Friday, 21 July 2017

Screen Print Street Child

Here's a great example of a project that brings two excellent charitable organisations together: St Philips Church Centre in Cambridge and  Street Child - a charity who provide educational opportunities for some of the world's poorest children.

A small group of people in the church wanted to do something that would motivate them get out the house and in contact with other people.  They also wanted to do something which would benefit another charitable group. 

Rob contacted Street Child who do really amazing work in West Africa and Nepal (check out their website: Street Child )
and asked them if there was anything practical the St Philips group could do to help.

Anyway, Street Child were doing a fund raising bike ride in Sierra Leone and said they could do with some flags to go on the bikes so that their logo would be visble to all. 

So we spent a few weekend sessions sampling, screen printing, sewing, glueing and..... ta-da, here is one of the 40 flags we made:

It was fun making these, even though the sewing part was a bit of a challenge.  Annie was the hero of the group and she was determined to get them done!

Here are some pictures Street Child sent us of the actual event.

And a comment from the organiser:  "The flags were a huge success on our bikes during the trip and they look great on our staff motorbikes too! "

Well done Annie, Kieron and Joe!!!

Monday, 19 June 2017


I often find myself waking up in the middle of the night  with a great idea's usually a great idea for how to help a student resolve a creative problem. And I love that - for me teaching is a creative act in itself.

But sometimes, in amongst the teaching, I get a longing to just do something of my own.   So, I was delighted when Jenny asked me if I wanted to team up with a charity shop in Cambridge to make something as part of the CirculArt trail.  

I was given a choice of a couple of shops and I chose the  Romsey Mill Shop.  All the charities do fantastic work so that wasn't really one of my criteria.  What I do love about this shop is that it's really packed with stuff and it's totally chaotic. In fact, it's kind of an old style charity shop where you  feel you could discover a great bargain hidden on a rack of jumble.

Some time ago, I was given some lovely old cotton sheets and I've been saving these for a special project.  The cotton has been softened from use but it still has a lot of life left in it.  So I decided to print it up and sew it into a dress.

This photo is by Derek Langley 2017  

I thought that 'cycling' would be an appropriate theme for Cambridge, with a nod to 're-cycling'.

I used a 1950's reissue of a Vogue sewing pattern (1172) and printed each panel with a different version of the same basic set of motifs.

Here's the dress at home, having it's first fitting, propped up on the piano.

Cary set up the window display for me because I was out teaching that day, and a lovely lady, called Claudia,  whom I have never met in person, (though we have been corresponding by email) sent me some photos of the window. The building is being renovated so there's a maze of scaffolding you can see reflected in the glass.

You may be able to see that I also printed a couple of rescued T-shirts and bags that I had lying around in my studio and I dyed a couple of old sheets to use as a backdrop.

This has been fun!   And even more fun going down Mill Rd to see what the other CiculART artists have done in the other charity shops.

The T-shirts and bags will be for sale in the shop after the exhibition is over - all proceeds to Romsey Mill Charity.


Sunday, 11 June 2017

Arbury Carnival

This year was very special because it's 40 years since the very first Arbury Carnival.  The  first Arbury  Carnival was a celebration of the Queen's Silver Jubilee.

This year we did a float as well as the usual costumes and puppets.

On the front of the flatbed, the young people from the  Nunn's Way Pavilion made a commemorative 'coin' with a collage of photographs from carnivals past.

Riding on the back of the truck, were some of the lovely  Carnival Queens from previous years.   See Cambridge Evening News for some pictures.

The Queen and Phillip were keen not to be left out, so they were in attendance, riding on the float!

Ellie and Lilly volunteered their Dad to be the Queen and a very elegant job he did of it too! Cary, who made the puppet heads, was a very energetic Phillip.

And we had to have some princesses and princes.

Yes, some boys made skirts too. But mostly they made princely (is that a word?) tabards.


Then, there was the screen printing, and what better person to emulate than Andy Warhol?

Andy Warhol did his famous portrtait of the Queen in 1977 and she, in fact, bought one of the prints.

