Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Workshop Fun Day

Today my friend Ann and I finally managed to get to a workshop we had been planning since before Christmas. We had to cancel it because Ann's ME flared up and laid her low and I had that yucky virus. Anyway, on another beautiful sunny morning we headed off to Patchings Art Centre for a workshop on Textile Design and Fabric Painting with the very lovely Jo LLoyd whose day job is making Hand Crafted Wool Rugs.
Jo showed us some of her work and also discussed how she starts to look for inspiration from things around her or from photographs of surfaces that have textures that appeal to her. I began to see that Jo is attracted to the same kinds of shapes and patterns that I like.
We started by doodling from a selection of objects that Jo had put out on the table. Simple things like open seed pods, poppy seed heads, a wooden cat ornament, a circular dress brooch, a silk lily flower, cocktail umbrella. My doodles were a little tentative but I did feel I was gradually loosening up.

The stars above were the pattern on the top of a poppy seed head. The circle of circles came from a brooch and the octagons were from the stones in the brooch.

The shapes in the very poor photo above came from a silk lily flower including the markings on the petals.
The next step was to take elements from our doodles and take them a step further. I'm not sure whether I can explain this adequately without a visual example but I didn't have time to stop to take photos at the time. Ok, I'll try. We took a sheet of carbon paper and laid it face down on a sheet of paper. Then, we folded the sheet of paper with the carbon paper in half and half again so that the carbon paper was on the inside.

On one face of the folded paper, with a pen, we drew our design (doodle). I decided to use the octagons and you can see the result (a bit scrappy). It's the same principle as cutting out dancing dolls so that whatever you draw comes out in quadruple
Jo suggested that we try different ways of folding the paper and also that I try one of the curvier forms I had been exploring.

As you can see I folded this piece vertically and used parts of the lily flower. I liked this design and I also liked the empty space which balances the design.

In this example I folded the page in fours and then folded it diagonally and used the lily design again. As you can see I needed to press harder with the pen for the design to come through fully.

I then decided to go back to the circles doodle. I folded the page and carbon paper in four and then folded that again vertically. The colour was put on after the next drawing was done as I didn't like this drawing as much as the next one so I thought I would use it as a practice piece. (Are you keeping up?! Hehehe!)

This was my final design which I tried to keep simple and uncluttered, and it got me away from my love of straight lines.
Now I've got this far I can show you a photo of us working, well, not me working, I was taking the photo!

You can see examples of Jo's beautiful rugs on the wall.
As you can see we painted our final designs on silk - well, voile to be precise. I have never done any silk painting so I was on a steep learning curve. We attached the silk to the frame, one pin in each corner, pulling the silk taut, and then one pin in the middle of each side and one pin in the middle of each quarter again, all the while pulling the silk taut. We placed the design underneath the frame and drew the design onto the silk in gold thick Pilot pen. All that was left then was to paint it! A little silk paint goes a long way. We brushed the paint onto the silk and let it spread a bit, then washed the paintbrush and coaxed the paint to the edge of the space. Where I wanted to blend two colours I placed the first colour on and then painted up to it with the second colour.

You can see the arrangement of the pins in the photo above.

This is the final piece and I'm quite proud of it! I've already got some silk paints at home so I will definitley be doing some more of this. I feel as though I have got a lot out of this workshop. It has opened my mind up to a way of designing which I am sure can be applied to other types of work in the textile field and it has also made me realise that a lot can come out of doodling from everyday objects or the many photographs of surfaces that I have. Bring on the 48 hour day!! :)) Of course you are not obliged to do the carbon paper thing but it was a useful way of expanding our design and saving time too.
Thank you, Jo for a great fun learning day.


artisbliss said...

Wow, you did have a productive day. I love your final product and appreciate you taking us through the steps. And good for you pushing your own personal limits!

Guzzisue said...

Looks like you had a great day at Patchings. Could try doing a similar thing on the computer although I remember using tracing paper to do it for C&G

sharon young said...

Hi Julie
What a fab day out! I've done similar exercises to this with a friend who gave us some wonderful workshops, but I've never done this one before. Thanks for a great tutorial , I'll definitely have a go at this, and the end result is gorgeous, love the colours.

The Wittering Rainbow said...

What a lovely piece - love the colours. It sounds as if you had a lot of fun.