- paper - if you always use A4 then try A3
- charcoal sticks - they come in different sizes - you can't do small detailed pictures with a piece of charred wood!
- something to draw; preferably (but not essential) something bigger than the paper you are going to drawn on.
It’s a useful skill to be able to draw on all different scales and this exercise will help you expand your drawing to fill the page – whatever the size!
You will need:
Before you start, spend a few minutes looking at the item you have chosen to draw – look at its overall shape, its relationship to other items on the table and/or the back ground etc
Regular readers of the blog will know that a couple of weeks ago I'd tried, and got waylaid, to see the Tate Modern's new exhibition on weaver Anni Albers. However, a dreary Monday this week was a good a day as any to rectify this so I hopped the train up to London and visit the exhibition; in fact it was the perfect day (trains cancelations not withstanding) because Monday afternoons in mid November look to be very quiet days in Tate Modern.
I spent 5 years learning to weaving when I lived in Finland in the 1990's; rugs, runners, bags and wall hangings, I've had a crack at them all, and one of my hand woven bags is still in regular use 25 years on! Last Christmas I also very lucky to received Anni Albers' seminal book, On Weaving (confession: I look at the photographs rather than read the words...)and so I was more than a little intrigued to see how Tate Modern would portray this artist and her work.
The first thing to note is that this isn't just an exhibition of Anni Albers' work but rather an examination of her process as a designer, artist and teacher. It charts the way she transformed weaving from the domestic to a medium for art, design and architecture.
Anni Albers had enrolled as a student at the Bauhaus, Germany in the 1920's and after a general preliminary course was required to chose a specialised workshop. But despite the ideals of equality at the Bauhaus, women were not actively encourage to join some classes, however weaving became a popular class for women, so much so it became known as 'the women's workshop'. Anni Albers said that she 'went into weaving unenthusiastically, as merely the least objectionable choice' but 'gradually threads caught my imagination'.
When I read that I knew instantly what she meant: a passion born.
Not Anni's loom, but a replica and just like the one I used to learn how to weave. To see what is involved watch this short video, How to weave like Anni Albers made by the Tate in collaboration with weaver Rosa Pearks.
The designs for weaving needed to be meticulously planned and calculated before the loom could be warped with the required number and colours of threads. These grid-like designs were painted in water colour using four or more different tones and were exercises in colour theory.
Artist, Paul Klee taught at the Bauhaus but Anni Albers said that she was more influenced by his paintings than by his teaching! Following Klee's exercises in composition and colour and tonal variation combined with his mixing of layers of watercolour on paper influenced Albers's own designs.
I was so taken by these studies made on the typewriter (remember those??!) that once home I was straight upstairs rummaging around until I found my ancient one, blew the dust off and started pounding the keys.
Now there's an exercise workout for the fingers; quite forgotten how much effort is required to thump the keys down. Oddly satisfying though, it has to be noted... Now, where can I get a new ribbon from?
Unlike so many exhibitions these days, photograph was allowed in this exhibition so it's very tempting to wander around snapping away. But here's my advice: if you only have the one chance to visit the exhibition, put the camera/phone away: weaving isn't a process to be rushed and neither is this exhibition. Take the time to explore Anni's creative world, marvel at her use of colour and development of techniques
and then sit in quiet contemplation of the Ark Panels woven by her in 1962 for Temple B'nai Israel, Woonsocket, Rhode Island. After all, you'll need all the stillness and calm you can get before the madness that is Christmas arrives next month!
Besides which, there's plenty of merchandise outside the backdoor waiting to tempt you. Alternatively why not ask Father Christmasoppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppl (heee, hee, hee: Betty cat has just jumped on the keyboard to embrace her inner Anni....) for a Tate membership so you can visit this and many other exhibitions (in all the Tate Galleries up and down the country) as many times as you want, without booking or queuing?
The Anni Albers exhibition is on from now until 27th January. See you there (again!)
