This week I went on a two day workshop on sculptural textiles with Debbie Lyddon at InStitches. I have been following Debbie Lyddon's blog for some time and am intrigued by and attracted to her work and her methods. When the opportunity arose to attend a workshop close to where I live - well, it would have been daft not to try it out. Especially as I have this longterm background itch about doing something 3D-ish.
Debbie Lyddon: Auricle (detail) image from here
The two days worked really well. The venue is great - a good space, well equipped, friendly, and generous folks. The other participants provided such a broad range of input, and fun. And Debbie herself is a great instructor, provider, and facilitator - as well as being great fun. Obviously I had a great time!
But it was a productive time too. I think that maybe this time I have come closer to what might suit my needs. On this workshop I actually made a more or less complete piece of work. Usually my intention is to make samples to remind me of techniques, but this time I was moved to try to marry one technique - stiffened pleats - with some element which would make the piece mine.
Wax as a surface, a material, an idea has long held an allure for me, reinforced by an excellent Experimental Batik on Paper workshop I attended some ten years ago or so at West Dean with Hetty van Boekhout (the course is on this year too). It was the wax element of the Debbie Lyddon workshop that was initially what interested me the most. And the sample I made for myself has ignited even more enthusiasm.
A piece of muslin was stiffened overnight with a coat of emulsion paint. On that I stitched (using an awl to make the holes before threading the needle through) quite a thick slippery, disobedient but scrummilly beautiful space dyed thread round an outline. Ironing wax all over this gave a fabulous feel to an even stiffer cloth, flattened the thread into the fabric, filled out the awl holes, ... gave me something very exciting.
So much to bubble away on my back burner now! Even though I did say a couple of posts ago that I enjoy thinking, I do also enjoy trying things out. As Andreas Gursky the photographer said in the Guardian newspaper yesterday: 'As I'm always telling my students: you won't get anywhere sitting at a table thinking. You learn by doing. And even if you do something wrong, the result may be much more interesting than what you went looking for.'