“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!

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


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!





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.


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

A new post!



I’ve just written a blog post on the Traverse Textile Art Blog, pop over and see what I have been up to!

Becca x


P.S. Last minute shout out – 1 place available on Julia Triston’s workshop THIS Thursday and Friday (28th & 29th June)! Contact me if you are interested!!

“Developing Sketchbooks as a Rich Resource” Workshop with Amanda Hislop

Wow! What a workshop! I think I might say that about every workshop but I really did come away buzzing with ideas and full of things to think about in regards to my own work practice!

Amanda’s workshop was a two day creative workshop working freely and generating ideas by establishing a working sketchbook, exploring abstract ideas and personal ideas relating to land and seascapes. We started off with Amanda talking about her own sketchbook practice and showing us some of  her amazing books – I have to say, my own sketchbooks are very much what I call a workbook, full of scribbles & notes, very rough sketches of ideas, some samples etc so to see how someone takes her sketchbooks from rough marks to forming ideas to building up the start of finished pieces, was fascinating! Like I have said above, I came away with quite a few things to think about in regards to my own work and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one!

We moved quickly onto our first task of the weekend making very free expressive marks with inks and a cola pen and using tissue paper or wax to change up the surface and create resists.



It’s hard to see what we were supposed to be doing, I mean that last photo (mine btw!) – looks like.. nothing! But actually.. wow! was the response when we moved onto the next step! Amanda showed us several different ways to make mini books. Some of us had done similar books before but the idea was new to others. The 2 photos of completed books below have added lines, colour and stitch and you can see the potential of those simple  marks above when you look at how someone has taken the idea and expanded it can’t you?


After lunch on day 1, we moved onto next task – getting rid of the scary white page and creating bases for working into at a later date. Amanda discussed lots of different ways we could do this but for the workshop, we focused on using inks, creating resists, using scraps of leftover paper from the first task and adding tissue paper etc to the page to create texture.


Day 2, we started off by carrying on with the last task from day 1 before while waiting for everyone arrive then we gathered round while Amanda discussed more about her daily practice and the mark a day or page a day challenge that quite a few artists do as part of their own daily practice. Helen Terry for example discussed her own daily practice on her blog a few years ago. It’s such a simple idea and a sketchbook only needs to be a tiny book that fits in the palm of your hand or a coat pocket, so it’s not big pages or massive amounts of work. In fact, after this discussion and further discussion, 2 friends and I have decided to do our own 40 day challenge to get us in the daily practice habit with a mark a day.

We then discussed the tasks for the rest  of the  day – building up bases for future sketchbook pages this time adding in fabric, threads and stitch along with pen or pencil marks. And finally, playing with colour using oil pastels, wax and Koh-i-nor dye paints on one of the bases we’d created to develop a sea or landscape or even, just abstract marking. The idea was to play with colour and become more comfortable with the tools we had.

A base created using strips of paper from task 1:IMAG2084a

Photo 1 showing a base created by mark making with different inks and photo 2 showing how the base was added to by adding thick and thin pen marks:IMAG2042aIMAG2076a

Photos below show some of the finished pieces:


Some amazing work and that is just a sample of all that was created! In all, we had a fantastic weekend and I would like to say a huge thank you, again, to Amanda for coming to teach and for being such a fantastic tutor! And also to the students – for being so fab too! I’m always amazed at how far some have travelled, this time the furthest north was The Lakes and furthest east was Worthing!

I’m busy sorting out more workshops and will pop a post up soon once I have some details finalised but if you’d like a hint, Amanda is coming back and Caroline Bartlett is also going to be coming to teach! I cannot wait! The next workshop coming up is in June  with Julia Triston, there are spaces available so please hop over to the workshop page for more information.

Becca x


“Embroidered Felt Panel Workshop with Jackie Cardy.

Oh I am so sorry! I was convinced I had blogged about the workshop with Jackie Cardy last October but after coming on to update about the most recent workshop, I realised that I had imagined writing this post! In my defence, I was in the middle of a fibro flare for most of October and November and not much got done at all! But, I will blog about it now!

