On Saturday I returned to my happy place, Shed 76½, where Anne Brooke had arranged for Liz Cooksey to run a workshop. Liz was the first ever visiting tutor at the studio and when I read Anne’s blog post about that day, I was so impressed with the work created. I was delighted to hear she was coming back and booked my place straight away.
Liz describes herself as a textile artist working with mixed media: stitch, wire, crochet, copper, printed papers and fabric. Her colours and forms, inspired by nature, are very distinctive. Recent work is more three-dimensional and we also would be making a little sculptural piece.
This was a very well organised day. It started bang on time with a demonstration and (I’m always grateful when this is the case) we didn’t need to take a thing. Each of us had a neatly wrapped package with everything we needed set out at our table, plus an illustrated information sheet to take home with details of suppliers and techniques. These are some of the examples Liz showed us in the demo.
We began by printing papers and fabrics. Jane and I got a little (very) carried away here, delighting in the variety of effects we could achieve from the same few stamping blocks, overlaying different inks on various backgrounds.
Liz encouraged us to try as many as possible of the techniques demonstrated so we had a good selection of wire ‘lollipops’ to choose from for our composition. As you can see, we can mess us a lovely tidy workspace pretty quick!
Some techniques were quicker than others and half way through the afternoon I was regretting spending all that time on printing and complaining that my packed lunch was taking too long to eat!
With an hour to go we all had decisions to make about which of our elements to use/leave out, their placement, height, angle and whether anything needed adding.
Liz helped us with any dilemmas and had provided wooden bases which she drilled for us once we’d marked final positions.
Finally we could secure them in place or leave this stage for home if we wanted to add final touches later. We all had something pretty much finished though. Here’s a couple of the others.
Back at home I wanted to have a go at both the crochet and buttonhole techniques before I permanently set everything in position. It was the first time I have used such a tiny hook and gosh it was fiddly. With even more respect for the precision of Liz’s work (and a note to self to visit optician) I decided for me that crochet gave the better result.
Maybe I’ll tweak the angles a little when the mood takes me but for now I’ve decided it’s finished. My piece has a home on my fireplace which has felt very bare since the Christmas decorations came down. I think we all did really well and picked up new techniques and ideas. A big thankyou to Liz and Anne for a really great day.