Composition: big | bold | brave, with Bobby Britnell

Composition: big | bold | brave, with Bobby Britnell

We are delighted to share that three space have become available to join in with Bobby Britnell’s Summer School 2022, Composition: big, bold, brave.

Composition is one of the key elements in art and design, whether you are creating a drawing, painting or involved with any visual art form. It provides the viewer with the tools needed for making sense of finished works.

We will begin by looking at how a composition can be changed by the simple placing of a horizontal line, the size of motifs in relation to the picture plane, and the positioning of these motifs. We will investigate some of these ideas through a number of creative exercises onto paper and from these create some large bold monochromatic drawings.

Learning from master artists is paramount in understanding these concepts, so artist research will be fundamental in cementing personal ideas. Be prepared for some dramatic effects and large scale works on fabric which explore these concepts in challenging ways.

Bobby runs and teaches courses from her studio in South Shropshire and attracts students from all over the world. She also brings in the best UK tutors. She exhibits and teaches all over the country and abroad and was a tutor on the BA (Hons) programme for the Julia Caprara School of Stitched Textiles. She published her first book in 2013, which has been reprinted in 2021.

The summer school begins at 2.00pm on Monday 18 July, and ends after afternoon tea on Thursday 21 July 2022.

Collagraph & Cloth

Collagraph & Cloth

TSG February weekend 18 – 20th 2022

Tutor Sue Brown

Textile Study Group members meet for two weekends a year in a supportive but challenging environment to participate in workshops led by outside tutors from a wide range of disciplines. Last month our weekend workshop was led by artist Sue Brown.

Sue Brown is an artist using collagraph printmaking to tell stories. Collagraph plates can be made in many different ways using easily obtained materials. Also printed on a variety of substrates. The success of the printed image lies in the inking up and printing. Over the weekend we explored a couple of plate making and inking techniques and experimented with printing on a selection of textiles.

These weekends are like no others in my year- they’re a chance to meet up with like minded women, women of extraordinary skill, knowledge, talent- who at a drop of a hat will share, support, and encourage each other. The art workshop weekends are full on- they take stamina and at times courage, courage to try something new, fail, try again, make a mess, take a risk, but you might just take something home with you- a spark of an idea, a new technique, or simply time to reflect on your practice. Below are some reflections on the weekend from our group.

Can you sum up how you might use what you got from this weekend in your practice?

‘The workshop reignited my interest in collagraphs and printmaking – it felt exciting again!’

‘I am excited to explore printmaking further, to revisit my background in printed textiles and build the subtleties of collographic mark-making into my practice.’

‘It has reminded me of the usefulness of collagraph techniques for printed marks but also the flexibility of materials used for making the plates, which are beautiful objects in their own right.’

‘It made me consider another aspect of surface and printing.’

‘As detailed areas within a semi-transparent layered piece of work – I hope.’

‘I probably can’t use it directly as part of my work, but this absolutely didn’t stop my enjoyment of the weekend – it’s just so nice to learn something new, to do that alongside a group of people, to be away from the responsibilities of home for a day or two, have some laughs…’

‘Something that always excites me is how else can I add another layer , collagraphs add just that.’

A sentence about lifelong learning: 

‘My aim is to continually investigate, explore and learn – pushing myself, my ideas and my work.

‘I don’t ever want to feel I’ve stopped learning.’

‘The engagement with learning is research, exploration of methods and understanding of materials that fascinates, engrosses and thrills.’

‘I have just started a part time MA at Plymouth College of Art, I have been involved in Arts education for over 30 years and am passionate about lifelong learning. It is vital to keep up with contemporary developments, particularly in textiles, as it always feeds back into my teaching, learning also enriches my own practice and stimulates fresh ideas and thinking through making.’

‘As a tutor I’ve seen lifelong learning transform so many people’s lives; seen people make important friends; seen people find purpose and change direction in their lives. As a student it enables me to continue learning, exploring, challenging myself, has made massive impacts on my life at different stages by.It has also provided me with a flexible way of working as a single parent which has been essential. Should receive far more funding from Government – like it used to do – as it’s so important and valuable to individuals and to society.’

‘Continuing to learn new skills and pushing my thinking helps me to find personal meaning in my life and keeps me feeling curious and connected to the wider world.’

Thanks to Sue Brown for a fantastic workshop, everyone in the Textile Study Group and members who contributed to this post: Lois Blackburn, Sarah Burgess, Alice Fox, Sue Green, Sian Martin, Amarjeet Nandhra, Mandy Pattullo, Polly Pollock, Shelley Rhodes, Mary Sleigh and Julia Triston.

