|Detail, Penny's magical stitch techniques|
Spring 2014 has proven to be a magical time, when friends old and new gather to share the love of fabric, print and stitch. We welcomed renowned Textile Artist, PENNY BERENS to Kingston on the evening of May 16th and what an evening it was. So many thanks to Penny and all of the Lecture guests and our great FW Workshop students who helped make her visit to Kingston great fun!
St. Lawrence College was the location of the evening Lecture and Trunk Show shared by our Nova Scotia friend and mentor. Many of us follow Penny's Tanglewood Threads blog and her delicious handwork as devoted fans. The opportunity to see and touch her beautiful work was a real treat. For those who had never met Penny, but admired her from afar, the opportunity to relax and enjoy time together as she walked us through her inspiration, her favourite influences and subject matter, and shared the work she is devoted to though both photographs and real time.
The tables were filled with many luscious and colourful pieces of Penny's handwork - the hand laid stitch taking each piece to a rich and textural finish. Penny loves dyeing and colouring her cloth with natural processes which creates very special fabrics. Her carefully executed colouration underlies the stitches that tell the story of each piece.
After many years of developing her favourite methods for making each piece special, the journey moves to her viewers as the work travels in many exhibitions, is shared in area and distant gatherings and is posted for her followers at Tanglewood Threads HERE
Our DESIGNING FROM NATURE workshop days were filled with Penny's shared exercises, developed to inspire and take the students on short, experimental visits with line, shape, technique and colour play. Students sketched in their notebooks, tried a number of challenges that Penny set out to lead them to a new confidence, or at least the chance to try their hand at creating original plans for a possible new piece. Using what they had at hand - pencils, crayons, watercolours or inks... the small drawings evolved. Penny walked the classroom, stopping to share and inspire, listening carefully as the students questioned and responding with years of practice and knowledge. A great two days - starting points for new work, or finishing pieces already underway with new enthusiasm.
And yes, Penny does use her machine (evidence below), though handwork is her passion. Penny's devotion and success certainly is evident in the stunning pieces we all had the chance to enjoy first hand during the workshop.
In the second day, students had the opportunity to sit with Penny as she stitched and shared her favourite embellishment and textural techniques. The sharing of ideas, all new stitches and Penny's taking the time to talk with each student made this a very special weekend for all of the participants.
THEN ON TO WORKSHOP #5... Discharge Play
THEN ON TO WORKSHOP #5... Discharge Play
|Samples of Penny's discharge work|
After a day off, a ride through the Ontario countryside with Hilary and Patrick, and sharing time with new best friends and her billet hosts, Peta and Gauvin, Penny was right at it again on Tuesday morning. She is quite amazing you know, as her energy and wonderful smile become infectious even at 9:30 am. It is clear that Penny loves what she does and we all benefited from her willingness to just GET STARTED! We all knew this was going to be FUN!
The MAKE IT YOUR OWN WITH DISCHARGE Workshop took off at the Odessa Fairgrounds. Fifteen keen students gathered to walk through the steps to creating original designs on cloth using both the traditional and non-traditional methods for removing colour from fabric. Penny talked awhile, ensuring that her students had all of the safety tips and a great handout and outline for getting started... then we were off and running.
|More samples, discharged after stitching|
Many of Penny's beautifully prepared and organized samples were shared as each step of the workshop proceeded. The students took notes, and chose favourite techniques to try... shibori; developing "hand inked" prints with "shiskabob" sticks dipped into straight bleach; bound and painted; tube wrapped and discharged... so many options.
The weather cooperated, and the Fairgrounds offered a covered, straw floored outdoor meeting area, with picnic tables for working up new designs. A group of friends made "discharge camp" there and enjoyed being able to have lots of fresh air for accompanying their masks and respirators and safe practices while using bleach. And the area meant fast drying and "drip space" to prevent indoor contamination and a safe haven from the fumes and sun, all the while sharing fun with good friends.
Indoors, students worked on their own and with Penny's practiced guidance to develop drying racks full of samples, while newspapers and rocks out doors were covered with more new work. Lunch time provided a chance to rest, BREATHE and plan for the next steps. The days passed quickly, and soon enough, it was time for the walk about, visiting each student's cache of newly discharged pieces as the workshop wound down. Great fun was had by all, and while some pieces were deemed to be "ho-humm" they are perfect candidates for over dyeing or painting, cutting up to include in collage and just as entries into the sketchbooks and sample piles.
Show and tell with quick tips about how the work evolved as the days quickly passed meant that everyone had a chance to share and ask questions before the end of the workshop...and what is better than a class photo. THANK YOU PENNY FOR AN AWESOME FOUR DAYS with our Fibreworks Kingston Workshop participants. Please do stay in touch with Penny HERE and send her pictures of your favourite pieces, a few notes to tell her how you are doing with what you learned!
So MANY THANKS to each of our students at Fibreworks Kingston Weekend Workshops Series weekends this past year.
We continue this journey JUST FOR YOU, ensuring that you have the opportunities to study with and get to know the very best of the best Instructors. They bring you news of the fabric trends, stitching methods, art quilt inspiration, and the chance to try all new techniques and the joy of working with others as you explore your chosen art form... textile.
Have a great summer and check back often for news and the line-up for 2014-15.
Registration for Maggie Vanderweit's "WRAP AND RUST DYEING" is open... see the sidebar for details and the registration form... it won't be long at all before she arrives for her September 19-21st, 2014 FW Weekend Workshop.
And please do write Bethany at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments and ideas for Instructors you would like to study with. Your input and suggestions are always welcome.