Tag Archives: textile workshop

Dancing with an Angel

21 years of an Angel Exhibition

Thursday 31 January – Saturday 30 March 2019

The Gallery, Gateshead Central Library

This week sees the opening of the 21 Years of an Angel Exhibition. The show marks the end of Angel20, a yearlong programme of activities in Gateshead which began on the Angel of the North’s 20th anniversary in February.

I delivered a one-day workshop as part of the programme. We made needle felted replica angels. During the workshop, participants learned how to create and felt over, a wire armature.

The basic armature is covered with polyfill – this can be needle felted to build the form, saving the need to use wool fibres at this stage.

The shaping of the Angel was entertaining 😊

It’s important to keep things simple at this stage though as greater definition can be shaped once the wool fibres are added.

We used rust coloured merino tops to match the Angel’s construction materials- it’s made of weather resistant Cor-ten steel, containing a small amount of copper, which forms a patina on the surface that mellows with age.

Details were added with a deeper brown fibre.

Then thread was used to add finer details.

Each angel is mounted on a ‘landscape’ created from a fish tin and fabric

Creative Workshop with Alice Fox

The best way to spend the weekend?? Wrapping fabric around rusty metal then dipping it in tea!

Textile Artist Alice Fox delivered an excellent weekend workshop for me and my fellow Fusionistas.

Over the course of the weekend, Alice shared her working practices with us teaching us the alchemical effects of tea and red wine when used to dye fabrics with rust. (We already knew all about the alchemy of imbibing them;). There is a little magic to the process – different teas make different colours emerge and the marks made are unique each time – even if you try to wrap in the same way and use the same liquid.

This is the cycle repair tin wrapped in muslin and soaked in tea – there are two small screws tied in the bundles on top.

 With a different tea (& shorter dye time) the colours achieved were softer than those achieved on my earlier experiments at home. The paper shown here was stained with rust from wire wool.
Alice provided us with a range of tasks to complete over the weekend; preparing fabric samples by finding  different ways to texture the surface, using the marks created to dictate where and how to stitch, challenging us to redeem perceived ‘failures’ by folding them into books. She talked about her own work, the intentions behind it as well as the process used to create different pieces.

 The success of the workshop was clear when at the final review we saw how varied the outcomes were for each participant. As with all the best workshops I came away with new techniques to try and new ideas to develop in my own work – I certainly won’t be abandoning my beloved sewing machine anytime soon but Alice’s contemplative approach has given me new insights into my own methods.

It was lovely to spend time stitching and thinking with friends old and new, roll on next year’s weekend with mixed media artist Shelley Rhodes !