I'd discussed the possibility when I'd been there for the excellent course with Alice Fox in June.
But after winning Fine Art Quilt Masters, booking onto the programme was the first thing I did when I got home , to help me work out what to do next.
There was a lot of preparatory work: a detailed questionnaire on ambitions, barriers to success , strengths and weaknesses, time available and other relevant information; 'Pinterest' pinboards of an 'e-portfolio' showcasing representative examples of my work and of inspirations ( I did separate ones for art and textiles). This ' homework' in itself was a very useful process, to clarify what was most important to me, what direction I wanted to pursue and sadly what I was beginning to acknowledge I had to let go in order to realise these.
In order to fit me in her packed teaching schedule, we'd agreed that the tutorial session would be on the Saturday evening after the 'Wild about Colour' course had finished for the day before Strictly ( we're both fans, have to get priorities right!)
As I was free during the day, I went to Worthing , about an hour by train, to see the first exhibition by ' Curious Threads' , an interesting show in a lovely bright venue, and then found some wonderfully weathered wooden breakwaters on the beach afterwards. A perfect day out !
I turned up at Studio 11 as the class was packing up to lay out the quilts I'd brought with me which along with the e-portfolio provided the basis of our initial discussions.
Aside from 'Birchington Breakwaters' and ' Eroding Margins' ( which I couldn't bring as they're currently on tour) , the pieces I like most and represent the direction I wish to explore further are 'Red Flotsam' and 'Red Remnants'. Red Flotsam in particular with its move towards abstraction ( I had help from the 'Quilt Doctors'!) , it's combination of direct painting with acrylics and monoprints , repurposing an old quilt and the use of handstitch sum up all that I love best.
I had a bit of an epiphany while doing the paper collage for Contemporary Painting Studio, that many of my textile pieces involve collaging fabrics. One of Christine's suggestions was to use this technique more as a design tool for helping with abstraction and scaling up along with mind-mapping to assist in developing more abstract concepts.
The mentoring programme includes 2 days access to a print bench and all materials and equipment so I came prepared for monoprinting on acetate sheet using acrylics . I also brought my Gelli plate which I hadn't used since Rydal 2015 ( Christine also had one available but I didn't use it as it was the same size as mine) . Although I have my painting easel in the 'kitchen studio' , I don't have such good facilities for wet work/printing as the conservatory in our previous house.
On the Sunday , the second session of ' Wild about Colour' was going on so I was able to watch and hear about what the participants were up to as well as getting on with some printing, mainly using blacks. It was useful to compare the acetate sheet with the Gelli Plate. Although you get very fine subtle marks with the Gelli, particularly in the 'ghost prints' of threads and feathers, and the build -up of paints and marks, its' much more of a pain to clean and the size is limiting.
In the afternoon , we reviewed what I'd produced ( 65 monoprints!) and talked about how I could use them , making copies in paper at quarter scale to work out compositions to generate ideas that could be scaled up, and the importance of having bolder larger scale marks.
Appropriately ,I'd seen some giant scale mark-making on the beach that morning made by several large yellow earth-movers working on the sea defences!
Most of the afternoon however was spent in ' full and frank debate' about my work practices: developing a professional approach , ideas about building a supportive network, reviewing and rebuilding my website as part of capitalising on my 'brand' . This week I received a detailed summary and action plan based on our discussions and have a much clearer idea of how to move forward. There will be a follow-up Skype discussion about my progress in March.