Last Friday I did a workshop with a group of students from Catmose College. I met their tutor at the Knit and Stitch show at Ally Pally some years ago now-she asked me if I'd like to come and do a work shop at the school. Past visitors had been Julia Arkell and Alison Willoughby, so of course I said Yes! Consequently, I now work with the school regularly as a visiting art practitioner. Sometimes I visit with a textiles project which the class work on in a group in a double lesson . Or I take a project which they complete in the following lessons too. In the past we've made wallets from comics, Alice in Wonderland soft pendants and more recently Rock Star cushions.
On this occasion the studio visit was to enable the group to work with me using a range of textile techniques which could be applied to their still life pieces which had already been started.
This group were exemplary and so wonderful to work with. They were fuelled up with kit kats and Tunnocks marshmallows, we had Madagascar on the DVD player and settled down for a good days work.
Considering that the group had never attempted free motion embroidery before, they all did really well. No-one broke a needle and they all got the hang of it straightaway. I demo'd molar work, trapunto, applying surfaces and some hand stitching.
I thoroughly enjoyed the day and one of the reasons was that I had started to prep throughout the week, so I was familiar with the work and nice and calm. I had lots of samples to demonstrate and books to reference if needed. The students worked with such concentration and a positive attitude toward their work. This way of working has a natural cut off point where the brain just gets fatigued. So it was good to pack up knowing that everyone had worked so well and produced such a great result. Well Done.