I teach a variety of workshops. No one needs to be an expert to take these. My intent is to share my process so that students can adapt it for themselves. I do demos, put up slide shows, bring examples and share my misadventures. Embroidery/textile can proceed so slowly, I feel it's important to think through an idea, to do some planning, even though each piece will take on a life of its own. We brainstorm, have fun, and students do remarkable work.
Mappa! 3 Days
“Mappa” is Latin for a square of cloth, and is the perfect vehicle for describing any kind of voyage. Each student will produce 3 small “samplers” that address aspects of both cartography and textile techniques in preparation for beginning a larger map that may continue to evolve. Looking at a range of historical maps and contemporary artists’ versions, we will discuss their forms and meanings. From global data visualization to a trip around the kitchen, maps are about narrative. What to include, what to leave out? This workshop will encourage an increased awareness of our own pathways –either remembered, imagined or projected– and develop a personal textile language to express them. Beginning with small, hand-drawn maps we will discuss the workings of space, line, and symbols. Techniques include simple surface design, hand embroidery and appliqué techniques. Beginners and up.
Obsessive Chain Stitch 1 or 2-days
Chain stitch is often used to embroider a line, but when it is packed together it becomes opulent, almost iridescent. Varying the thickness, direction and shading of threads, this workshop approaches how to achieve a sense of motion and depth. Embroidering in solid chain stitch is a sedimentary process requiring some simple drawing and planning. The way the stitches “travel” and overlap is important. After making a sampler exploring various thicknesses of thread and colour gradations, students will undertake a credit-card sized piece. We will explore which images are most suitable for this technique, and how to plan the work. Students will see a variety of images and original work including ways of finishing and presenting their pieces. This workshop is open to beginners and more experienced embroiderers looking to add skills to their repertoire.
Scenic collage 2-3 days
We will explore how textiles can create representational landscapes in collage imagery. Each student will produce 2 small “sampler” collages and design/begin a 12 x 18” piece that may continue to evolve.
The illusion of depth and light through collage depends on one’s sensitivity to the materials and the order in which they are assembled. We will discuss how to get the most from specific fabrics, how layers can evoke depth, and where to invest the greatest details and time. We will explore how textiles can evoke many kinds of surfaces, weather, light and atmospheric moods. Embroidery stitches covered will be simple and versatile. Using examples of my own and others’ works, we will discuss ways to compose an image for impact and meaning. Depth, colour, and line follow. Collage can make it easy to see the whole image before committing to it, but establishing a focus and order to the work helps to direct material choices and planning. We will work by hand throughout this workshop but will discuss where machine sewing would be useful. Beginners and up.
The Postcard 2 – 3 hours
In this workshop, we will explore a variety of fabrics that we can use to build a postcard-sized image. After making a simple drawing, we will discuss ways to translate it into cloth. Using a simple but versatile “in and out” stitch, we will hand sew our little scenes with special attention to the colour and density of stitches. We will stiffen the piece and line the back, and you will have a postcard to frame, wrap or mail. Good for beginners.