A whole new world

We’ve all watched Escape To The Country and that’s what my husband and I did. When I first moved here to the beautiful heart of Wales, I had been a teacher for twenty plus years with little time for anything other than work.  At first the chance to have a bit of peace and quiet, take walks in the countryside and read my way through a list of books I’d never got around to filled my days. But after a while I was bored with all that. Plus, when you’re new to an area you need to get out and make a new network of friends.

So one day I spotted a two day willow basket -making workshop at a place called The Minerva Arts Centre which was in our nearest town just four miles away.  The basket making was a disaster – weaving willow was not for me I’m afraid. But what an amazing place I had found!  As someone who had done a bit of patchwork and quilting many moons ago the weekly quilting group, Welsh Heritage Quilters, gave me a chance to not only brush up on my old skills but to build a social life too. And then I discovered the workshops run by the Quilt Association which opened up a whole new world of creative possibilities for me.   I’ve always loved sewing and I’ve also always painted and sketched when time allowed.  Over the last couple of years I’ve been on several workshops at Minerva that have combined my love of sewing and art. Fabric, paints, colour.  What’s not to like!!! This is the journey I’ve been on so far.

In 2015 I went on a workshop tutored by Deborah O’Hare. We learned lots of different techniques for painting fabric and came away with lots of samples, some of which I’ve recently used on a World War One themed piece. Deborah will be back at Minerva on 26th July to teach a workshop called Layers and Shadows

Last March, I did a Print and Stitch workshop with Linda Paris where we used thermofax screens to print onto both commercially produced and hand dyed fabric.  Again, I’m still using up some of the samples we made that day on my WW1 piece. And the little thermofax screen of a stag I bought from Linda was used to make my Christmas cards last year.  I don’t think Linda is teaching any longer but her legacy lives on.

Below are a couple of photos which show an example of the painted landscape backgrounds I did with Deborah O’Hare.  The top one has been incorporated into a piece about World War One and the one below has a thermofax print on top, done with Linda Paris.

In May we held a Spring School tutored by Hilary Beattie. Hilary has a lot of followers and the course was full before I tried to book so I had to make do with looking at her work in our Spring Exhibition which featured work by the group Art Textiles:Made in Britain, of which Hilary is a member. I then discovered she has a whole series of videos on YouTube so I was able to watch and learn. Until I did that I’d never heard of acrylic wax or gelatos. Thanks, Hilary!

In August I did a fantastic two day workshop with Bobby Britnell,  a wonderful teacher who gives her students so much confidence to try new things.  What I took from those two days was an absolute passion for mono printing and, in particular, making my own stamps. I cannot tell you how much pleasure this new technique has given me.  I learned so much from Bobby – I am like a woman possessed. This was followed by a two day workshop in November led by Ruth Issett, Ruth is the absolute hero of many a would-be textile artist because of the way she uses colour in her work.  From her I learned how to improve my work with mono printing by overdyeing with procion dyes and how to be brave with colour.  The workshop was such an enjoyable one – one of my fellow students was beyond excited at the start of the second day (yes you, Lynda!).

Foam print blocks I made after my workshop with Bobby Britnell.

Mono prints in my sketch book using the foam blocks.

Mono prints on cotton fabric, waiting to be overdyed.

Mono printing and overdyeing done on Ruth Issett’s workshop.

Both Bobby and Ruth are members of the Textile Study Group , ‘a group of nationally and internationally recognised textile artists and tutors, well known for innovative and challenging approaches to art practice and contemporary teaching.’ We are so pleased to be one of the venues for their touring exhibition, DIS/rupt, which opens here at Minerva Arts Centre on 21st April. As part of our Spring Exhibition series of workshops, Bobby will be tutoring a half day workshop , Barking Up The Right Tree, for us on 8th May, and Ruth will be here on 25th May to lead a half day workshop called Disrupting Repetitive Pattern. We are also delighted to welcome Sarah Burgess, another member of TSG, on 28th April for a day workshop entitled Lost And Found.

This has been a long (and quite personal) post for me but I wanted to share with you how much being part of the Quilt Association means to me.  As a group of trustees we are passionate about what we do.  We take our responsibilities as curators of the building and conservators of the quilts we care for very seriously but we also have a commitment to sharing the very best practice in quiltmaking and textile art through the medium of our workshops programme.

If you haven’t been on one of our workshops before please give it a go!! I promise you that you will learn so much and have a fabulous time. We are in a beautiful part of the country and many of our course participants bring their ‘other half’ along. There’s plenty for them to do – walking, fishing, cafes, trains!!!

We look forward to seeing you soon.

 

Confessions of a blogger

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since my last blog post.  The thing is, I had so much fun on the last two QA workshops I went on, that I’ve been too busy using my new found skills to get on with what I’m supposed to be doing.  It’s called displacement activity and I’m guilty as charged.   After learning how to print using thermofax screens with Linda Paris, and then doing some block printing with Bobby Britnell I’m afraid I’m hooked.  Sorry 🙁

But on the plus side, my Christmas cards are coming along a treat!!!

Anyway, just to let you know that the information about Bethan Ash’s workshop is now on the website, plus details of a workshop by Jane Davies which is coming up next April.  Don’t tell anyone else yet, but there’ll soon be details on the website of a workshop by Deborah O’Hare too!!

Our programme for 2018 is now complete and our bookmarks, which we use to promote all of our exhibitions and events at the Minerva Arts Centre, are just off to the printers.  I’m really pleased to say that we have something to interest everyone.  An event new for us next year is an exhibition of the work of the talented students at our local secondary school, Llanidloes High.  Some of the QA trustees visited last year to look at the work of their GCSE and A level Art students and were so impressed we felt it deserved a wider audience.  We hope that some of them will go on to further study and begin to use textiles in their work.

