My Turn To Learn..

This evening I am feeling fulfilled; reflecting on a happy self-indulgent day spent in the company of fellow creatives - under the gentle encouraging thoughtful tuition of the very most lovely Michael Brennand-Wood; (bit cheesy to ask for one of him - so) here's a photo I found online:

When I was an art student, he was already established as a textile artist and I remember seeing his wooden 'grids' that emulated the warp and weft of fabric which he then embroidered string, wire, paper and other media into.
Smiths Row gallery in Bury St Edmunds has a comprehensive retrospective of Brennand-Wood's work, curated chronologically, showing until September.

Today - Michael introduced the 'Overlays' workshop with a tour of his show - especially pertinent as the workshop was held IN the gallery, surrounded by his work:

I love the way that - on the face of it - a good deal of his art textiles appears fragile and delicate - but - be warned dear blog reader - reproductions are deceptive... The pieces have an edgy robustness - either in physicality (the use of metal) or in the subjects that Brennand-Wood contends with (war, slavery..)

Go to the website to read more about the exhibition here

Soon we got started - with an A3 wooden frame and a series of translucent materials - plastics, paper and fabrics. 
We had all received an email with a breakdown of what the workshop would involve a couple of weeks beforehand, which was really useful, enabling us to plan to incorporate elements that we use in our work already, should we desire.

Initially I was going to bring MASSES of stuff - 'just in case' - but last night I decided that I'd take my usual 'too much choice is stressful' view. So armed with only a limited supply of materials and bits and bobs to use, the restriction was refreshing actually.
I had intended to take more photos as the piece developed, but forgot:

It was a real pleasure to meet Juliet - who mapped out and encased beautiful shells and bone into her framework, before continuing to envelop and enclose them between layers of fabric:

Here are several photographs of the other attendees' pieces - which Michael left plenty of time for each of us to talk about and reflect upon:

Fascinating to see - and hear about - everyone's very diverse approaches to the workshop. 
The artwork made its own individual 'compact' impact - as Michael held each one up - but then, when passed around - and in your hands, on closer inspection, you saw intricate details and how the complex layering gave rigour and depth.
And - here's how mine finished up...

I am content with the way that layering the thin plastic sheet has built up a slightly 'milky' semi-transparency - which throws back some elements. I stuffed the back with more of the plastic and some crumpled brown paper before closing it in with white muslin.

Smiths Row Gallery and Michael Brennand-Wood are running a second 'Overlays' workshop on Sunday 17 August - so if you know anyone who'd be interested, I can highly recommend it
The new date is not on the website yet but email for details:

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