When I feel the need for a little ‘me time’, I book myself onto a craft, art or textile workshop. Excitement builds as the date on the calendar approaches and I receive the list of requirements. I gather together bits and pieces from my stash, hopefully having a theme in mind. Then add some more stuff ‘just in case’ and then a bit more. Inevitably though, the exact button, bead, fabric or whatever it is that would have been perfect will still be at home, along with the packed lunch I forgot.
Those massive canvas bags from supermarkets with the flat bottoms are strong and ideal for lugging your stuff around, and you know you have arrived at the right location when you see a bunch of eager ladies laden with two or three of these, overflowing with gubbins and trailing bits of thread.
‘Print, Collage, Stitch’ was a day workshop with textile artist Anne Brooke. We would produce wall hangings by hand printing papers, attaching them together and embellishing.
The printing part was great fun. We carved our own stamps and used them along with ready-made blocks on a variety of textured papers, such as maps, glossy magazines and wallpaper. I particularly enjoyed working so freely and layering print over print, enthusiastically churning out a deep stack of printed papers.
Once dry we selected our favourite areas to collage. I had brought along some stamps of exotic birds left over from a previous project that I was keen to incorporate. Finally we added stitched embellishment.
When I attend a workshop, though it’s nice to go home with a completed item, I really see it as an opportunity to learn a new technique and generate ideas. Without fail, someone will announce at the end how amazing it is that from the same starting point, everyone ends up with something so different and that’s true.
One of my favourite tips from the day was not to fight against the colours you are drawn to. This is a really good point I think, especially if you are creating something for yourself that you will want to keep. When you are investing time making something, you’ll be spending hours looking at and handling it, so it is important to keep your senses happy.
Anne Brooke’s lovely work and details of her courses can be found on her blog http://h-anne-made.blogspot.co.uk
She also has a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/hannemade