Hazel & Terry
Wednesday was such a beautiful day here at the Studio that we decided to have a 'walking meeting' instead of sitting in the studio
so on went the boots and down the lane we went...
It probably won't come as much of a surprise to some of you, but a 2014 study by Stanford University in the US has shown that people are much more creative when they are walking around as opposed to when they are sitting still.
It's also one of the reasons why we encourage students to stand up to work and why, after lunch on a Textile Adventures workshop we suggest everyone goes outside for a 10 - 15 minute walk; besides which it gives us time to clear lunch away!
The walk was also an excellent opportunity to look for line inspiration for us to use in a monoprinting session we've planned for ourselves later in the week.
From the twist and knots of barbed wire,
the concentric circles on a felled tree
and this year's growth on the hedge
to the stark outlines of the cow parsley seed heads
and the prickly cones of teasels.
And if you've ever visited us (or plan to do so in 2019!) this is why we always tell you to ignore the ever helpful Satnav and follow our instructions to avoid ending up at/in the ford, which is along the road from the studio!
Hazel & Terry
This week was the second session of our ever popular Introduction to free motion quilting course. As well as teaching many different patterns we also share lots of tips and advice and one of the ones this week was how to finish the thread ends.
It's always a good idea to do this at either the beginning or end of every session or even as you go along. There's nothing worse than finishing a quilt top only to realise you have countless ends of thread to deal with!
One of the easiest way to do this is the lasso method using a large eyed embroidery needle and a double length of thread.
Take the two lengths of thread (ie: the top and bottom threads) and tie using an over-hand knot, running it down the needle to the end of the stitching. This knot will anchor itself in the wadding when pulled through.
Push the threaded lasso needle into the work, at the end of the line of stitching. Go through the top layer, into the wadding but not through to the back. Travel the needle about an inch and pop it out: do not pull through!
With your other hand grab the stitching threads and pull them through the lasso, then pull the needle, allowing the lasso to pull the thread right through. The thread tail can then be carefully snipped.
We made a little video to show you here:
Click on the image below to see the video Subhashini made when I taught it in class!
Until next week,
Hazel & Terry
Does this happen to you? You finally admit it’s now autumn, cold enough to warrant a proper coat being worn, and on putting a hand in the pocket you find your fingers caressing one of last year’s conkers. You then also realise it’s time to start lashing on the hand-cream and wearing gloves - looking at my dry hand I realise I should have started that regime a while ago!
This week Debbie Lyddon has been teaching her Exploring Place workshop in the studio and one of the things students have been doing is collecting and recording things found on their local morning walk.
Outside the studio there are huge oak trees so there are plenty of acorns,
down the lane pheasant feathers were found
and, of course, conkers were everywhere!
But what to do with all these things we collect?
Debbie has made a series of vessels
While the grasses were twisted and woven into a series of small balls.
Terry walks and collects too, usually by the sea.
Usually, Terry records what she finds, such as the lovely sea glass above.
But, sometimes Terry isn't able to actually 'collect' the items she finds, like the beautiful ammonite pavement on Monmouth Beach, Lyme Regis. That's where carrying a camera and a small sketchbook comes in handy and back in the studio she was able to do a series of studies on paper, from which a thermofax screen was made. The quilt, above right, shows where this screen was used to discharge a piece of hand dyed fabric.
The line of oyster shells were 'drawn-without-looking' and eventually became a free motion quilting design which Terry has used several times, above is Walking on the beach and below they feature on one of the long Narrative: walking strips.
Look carefully and you will find other images of collected items!
More of Terry's work can be found on her website.
Are you a collector of random 'stuff'? If you are do tell us what you collect and how you use it in your creative practice.
Hazel & Terry
Welcome to our blog! Here you'll find out what's been going on, plus plenty of ideas and inspiration and the odd cake recipe!
Check back often to see what we're up to - it's great to have you along
Hazel & Terry