Our work on this project is on behalf of the Kettle's Yard Gallery, so we like to make links with modern art in the work we do with them.  

By 'we' I mean CarySandra and myself, although I was away for part of the time, so it was mainly Cary and Sandra this year.

The best thing, for me, about this year's workshops was that some of the young people who first came to make costumes with us 4 years ago, are now helping the little ones to make theirs. It's so lovely to see them growing up and taking resposibility.  

Looking forward to seeing what Carnival 2018 will bring!

Monday, 15 May 2017

Arbury Carnival Workshops

The Giants of Arbury Carnival.

The first year we did Arbury carnival, the theme was 'Musicals" and the Nunns Way Crew selected the Lion King.   Amongst all the other lovely costumes we made, Cary worked with the kids to make this lovely big lion.

The lion lived in a barn for a year and came out for the following carnival as ET - can't find any pictures at the moment so you'll have to trust me on this.

We are not sure where it spent the winter, but it arrived back in the workshop last spring and was transformed into a giant octopus. 

He/she(?) then took up residence on our kitchen sofa for a couple of months and drank lots of tea...!

It had one final outing, disguised as a spider at Ely Folk Festival and then graciously surrendered to the bonfire.

  In that time there have been other Arbury giants - the amazing giant robot,

 and the wonderful seagull made in consort with Dawn and  other folk from Arbury school

 This year we are working on something completely different.  I'm not saying what it is......  but you can find out by coming to Nunn's Way Pavilion Friday afternoons to help with the construction!  So that's every Friday afternoon, 3.00 - 5.00p.m. until the Carnival which is 10 June this year - not much time left!


Friday, 21 April 2017

Small Scale Screen Printing - a success!

The 5 week small scale screen print class was a great success, as you can see from the title of this post.  It was amazing how much people learned and achieved in such a short time.  

So, we are running a follow up course for those who'd like to develop their printing skills.  Beginners are very welcome too.

Here is some work that students made.  I wish I'd taken more photographs!

So if you are interested in doing this course, we start on the 14 June 17. It runs for 5 weeks, on Wednesday mornings and you can find out about costs and bookings from  Cottenham Adult Learning

And for people who can't do weekdays, I'll be running a day school at the same venue on Saturday 13 May from 10am -  

Because we usually have people with different experience coming to the day schools,  I like to run it as a studio session.  So anyone who has some experience with screen printing, has the option to excuse themselves from the demo part of the class and get on with making work. Beginners are very welcome.

See   Cottenham Day School  for details.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Community Screen Print

Revisitting a lovely screen print community workshop - Ferry Tales: a fabulous arts day with lots of events to do with Brandon's wierd and wonderful local history.

I was just sent these lovely photos and thought I'd share them. 

This was one of many amazing Market Place, Creative People and Places projects.

Good memories!

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Screen Print on Textiles Course -Summer School

Breaking News: Cottenham Summer School brochures are out!  Lots of courses fill up really quickly and "Spectacular Screen Printing on Textiles"  is one of them. So, if you are interested, now is the time to book.  And if you're reading this in a few weeks time , give them a ring anyway, because people do drop out and it's worth putting your name on the waiting list. 

Here's the link for more details:
Spectacular Screen Printing

If you're uncertain about whether this course is for you, scroll down to previous blog entries and have a look at the wonderful work produced by students at Summer School last year.  This is definitely not a 'kit-form' class - you won't come out making the same prints that I make.  As a tutor, my aim is to encourage  each student to develop their own style.  And the studio nature of this class really gives you the opportunity to do that.

The great thing about Cottenham is that we have enough space to print some big pieces of fabric (think duvet cover/ quilt) or you can experiment with lots of smaller pieces.

If you're not sure that you want to spend a whole 5 days printing, then there is a Saturday workshop at Cottenham Village College on the 13 May.  Although I've advertised this as a class for beginners, people who have done classes with me before, know that they can work 'off-program' and persue their own projects. If you are a more experienced student please contact me in advance if you need me to bring any specific fillers etc.

