Tuesday 5 July 2011

Microcosm to Macrocosm

 A stimulating if exhausting weekend with Jo Budd at Contemporary Quilt Summer School at Belstead House.  We were working with a new medium to me- intensely coloured pigment dyes.
 After a scrummy dinner and a couple of glasses of wine we started applying binders ( 2 opaques and transparent SF20 ) in varying dilutions to our fabric- white on white in the fading light !
 In the morning we started with colour - choosing 3 primaries and attempting to mix some nice greys. I can do it with watercolours when I'm used to the pigments but  it took a while to achieve it with these dyes as they were so intense . Sludgy greens and purples ( well there's  a surprise) were the nearest  until I got Jo to bring out a bluer red .
 Then we 'coloured - in ' our white- on -white from the night before with the neutrals produced - the binders in their more concentrated form acting as a resist with some interesting effects on the back (these dyes bind to the outside of the fibres ) Watercolour effects and different types of monoprint were demonstrated and we spent the afternoon using these and our object of inspiration to produce lots of fabric samples ( which I was rather  regretting when it came to ironing them all to fix the pigment) I concentrated in monprinting with my wood-graining stamp and the zen of simple brush strokes - the advantage over acrylics being that they dried out slower and retained marks better.
 A change of pace and venue after another scrummy evening meal and a couple of glasses of wine - a show and tell of work we'd brought with us pegged to  a yew hedge. Coming by train like several others I'd just brought some journal quilts with me. An art critic cat strolled backwards and forwards - hope he was impressed!
Sunday was spent composing with our fabric - in my case outdoors propped against another yew hedge to get the most light and a bit of peace and quiet. While it's nice to chat while painting or over meals , it's a bit distracting when concentration is needed. The disadvantage was that we were the last to have Jo's valuable input but it did mean we had got quite a long way and she helped with some final suggestions that made all the difference
 The 'hand of the maker' is very evident in the marks I made on the fabric and I'll try to retain that quality. While I was waiting for Jo's advice on the red 'stick' piece I put together some of my favourite pieces in purple - mainly some hideous bits rescued with some last minute slapdash monoprinting to use up the dyes. Aren't those pieces often the best!!!
 I think I was partly inspired by the view of the roof line from my bedroom window.
Now I just need to write it up for the CQ newsletter!


Sandra Wyman said...

Oh good - I was so intent on trying to get my own right I forgot to look at those of you working outside - will enjoy seeing how this continues!

Mai-Britt Axelsen said...

Thanks for sharing, Margaret. I was sorry that I couldn't be there - this helps a bit.

Julie said...

I shall look forward to seeing how your pieces end up too Mags. I haven't even loaded my photos of the weekend yet! You're right about it being exhausting :-)

Alex said...

Looks like a great course - it's so good to be able to experiment with materials and media that are unfamiliar.

Terry Jarrard-Dimond said...

Interesting workshop. What were the pigments you were using? Is there a brand name? I'd like to read about them. Thanks for sharing.