Saturday, 20 April 2013

A New Approach

Some time ago I decided that something in my working life had to go. I love giving talks, I love teaching, I love producing Workshop on the Web and working with Michael Wicks on the d4daisy books is a blast. But it all combined to be greater than the sum of the time available and the decision was made (very reluctantly) to put a temporary stop on the teaching. I don’t seem to have any more time and I really miss teaching but an alternative has occurred to us and we road tested it in Wales on Thursday with around fifty participants.

I had such fun at Busy Bees in Newport and I think I have found a format that really works as an interesting and fun day. Taking the topic of Dissolvable Delights, the morning format was a talk, the first part of which covered stitching on Romeo-type film – lots of samples discussed and ideas passed on. Because we had all day it was a longer talk than usual with a coffee break halfway through. The second part looked at dissolvable paper and its role in mixed media. We also had a mini movie. Then we had a close look at the work I had brought and how it related to the talk. By then it was time for lunch. The venue was next to a National Trust property and also had a handy fish and chip shop – so lots of choice.

In the first part of the afternoon we split into two groups. I produced new work, sketchbooks and books for one group, who also had the chance to take photos and make notes of any of my textiles, like this sample of a water-soluble cast stamp stitched to a silk background.


I swept off the other group for a mixed media demo. We worked through the making of the little tower books which form one of the free online workshops for my Textile Translations book. I love making these, just as well as I have lost the originals and had to make more for this class! The triangular shapes have water-soluble paper casts, set into gesso and sprayed with strange substances.


Here you can see how well the paper can be moulded over an ammonite.


This time, I made little loose inserts for pages, attached by cords.


After this, we swapped groups before coming back together for a group session on oiled paper and a chance to ask questions about other aspects of mixed media.

Sue and Sandra at Busy Bees were wonderful and they had arranged volunteers to keep the tea, coffee and biscuits flowing. Small samples were distributed as parting gifts and everyone seemed hugely enthusiastic. I really hope to be able to repeat this as an alternative to a teaching day so I hope some of the West Country and Guild branches might take it up.

While sorting through my stuff I found this sample (right)  – another idea for using WS paper. Trap it between two layers of net and stitch auto patterns or text on top. Then partially dissolve the paper and squirt with a little paint. Would make a great background.



Thanks to Jaci, who I know follows my blog, for all the kind words you said about the Busy Bees day. It was great to meet you.

I am having fun, Dorothy. It is so good to finally feel better. Even managed to go to the singing group last week without coughing. I have furniture in the summer house (also from the garden centre) but this seems like too good a chance to miss to update it. 

I am sure you are all right and that I will love the conservatory. Great chance to have a whole new room without all the mess of an extension. It is booked for early July. I want it NOW but I think it is a good sign that the firm are pretty busy.



Heather said...

I loved making these little books from your free class and made several. The Busy Bees day sounds fantastic and a great idea for other venues around the area.
Glad you are feeling better and finding time to put your feet up in the sunshine.

liniecat said...

Im surpised youve ever had time to take a breath before now!
I guess your a victim of your own success lol so you deserve some breathing space finally and I hope the new working ideas work out well

Fibrenell said...

That sounds like a wonderful day for everybody. Can't imagine you taking it easy yet - you've too many great ideas.

PaulineC said...

For any groups thinking of taking up Maggie's offer of one of these days I would tell them not to hesitate but to go for it. I was lucky enough to be at Busy Bees for this and I can honestly say that it exceeded all my expectations. It was a fabulous day and everyone seemed to really enjoy it. Personally I took loads of photos and seeing the samples in real life rather than just as photos in a book was incredible.

Thanks to Maggie and Clive and of course to Sandra and Sue plus all their helpers for a truly great day.

Maggie Grey said...

Well, thank you Pauline. So glad you enjoyed it. I have just been putting away all the stuff and remembering what a good time I had. I have already had a booking for one of these days and we are back at Busy Bees next April with a new topic. Hope we see you then.

PaulineC said...

Thanks Maggie looking forward to next April then !

Kira said...

I'm so glad you came to busy Bees. It was a great day - really informative and fun. I hope other textile artists will follow your lead and do similar talk/demos.