Sunday, 27 May 2018

Kotare Studio open for business

It is with great pleasure, not to say a sigh of relief, that I finalised the workshop and retreat programme for Taking Textiles Further at Kotare Studio 2018. As ever, deadlines are what make things happen, and enjoyable deadlines still count!

The lead up to Creative Matakana during the first week of May was a little busy as we had to finish the toilet block attached to the studio. It is a 'vermiculture' design and took some creative construction ideas in itself. Brian did the elephant's share of the work (as usual he would say), with me holding a few pieces of wood in place and adding (not so welcome) ideas about d├ęcor. All done, worms installed and toilet open for business!!
Creative Matakana is in only it's second year. It comprises of a huge effort by local enthusiasts for art, food, landscape and gardening. A week of workshops held around the area, national and international as well as local tutors are involved, several meals, exhibition openings and talks during the week and an open studio event at the end of the week. I was incredibly pleased to be asked to be a part of the week, and to be looked after so well by organisers and support volunteers. My students were able to settle down and enjoy their time without a care in the world - coffee, tea, homemade biscuits, lunches arriving daily …
This gave us time for 2 workshops of 2 days each. First were 2 days of metal embossing and colouring, silk fibre paper making and stitching.

Impressive Metals for Creative Matakana

Impressive Metals for Creative Matakana
Perfect inspiration for a marine biologist on the course, see how it develops below ...

Silk fibres, Angelina fibre, embossed metal ….

A little stitching, and a fabulous piece.

And there is always one going her own way! Careful, considered wire constructions were happening here.

After that, 2 further days of metals. This time using weaving techniques with metal, wires, beads and other media. This was also perfect for the floral artists who were on the course as incorporating different media and structures is a key part of their contemporary floral art.


Wild Wire Weaving. Day 1. Samplers

Wild Wire Weaving. Day 1. Samplers

Wild Wire Weaving. Day 1. Samplers
Wild Wire Weaving. Day 1. Samplers
On day 2 everyone was able to pursue a project of their own in scale and intensity. Brilliant, creative results.

Wild Wire Weaving. Day 2. Personal Projects. 

Wild Wire Weaving. Day 2. Personal Projects. 

Wild Wire Weaving. Day 2. Personal Projects. Going to be a butterfly ...

Wild Wire Weaving. Day 2. Personal Projects. 

Wild Wire Weaving. Day 2. Personal Projects. Destined to wrap around driftwood

Wild Wire Weaving. Day 2. Personal Projects. 

Wild Wire Weaving. Day 2. Personal Projects. Floral Art additions

Wild Wire Weaving. Day 2. Personal Projects. 

Wild Wire Weaving. Day 2. Personal Projects. That marine biologist at work again!
Then a quick change and set up for open studios. It was a great chance to get out a real range of my work and show visitors work which has not been seen in NZ before, saying hello to new faces and farewell to some work off to new homes. 

Thank you so much again to Jo Connor, Viv, Kathy and the rest of the team, Creative Matakana was a lovely week.

Next up is a series of contemporary textile workshops held at the studio:

Taking Textiles Further 2018 Workshop Diary
One of the hardest things about deciding on which topics and techniques to plump for in this starting series has been the breadth of options that I want you to have a go at. For 2018 I have selected workshop ideas to give you a a taste of what is yet to come. For future workshops, sign up to the newsletter for events in 2019 and beyond. There will be workshops, masterclasses, creative retreats and self-directed down times. If you have a group of friends, of any experience, who would like to learn together, or simply can’t make the dates I have selected, do get in touch to see what we can work out. Perhaps you have a birthday or special occasion you want to mark with friends but want an alternative to drinking too much(!), come and have a great time being creative. 

Saturday 9 June : Getting to know you.
Confidence in your equipment takes away significant anxiety when creating artworks. For textiles and mixed media, your sewing machine is a basic tool which should be your friend! This is a day especially created for people who are less confident with their free motion machine embroidery skills. You will discover how to be in complete control of your sewing machine. You will use different stitches, change the tension and use a variety of threads to create intricate details on your piece. Sewing machines can be provided, but bringing your own is better as you will learn how to make full use of it. You will benefit from a machine which is able to drop the feed dogs (or has a plate to insert over them, and have a darning or embroidery foot).
No prior experience required. Some sewing machines are available to borrow.

Sunday 10 June : Flower Power
Take your machine embroidery skills further with a day creating a fabulous flowers picture with 3D elements using soluble fabric, beads and wires. You will need to have a working knowledge of your sewing machine and it is helpful to have a drop feed and darning foot. If you are not sure whether your machine is suitable, we can find out. I have a selection of machines for you to borrow. No previous art or textile skills required. If you take this along with ‘Getting to know you’, get a 2-day workshop discount.

Saturday 16 June : Zipperdy do dah
Upcycle old zippers by creating a needle felted surface using lovely coloured wool tops which twist and swirl around the zip. Add simple, bold stitching and beads, and - viola!  A brooch, necklace, embroidered panel, book cover  - the choice is yours. No previous art or textile skills required.

