Spring Tide (includes mono-printing, machine stitching, collage)

We Learn by Teaching

“Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand”.

– Chinese proverb

This is the time of year when I think about workshops, why I do them and what ideas I will put together for the New Year’s workshop programme. I go back and look at experiences from the previous year, what worked, what I can change for the better. As an artist what I enjoy is the continuous moving forward, not just in my own work but also in the workshops, talks and demonstrations where I get to share what I learn on my own journey.

Link to Artist Page on Facebook

What is mixed media? I get this question a lot when I am out and about showing work at exhibitions, fairs and art festivals. Therefore I regularly offer taster workshops designed to address the definition of mixed media hands on!

Spring Tide (includes mono-printing, machine stitching, collage)
Spring Tide (includes mono-printing, machine stitching, collage)

Playing in mixed media can involve three elements of mixing media:

  • Mixing the stock we work on, including use of mono-printed materials, recycled paper (or fabric scraps), textured handmade paper, newsprint etc.
  • Mixing the colour media we use, for instance crystalline water colour, which can be combined with pencil crayons, or acrylic inks
  • Mixing the techniques involved, such as mono-printing, collage, machine stitching, adding texture with fibres, scraps of material, using lettering

Over the years I have developed mixed media work in textiles often on storytelling themes, using stitching and found objects. Some workshops focus purely on fabric, fibres and free stitching.

Amazing Grace
Amazing Grace

A recurring popular workshop theme is ‘The Treasure Trove’ where a piece of work is built up in layers, using recycled materials which tell their own story including found objects. The piece above talks about the sea and its dangers and harbours treasures found on Brighton beach after the collapse of the famous pier! The red life buoy can be opened like doors to reveal secrets kept inside.

Sometimes happy creative people come to my workshops and say that they hardly ever use sketch books because it seems so daunting! There seems to be a self-perpetuating myth suggesting that sketchbooks must be filled with ‘perfect’ drawings from observation; I think I believed this myself too years ago.

To address this mental hurdle I started devising workshops in how to use sketchbooks, and how to make your own storyboards or scrapbooks to tell a story.

2D scrapbook on the theme of childhood dwellings
2D scrapbook on the theme of childhood dwellings

One workshop theme is known as ‘Scrapbook joiners’ where the participants  are encouraged to bring personal mementoes and build their own pages or mosaic pieces, which can be put together like a book, or presented as a 2D piece of work. These workshops have resulted in some amazing and highly personal and priceless pieces of work.

So we learn by teaching they say and I know this to be true. I feel indebted to my workshops and all the interesting and fun people I get to meet through them, as they help me (more than they know) to understand a process or to get new insights and ideas.

In order to find out more about my workshops you could simply come and join one of them and discover for yourself what you and mixed media could create together! Have a look at the current workshop programme:

2012 workshop programme

Here is another quote to finish on – a rather silly one just for fun.

“Never try to teach a pig to sing….it wastes your time and annoys the pig.”

Thanks for reading.


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