workshop ideas: stitch, fibre, metal and mixed media

Mixing together fabrics, fibres, paints, printables and any manner of other media encompasses what makes contemporary textiles and embroidery so exciting. Sometimes however it can be daunting to begin the explorations on your own.  
In these workshops you will be led gently towards new horizons.
For full details, booking and contact information, go to 'get in touch'

Hanging Pods

This simple but richly decorated and immensely attractive project is inspired by hanging pomanders, Christingles, fruits and seedpods hanging from trees.
You will make a series of needle felted, embellished or stitched surfaces including subtle glints of metal foil, knitted metals and metal fabric then complete with flourishes of beads and metal plate couching.
Use loads of textures and colours, mixed fibres and create sumptuous surfaces and develop a selection of baubles and padded shapes, linking them with a ribbon and hang your project in a window for everyone to see.

Fernery Vessel

Create a lovely subtle and elegant sculptural vessel.

This project explores a variety of coloured and patterned surfaces all relating to the image of a curled fern frond. These rich, varied and highly patterned panels are shown off to best advantage on this simply constructed vessel. 
Each panel takes an aspect of the fern. One is a photographic image another is a rough, fibrous texture reminiscent of the stem, the curls are picked out in delicate stitches, the individual leaflets of the fern leaf are portrayed with reverse appliqué; the copper metal peeking out as the sun catches the fern through the undergrowth. Finally the rough hairy feel of a fern in the woods is picked up using burnt Lutradur and metal mesh.

If you have your own images of flowers, leaves, ferns other interesting natural forms, you can use those instead.

Silvered Bark

Who hasn’t spent time noticing the range of forms, patterns, colours and textures found in the bark of different species of trees, making sketches or taking photographs as a reminder?
These textures and forms are further exaggerated when the light is lower either in the morning, the moonlight or the winter and the colours are reduced to a monochrome.
The irresistibly tactile nature of bark is here explored and refined. We separate the lines and patterns from the texture, the better to appreciate them both.
Create a panel from woven metal cloth, reflective surface of metal shim and the subtle sheen of silk and iridescent paint. Of course, it doesn’t have to be silver, you can use your own choice of colours.

Golden Romance

Create a sampler collage which introduces the different forms of gilding we can use to apply onto textile backgrounds and stitch over, it throws in a little goldwork, then updates and twists the techniques to produce a sensual, subtle wall panel. The traditional is mixed with a couple of my favourite surfaces to stitch into which are waxed papers and felt from silk cocoon strippings.

The stitchery is worked in fine machine embroidery using viscose embroidery threads for their soft, silky sheen. If you are a hand stitcher, go back to traditional long and short stitch with floss silks, you will achieve wonders! (And it doesn’t have to be gold!)

Vain Devices 

(2 days minimum)
Selecting designs taken from costume through the ages including ruffles and flounces, padded and slashed clothing, ribbons, lace and embroidery; and using metal, metal cloth, velvet, distressed Angelina, beads and sequins spend time developing a lush, over the top panel which fully exploits this rich variety of surfaces.

Textures and Memories

Based on the techniques and designs of my ‘Beaches of north New Zealand’ series, translate your favourite scene into a textile memory. Bring out the textures and details that your mind remembers but which photographs just can’t do justice to. You can recall the colours, the smells, textures and small details, as well as the overall view so much more interestingly than the camera alone.
Using designs which transfer both detailed and distant  viewpoints of your  scene onto fabric, use image transfer techniques  and add textures and forms in sheers, felting and burning techniques, stitching and beading.  You will be led to an assembled piece which is a personal reminder of a favourite scene.

Layer, Stitch, Zap

Bright or natural, contrast or calm, this technique is great whatever colours you prefer to use. You will develop a technique useful for wall based art pieces, cards, book covers, bags or wearable art by creating a bonded patched background and layering over with sheer fabrics. The layers are secured with intense and detailed machine stitching, then right at the end, zap with the heat gun to re-reveal the original colours and define your shapes. Take inspiration from living forms, words, William Morris, tribal textiles, architecture, basically anything! 
... and have fun.

Personal Statements

Who hasn’t got favourite phrases, sayings and quotations which stick with you and remind you of someone or make a pertinent statement to you? Some might be famous whilst others are personal or family sayings.
Combining one of these phrases with a simple version of the Korean pojaki technique to make translucent patchwork cloths will create an ethereal textile with a personal message or statement.

In this workshop you will create painted, printed, embossed and textured metal cloths, and take one or even a part of your quote and stitch it onto metal cloth and lutradur. The individual cloths you have created will be assembled into a panel and finished with the careful placement of beads, buttons, stitch or other edgings.