Saturday and Sunday 30 June & 1 July :  Mixed Media Layers
Use an exciting mixture of different paints, resists and glazes, make your own stamp blocks and creatively use
preformed stamps, embellish with embossing powders and texture gels to create densely layered and textured background fabrics for stitching and beading. Expect to get messy and finish the first day with plenty of
experimental surfaces. On the second day, continue to develop these or use them to create your own artwork.
No previous art or textile skills required.

Saturday and Sunday 7 & 8 July : Take a line for a walk - designing and stitching with doodles
It was the famous, innovative artist Paul Klee who suggested that creative, spontaneous work should be developed by allowing yourself to ‘take a line for a walk’, and we have all created doodles and scribbles. In this workshop you will develop this idea further and with simple devices learn to develop your own designs starting from doodles! Everyone can do it. Develop designs and patterns, then paint and print, layer and stitch your designs onto paper and fabric. No previous art or textile skills required.

Saturday and Sunday 14 & 15 July : Object to Art
Tutor: Di Halstead
Take photography a little/lot further! When we more closely everyday objects, even quirky, discarded or junk ones, there are a fascinating breadth of textures and forms to be observed and recorded. By looking through the camera with macro equipment, by altering the lighting and the composition we can really bring out these details. You will concentrate on methods and equipment you can find at home and use again later, whether natural lighting, homemade filters or domestic lights. Over these two days you will look at the effect of composition, lighting and macro photography, then use your resulting images, we will deconstruct them and reconstruct, playing with ideas of 3D structures, books, boxes, attachments and ideas to personalise your images with paint effects. No previous experience necessary.

Saturday 1 September : Instant Attraction
This is the classic starter day for Angelina fibres developed from my bestselling book ‘Between the Sheets with Angelina’. It is a veritable romp through as many ideas and techniques as we can squeeze in a day showing some of the range possible with this fibre for textiles, papercrafts, cards making, scrapbooking and more.  End the day with a reference notebook full of samples for future projects. Angelina fibre is a polyester fibre with a supersoft handle, much like cashmere. Angelina Fibres can be spun, woven, layered, trapped, bonded etc. Its applications in textile art, embroidery, papermaking, papier mache, modelling, card and candle- making etc. are endless! No previous art or textile skills required.

Sunday 2 September : The Crown Jewels Gone Mad

Developed from a commission where my client wanted to vamp up her room, saying she wanted ‘the crown jewels gone mad’. Exploit the textured surfaces which can be developed by fusing and melting the Angelina fabric. Really go for it with bright, lustrous, over the top combinations of Angelina fibre, wires, beads, soldering, burning, hand and machine stitch to develop a wild embroidery by layering and stitching. No previous art or textile skills required. If you take this along with ‘Instant Attraction, get a 2 day workshop discount.



Saturday and Sunday 15 & 16 September : Drawing and Design Retreat.
It is important sometimes to take time away from the ‘endgaming’ game to which we are all prone, to increase your connection to your personal creativity and your working practices. Spend time away from your actual projects; work on observation, mindfulness, spontaneity, mark making, playing with surfaces and lines, improvisation, radiant thinking and more.  Make use of the time to reflect and try out some experimental or formal drawing and design ideas. You will find that some of these slot straight into your current practice, others take a little extra effort. Weather permitting, we will visit the marine reserve and the bush, or visit the Matakana market area for a different stimulus. There will be a mixture of directed ideas and self-directed time, discussions and times for you to contemplate and practice. Leave invigorated and with a renewed sense of understanding of your practice and ways to make choices which are deeper, more meaningful or more coherent for your art.
No previous experience necessary, you will require a commitment to concentrate and try ideas which you might not spend time with at home.

Saturday and Sunday 22 & 23 September : Sweet as …
Make the most of a reason to eat those sweets with coloured foil wrappers - do it for your art! Use sweet wrapper foils and sheer fabrics with machine embroidery (feed dogs up or down depending on your preference) to create a richly embroidered and embellished surface. You could aim for a bag, a dress panel or simply an exotic embroidered surface. Sewing machine required. No previous art or textile skills required.

Saturday and Sunday 29 & 30 September : A sense of place : Camera, Composition and Assemblage
Joint Tutors: Di Halstead and Alysn Midgelow-Marsden
We all feel a desire to record our lives and our visual memories. In these days of mass recording options, why don’t we take these images further? The versatility of photography cannot be denied, so let’s take some fabulous photographs. Not only for their own sake but also as the starting points for other projects. Spend time either at the stunning Tawharanui park walking through bush, rocky shores and beaches, or if the weather isn’t so conducive, visit Matakana village with period and new architecture, diverse viewpoints, materials and people to record. During this time you will be helped to consider composition of images and seeing with an artist’s eye, without becoming uber-technical. Select photos to print and work directly into these or blank photo emulsion by sanding, painting and distressing to personalise images. Use assemblage and simple stitching to create a canvas which is a personal response to your memories of the original inspiration. No previous experience necessary.

If you think that you or anyone you know are interested, email me for the full details. We have accomodation, a great landscape and lots of other things to do in the area. I look forward to hearing from you.



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