Jackie did a 700 mile round trip to teach in Yate and North Devon in October last year, her first long journey trip to teach 2 workshops! It was a great workshop in Yate (and I’m sure the students of the other workshop had a great time too!) and I really appreciated Jackie driving so far to allow some of the interested south take part in one of her workshops! Sadly, I didn’t feel well enough to take part so I made sure I took plenty of photographs and absorbed all that was going on!

The workshop was split into two ways of creating the basic panel and then both panels were stitched into, to give the finished design. It was a fascinating glimpse into the way a simple product – wool tops – could be changed into a felt material and made into a beautiful piece of art. The possibilities of the way you can use this process is endless and really, only limited by your imagination!

The photos show various stages of creating from start to finish and the finished pieces were amazing! Jackie was a fantastic tutor, very enthusiastic about the different ways of working and very giving with information. Everyone had a fun and productive time and all went home feeling very enthused about what they had made and what they had learned. I hope Jackie will be able to come back and teach another workshop soon!

Happy New Year.. just a little late!

I just wanted to drop in and say hello! Oh and say a belated happy new year! I hope you had a lovely Christmas with perhaps some art or sewing goodies to open on Christmas Day?!

I haven’t been blogging much lately but I am still around – mostly posting the odd sneak peak of projects, coursework and of course, the many visiting dogs who spend their holidays with us! So do follow me if you’d like to see what I’m up to. I made the decision a few months back not do regular blog posts about the next course I was doing, each post seems to take hours to write as I figure out what to say then agonise over the wording and so on – those hours are better spent creating I thought! I don’t want to not blog though so I will blog after each Textile Explorations workshop and then do other posts every so often (follow me via WordPress, Facebook, Instagram or Bloglovin if you’d like notifications of new posts) but do remind me if I go too quiet though!

So what have I been up to?

Well in September, I spent a few sessions at the studio of artist Carole Waller. Carole makes wearable art and sells her work world-wide. She also teaches fabric painting and printing in her studio and lectures at Bath Spa University. I used the sessions to play around with ideas for my summer project and it was really helped to be able to discuss my thoughts and have questions asked back at me which made me really think and question what I was trying to say. I completely changed what I had planned to do and spent the time looking at layers and shadows created by layering up lines and abstract shapes. Unfortunately my photos really don’t do what I did justice!

In October, I started a mentor led course at the Windsor School of Art with tutor Amarjeet Nandhra. I mentioned the course and the summer project in an earlier post so I won’t go into that but suffice it to say, the theme of the project is the theme I’m following through the course. There are eight of us in our group and everyone chose their own theme so subjects vary quite a bit and includes boundaries, emotions & emoticons and decay. So very different! The first half of the course is working on a series of exercises, each using your chosen theme to inform with colour, shape, words etc. The exercises are not about creating finished work but about working out how you work ie representational, abstract, concept, process or material led; whether you prefer 2D or 3D; experimenting with ideas and most importantly, learning to trust your own instincts. Each session has a different exercise involving a different technique for example collage or using wax to create 3D structures. We have a set of objectives to achieve each session but, how you achieve these objectives with the technique set is up to you. Amarjeet provides support and encourages discussion and thinking (eek!). The course isn’t taught – that is, we are expected to know the how to’s of each technique but quick briefings were given to ensure we all know what is what before we started.

I’ve really enjoyed each session so far – well, not painting to music aka “expressive moods” – mark making and painting is fine, just forget the music lol! There is one more exercise session left and then we are at the halfway point and starting work on our individual projects. Can’t wait to see how things develop!

Workshop News!

Workshops for 2018 so far:

March 10th and 11th – Amanda Hislops’ “Developing Sketchbooks as a Rich Resource” Workshop – just 2 spaces left!

June 28th and 29th – Julia Tristan’s “Analysing Colour” Workshop – spaces available!

Please click through the links for more details and contact me if you would like to book a place. Both workshops promise to be really fun and a great chance to develop your skills further. Come on! Come and join me! I’d love to see you!

Becca x