A new adventure has to start somewhere, it has a first step. But knowing the shape of that footprint has been something that had eluded me for quite a while, as I contemplated flowing from being an artist using paints and inks to a textile artist.
It’s hard to be the new girl again, to admit that I know so little about the technique and medium that I’m suddenly so passionate about. It’s harder still to move from small baby stitchings to my first pieces. I know what I want to say, but honestly, I have no idea how to say it.
I started learning a few stitch techniques with Sue Stone’s online course called Exploring Texture and Pattern, and that taught me to have discipline and focus in making stitch samples, and pushing textural boundaries. Hurrah, it was a beginning.
But there’s a real joy in meeting other artists in the flesh, and learning in an actual studio, so with this in mind I have enrolled onto Ruth Issett’s Crazy for Colour Class, held at Bobby Britnell’s studio and home in Clun, Shropshire.
What a whirlwind of colour and experimentation it has turned out to be, there is no time to mind too much about knowing not a great deal about the different silks and fabrics that we use. Like the witches of Cawdor we have been stirring pots of Procion dye around and around, exciting potions of pigment, ready to explode into our sketchbooks where we paintstakingly record their process and magical recipe.
It’s all quite addictive, and I am not sure what is going to happen next, what Ruth has up her sleeve. So far we have made dye samples, and tried space dyeing and dyeing threads. Next week is monoprinting directly onto fabric. She is charming, and knowledgeable and has a twinkle in her eye, its a pleasure to be in her class.
In fact the whole adventure of getting there – on winding back roads through deep Shropshire countryside – is a bit of journey, stopping to have porridge on the way, that I prepare in my camper van Maud.
I will report more of the journey soon. For now, it is a new and unexplored land, and exciting and bewildering experience. My first steps on the road already well travelled, a map well stitched..