This month we are having a look at some online classes some of us have accessed recently or are currently still taking part in. Of course, its not the same as attending actual workshops or summer schools, but artists have embraced the online platform. Some have managed wonderfully, and some have found it to be a steep learning curve! Nevertheless, online workshops are up and running and Ten19 Fibre Artists have been embracing them. We can’t cover them all but we have picked a selection to review.
And unquestionably Instagram has been throwing out art challenges from all over the globe. These have tended to be more intensive and mostly have involved posting every day for a month, although some are weekly or monthly. The community has grown through these challenges and the opportunity for new appreciation of the art of others, has been a fabulous outcome. It has also fostered opportunities to share techniques and ideas and have some fun! Some of us took part in Seam Collective’s #septtextilelove challenge and found it pushed and inspired us creatively. Seam Collective are based in Bath, England and can be found at www.seamcollective.wordpress.com. Looking forward to September 2021! The artists from Seam spent quite some time looking at many, many posts and we thank them for running a great challenge.
Pascale has this to say about her course ‘Fibre and Paper’ with Fiona Duthie:
‘I registered for this online class early this year. With the class commencing on the 1st of October I thought it would be the perfect start for my retirement. Also, although I’m not an experienced felter, I’ve always thought that it was a wonderful material to stitch onto. The combination of paper and felt made me curious. What would this material look and feel like?
Fiona sent a set of different papers to each student so that they could jump in right from the start. Each student had to provide the wool fibres. The class lasts 3 weeks with Fiona responding daily to the students’ questions and samples and giving advice. The lessons are clearly structured with videos guiding you through the different techniques which start with the basic technique of felting the paper onto the felt, adding relief to the surface, working with prefelt, paper felting on a resist and finally adding media to the paper felt. Navigation in the virtual classroom was easy as was posting comments and pics.
Not all papers are suitable for felting. They need to have long fibres in them. Kozo paper and Lokta for instance are good. The papers must not be too thin or too heavy. The process is similar to Nuno Felting, in fact it is a bit of a combination between Korean Joomchi and felting. As Fiona states “The new, integrated surfaces are full of texture and have a sculptural quality and hand in the textile”.
I look forward to experimenting more, maybe with Eco printed papers, trying out different textured papers, painting onto the paper and, of course, responding to all these marks and textures with stitching.’
Nina signed up for the Bobby Britnell Course 'Inspired by Ben Nicholson':
‘During the first lockdown I was fortunate enough to spot that Bobby Britnell had decided to run a short, 3 session on-line course. It may only have been 3 sessions - but there were at least 35 exercises to do! The course material was sent through fortnightly which gave plenty of time to work through the exercises!
It was inspirational! The coursework took you through looking at Ben’s work – and creating your own low relief blocks from which we took rubbings and prints. There were still life drawing exercises, time taken to look at colour and line – and the most freeing of all was the extra session on ‘drawing without looking’! The course is primarily art-based and we were encouraged to use many different types of paper as well as fabric in our designs.
How much effort you put into the course was entirely up to each individual, and it was your choice as to whether to post your images onto the group facebook page! Bobby’s tutorial notes are very generous and the amount of information and encouragement received in the download course material is excellent. I would thoroughly recommend her courses’
And in fact Nina signed up for the next two online courses!
Julia registered for Dionne Swift’s sketchbook workshop:
“Right back at the beginning of lockdown, I started an online sketchbook workshop. It was the perfect impulse buy, as it offered Immediate start, unlimited access, and is ‘self-directed’.
The course consists of a series of 7 enjoyable exercises, each set out to encourage you to explore and experiment, giving the skills, ideas, creativity, and motivation to fill a sketchbook with exciting inspirational pages. Each exercise has a video to watch, and a downloadable PDF. There is also a private Facebook group for fellow students to interact with each other, and share images and results, offering feedback, and helping you along your way.
Sadly, many things have got in the way, and I have not managed to continue with the course with my initial pace of work, but the beauty of the way Dionne has presented this unlimited access course is that I am able to approach the exercises and continue working through my lovely book at my own pace, allowing me to dip in and out as time permits. I have thinking space which means that I can dwell on a specific area of interest, and take a little longer to explore, extend and develop ideas or techniques.
Dionne presents the videos with her usual cheery, contagious enthusiasm. The content is relaxed and well structured. I am so happy with the way my sketchbook is developing into an exciting source of inspirational images that I can take forward into more resolved textile work.
I would not hesitate to recommend Dionne’s workshops’
Lisa, more recently, joined Textile Artist’s Stitch Club:
‘I was initially hesitant to join the Stitch Club as this is a monthly payment group, but temptation got the better of me and I was reassured by the cancel anytime policy. This is a part of the well known textileartist.org team and they have set up a first-class online teaching platform. It is extremely easy to navigate, even if you are not very IT savvy. Lots of films of instructions and covering any device you may be watching on, also easy access tech support. There is no separate Facebook etc group and this is an all-in-one platform. You can post, review, discuss, chat and so on all in the same place.
