Developing new ideas from old textiles

On Friday I made a cross country journey to Norwich to take a weekend workshop with textile artist Cas Holmes run by Anglia Leisure Learning. We started in the evening with the usual introductions; to the course, to each other and to Cas who gave us a demonstration on how to change the properties of paper.

Saturday morning started with a second demonstration by Cas – she gave these periodically throughout the weekend with the rest of the time visiting us in turn to see what we were doing, to offer us advice when needed along with a little theory on colour and composition – always urging us to explore the material properties of what we were using and to work ethically.P1000563

My chosen piece of fabric – stitched, swapped with my table buddy for her to stitch then an added piece donated by Cas. I struggled with the addition as didn’t like the colour or design – the worst of the 1970s.P1000564

Everyone’s work was laid out for perusal, then cut.

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Going onto changing the colour of the fabric – I only had my water soluble pencils so my palette was limited.P1000569

But a jar with a little coffee in it for some paper colouring.
P1000573By the end of a very long day I had arrived at a ‘thing’ using altered papers, fabric and hand stitching.
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A black and white image to evaluate the tonal qualities

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This lady’s face bugged me – I thought I’d excluded her from the border.
P1000570 A lunchtime walk in the countryside – the leaves and lichen blurred into an abstract view.
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Time to machine stitch – as I had only red thread that’s what I used.

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I started to play with the size of the piece – what to leave and what to include.

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The lady covered up, the wisteria pulled out and the left side cut off.

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The finished piece – I hand stitched some of the notes made during the workshop. It will be kept as a sampler of the techniques but overall I’m dissatisfied with the outcome. I prefer to consider my work more – from the outset I didn’t like the fabric, I had few tools to alter the colours and not sufficient extra supplies to call upon. Maybe if I’d been more prepared I would have taken suitable supplies but I was limited to what I could carry on the train. However I enjoyed the process, the tuition was great and the company fun.

Here are the results from other members of the course.

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All of what Cas shared with us is in The Found Object in Textile Art but her  book contains even more.

The workshop was a metaphor………I think periodically we all need to look through an altered viewfinder and  mix things up in order to re-evaluate our own lives to keep things fresh.

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