Playing with silk paper in 2 and 3 dimensions. ExTex 4 - February 6th & 7th.

 Nadines and Anna's vessels.

 The past weekend was the 8th and penultimate session of Experimental Textiles 4. Their final session is next month so the energy within the group is starting to change. You get the impression the girls are starting to put their shoulders back and their chins up, ready for the last push. Their end of year show will be at the NEC at The Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch Show in March.

As the course is not accredited, there is no pressure for the group to finish anything. They can concentrate on their work books and develop some of their samples from the course. It is up to them.
Because of this I find the work and the course workbooks are generally of a higher standard than students who are on accredited courses that have to tick boxes. We have much more freedom and we self moderate. Having taught both types of course - I know which I prefer . . . 

 Catherine's cake. A great start to the weekend. Delicious.

We had some very exciting news on Saturday morning, one of the group has got into a foundation arts course at Hereford College of Arts. She is retiring from a stressful job teaching - to become an art student. She passed the interviews with flying colours. I believe her course work from Experimental Textiles was much admired. You have never seen such a beaming smile on a girls face. She is so excited. I can't name her here, she hasn't told her school yet!

The last 2 sessions of Experimental Textiles are student choice. The group can negotiate what they do - some like to develop samples further or finish writing up their course workbooks. We decided to have the Saturday working with silk paper and the Sunday on their course work. Most of the students are in full or part time work and need some time to catch up.

 Gorgeous packs of silk from Oliver Twists.

All you need to make silk paper is silk fibres, CMC paste (from Art Van Go), protection for your table, a 'J' cloth and net. The net can be net curtain, tutu net, or small mesh plastic net. There will find loads of videos on YouTube showing you the details. It's bit like making papier mache.

We started by making paper first, once you know how little silk you need you  can plough on making vessels and and bowls. You simply layer the silk fibre with the CMC paste and allow it to dry thoroughly, you can then peel your paper off the net.

 A few of the papers

 We used plastic bowls and vases as the moulds to make the 3D pieces. CMC paste resists plastic so you don't need to use cling film as a resist. It doesn't work with ceramic or glass moulds. Once dry all the way through, the silk should slip off the bowls very easily. Tall, straight sided vessels take a bit more encouragement, but they come off eventually.

 Caroline's bowl.

 Nadine starting on her vessel.

 Catherine just beginning her vessel. Starting to paste the silk fibres onto a plastic beaker.

 Some of the group getting stuck in.

Jackie started her bowl . .

 . . And then carried on with more - and more silk fibre decoration. 
It will take ages to dry out - but it will be worth it.

 Karen's bowl and a few of her twisted paper treasures.

 I think this was another of Nadines vessels.

 2 more of Jackie's bowls. Looking at developing the edges.

A selection of the vessels and bowls.

The homework for this session is to stitch into the silk and get all their course work up to date. At the next and final session the group will be bringing all of their work, I will be choosing the work that will be going into the end of year show. It is very exciting - but also a bit sad. The end of another course.

The next course of 9 weekends for Experimental Textiles 5 will start in June this year and end in March 2017. This will be the last time I teach this course in the 9 weekend format. If you are interested we have started taking enrollments. The maximum number for the group will be 10. Have a look at the websites - 
To enroll phone 01527 69100 or email

If you have any questions about the course then do email me at

x x x

So I am back with a vengeance with lots to do this week. I am looking forward to the weekend when I will be back up in Redditch for the last session of ExTeXra. This group is comprised of Experimental Textiles 3 students that finished in March 2015. They are creating fabulous work. 
I am currently trying to find any spare weekends, when I can offer the same to the current group.

Have a great week all of you, I will report back on the ExTeXtra weekend when I get back next week.   

x x x

Hello Diana, well done on a fabulous show, Hello Jill, are you relaxing yet? Hello Tod - oh lovely one - and of course - Denise!!


  1. Finish on Thursday, so a week and a day. Busy throwing things out and having a good old sort! Talk to you soon xxx


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