Thursday, 24 June 2010

Exhibition by Kathy Henderson in Cambridge

Kathy Henderson, who has joined our print workshops with Richard Bawden this year at BAC, has an exhibition opening at the Primavera Gallery, 10 King's Parade in Cambridge this weekend.
Her illustrations for her book 'The Storm' which are for sale are just beautiful, so evocative that you can feel the wind whistling around you and hear all the sounds of the approaching storm. No wonder it was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Prize. The exhibition is on till the end of August and not to be missed I feel.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Jean Littlejohn and 'Waterscapes in Creative Textiles'

We recently welcomed Jean Littlejohn back to BAC for Waterscapes in Creative Textiles. Her annual visit is always eagerly anticipated. She is such an innovative textile artist and she enthused one and all with her energy and vision.
We knitted or crocheted small pieces in a variety of yarns which were then felted into submission under the needles of the embellishing machines to make our own unique backcloths. Very satisfying! If you haven't yet met an embellishing machine, I can highly recommend it; a great innovation and addition to textile technology and simpler to use than a sewing machine.
We then worked on these cloths with a wide variety of yarns and threads to develop our designs.
Our choice of materials was greatly enhanced by the kind sponsorship of Coats UK who sent us a wonderful selection of yarns and threads to help us explore our theme. As our stitching progressed, the embellishers and felting needles came in to play to embed stitches and enhance with sheer fabrics, ribbon, tape etc.
The second project explored further the theme of water, using sheer fabrics to create a multi-layered cloth which could then be detailed with stitch and embellishment. The results were absolutely unique and stunning, and set us up with a wide diversity of avenues to pursue......can't wait.
We are so grateful to Jean for her unstinting inspiration and look forward to her next visit to BAC in 2011 at the end of September, when she will help us to take 'A Fresh Look At Flowers'.
We are already taking deposits for this course, and also for Jan Beaney's course on the theme of 'Trees' and Ewa Kuniczak's two felting courses. Get in touch with me, Kit Calladine, for further information.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

The amazing things you can do in felt

Isn't it stunning what you can make out of wool fibres!
Ewa Kuniczak has once more cast her spell over the studio at Dilham and the gorgeous pieces that were made amazed one and all - lots of laughter too at some very witty results. On the Friday we were treated to a day workshop entitled 'Precious Purses and Pockets with Poetic Licence'. Ewa brought along her wonderful bag that she had made with many pockets, inspired by the nursery poem 'Winken Blinken and Nod'. I wish I could post all the purses and pockets that evolved over the day, but here are two to make you smile; Marilyn, a complete beginner to felt making with her pansy purse and Diane's pocket for her copy of 'Warning - when I am an old woman I shall wear purple'!

Light, Space and Structures, Ewa's two day course which followed meant a new departure for all of us, using very fine felt to diffuse light, both natural and artificial. We trapped fibres and natural materials between cobweb-like felt and then gently stretched it in frames created from thin twigs and stems. The sunlight streaming in through the studio windows was diffused in a magical way. Then on the second day the shades for artificial lights cast a welcoming glow quite unlike any lamps I have ever seen - mysterious but warm and friendly.
If you fancy having a go at making felt objects, think about joining Ewa at BAC next year for 'Felt Fripperies' - jewellery, corsages and fascinators, or 'Fashion Felt Accessories' including slippers, mittens and sculptoral collars.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Jan Beaney at BAC

Jan Beaney arrived recently for her annual two-day visit to the Centre. What a treat was in store for one and all! She is just an amazing tutor. Some of the class were regulars who come every year and wouldn't miss it for the world. Others have been itching to get on a course with Jan for many years.
This year she based the work around the theme of Stitched Landscapes. She lead us deftly through a design process which gave us the basis for our compositions. We then used snippets of fibres, yarns etc held between two layers of soluble fabric to build our designs. Once this was in place we could both machine and hand stitch into it, knocking it back with an embellisher if needed, before washing away the soluble fabric. Two days of gorgeous creative textiles.

As well as the photo of Jan demonstrating sorbello stitch are two of the pieces by students - work in progress.
If you'd like to know more about working with soluble fabrics, check out the series of books written by Jan and Jean Littlejohn (Double Trouble Enterprises), and don't miss their courses next year. Jan's course will be centred on the theme of 'trees' and will be 7th and 8th of September. This course is already booking!
We are also indebted to Coats Crafts UK who regularly sponsor these two courses by sending us lovely threads and yarns to experiment with. Aren't we lucky!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Sad News

Doris Sherer and her youngest great grandson

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Doris Sherer. She died suddenly at her home in Dilham last week.
Doris had helped Angela at the school right from the opening of the Centre until she 'retired' only about a year or so ago. Many of you probably met Doris for the first time at our Open Weekends, when she was often the first person you met at the door.
Visiting students enjoyed her lovely lunches and she always had time for a chat and to take a keen interest in all that was going on in the studio and out on location. She often sat for portraiture courses so I suspect some of you may have drawings and paintings of her in your folios. Whenever she could, she loved to join in the courses too. The walls of her cottage boasted several lovely pieces that she completed with Andrew Fawcett's groups, and she also enjoyed working with the textile groups.
Her funeral will take place next week. We shall miss her greatly and remember her with much affection, gratitude and smiles.