Thursday, 17 July 2014

Stitch Camp 2014

I had a wonderful time away with Sian Martin's Distant Stitch Summer School at Farncombe Estate near Broadway in the Cotswolds. This consisted of a long weekend with one of 2  accomplished artist/tutors where we were immersed in textile art & Design for the duration. Distant Stitch is an online 'school' for people to learn textile arts, and is a great option for those who need flexibility, but also those seeking to undertake City & Guilds courses which (sadly) are now rarely available as  local courses you can physically attend. As well as having ongoing support via email etc, each student has the opportunity to attend the Distant Stitch Summer School.

I find the most challenging aspects of creative textiles is getting started with ideas and interpreting them into textile art pieces, so I opted for Rosemary Campbell's class which  focussed on this very  topic.This was the first Distant Stitch outing for me, and I had a lovely time meeting fellow students as well as gaining inspiration and learning by the bucketload!

The weekend ran from Fri pm to Mon am and was really intensive, with long days in the studio running from 9am to 9.30pm - hense the term Stitch Camp! You could take time out whenever you wanted but, like most of the students, I wanted to make the most of my time there, immersed in all that creativity. This was made all the more possible by the fact you didn't have to consider anything else - all meals, refreshments etc were provided and the accommodation was great with fabulous grounds and breathtaking views.

Farncombe Estate

Rose proved to be a fantastic tutor - positive & encouraging, but also pushing us out from our comfort zones to help us move forward on our individual creative journeys. A mine of information and inspiration about textile design & composition, Rose walked us through the process of coming up with strong, developed designs that take several steps along from, but still relate to the original source of inspiration. All heady sounding stuff, but her delightfully wicked sense of humour and relaxed approach made this great fun.

Here are my efforts - I looked at 2 subjects - the New Birmingham Library which I'm currently fascinated by, and the Chelsea Hotel in New York.

These working designs will I think be great starting points from which to develop into textile pieces, and I'm fired up now with loads of tips and ideas about how to use these in compositions and carry them forward.

You can see what the other students got up to on the Distant Stitch  Facebook page - I'm sure you'll agree they're a talented bunch.

This was my first Distant Stitch Summer School, but not my first Stitch Camp. The last couple of years I have attended the TSG (Textile Study Group) Summer Schools which I would also highly recommend - if you are lucky enough to get a place. These provide ongoing creative development for artists and tutors but  they are open to anyone - less accomplished stitchers are welcome, and I found everyone to be friendly and encouraging. Although they are a fair investment they offer excellent value and attending a stitch camp can really help boost your knowledge, skills and individual development. All in all I have found they provide a great opportunity for touching base with your passion, resetting your compass and planning the next steps of your creative journey, as well as meeting others who share your interest in textiles.

Over to You

Have you attended a stitch camp or similar such as a residential course or retreat? If so, did you enjoy it and find it a valuable experience? If you haven't attended, do you think you'd be tempted in the future?
By the way, for those of you who live in the Swansea Area, local textiles group Stitches Coven are putting on their annual exhibition at Swansea Grand Theatre from 29 July to the 15th August. If you are in the area do come long to our launch evening on Tues 29th July, 7-9pm.

If you've enjoyed this post, why not sign up below for news and updates?

No comments:

Post a Comment