That’s all for now.  I solemnly promise to blog more regularly. Unless I get distracted……

Linda Paris Print and Stitch Workshop Day 2

Although this two day workshop was entitled Print and Stitch, we were all so keen to carry on working with the thermofax screens that very little stitching got done at all, except by Linda who demonstrated how she puts her pieces of work together.  This included an insight into the design process which many of us felt was really helpful.  Looking at the course participants you could see a variety of distinct themes and colour palettes being developed as the day went on.

I think what all of us appreciated most was Linda’s generosity.  She shared her skills, ideas, techniques, skills, fabric and equipment so willingly.  She was also very generous with her time, supporting everyone individually whilst at the same time allowing us free rein to just get on in whatever direction we chose.  The atmosphere in the room was amazing –  a group of people sharing time, space and equipment very harmoniously and getting lots done.  Thank you so much, Linda.  You were an inspiration!

Linda Paris Print and Stitch Workshop – Day 1

What a great start to this two day workshop!!  Those of us who attended had such a fabulous time using thermofax screens to print on paper and fabric (and ourselves!). The excitement in the room was palpable once Linda (above) began to show us what the possibilities were, using both ink and discharge paste to create our images.  Everyone was keen to try out the wide variety of screens that Linda had brought with her and once we got into the swing of it there was often complete silence in the room, so absorbed were we in our work.  We ate lunch ‘on the hoof’ and the tea trolley was rather neglected as everyone wanted to produce as much as possible in the time available.  Here are some photos of the day:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t worry ladies!!  If I didn’t catch you on camera today I’ll rectify that on Day 2 on Tuesday.  Now that we kind of know what we’re doing, we’ve got a few days to let our ideas coalesce ready for our final designs.  Watch this space.

Spring forward

Well, the clocks went forward last weekend and doesn’t it make a difference!  More daylight hours to do all the things we’ve been putting off and hopefully a bit of sunshine to do them in.  I’m getting this blog post down now because I know that, come tomorrow evening (given my inability to keep myself clean) I will be up to my elbows in printing ink after the first day of Linda Paris’ Print and Stitch workshop.  I can’t wait to get started and I’ll keep you updated at the weekend on progress so far. Then on Tuesday we’re going to be putting some stitch to fabric.  We still have room to squeeze you in if you want to come.

Saturday sees the opening of our first Vintage Fair of the year which runs from 1st – 12th April.  It always amazes me how many things are there that I have to restrain myself from buying.  If I got my act together I could probably fill my own stand.  For any fan of all things vintage it’s like an Aladdin’s cave of treasures: china, clothing, books, records, furniture, jewellery – the list is endless.  Come and see for yourself.  Open every day except Sundays.

Our next workshop will be the one tutored by Rosie James on 6th May and we still have places but they’re filling up fast.  Likewise the ones led by Cas Holmes, Hilary Beattie and Sylvia Paul.  If you’re interested in those and our summer workshops (Ruth Singer and Bobby Britnell) see our Workshops page for more details and information on how to book.

 

Workshops

We still have some places left on two workshops at the Minerva Arts Centre in Llanidloes, which is currently a very blustery place as Storm Doris passes through but will undoubtedly be bathed in sunshine when the workshops take place!!

The first workshop opportunity is a two-day event led by Linda Paris on 31st March and 4th April.  Called Print and Stitch, the workshop will (on day one) give you techniques for successful printing with Thermofax screens.  On day two you will work with your printed fabric to produce a finished item.

The second workshop is on Saturday May 6th with Rosie James, is called Photo:Stitch and during the day you will learn to make a stitched drawing from a photograph – great fun which could turn into a family heirloom!

 

Full details of both on our Workshops page.

For more information about Linda Paris click here

For more information about Rosie James click here 

Reasons to be cheerful

What a gloomy time we’re having here. Although the cold snap saw very low temperatures, at least the clear skies meant that the sun was able to show his face a little. Now it’s warmer but overcast, the sky a never-ending wash of grey. But cheer up!! Here at the Quilt Association we have lots to look forward to in the first few months of 2017.

Our first exhibition of the year opens on March 8th, is called Passion for Fashion and consists of an inspirational collection of clothes by a group of innovative designers. I’ll give you more details nearer the time. That runs until March 22nd. Then on March 25th it is World Textile Day here at the Minerva Arts Centre. This is always a very busy, popular day when we welcome visitors from far and wide to view stunning woven, printed and embroidered fabrics from around the world and buy scrumptious things from the Fair Trade market. There’s also a presentation, at 11am, by Liz Beasley of Añañuca Chilean Textiles called Dyeing to Weave: Of Spiders, Plants and Pigments in Chile. Sounds fascinating! Here’s a link to their website: http://www.worldtextileday.co.uk

 

A selection of items in the Fair Trade market in 2016

 

 

 

 

On the workshop front we begin with a two day workshop led by Linda Paris called Print and Stitch which will give participants the opportunity to learn the techniques of thermofax printing and to create a unique stitched item. The first day of the workshop is on 31st March with the follow-up day on 4th April. More details here: http://www.quilt.org.uk/index.php?topic=workshopdetail&id=103&year=

 

 

 

Here’s an example of Linda Paris’ work from her website  http://www.linda-paris.co.uk

Gorgeous!!

 

Our second workshop of the year follows on 8th April when Sandy Craig will be giving some lucky people an Introduction to lino printing. Details here: http://www.quilt.org.uk/index.php?topic=workshopdetail&id=102&year=

I’ve always wanted to have a go at lino printing.  Let’s hope I survive it with all fingers intact.

It’s going to be a busy few weeks and we’re so looking forward to welcoming you all to the Minerva Arts Centre.