Every two weeks there is a new workshop or challenge from an artist, consisting of an online film of instructions and ideas, PDF printable workbook, PDF printable inspiration book and the ability to ask questions of the artist for the fortnight. There are follow up films of the answers to the questions and some artists have also followed up with further instructions and ideas. You can access all previous workshops and a really good idea is you can still ask the Stitch Club team a question and they will get the answer for you! There are also plenty of people chatting and showing work.
They have some great artists and I’ve enjoyed looking back through all the tutorials. I haven’t completed work for every one of them but have definitely found some artists I would like to book longer in person workshops with and some whose work I have looked at in greater detail. All the artists have focused on using what you have at home and for the challenges I have completed I have not bought a single thing! I have picked up some new techniques and ideas and I can apply some of this to my own work. I would highly recommend the Stitch Club, it is well thought out and designed platform, a cost-effective way to access lots of artists for short challenges and I am sure it will continue to grow.’
None of us have reported feeling a course or workshop has not been good value for money and in fact we have all found we have received far more than anticipated. We all hope to be meeting up soon in person but even when the world is ‘normal’ its not always possible to attend workshops, and it is nice to know that we all have access to the knowledge and skills of many dedicated artists.
Our first blog post from Ten19 Fibre Artists is taking an in depth look at our friend and fellow artist Jane Chipp and her artwork. Our thanks to Jane for being first up in the group!
Jane’s artwork is confident and meaningful. An integral component of her work is to take us back across the years, connecting us and giving an insight into past lives. Sometimes witty and sometimes moving, Jane is always inspiring the group to observe daily life and the small things that might pass us by.
What pathway did you follow to becoming the artist you are today?
I've always been creative but for many years was unsure how to use my creativity. I started making my own clothes at age 9 and continued with needlework for many years. I dabbled with drawing and pottery. About 10 years ago I started quilting and went to the Festival of Quilts with a friend and this was a turning point for me. I was entranced by the examples of textile art and all the stalls selling materials that were completely new to me. Shortly after that I enrolled on Sian Martin's City and Guilds course in creative embroidery. Over the three years I learnt so much from Sian about design and techniques. I attended several summer schools and learned from a range of great artists, both as tutors and fellow students. The course was superb and provided the perfect knowledge base for me to take my own route in art and explore what styles and media really resonated with me.
You have moved towards paper as your primary medium. What has attracted you to this?
I work a lot with collage, old photographs, and vintage ephemera now, although my textile background still shows through as I often use stitch in my work. I think my move towards paper is partly due to my love of 'domestic' history by which I mean the lives of ordinary people living their everyday lives. I collect old photographs, books, and ephemera; I particularly love finding old letters. These are the staples of my artwork. There is a certain sadness in finding old photographs and letters in flea markets and auctions...the fact that no-one wanted them enough to keep them. By using them in my artworks I feel that I am rescuing them and giving them the value that they deserve.
I also love to create artworks in small boxes and envelopes; I like the idea of creating a small story that is contained almost like a shrine.
Who and what influences your work?
I find inspiration everywhere and am forever scribbling down ideas as they arise. I'm never happier than when I'm at a flea market or auction surrounded by old books, photographs etc.
I relate most to artists who use found materials. I am a huge fan of Instagram and am connected to a great community of artists who inspire me daily. Some are well-known in their fields, but the majority are not; they're people experimenting with different ideas and sharing their work online. Its’ an incredibly generous and supportive community.
A shortlist of artists that inspire me would probably include Karla Fuller, Lisa Kokin, Lee McKenna, Randel Plowman, Joseph Cornell and Robert Rauschenberg but there are hundreds more.
Tell us about your favourite piece of work
It's so hard to choose! I put so much time into all of my work and become very attached to it. I'll settle on an altered book that I made recently. I used a lot of antique Japanese papers to create the book and they had beautiful fibrous textures. I used different image transfer techniques, silk fabric, stitch, and collage to create really interesting pages. The cover was made from an old poetry book page and coated with encaustic wax. The whole feel of the book was so pleasing.
What are your current chosen techniques?
My main technique is collage using antique papers from old books, documents and photographs. I often add stitch in either linen thread or silk. If it’s a piece with a nostalgic feel, or one to which I want to add many layers, I add encaustic wax.
Where do you create your art?
I work from a log cabin in the garden. I have three areas; a clean area where my computer sits, a desk with my sewing machine and a messy area which is where I make my art. The studio is crammed full of old books, papers, photographs, and other materials. I have an Etsy shop in which I sell vintage ephemera so all my supplies for the shop are stored in the studio too. Its lovely and light and surrounded by trees and bushes full of birds who sing all day. I spend a lot of time in here!
Name ONE tool you cannot live without!
This is the Ten19 Fibre artists blog
Here we will bring you the people who have influenced the group, the products we enjoy using,