Paper Patchwork

Using old book pages, music scores, cartoons, school reports, shopping lists, notes, in fact, almost any papers, especially scrap ones, we will use patchwork techniques and create a patchwork in papers. 
Often the reverse of a piece is more interesting, so we will deliberately make use of this by using the reverse of the patchwork with torn edges and seams outermost. Finish by adding touches of embellishments, stitches, beads and personal touches for a great project.

Crazy, crazy patchwork

This is crazy patchwork as you have never seen before. After dying your fabrics, we will patch, piece, cut, piece, stencil and stitch to create a fabulous, textural, rich fabric which in the end bears no resemblance to traditional crazy patchwork, but is altogether more exciting!

Mixed Media Layers for Backgrounds

Use an exciting mixture of different paints, resists and glazes, make your own stamp blocks and creatively use pre-formed stamps,  embellish with embossing powders and texture gels to create densely layered and textured background fabrics for stitching and beading later. Expect to get messy and finish the workshop with plenty of experimental surfaces.

 Handmade books

Use novel, creative and fun book binding and book making methods to make handmade books. Choose from pamphlet binding, Japanese stab binding, folded books, concertina spine books, piano hinge books, lotus books and others. Talk to me about the options.

Bags of Fantasy

Inspired by the hanging spice bags of the Indian gypsy tribes, create a delicate and bijoux bag. Use the fabulous, fusible 'Angelina' fibres with stitch, beads and finished with tassels. The bag is perfect for a special gift, decorating your Christmas tree, hanging on your wall or in your window for all to admire. A hand stitching and beading day suitable for Angelina virgins and not-so-confident stitchers.

Print, Stitch, Shrink
Shrink plastic has a reputation as a craft material for children - we will bring it right up to date.  
After a bit of a play with both the standard and the printable shrink plastics, we will add details and textures with fabrics, threads, beads and found objects to create into firm panels or textile jewellery such as pendants, earrings, brooches or corsages.


In Your Own Image  
Take time to play and experiment with some of the ever increasing range of media which we can use to print images onto directly and by using domestic ink jet printers. These printed surfaces can then be incorporated into our work in many ways. Spend time exploring the effects you can create using techniques which are all simpler than you imagine. You could use the samples to create small embroideries or store as a reference for future projects.

Strip and Spray  
Get (a bit) messy and have fun at the same time as creating, experimenting and sampling techniques which combine silk cocoon strippings and other 'gummed' silk fibres, threads, snips of fabrics, papers, Angelina fibres, colouring and more. This can be either an experimental day in which you do not expect to finish a piece but to create a stack of ideas and starting points for projects or you could concentrate on one piece, then there will be the opportunity to add stitch, beads and found objects to complete your creations.

Elemental Layers  
Use silk, linen and flax fibres to create a textured surface, further developed using felt and stitch (hand and/or machine) which will then be treated with layers of paint, patina, verdigris and gilding to create a surface reminiscent of ancient bas relief carving or natural weathered and gnarled features.


Antiqued & Stitched Papers  
Transform any old scrap papers such as wrapping paper, parcel paper, handmade or exotic paper, pages from books, music scores, tissue paper etc. using wax, heat and paint. This is a fun, relaxing technique and produces fabulous, antiqued surfaces which can then be then stitched to create book covers, panels, textile jewellery and more. 
Take a Stab at It
Create a piece for a decorative book cover or a glasses or mobile case using needle felt techniques with linen, silk and wool fibres and threads and iridescent Angelina fibre techniques, then add a smattering of stitch and beads for a real ‘wow’ factor result.

Instant Attraction  
This is my classic starter day for using Angelina fibres. A full on, busy day exploiting as many of the properties of these heat fusible fibres as we can fit in!  
Complete a wide range of samples showing the many applications of these lustrous and iridescent fibres.


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.


 Gamblers Luck  
No gambling required - make a pretty 3 sided purse or bag using Angelina fibres, machine embroidery, beads and tassels.  
The bag design is based upon 17th Century 'Gamblers' Purses' and is suitable for decorative use, pot pouri, wedding bags etc.

Not So Standard Angelina  
Angelina fibres are well known for their iridescent lustre and simplicity of use. You will be making the most of the ‘non-bondable’ range of fibres to create a panel for adding to a panel, purse or glasses case etc. Finished with machine or hand stitch, couched accent threads and a smattering of beads, this could be either a pretty, subtle or dramatic panel with ideas to expand your techniques and to use on other projects. 


Sumptuous Appliqué
Inspired by rich Asian embroidery and beading, you will use a variety of different appliqué techniques with heat fused fibre fabrics and create rich surface textures embellished with machine and/or hand stitching, beads and sequins.

 For full details, booking and contact information, go to 'get in touch'


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