Although this class is not up on their website yet (my fault for sending info late!), you can contact the college for an info sheet or to book  at  CVC community

 And finally,  "Small Scale Screen Printing" - on fabric:  Wednesdays- starting 1 March 17 see previous entry.

I've been playing with small screens and I'm excited by the possibilties.  What I like about them is that it's so liberating to work small:  

You can be so much more experimental and try out new ideas really quickly.  

And It doesn't cost a lot in materials or inks or time.

And it's much less tiring than working with bigger screens.   

And last but by no means least - they need so much less storage space!!!! 

More info at  Small Scale Screen

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Small Scale Screen Print

New Year and some new classes in the pipeline:

Firstly, I've had this idea for a class - Small Scale Screen Printing.   Mostly it's difficult to find a space that's big enough for screen printing - you need a table to print on and a table to store your inky screens, another table to prepare your artwork and a fourth table for your clean fabrics and so - on. Not to mention a big sink and a drying rack. So I thought it's time I developed a screen print workshop that's compact -  using tiny screens (up to A5) to explore all the same techniques that we use for bigger printing. 

 Actually, working small can free you up to be very experimental and to try out lots of new ideas quickly. And small printed pieces are really useful. They're ideal for making bags, cushions, book covers or any small scale patchwork projects.  For non-sewers it’s an ideal way to put a small motif onto t-shirts or an exquisite pattern in the corner of a pillowslip.  It’s a great way to make your own personalised labels or logos.

And, of course, because the equipment is tiny these techniques are much easier to transfer to the kitchen table studio so you can continue to use them at home.

So, this course is for beginners.  The emphasis will be on the experimental and learning to use the screen as a creative tool.

Classes start on 1st March - that's a Wednesday morning and run for 5 weeks on Wednesdays from 10.45am - 1.30pm
Contact Cottenham Village College  
for more information

Another date for your diaries is 13 May: Screen Print Day, also at  Cottenham Village College  - this time we'll be working with A4 screens. 

Friday, 4 November 2016

T-shirt workshop, St Ives

Half term at the Norris Museum, St Ives.  Well, not actually at the Norris itself, as it's closed for building work, but as near as possible ie the Methodist Hall across the road.  I notice that nowadays anything temporary is called 'pop-up'.  So perhaps we could call this a 'pop-up museum' event or something similar

Anyway, it was another energetic drop in, pop- up, open access workshop where people came and did drawings of artefacts or models and screen printed them onto T-shirts or bags.  I think we printed 95 unique designs and here a few that I managed to photograph.

A special thanks to the museum volunteers and education officer for their tireless hard work, great cutting and sorting skills, tea and general enthusiasm!


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Screen Printed Textiles Class at Cottenham Summer School 2016

T-shirt using discharge and overprinting

Sarah R - abundant flowers

I love teaching screen printing at Cottenham Summer School.  Actually to say 'teach' might be a bit of an exaggeration because the students really drive the direction of course. So, in many ways I think of it as a studio week.  Those who need to learn the basics can do so and those who know what they want to do, just get on with it.  Many students come back year after year, and each time, they just get better at design and print.

For some people it's an opportunity to experiment and see what happens serendipitously with the print process.  Other people like the accuracy and precise layering and they work hard to achieve that.

Over the week, everyone is encouraged to work in their own style and students are shown techniques that will enable that to happen.

Marian's Circles, using thermofax

Simple but elegant design using paper stencils

Wish the photo was of the whole 3 metres! - David's cloth

Annabel- experimental markmaking

Sue printing through Japanese papers

Sian - folk art tea towels

Betty - using filler to create brushy strokes

And here is Jane wearing an outfit she made from David's fabric

And on the subject of clothing, Jean G made this top from fabric she colour blocked at last year's Summer School

And this year she tried a more expressive version of colour blocking.
Some action shots - Jean J printing beautiful flowers in  tonal colours
And Sarah R going wild with pattern.

And Nicola's bird prints have been selected for a wildlife art show in London- Hooray.  After all that complex registration!