Monday, 28 March 2016

Shadow Work Workshop

Samples and materials ready for the workshop

In February I delivered a Shadow Work workshop for the Cumberland Branch of the Embroiderers Guild. I was really nervous about this workshop as some of the embroiderers have been stitching longer than I've been alive! I wanted to create a workshop that focused not so much on traditional ways of doing things (as I knew many of the participants would be far better at it than me anyway) but on ways of taking the traditional techniques and using them in a more personal way.

Selecting and transferring designs

Selecting and transferring designs

Selecting and transferring designs

This workshop also inspired a piece of work, called In the Shadows, which I really enjoyed making. It was also good to have a big piece of work to show the participants as traditionally shadow work is worked on quite a small scale. I had also combined several techniques to show that we don't need to be limited to working with just one method at a time.

Tacking fabrics ready to stitch

Tacking fabrics ready to stitch

Stitching

One of the things that I often find when running workshops is that people are very nervous about implementing their own ideas and have little confidence in their own creativity. They are often worried about getting it 'wrong' and making sure they do things the 'right' way. Personally I find this an odd approach as for me it is a natural thing to want to experiment and try new things but I do understand why people feel that way. I hope in my workshops that I can give people the confidence and freedom to try something different and not worry too much about getting it 'right.'

Experimenting with fabrics

Pin Stitch

Stitch and tea...

To help limit people's worry about design and creating something I did provide several designs for people and encouraged participants to use these as a starting point to try out their own ideas. Because they were my designs they did of course largely feature birds so a lot of bird samples were produced during the workshop!

Pieces from the workshop

Pieces from the workshop

Pieces from the workshop

I really enjoyed the workshop, it was great seeing people playing around with fabrics and trying things out especially things that they might not normally have tried. For most the session everyone was very quiet, deep in concentration working on their stitching. This kind of silence in a workshop is very satisfying, knowing that you've shown people something they want to spend time learning. I always find I learn something new too when I run a workshop, whether it's a new artist to look at, a technique to try out or using something in a different way.

Pieces from the workshop

Pieces from the workshop

Pieces from the workshop

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