Tuesday, 9 June 2020

New classes for New Zealand

Kotare Studio
I'm gradually emerging from my studio which has been my retreat for the last several weeks during the New Zealand lockdown. We are fortunate now to be in a position to get (almost) back to normal lives. There are many people around the world in a much more invidious position and I hope that any of you who are ill or in a precarious position have the support you need to get through.
I was able to run my first workshop the other week. This was slightly unexpected as I had made the assumption that it wouldn't be able to go ahead.
Selwyn College in Auckland have a wide ranging programme of non-vocational workshops, and I had an enthusiastic group willing to dive into techniques which involved processes and techniques which might be called unusual for textiles and stitch - but which we all call normal for contemporary textile art.
I simply aim to get those students who are new or new-ish to textiles to look at ideas and materials which are more of a stretch from any preconceived ideas. Even small steps and changes can make  traditional or previously encountered techniques more exciting. For instance, I do love traditional techniques such as blackwork and goldwork, but have always wanted to add a little of myself to the mix, so when I was learning embroidery I began by painting the background canvas before stitching my blackwork, or using different threads to change the scale of my 'Or Nue' couching. These small changes allowed me to personalise my works. Now I almost never seem to use fabric and if I have a name for a stitch, I probably avoid it. You know what I mean!
At Selwyn College we were a group of 8 students, 7 of whom had no idea what we were about to do but all had the best attitude - go with it, enjoy and see where the ideas take you.
Over 2 days we created waxed papers, stencilled papers, laminated papers including tissue and tea bags; dipped into techniques with Angelina fusible fibres; then talked about and worked on developing design in a collage style and stitching and beading.
Here are some of the surfaces created:

Student work from Contemporary Textile Art at Selwyn College, Auckland. Tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Student work from Contemporary Textile Art at Selwyn College, Auckland. Tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Student work from Contemporary Textile Art at Selwyn College, Auckland. Tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Student work from Contemporary Textile Art at Selwyn College, Auckland. Tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Student work from Contemporary Textile Art at Selwyn College, Auckland. Tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Student work from Contemporary Textile Art at Selwyn College, Auckland. Tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Student work from Contemporary Textile Art at Selwyn College, Auckland. Tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Student work from Contemporary Textile Art at Selwyn College, Auckland. Tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Student work from Contemporary Textile Art at Selwyn College, Auckland. Tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Student work from Contemporary Textile Art at Selwyn College, Auckland. Tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Student work from Contemporary Textile Art at Selwyn College, Auckland. Tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Student work from Contemporary Textile Art at Selwyn College, Auckland. Tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Student work from Contemporary Textile Art at Selwyn College, Auckland. Tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Student work from Contemporary Textile Art at Selwyn College, Auckland. Tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden


Student work from Contemporary Textile Art at Selwyn College, Auckland. Tutor Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

A lovely weekend and a great start back to being able to enjoy being creative in groups.

Other opportunities are opening up again:

Regular weekly Tuesday morning classes will be starting again from 16th June. This is a small class with a relaxed pace and experimental attitude - we come, we try, we conquer!

NEWMonday afternoon classes
‘Obsessive Compulsive Textile Disorder’ 

 Expect these sessions to be the start of an obsession.  Dip into a selection of media, experiment then produce your own artworks using your new textile and mixed media skills. Work with fabrics and papers, in stitch and in beads to make creative art. You will learn to view almost anything as a creative tool, including a sewing machine, hammers, candles and more! This is a course for beginners and improvers alike led by an internationally experienced artist and author. These sessions are for anyone with an enthusiasm for textile and mixed media arts, from beginner to experienced. Any hard to find materials or ones which you need only a very small amount of are provided on a cost basis. Alysn has several sewing machines which you can borrow as required, though it would be fabulous to get you using your own machines if you have them. 
Contact me for full details or booking (takingtextilesfurther@gmail.com)

I also am still hoping that travel to Australia in August/September and the UK in October/November might still be possible, but will have to keep fingers and toes crossed and let you know as we get nearer the dates.

Keeping active during lockdown

Stay safe, stay happy, keep stitching and I hope to see you soon.





Monday, 30 March 2020

COVID Cancellations

Evening walk
Weirdly wonderful 'stuff' from the beach yesterday - has to become something ...

It is day something or other of lockdown in NZ and already I am losing any sense of what day in the week it is. My days and weekends were mostly delineated by whether Brian was at home (weekend) or at work (week days) and now we are in this long lockdown it is hard to remember what day it is. Maybe I have to treat this as a valuable exercise in letting go of routines which shouldn’t really affect whether I am working in the studio or not. However it is still taking some mental jiggery pokery to settle in to the current situation even with the assumption that everyone I know is safe and well and that ‘this too shall pass’.

Dad having an indoor picnic
It is harder for my parents who are in a high risk category but were active in many groups, volunteer capacities and socialising. For them the lockdown will be intense and extended. Thank goodness for modern communication options where I can readily see and talk to them along with our children and friends.

My studio
For the first few days I decided that I would concentrate on tasks which are boring necessities – primarily my bookkeeping and filing/deleting my inbox emails, which has to be a beneficial start. I have also recommenced work on a new website covering my workshops and the art supplies which I am able to provide. I’ll let you know when that goes live. Less constructively, I have also bought some silly stuff from the internet which I suspect I will regret when it arrives – if this becomes a trend lockdown could turn out to be an expensive time!

Angelina Flowers
All workshops for the next few months have been cancelled and I am sorry that I won’t see you in Australia at Fibre Arts, Australian Quilt Convention, Threads and Tangles or TAFE, The Great Escape, ANZEG Conference, Creative Matakana, Mahurangi Artists Studio Trail, Selwyn College, Takatu Studios or Mixed Media Tuesdays. Or that you can’t see the latest Fabricated Narratives (www.fabricatednarratives.com) exhibition at Art At Wharepuke as we had to close after a week.

Fabricated Narratives work by Alysn MM

Fabricated Narratives work by Alysn MM

Fabricated Narratives work by Alysn MM

All we can do is wait this out, be very sensible and stay safe. And when we can all get together and enjoy our art and creative expression again, we will do so with renewed enthusiasm and appreciation. 

And I might even get to the bottom of the ironing!