2021 Summer School – Seeing Through Layers

After a period of uncertainty, the annual residential Summer School was able to take place at Hillscourt in Birmingham. The opportunity to meet old friends, make new friends was enjoyed by all. It felt a bit surreal for some who had not met up or been in contact with anyone for nearly two years. Yet everyone soon settled in and it felt like old times. There were a few changes to how Hillscourt managed the weekend, but nothing that got in the way of having a thoroughly wonderful time. With the bonus of the warm weather, people were able to enjoy the beautiful grounds. The excitement and buzz in each of the studios created an inspiring and creative atmosphere.

We will also share details about next year’s summer school at the end of this post, so make sure you read to the end.

Tutors on this year’s summer school were Sarah Burgess, Sheila Mortlock and Amarjeet Nandhra, who developed three exciting new courses around the theme of layers. There was such a wonderful selection of work produced during the four days, below we have shared a few images of the work in progress. Enjoy!

Sarah Burgess – Shadows and Reflections

Sarah’s group explored fleeting images, reflections and constantly shifting shadows are their starting points. Working with the student’s imagery; such as plant and tree forms, reflections and shadows on water or man-made structures. These explorations created a range of wonderfully evocative paper and fabric experiments.

Sheila Mortlock – Building Layers

Sheila’s group conquered the intimidating blank pages of a new sketchbook. The workshop encouraged students to develop ideas using their starting points. Through various exercises the group changed the surface quality of a pristine page, adding layers, colour and marks. Each student producing wonderfully exciting sketchbooks brimming with ideas for future work.

Amarjeet Nandhra – Imperfect Layers

Amarjeet’s group developed ideas from close up detailed observations. Drawing inspiration from the immediate environment, students explored marks, textures and patterns. Techniques involved cutting, obscuring, ghost images and overprinting to build up layers and depth in the prints. Reworking the paper and fabric using collage, creating colourful and exciting collages

Next year’s Summer School

Title: Making A Point

Dates: 18 – 21 July 2022.

Tutors: Bobby Britnell, Mary Sleigh and Jan Miller. Please note we reserve the right to change tutors.

Bookings: will go live on 10th September 2021

INSIGHTS Exhibition at the Festival of Quilts

It was such a joy to see the INSIGHTS project on display at the Festival of Quilts. Initially, to be shown in 2020, but as with many events the show was cancelled. The idea behind the exhibition and book was for each member to create new work and record their processes. The book documents each artist’s creative process, from the starting point to the completion of the work. All members represented in the book, share their varied approaches to artistic practice: where ideas come from; how they develop and make work; where they work. The exhibition displayed the related work, either finished pieces or samples. The variety of responses featured reflect the rich diversity of textile art practice within the group.

Unsure when the work would be displayed, we endeavoured to keep the interest alive by sharing on various social media platforms. Yet to finally have the opportunity to display the work and interact with everyone face to face was an amazing feeling.

The FoQ and the NEC organisers made the visit as safe as possible, with enhanced safety measures in place. There was a steady stream of visitors to our gallery for most of each day, tailing off in the late afternoons. It never felt too busy and mask-wearing was the norm. The show had a reduced number of exhibits but spread out over a larger space and with fewer visitors. People generally said they felt very comfortable.

The exhibition was well received. We had some lovely feedback from visitors and many very positive comments about how well the exhibition hung together, flowed and worked, considering the number of artists work on display. We are very grateful for June Hill’s careful planning and thoughtful placing of works in the gallery, creating a cohesive and strong exhibition.

Comments from visitors :

”Stimulating, thought-provoking – very enjoyable”

“Brilliant exhibition of inspiring work – I loved it and found it exceptional”

“Best part of the show!”

“Absolute highlight of the show! Ideas, inspiration, thought-provoking and so much more. Thank you.”

In 2020, we were going to launch our INSIGHT publication at the Festival of Quilts, sadly that did not happen. We did, however, have the book available for sale this time, generating lots of interest and sales. If you haven’t managed to secure your copy yet, click the link, it will take you to our shop.

A big thank you to all those involved in this project. The exhibition was curated by June Hill, the accompanying publication was edited by June Hill and Dr Melanie Miller, with essay contributions from Jane McKeating, Polly Binns and Claire Barber. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of you that came to visit the show and for your continued support. Not forgetting the mammoth effort from the Textile Study Group members who organised this whole project, those who came to help hang the exhibition, steward and takedown. It is an honour to belong to such a strong and professional contemporary textile group.