Shelley Rhodes

artists and tutors sharing ideas imagination and skills

Shelley Rhodes noticeboard: courses


I aim to present inspiration, suggestions and options rather than a workshop that is set in stone with a predetermined outcome. I always encourage my students to explore, experiment and find their own personal way of working.

 Most of these workshops work better as 2 day/weekend workshops. Some of them can be adapted and simplified to run as a day class and some of them can be expanded or combined to make a 4 or 5 day workshop.

Sketchbook Explorations

This exploratory workshop encourages many different approaches to working in sketchbooks. Working from your chosen design source you will thoroughly explore a theme as you manipulate and alter pages and images, layering and re-working to create a very tactile sketchbook. You will be encouraged to use photographs, collage, text, mark-making, printing, drawing using a wide range of media as well as considering methods of presentation and overall design.

Ori-Kami – fold, layer and reveal

Inspired by Japanese paper folding you will create a series of marks, drawings and prints on light weight paper and fabric. These will be layered, folded and stitched, inspired by origami techniques. Then you will cut and tear into your piece to reveal the layers below. Small areas can be cut and folded back to reveal random marks underneath. There is some loss of control regarding which marks end up being revealed. This leads to very exciting and unexpected outcomes.

Mottainai – too good to waste

The Japanese term Mottainai, conveys a sense of regret concerning waste. Using remnants from previous projects combined with pre-used fabrics you will create a new cloth. This will be pieced, patched and layered. Japanese Boro will be referred to as a further source of inspiration [longer workshops will also include creating a series of collaged samples combining paper and fabric].

Mark, Manipulate, Make

You will use a personal collection of found objects as inspiration to explore mark-making. Marks will be made by drawing, printing, stamping, scratching, dragging, dabbing, punching, piercing and dribbling, using a wide range of drawing media on a variety of surfaces.Your own set of hand-made drawing tools will help you to explore the calligraphic and gestural mark, introducing words and text as a form of mark making.  Consideration will be given to the concept multiples, repetition and changes in scale. Then you will manipulate your mark making by chopping, folding, layering, joining, stitching, rearranging and reworking. Your work will be altered and transformed into a book format, a range of samples or the start of a new piece of work.

One Thing Leads to Another

Using a concertina or zig zag format, you will create a sketchbook where one ‘page’ links to the next. You will be extracting marks, patterns, shapes and texture from natural and man-made objects focusing on miniscule detail such as scratches, lines, holes, creases, pitted surfaces etc. You will be working large, then cutting, tearing and reassembling using a wide range of papers and media. You will be encouraged to layer and re-work areas so they become tactile, intriguing and visually exciting. The use of text, gestural marks and variation of scale will be introduced as part of the workshop. Simple machine and hand stitching can be used for further mark making and joining.

Tools, Text, Texture

You will make your own set of drawing tools using natural and man-made materials. These can be beautiful objects in their own right. They will be used to create a series of marks, textures as well as gestural writing. You will work on a variety of weights of paper and fabric which will be combined into a book format or constructed in some other way.

Not Quite Kantha

This workshop takes inspiration from Kantha quilting, but you will be pushing the boundaries by working in an experimental and contemporary way. There will be an emphasis on layering fine pre-used fabrics and simple running stitch. However, this is an experimental workshop and you will be encouraged to exaggerate and distort stitches as well as incorporating other elements such as paper, drawings, found objects, wire, pins and tapes. You will be considering methods of distressing and ‘repairing’ as well as layering, trapping and encasing.

Think Inside the Box 

Many of us are collectors and gatherers of things left behind, the overlooked, the discarded and the mundane. You will be asked to bring along your own personal collection of found objects, which will be used to inspire drawing, mark-making, sketching, expressive gestural writing, 3-D constructions and assemblages, handmade books, scrolls, stitched samples and collages. These will be presented inside a box format – which could be deconstructed or flattened. Fragments of the original collection may be incorporated. These box assemblages may become works of art in their own right, as well as being a wonderful starting point for further drawings, design and stitch.

Scratching the Surface

Taking photographs of your chosen subject is often a good starting point, but rather than working directly from a photograph, you will explore the possibility of changing and manipulating the photograph. You will be altering your own photographs by scratching, manipulating, painting, stitching, tearing and joining, to create a new series of images. The manipulated photos can start to develop into little works of art in their own right or they can be used as a starting point for a design or new pieces of stitched work. Alternatively you can use the new manipulated images to draw from.

Just OneThing 

You will use just one object as your source of inspiration for the workshop. This will inspire drawing, collage, mark making, print, stitch and asemic writing. This could lead to a series of samples or a more resolved piece of mixed media work.

Edge to Edge

Inspired by your own design source you will mark, print and draw on fabric and paper creating a series of small pieces that can be joined. Edges may be cut, torn, frayed, loopy, lacy, feathery, folded, stitched, beaded – all types of edges will be considered.

Then you will explore different joining mechanisms as you start to join the small components. You may join using stitch, buttons, hooks and eyes, pins, tape and wire, as your small samples become joined to make one finished piece.

From One Place to Another

Mapping a journey, movement from one place to another or simply recording a walk will be the starting point for this workshop. You will be asked to record a walk or journey and bring photographs, found and collected objects and sketches with you, which will inform further drawing, mark making and gestural writing. You will use a variety of media on paper and fabric. Elements from maps may be included such as the use of symbols, lettering, creases and folds, even bits of maps themselves. As you resolve your piece, you will assemble, cut, rearrange and move elements from one place to another to create a new mixed media piece of work or series of smaller pieces.

Beyond Repair?

There is something very beautiful and fragile about distressed, worn, patched textiles. You will distress, tear and create holes, marks and stain a variety of fabric and paper. Then you will start to piece, patch and repair a combination of fabric and paper by using both traditional and inventive methods and materials. You will take inspiration from Japanese Boro where tattered, worn fabric is patched and repaired, using simple running stitches. This is an experimental and exploratory workshop in which you will make a series of samples which may lead to a larger finished piece of work. The question is how far can you distress a piece of fabric or paper and is it ever beyond repair?

For further details of the workshops and fees please contact Shelley directly at

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About the artist

  • Work by Shelley Rhodes
  • Work by Shelley Rhodes
  • Work by Shelley Rhodes
  • Work by Shelley Rhodes
  • work by Shelley Rhodes
  • work by Shelley Rhodes