Following so closely on the heels of my Susan Denton workshop you will think I am always doing workshops. This weekend I have had a tiring but fabulous time at a workshop with Angie Hughes organised by Nichola Keeble who runs the new(ish) company Stitch Retreats. The Retreat was held at Stoke Rochford Hall which used to be my old stomping ground 40 years ago when it was a teacher training college.
Hard to believe this beautiful building had been almost destroyed by fire about 10 years ago.
This beautiful Christmas tree in what used to be called the Crush Hall smelt beautiful.
We were so lucky with the weather all weekend and this was the distracting view from our seminar room.
Stoke Rochford sits in a beautiful parkland adjacent to a golf course and it was this rural location that attracted me when I was looking for a college in the 70's.
A lunchtime walk in the gardens revealed sculptural teasels and beautiful leaf shapes.
This fascinating glass fireplace dates to the early 20th century and must be beautiful with firelight flickering through the glass plates.
There were two classes running at the Retreat, our group with Angie Hughes and a second group with Mandy Pattullo. Our group was 7 strong including Angie so we were very select, compact and bijou as they say. It was lovely to have plenty of room to work and also to have lots of support from Angie who is a very relaxed and generous tutor.
Our workshop centred on exploring velvet and that proved to be in an exciting and interesting way. We worked with light coloured velvet and applied dyes, ink, bleach and stamps to it to gradually build up a base on which to work.
I explored several techniques that I havn't worked with much before and it was fascinating to see how different everyone's pieces were by the end of the weekend.
You can see that I was the rebel of the group, working in a landscape format instead of portrait and I chose to interpret an underwater theme rather than a garden. By this time we had added machine embroidery and I had cut back some of my sheer top layer as I wanted to see where I needed to add more stitch and maybe some more stamps. Just by coincidence, and probably because this venue was local to me, I had met 4 of the participants before, such is the small world of textile arts. It was fun to spend time with new people and to receive tuition from a lovely lady. I am going to do my best to finish my piece this week. Angie's piece is top left and was unfinished.
All of the work is beautiful and I loved seeing the way people combined the stencilled designs, stamps and colourways. You can see the fabulous and exotic flower forms and colours that were used. I hope I get to see some of the finished pieces some time.
You can see a short video of Angie's technique on Youtube and hear her beautiful singing voice.
We worked really hard over the weekend and enjoyed every minute of it. The other group with Mandy Pattullo worked equally hard, maybe even harder, and produced some fabulous work. We were invited to view their handiwork this afternoon.
Aren't these all fabulous? They must have worked very hard as this was all collaged tiny scraps of old clothing and was all worked by hand. If you know Mandy Pattullo's work you will recognise some of the creatures depicted. I particularly liked the fox (by Liz Hands, fancy her being there :-) ), the kingfisher and the blue hare.
I thoroughly enjoyed the whole weekend and it was wonderful to share this creative time with friendly people. Many thanks to Angie for all the information and techniques she shared with us and for making it a hardworking but relaxing and rewarding time. Thank you too to Nichola for all her hard work and her great sense of fun throughout the weekend. She worked really hard to ensure the hotel did everything to keep us happy and comfortable, not to mention well fed and watered. Keep your eye on Stitch Retreats, Nichola has not been trading long but she is working hard to provide satisfying stitchy breaks with excellent tutors.