Monday, 8 September 2014

A wonderful weekend.

This is Hawkwood College near Stroud in Gloucestershire where I have been enjoying a weekend workshop tutored by Frances Pickering and enjoying meeting up with several of the students I met last year, and yes, I did sign up for next year.
It is in a beautiful setting and a haven for wildlife as the gardens are not manicured but allowed to naturalize.  There were bees and butterflies everywhere and birdsong all day and owls hooting at night.
There was a huge clump of these magnificent globe artichokes growing just outside the studio windows.
And St.Francis of Assisi stands in the overgrown rockery.

I love this giant mobile hanging from one of the enormous trees.  I think those stones might be old roof slates - they are quite big

Our theme for this workshop was 'Black and White and Read all over'.  We were asked to include text in our designs and work mostly in black and white plus shades of grey, and one other colour was permitted.   I chose yellow but kept forgetting to include it.
All of my text has been taken from lines of poetry by John Clare.   To get us started we did mono printing or transfer printing on white fabric.  I decided to stick with mono-printing and found that my abstract marks turned out to be very useful and easy to adapt to landscapes and woods.   I printed with a feather on this page so thought a quotation featuring birds was in order for this one.

Most of these pages need more work done on them but I am not quite sure what.  I shall put them away for a day or two, then take another look at them.

I was very brave and did all my drawing directly onto the fabric pages with a black Pitt pen.  The one above is from 'Open Winter':  "In sheltered spots - primroses, when they get behind the wood's old roots where ivy shields their crimpled curdled leaves, will shine and hide".

This one is "Old elm that murmured in our chimney top - the sweetest anthem autumn ever made".  I like that swirly pattern of my background print and thought it could represent the tempest that felled the elm tree.  It was so hard trying to make it look like a fallen tree and I haven't quite got it right.


This one also needs more work and I think I will make the moon a bit larger.  It's a bit lost behind those trees and I need a few more branches here and there to break up all the vertical lines.

I think we all felt exhausted by the end of Sunday but had thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and worked ourselves to a frazzle.   The  weather was lovely, the food was delicious and plentiful, the bed was so comfortable and the company was delightful.    If that wasn't enough, among the other students was none other than Jan Messent who has been a textile heroine of mine for many years.  I love her work and have several of her books.   I took the Celtic and Anglo-Saxon Embroidery one with me so that she could sign it, which she did.   I even sat next to her one lunch time - she is a very serene person but has a lovely sense of humour.  It took great control not to be like a schoolgirl hyperventilating with excitement!

So it's back down to earth today, with chores and gardening crying out to be done before I start work on my pages again.

10 comments:

Ro Bruhn said...

Lucky you Heather, what a fabulous venue and teacher as well as meeting Jan Messent. I love the way your journal's evolving, it will be another wonderful keepsake.

Penny said...

These pages are beautiful, sounds like a fantastic week end. Jan Messenger is also a person whose work I love and admire.

Robin Mac said...

What a wonderful weekend you must have had. The photos are superb.
I am finally back to reading blogs in a sort of a fashion, this is my first attempt at leaving a comment. Cheers

The Weaver of Grass said...

Glad you had such a lovely time Heather. Your book looks very good I must say.
Jan Messent is a dear friend of my friend G and so frequently comes up here from her home on the South coast. I believe her husband is buried up here and she comes to his grave.
Our James Cook University Hospital has a wonderful embroidered mural done by Jan . It was sponsored by Madeira threads and depicts Jan's interpretation of what the final piece of the Bayeau tapestry would have looked like. It is even worked in the same stitch that was used in the original. Every time I go to the hospital I take time to go and look at it.

Carol Q said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time Heather. I clicked on all your pics to enlarge your work - the small ones don't do it justice. They are lovely. You are very lucky to have met Jan Messent. I'm pretty sure I've got one of her books buried in my library! Bet you can't wait till next year.

Maggi said...

Some great work and such a wonderful setting. Meeting Jan Messent must have been the icing non the cake, her work is superb.

Gina said...

Your pages look fabulous Heather. You obviously had. Wonderful time.

sharon young said...

What a fabulous post, Heather, your photos are gorgeous and your work is amazing, I really love the direction you're taking. Glad you had such a fantastic time.

ferinn said...


It shows what a talent you have for depicting the natural world.These pages look lovely,I am sure you will work some magic to add to them.

John Gray said...

It's been a while
Just catching up............too long xxx