I think I may have mentioned our trip to Lancashire and the fact that it was prompted by the lure of a workshop with Shelley Rhodes. I had seen Shelley's work at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace last year and hoped that her workshop would challenge me and lead me on in my quest for better self expression in my textile work.
Shelley has a spacious and welcoming studio in the beautiful countryside near Carnforth Lancashire.
The studio is the main building with roof fanlights and is a lovely stone building with exposed wood rafters. I think there were 8 of us for the workshop but the day was so busy that there was barely time to say hi.
The workshop was titled 'Fabulous Fragments' and before we went Shelley asked us to collect items from which to work in a small box and to photograph them in various groupings and print off A4 images. It didn't take much thought for me to decide to take a selection of beach finds.
We went through a series of hectic exercises to enable us to study a selected item and consider the marks it revealed and also to produce papers from which to work later and to distress some of the printed images.
We had a brainstorming session so that we could introduce ourselves and say what had interested us by our chosen 'fragments'. I settled on working with the greeny shell in the box and I also used the encrusted piece of plastic I found on the beach in Cornwall some time ago.
From the shell I made marks on a piece of paper I had constructed but I didn't think to photograph it in its entirety before I cut into it later. The following photographs pretty much show the whole piece but in sections.
Some of the marks above were already on the papers I used. The dark ink marks and various pastel marks were part of the process. We also started to join pieces of prepared papers and fabrics together to work towards either a finished piece or a series of small pieces,
These holes were meant to echo the holes in the plastic and would reveal the underlying layers when used in a piece of work.
The final piece is made up of linen, a piece of my printed paper, hand made paper and tracing paper and was worked into with stitch. Clearly it needs a lot more work and will probably remain as a sample. Shelley suggested that I grow it vertically and I may do that when I have the time to work with it further.
At Shelley's suggestion I used 'L-shapes' to isolate areas of the larger piece of constructed paper and came up with some interesting sections which were attached to a backing with tiny gold pins, a tiny piece of the encrusted plastic being added as a unifying link.
I think the top photo is upside down but it sort of works either way. I think these warrant further work and may even develop into larger textile pieces. I'm not sure how big the last image will enlarge to but I was fascinated to see the detail in the plastic after I took the photo. The shapes there are reminiscent of stitch and take me back to micro to macro of Jo Budd's workshop last year at Summer School.
We also made time for a little monoprinting on lens tissue and other surfaces exploring our marks further
No time to include these in any work on the day but potential nonetheless.
I am still digesting everything we did on the day but I have lots of ideas to take forward. The workshop was full on and two days would have been wonderful but I was glad I made the journey. Shelley is a calm yet stimulating teacher and it would be great to work with her again to develop some of these ideas.
More from Lancashire and two beautiful Arts and Crafts houses soon.