On Saturday my long awaited workshop with Ruth Issett arrived and I travelled down to Art & Stitch at Peterborough bright and early. As ever Angela's lovely DH came to the station to pick me up so I didn't have the hassle of getting a bus to the studio. There were 9 of us for the workshop and that turned out to be a good number with enough space for everyone to work comfortably.
We had an extremely busy Saturday as you can see by the small selection of work above.
Above are my early attempts at printing with various blocks and a roller. If you are familiar with Ruth's work you will know that she often works in layers and this was a theme for the day. We used fabric paints to print onto the fabric and these dried quickly enough for us to be able to work on top of the initial images. We started with monoprints, making marks into a print plate (in this case a piece of plastic sheet) and then printing onto the fabric. We then moved onto the print blocks and had a great time experimenting. Many of the blocks were Ruth's own made from all kinds of everyday materials including plastic drawer lining and string.
As you can see Angela kept us well supplied with tea all weekend! :o) I had great fun with printing from blocks and then making prints from the roller after it had 'inked up' the block. We made our own blocks from funky foam (shapes in my case) and a rather unpromising block made a fantastic abstract pattern when the print was taken from the roller.
The rather scruffy print above was made using the negative print effect from the roller. The following photos are the work of the other ladies at the workshop.
Saturday was rounded off with a little dyeing which became our homework for the evening, rinsing and drying.
Sunday morning I woke to snow!! And it meant it, at least for a few hours. Fortunately everyone, including Ruth who had an hours' drive to get to the studio, managed to make it for our second busy day. The day was devoted to further experimenting with Markal sticks and with dyeing and with further experimenting with the techniques we had been learning over the course of the weekend.
The image above doesn't give a very true picture of what the fabric looks like but this is one of my pieces after the dyes had been painted on. The white areas in this photo are not so prominent in real life but adding white paint to some of the prints did mean that they showed up well once the dye was added.
I am really pleased with this piece above and you can see how the white paint makes the lighter areas float over the background. Of course, today it is not as bright as I have now washed all the excess dye out.
I had an amazing time with the workshop and Ruth was a very disciplined and supportive teacher. The workshop was full-on though and it's the first time I have ever tackled a 2 day workshop. I thought I had coped well until yesterday afternoon when everything caught up with me and I pretty much deflated like a balloon and felt dreadful. My DH had to take over cooking dinner which I struggled to eat and I retreated to bed for an early night. Today I had a duvet morning with an enjoyable book and I am now feeling more like myself. I've even managed to wash out all the dyed fabrics I brought home but I was too late to photograph them today so I'll save that for next time. Tomorrow hopefully.
If you have been tempted to try a workshop with Ruth, she is sharing a 3 day workshop with Bobby Britnell this Spring and there is still time to book. You can find the details here. I have no affiliation by the way!