I'm currently sat in the middle of the 30 degree heat wave us Brits are enjoying at the moment, and luckily for me, I am in a very sweet cottage somewhere in the very pretty Stow On The Wold. My partner Eddie is currently singing the role of the evil Baron in La Traviata at Longborough Festival, and so I'm at his digs at work at my laptop. It's actually a great relief to have a few hours where I can't run around too much, and am forced to stop making for a bit, as the last few days have been a hive of activity, and I really ought to catch up with a few computer-y things!
Last night saw the last session on the 1 year contemporary relief print course at Spike Print Studio, which I have had pleasure of teaching alongside Christine Howes, Ben Goodman and Jacqui Watkins. It is the first time the course has run and I think it surpassed all of our expectations. 7 enthusiastic, bright, imaginative artists signed on and over the past 30 weeks have produced some stunning work. The course is pretty unique I think - a whole year dedicated to relief print; that means linocut, woodcut, wood engraving, letterpress, and fabric printing. It was great to impart the basics of these processes and see how the students made the processes their own. There's nothing quite like seeing work made by someone you have taught that totally blows you away, and on quite a few occasions I've felt like handing my hat to them and saying 'yeah, you probably should take over with the teaching!' I'm delighted that the course is running again from September and there are spaces available. If you can get to Spike Print Studio in Bristol on Monday nights and fancy it sign up! A few of this year's lot have told me the sessions soon became the highlight of their week so we must be doing something right :)
I'm very lucky to have a few other workshops lined up, which are listed on the Courses/Workshops page of my website. The 1st session of 2 week block printing on to fabric is on 3rd July, and I'm thoroughly looking forward to having fun with repeat patterns and printing some bags and tea towels! They really make great personal and functional gifts.
Then on the 11th July I'll be running an Edward Bawden inspired workshop at CICCIC in Taunton - my teaching debut in my new home city! Edward Bawden is a hero of mine, and I love combining art history with making new work. I'm a firm believer that making art is actually a lot easier if you don't do it in a cultural vacuum! So by really looking hard and analysing work that you like, it's possible to consider the qualities and characteristics of that work and harness these to incorporate into your own work. A conscious marrying of the things you like with the things you instinctively make is so often the key to taking your work in new, exciting directions. Remember too that the Edward Bawden show is currently on at Dulwich Picture Gallery. I'm so looking forward to my visit.
Finally in the Autumn I will also be teaching Expressive Drawing - a 10 week course at the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre in Taunton. In the meantime I'll be looking out for some quirky still life objects for this! It's been a few years since I taught drawing so I can't wait to get back to it, especially as my most recent watercolours have incorporated a lot of mark-making, and I see them more as drawing than watercolour. More on this in the next blog post!