Monday, March 21, 2011
I spent last weekend running a silk painting workshop at Nature In Art. It's a wonderful place in a beautiful location. No doubt some reading this blog would consider Stroud rural but we live on the edge of the town, at a crossroads, and consider ourselves to be pretty urban. The minute you get out of the car at Nature In Art, though, you know you are in the country.
As I've mentioned here before, I've been Artist In Residence there a few times, I've run a silk-painting workshop there before and have done the Christmas Craft Fair a couple of times too. It's a place I feel really at home in as most of my textiles work is inspired by natural themes.
I've only been doing workshops for a few years. All the time I was teaching youngsters I didn't really want to add any more teaching to my working life but soon after I stopped, was persuaded to try a workshop and found I really love doing them. I've always enjoyed teaching people things but I suppose in the latter years of my teaching work it was usually more a case of teaching the young people, and the things were not necessarily the things I felt most passionate about. This way, though, I get to work with other people, which is lovely, and I get to be enthusiastic about textiles and colour and other things that inspire me, which is the icing on the cake.
This particular course had a relatively low number of students and I wasn't sure what to expect of that. As it turned out, it was a really enjoyable weekend and we all seemed to get on very well. Obviously my role is to advise and support individual projects as well as teach the skills needed but it's always good when the students end up supporting each other. This was one such group.
Because we were a small group we could also all join in one conversation so at coffee and lunch breaks we got onto other subjects and got to know each other further that way.
Everyone expressed satisfaction with the workshop (phew! :) ) and I think most of them are interested enough to do some more silk painting in future. That's one of the best bits for me. Above all, I do want people to enjoy what they're doing. Silk painting is a really absorbing activity. By the time we got to the afternoons, nobody wanted to take a break in the cafe and seeing everyone so inspired was really satisfying.
Some people use patterns I take along, or use designs from books and others develop a more freestyle approach. Nearly always, as in this last workshop, people play with colour, which is of course what I really love, and silk painting is an ideal medium for exploring it. Sometimes it's a case of experimenting with blending colours, sometimes trying out unfamiliar colours but nearly always the way colour has been used turns out to be the key to the pieces produced.
Because there were only four of them, in no particular order, the pictures here show the work produced by my weekend students, with thanks for being such an enjoyable group to work with.