A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of participating in a "mark making on paper" workshop run by Caroline Amos on behalf of Stitching and Beyond members. Caroline's artworks are divine and she proved also to be a wonderful teacher.
On day 1 we began by exploring making a variety of marks with ink and with graphite. We then explored making rubbings with graphite, using resists and creating drawings using highly textured photographic images for inspiration. On day 2 we used the materials developed on day 1 to create a collage piece.
On the morning of day 2 I looked at what I had in my stash from day 1 and, frankly, it was rubbish! I had nothing of interest at all! Not to be defeated, I set about in a frenzy of activity to transform my wealth of nothing into something usable. Pictured above you see what I had at the end of my efforts.
On day 1 we did an exercise where we painted a sheet of paper in a single colour with tonal values varying from very light to dark. My pieces were not graduated enough and looked pretty boring. I took this black one and scraped some blue and yellow acrylic paint across it. After drying I then took some wood blocks and made graphite rubbings over the top.
This is a piece of my own handmade paper. The rubbings I had done on day 1 just made it look dirty. I discovered that with a hard graphite stick, some chalk pastel and some wood blocks I could get some more defined marks.
Another piece of paper painted on day 1 with rust coloured acrylic, overlaid with blue and yellow acrylic paint and graphite rubbings.
This was the drawing I did on day one using inktense pencils, Koh-i-noor progresso pencils, lumigraph pencil and Shiva oil sticks after I reworked it and overlaid it with some graphite rubbings.
Chinese Joss paper rubbings made with wood blocks and graphite and chalk pastel.
...more hand made paper
Graphite rubbings onto newsprint, using both graphite powder and graphite sticks of varying hardness, and then lacquered with a water based clear estapol. The lacquer makes the paper quite leathery and seals the graphite. It gives the paper a really interesting quality that decreases its fragility and allows you to tear it, glue it, or even stitch into it without damaging it.
By the end of day 2 I had 2 collaged pieces with the potential for further development (pictured above and below).
When I got back to my studio I reworked over the collage with black progresso pencil to make the collage more cohesive and less "raw" looking. On this one you can see that I have already punched holes for stitching into.
The second piece reworked.
Variegated silk threads .....
After stitching I felt that the large squares in the centre were not bold enough..... (you need to click on the photo for a larger image to see the stitching better).
.....so I whipped over the double running stitch twice to make them bolder.
I got so much out of this workshop. If you have a chance to do one of Caroline's classes I highly recommend that you jump at it. Not only was it great on its own, but this workshop really complemented the Tony Dyer Workshop I did the following weekend (blogged previously here).
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I am a hand embroidery artist living and working in the rugged and wild Central HIghlands of Tasmania.