Planning my time

In my last blog post (Catching Up), I mentioned about planning my time much more wisely and focusing on what really matters to me. I’ve made a rough plan, this may change and evolve over the next year but in order to hold myself accountable so that I keep going forward, I’ve decided to list them here so I can come back and tell you all how I did!

1. Reducing time on Social Media and making it work better for me – I do social media for a few groups, this is a commitment I can’t give up but neither do I want to give it up at this moment in time. But I do need to make my own Social Media work better for me so I spend less time faffing! So I have decided to delete the Textile Explorations Facebook page, I much prefer Instagram for quick photo posts and blogging for anything which needs more work. If you follow me on FB, please come and follow me on IG but if you really really prefer FB then send me a friend request for my personal page – just be aware it is much quieter than IG!

2. Sorting out my workspace – This has been in the planning for many years but thanks to a wonderful family, we started work last summer and I am now this -><- close to having my own tiny studio! I’ll show you more in a future post.

3. Working on my personal work practice – It’s taken me quite a while to get to the point that I am at now, it’s been a lot of hard work – both practically and mentally (I’m a big thinker – everything gets cogitated over and over!). I am currently doing a series of group and individual mentoring sessions at the Windsor School of Textile Art with Amarjeet Nhandra, this has helped me make huge strides in my work practice and in developing my own voice. The sessions finish soon and I am starting to ponder my next steps. No decisions have been made but I am wondering about taking a break from ongoing courses and focusing on putting what I have learned into practice. There are advantages and disadvantages of whatever I choose to do so I’ll let you know what I finally decide!

4. Photography Skills – I take a lot of photos, the in-progress photos tend to be quick snaps taken close-up. I find these really helpful when I am figuring out my next steps with a piece of work and I also use these a lot on Instagram. But taking photos of finished pieces of work is proving so much harder! How do I show the whole piece but not loose all the detail? So I need to sort out a basic set photography set up and work on my “photographing textiles” skills. Anyone know of a good photographer of textiles who might do a ‘how to’ session?!

5. Exhibiting – I am a member of two exhibiting groups. I joined Traverse in 2018 and have just done my first exhibition with them at The Quilt and Stitch Show, Uttoxeter. Traverse was formed in 2017 by some of the ladies who were on the Experimental Textiles course with me in 2016-2017. After the course finished, I went on to an Advanced Textiles course so it has been great to rejoin these ladies and see how all our work has developed. The second group is much more local to me, I joined the Bath Textile Artists in January 2018 and have just finished my second exhibition with them. Both groups bring different experiences and both help me keep moving on with my work, providing challenges and support as needed. I’m keen to keep working with both groups and use the challenges and support in helping me continue developing my personal work practice.

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Catching up..

Well, that’s been rather long gap since my last blog post.. I really didn’t intend not to blog but with one thing and another, blogging fell to the bottom of my to-do list! But I am back now and decided I’ll do a quick catch up!

As you can see if you have a look around, I’ve had a bit of a change. A huge Fibromyalgia/CFS flare up last summer gave me plenty of thinking time (not always a good thing!) and led me to do a bit of re-evaluating. As a result, I’ve made some changes, not just here on the website but in my life too. Fibro/CFS forces limits what I can do, I have to carefully plan my time to make sure I have plenty of rest time. This doesn’t mean looking at each day individually but looking at the bigger picture ie if I do this high energy event then I need x amount of time before and after to rest up recover. Even spur of the moment events are carefully considered.. so not really spur of the moment at all!

As a result of all this thinking time, I’ve realised that I need to focus on what truly matters to me. I’m not talking about the obvious important matters such as family, that goes without saying but choosing how I fill my time wisely.

I really enjoy running workshops, bringing good tutors and classes to those wanting to learn. I don’t really enjoy dealing with the money side of things! Nor do I like coping with the nasty comments some people feel they have to give out but having spoken to other workshop providers, this seems par for the course. But thankfully, the nice people are in a much greater number and the support received from them was much appreciated, so thank you – you know who you are! But the reality is that the physical work of organising workshops is one of my flare triggers and the negative effects of the flare-up far outweigh any benefits of the workshops for me. So, sadly I have decided to stop running workshops. I won’t say never again but for now, it’s not in the plans.

