Monday, January 29, 2007

My own work

Here's a little update on my own work that is slowly progressing in between the workshops. I'm playing around a lot more with the leaves template, making it into a collar and possibly cuffs of a coat.

I've also got plans for several more garments and accessories, but they may not all get finished by 20th March in time for the showcase!


It's almost the end of the first month of the residency - the first few weeks have flown by. I'm getting into my stride with the workshops (and the travelling) and it all seems to be going well.

In the past week or so I have given workshops for several groups. These photos are of Foundation students from Shrewsbury College who came and did a half-day session on fabric manipulation. We focussed on the more complex techniques of applique using recycled fabrics and some pleating and folding techniques. It was really interesting working with this group as they had quite a lot of ideas and good technical skills, although they hadn't used these particular techniques much. They were clearly really inspired by the Well-Fashioned exhibition and we discussed some of the pieces they had really liked.

In the evening I lead the second of my sessions for Wolverhampton YWCA youth club. The young women are working on re-fashioned and embellished outfits to wear for a fashion show at Bilston Craft Gallery on 17th February. Some really amazing work is being created in these sessions and I'm looking forward to seeing the finished results. Jennifer Collier ran a session for some of the young women a couple of weeks ago and we are combining the two groups this week for a joint session. It's been interesting watching how much many of the young women have been inspired and excited about what they are doing, and have really progressed in just couple of weeks. I always enjoy doing projects with more than one session. Many of my workshops are one-off days and you don't get to see how the participants have progressed, and where they have taken their ideas. I always hope that at least some will be inspired to carry on with their textile work into the future.

I also ran a workshop for a group of GCSE students, working on an applied art programme. I showed them a range of fabric manipulation techniques, this time mainly gathering and pleating, as well as some trapunto quilting. I was a bit unsure about how this would go, but the students really got into it - even the boys were stitching away! I was taken aback and slightly embarressed when the teacher asked if he could show my sketchbook to the students. I don't use a sketchbook much, and the one that was lying around was several years old with various random bits and pieces in it. I think it proved a point that you don't have to be able to draw to be a designer! It made me realise how important it is to have that kind of resource available to students, as it's one way of showing what a designer's life is like. In future I will talk more about how I got to where I am and what my working life is like. I tend to focus my talks on the techniques and inspiration of my work, rather than the broader picture.

So all in all, a busy couple of days, but enjoyable, challenging and satisfying.
On Saturday I was back at the gallery to lead a drop-in workshop day making soft toys for all ages. The visitors were a broad range of ages - from 3 - 60-something, and everyone had a go at making a felt monster, doll, alien, dinosaur, dog... you name it, one was made. It was kind of nice that a few adults came in to have a go - shy at first, and a bit self conscious in a room of kids, but all were welcome, and they all stayed ages and got really stuck into making something. For some of them it was the first thing they had made since leaving school. I always feel sad when someone says they haven't made anything in years and years. We all need to be creative.

This week I am working with another foundation course group, a fashion group, the YWCA final session and a jewellery workshop for the Youth Service. I'm planning a workshop for young men next week, using screen printing and then some silk painting sessions for community groups and kids workshops for half-term which is just two weeks away.

After half-term, several school projects start, as well as some more sessions with adults.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Events coming up

Saturday 27 January 11.00am – 3.30pm

Come along and meet our resident maker, textile artist Ruth Singer and Make a Monster! Ruth will be in the studio all day to help anyone and everyone make a soft-toy, whether it's a doll, dog or dalek, whatever you like!

Saturday 10 March 11.00am – 3.30pm

Our resident maker Ruth Singer will be demonstrating her textile techniques. Be the first to see her new work as she comes to the end of her 3 month residency at the Gallery.

Mount Pleasant, Bilston, WV14 7LU.
01902 552507

Final showcase:
This intimate display will document the two residencies. Showcasing new work by Ruth Singer and Jennifer Collier produced during the residency, alongside work created by workshop participants from local schools and community groups. On show from 20 March – 13 April 2007.
Adult Education Centre, Old Hall Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 3AU.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The New Studio

This is the room I am working in. Already it looks like mine. Fabric strewn everywhere!
I spent a very enjoyable day at Bantock House, wondering around, drawing and absorbing ideas and inspiration. I started working with some leaves from the grounds, making templates and thinking about how to use the shapes in fabric. This is just a snap of an idea I am considering.

I ran my first workshops of the project this Tuesday. I taught a lovely group of ladies from St Leonard's Church craft group how to make corsages, and I hope they will be back soon to try some more ideas. In the evening I ran the first session of a series for Bilston YWCA, looking at re-fashioning old clothes into something new. Jennifer will be running a parallel session for another YWCA next week, and the two of us will join together for the 3rd and 4th week.

I'm developing some ideas for working with schools in the next few weeks, and have started planning an open day/ drop-in workshop on 27th January, when we will be making soft toys. So there is lots on, and I hope to have some more images for the next post.