Saturday, 23 March 2013

Michael Brennand Wood's workshop

I attended a workshop yesterday at Preston College with the artist Michael Brennand Wood.  He is an extremely charismatic man, who was happy to share his knowledge and motivation.  His work is rooted in a love of historic crafts so he learns each craft and then uses it in his own work.

For instance, he studied lacemaking before producing this work, which is a huge piece entitled
Lost in Lace

He said

I first made lace in or around 1973, bobbin lace followed by a short spell working on an industrial machine in Nottingham. I loved the diagrammatic, schematic linear designs that a lace maker worked from. They reminded me of graphic contemporary music scores”.

He is inspired by Islamic work, the symmetry of rugs, it was incredibly interesting listening to him.

And then it all went horribly wrong because we were expected to 'create'.

The thing is, I'm a spinner and a dyer.  The creative part of my work is in colours and technique and anything else is out of my comfort zone.  I did want to try something out of my comfort zone, but it did not go well.

Oh the pain of being told to go away and play with an embroidery hoop, shells, poppy seed heads, wire and fabric.  But, not to do anything twee or pretty, to push the boundaries, to create layers, to rip and tear. To experiment in front of an internationally renowned artist and textile lecturers.

The hoop was wrapped with muslin squares and embroidery thread and shells were 'trapped' between the layers

My friend is a teacher at the college and was sat by me laughing.  Michael was lovely about all our creations and did really try to find something constructive to say about my work, but anyone could see that he was struggling.  I turned to my friend and said 'what did you make of what he said?'

'Rubbish, I'm afraid"  She didn't say rubbish, if you know what I mean.

I did learn something (apart from humiliation) which is that if you don't keep on experimenting, it's all the more painful when you do so i intend to keep trying.

And I came home with this beautiful shell. Worth every penny

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