Matthew Harris workshop

Recently I went on a workshop run by Matthew Harris at Bobby Britnell’s Moor Hall Farmhouse studio. The studio is in the middle of nowhere – beautiful countryside and lots of sheep, mostly on the road. 

I am a great fan of Matthew’s work and was delighted to get a place on the course. I wasn’t quite prepared for what we did!! We had to take something with us that was no longer in use – suggestions were an old shoe, handbag or anything else that we could take apart. I took the head of a carpet cleaner we threw out some years ago – not sure why the head remained in the garage. So the rules were – we had to take the object apart completely. Then number all the different components. Using dice we had to select 3 bits to make a drawing tool. I ended up with a spring, a bolt and a small rod which I sort of wrapped together. Then we had to use it to draw the original object from memory – of course, I forgot to take a photo of the original!! There were some fabulous drawings from the real artists in the room. Here is mine at the top of the photo below.

In discussions with Matthew towards the end of the course, I hit an interesting problem. Matthew wanted to know where I planned to take what I had been doing into my work. He was concerned that I said that it was unlikely to be incorporated in the near future, except in my sketchbooks. I know that when I did a Denise Lach course four years ago, it took a long time for the concepts of her text as texture to be incorporate in any of my work. I need lots of time to mull over and play with it to make it my own. 

So yesterday, I tried to use the same tool to draw on fabric. I wanted to get a similar image discharged on black and miserably failed. The tool doesn’t work well with either formosol or discharge paste. It needed something stiffer and gooey so I switched to textile inks – still difficult but much better. I now have a pile of fabric like the bottom half of the photo above. Next step is to thickener up the formosol paste and see if that will work.

Better get on with it. Hope you are having a creative day.

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