Thank you to all those lovely people who have supported me and came to do a workshop. Thanks also to all the tutors who trusted me to sort everything out so that they could teach! I really appreciate each and every one of you and hope you will continue to follow me on my textile art journey!

Extra Snippet from Julia Triston’s Workshop!

Just received an email from one of the students who attended last week’s workshop, Barbara carried on with the exercises that Julia gave us and then went on to create new designs. Fantastic!

I love to see all the work created from the workshops, if you’ve attended one of Textile Explorations Workshops and went on to create more work, please send me a photo!

Becca x

“Analysing Colour” with Julia Triston

Last Thursday and Friday (June 28th & 29th) was way too hot to be inside but that’s what 11 students and 1 tutor did! Julia travelled from Durham to teach one of her design skills workshops to 11 experienced students.

Now it might seem odd that students who have a wealth of experience in all areas of textile art decide to do what you would think of as a basic skill in any form of art but re-visiting the basics is always a good way to keep improving your work – I always think that none of us know everything plus, colour is so important!

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The Ridgewood Community Centre, Yate

The workshop was at The Ridgewood Community Centre – a venue that I have discussed in a previous post as being an important part of Yate, Chipping Sodbury and the surrounding area right from its workhouse days through to being a war hospital, a care home and now a community centre in use every day, all day and by all ages. This time we were in the art rooms – a suite of interconnecting rooms (The Ridgewood is a real rabbit warren!) with the main work space in one room then a kitchenette, toilet and sink are off the second room which holds extra seating/storage. The advantage of using the art rooms is that we can make a mess and not have to worry about the carpet! The disadvantage is that it is up a flight of stairs and in an ideal world would have better sink facilities. It might not be a fully equipped professional workshop (& I’d love the space and money to afford one of those!) but it is the next best thing!

We started off with a discussion about colour – what is it?; how is colour used?; what words are associated with colour?; what does colour convey? etc.. and Julia finished the discussion with an interesting thought:

“Colour can be a lifetime study and the more you learn, the more you realise you don’t know”

We then moved onto a series of exercises, firstly looking at all the words used to describe shades of green

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and each painted six 4” squares of 6 specified shades of green from memory. Once dry, Julia took all the squares and laid them out first without labels and then with. It was fascinating to see the similarities yet also the many different shades we created and all from memory!

Moving on to the colour wheel, we learned how to make the best primary colours from the paints we had. A technique most of us had never been taught and one I can see myself using as I tend only to buy the basic colours and mix the colours I want from these. Following on, we mixed secondary colours and different shades of complimentary colours.

We ended day 1 by making two collages – one of warm/hot colours and one of cool/cold colours using magazines as source material. Those who had time, matched the colours in the collage with paint chart samples and thread.

On day two we started looking at how we could use the techniques learned in our own work. Sticking with sketchbook exercises, we had each found a picture to use as a source of inspiration and started examining the picture for the colours we could see and the proportions of each colour. We created a quick colour chart of the colours in the proportions that we had determined using threads. I found it quite difficult to match the colours accurately with the threads I had, so chose to try matching with paint charts, which was surprisingly accurate!

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Using colours found in magazines and matching the source colours as closely as we could, we made collages and since my source was a graffiti image, I chose to make my collage more like a landscape. Everyone’s source image was different so each collage was different!

It was now time to take the exercises into fabric (and stitch if you got that far!) and create a fabric collage – again matching colours and proportions.

For those who finished the collages, there was a final exercise. Using an isolated section of either the warm or cool collage, we traced the shape within the section to create 6 copies and then using 3 colours (light, medium & dark) to create new designs.

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It was a packed two days and some fantastic sketchbooks were developing! We all came away having not only learned something new but feeling refreshed over the basics we had all learned previously.

Becca x