pretties' technique. The Saturday/Sunday group just wanted do the 'backgrounds and pretties'.

But first it was time to look at the homework - this takes longer every session. It is a great opportunity for the groups to discuss the work with each other.
We had a great laugh when Kate brought in 'It'. We have christened it 'It' as we already have a 'Thing' by Rachael.

'It' by Kate.

'It' started life as a weaving supported on chicken wire that became rounded at Kate worked on it. She decided to make the piece totally enclosed and started to stitch into 'It'. 'It' is going to be heavily stitched, something that Kate enjoys doing in front of the TV. The joy of this type of work is that it isn't meant to look like anything. It just develops as you work.

'This, 'That' and 'The Other'!!!

On Saturday the weekend group showed their homework, most of them had seen 'It' on Facebook and were aware of the hilarity that had occurred when 'It' was unveiled. So it was with great aplomb that Alison introduced us first to 'This' and then 'That' and then, to roars of laughter . . 'The Other'. It is at such times that you know the groups have formed well, know each other - and me, very well.

Kate's homework also consisted of an interesting piece made of stones and wire.

Kate also developed a piece that incorporated Tyvek - very well.

Those of you who have done workshops with me that have included working with Tyvek, will know that I always warn that is has to be well disguised or it is too 'obvious'. Kate's work showed, very beautifully, how this can be done.

I haven't taken many photographs of the home work as I don't want to spoil the 'reveal' when show the groups work at their end of year show at the NEC next month.

The groups are working well, with each student working confidently by themselves. This is what I aim for, and am always so happy to see.

The weekend group working happily away - Val, Mary, Melissa and Alison . .

. . . and Trisha and Rachael.

Val playing with her papers.

Mary is working on a quilted version of her 'Journey', it is remarkable. It is unlikely to be finished in time for their show, but there will be enough done for you to appreciate it.

Mary and Val are doing the year again, they felt they needed more time to play and develop. It's not until you have finished the course that you realise you are really just beginning. I have booked out five weekends over the coming year so that students finishing this year can carry on working with me - I will take on more of a mentoring role. The group will be open to all ex Experimental Textiles students. It is my hope they will become an exhibiting group. Students finishing the course can choose to do the year again or go onto 'ExTeXtra'. 

It never occurred to me that a student might want to do the course again, but it has been very successful, helping to build confidence and further develop their personal 'style'.

Kate and Marilyn of the Thursday/Friday group . .

 . . and Caroline, Kate, Suzie and Jane.

Most of the students wanted to play with my 'Backgrounds and Pretties' technique. It a very relaxing technique as what you are layering up doesn't really have to look like anything -  you are 'designing through process'.


The groups had great fun playing with old papers and painted Bondaweb, along with gilding flake, glitter and transfer foil. These papers can then be ironed onto a suitable weight of iron-on interfacing for stitch, book covers . .  jewellery . . 

The workbooks are coming on well -

   This was Caroline's table at one point on Thursday.

The workbooks are always the stars of the students exhibition, the students put their heart and souls into them. Running Experimental Textiles as a non accredited course means the students don't have to tick boxes, I can work with each student and help them develop individually. The workbooks are not compulsory, I suggest the students keep them up, (and write them up) and boy do they. The standard is far higher than other courses I have taught that were accredited.

Some of Caroline's metal samples.

So - next week will be the final session for both groups - there will be lots of talk. Discussion on what I will choose to hang in the exhibition. How things have gone - how they will progress. I always stress to students that the course is for them. It is up to them whether spend their time developing samples or make a finished piece for the show. I support them in whichever choice they make.

There is some fascinating work in the pipeline, I am VERY excited. My problem will be having to choose only two or three pieces of work from each student - there wont' be enough room for more. It will be very hard to choose.

If you interested in the course  - it runs from June to March and we are enrolling for the next course now. The dates and details are here - www.experimentaltextiles.co.uk


I am starting to clear my studio, the first in a long line of clear outs ready for my move in the summer. I have decided to delay putting the house on the market. I will wait to have my knee done - then do it. Not even I can do everything at once!!!

I am teaching a one day workshop on Saturday in Newbury for the Embroiderers Guild. It's one I had to postpone from a year ago. 
It's Scrumptious Spunbond (Lutradur) - we should have a great time playing with heat guns and soldering irons. I will report back.

Have a great weekend - when it gets here.

x x x x


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