Wednesday, 12 July 2017

2017 UK Tour Week 1

Though I have been in the UK for a week already, I hardly feel as though I have landed. Usually I get into a rhythm of normal sleep really quickly - this time I seem to still be waking at silly times of the night/morning.
These first few days have been very typically British, very hot some days, cool and wet on others. News from my children in Dunedin (NZ) is of real winter weather for them, and I am not sorry to be missing that.
I have had the pleasure of talking to the Chesterfield EG, giving an update on my latest works and projects and running two workshops at Risley Village Hall. These are called 'Taking Textiles Further Workshops' and are the first of my new, independant workshops. I will be organising several each time I return to the UK, and once my NZ studio is complete, there will be more to come  - keep an eye out for dates and subjects.
The first workshop day was 'Miao Thread Booklets Starter Day'. These booklets are a combination of accuracy and fun! We tried a variety of media, leaving with both templates for development and finished booklets.

Miao Thread Booklet Starter Day, Taking Textiles Further with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Miao Thread Booklet Starter Day, Taking Textiles Further with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Miao Thread Booklet Starter Day, Taking Textiles Further with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Miao Thread Booklet Starter Day, Taking Textiles Further with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden
And, 'Gone Fishing' - which involves no fishing, but using fishing wire to help to create twisty, curly sculptural forms. Well done to everyone - this is a day where you have to be prepared to play - and so we did, drawing out new ideas and forms through experimentation and an open mind.

Gone Fishing, Taking Textiles Further Workshops with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Gone Fishing, Taking Textiles Further Workshops with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Gone Fishing, Taking Textiles Further Workshops with Alysn Midgelow-Marsden
Two more of these to come - 18th July is 'Pattern Development and Print' and 31st July is 'Hundertwasser meets Angelina!'

I have been grabbing my English historical cultural fix with a trip to Calke Abbey. This house is certainly not the most beautiful house, but has been preserved in a state of faded grandeur which makes for a unique setting. The garden sheds and orangery have been favourites of mine for many years, my parents spend many hours and days each week volunteering there and my girls also used to help out before we moved away (NZ to Derbyshire weekly might just be a bit far!) Just look:

Calke Abbey

Calke Abbey

Calke Abbey

Calke Abbey

Calke Abbey

Calke Abbey

Calke Abbey
 And this afternoon I visited a quintisentially English house and gardens, even my teenaged niece adored it and planned her wedding there!! Felley Priory is so close to my previous home, I have no idea why I have never visited before!

Felley Priory

Felley Priory

Felley Priory

Felley Priory

Felley Priory

Felley Priory

Felley Priory, and family
I am slowly working through the job list my mum has created for me in lieu of board. So lots of weeding, digging and hedge cutting so far. Roll on more workshops!!






Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Come play with me!

We shall overcome!
Changes in group rules at Living Threads have prevented me being able to take part in their programme this summer. I really didn't want to miss seeing you, both regulars and new faces, so I have arranged an extra series of workshops during my UK stay this summer.
They will be help at at the Risley Village Hall as usual, from 10.00am - 4.00pm as usual, they are £25.00 per workshop, as usual!! In fact, as the saying goes, 'rien ne change'.


Here is the programme:


Workshop 1.                                                   9th July 2017
Miao Thread Booklet Starter Day
These little known embroidery cases are fantastic as an object in their own right and also as a surface to decorate and embellish.
I was incredibly intrigued when I first came across these and am really happy to be able to share some of the tradition with you. South West Chinese Miao create the original versions in painted, multi folded and pocketed paper with cloth book-like cases as portable sewing boxes with compartments for on the go projects, threads, fabrics, needles, pins and templates. The folding technique is called Zhen Xian Bao. Booklets come in many sizes and shapes and are versatile in format and construction.
We are going to construct a basic two pocket booklet. One pocket is folded, the other is twisted. This gives you the techniques you need for creating more complex booklets later. We will update the materials and stitching, playing with materials such as silk, lutradur, stitch and beads.
No sewing machine needed.

 
Miao Thread Booklet Example by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Miao Thread Booklet Example by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Miao Thread Booklet Example by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Miao Thread Booklet Example by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden





Workshop 2.                                              11th July 2017
Pattern to Print Development

Architecture gives unending inspiration and scope for creative designs. In this course you will use a favourite image of an architectural feature such as a doorway, window, carved pillar etc. to make a simple linear repeat, and from this two print blocks, then print using metallic, pearlescent and interference acrylics on dark fabric  If you have time you can add stitching, probably by hand on this day, though you could work with machine stitching later.

Pattern to Print Example by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Pattern to Print Example by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Pattern to Print Example by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden



Workshop 3.                                                18th July 2017
Gone fishing!

Exploring organic sculpture, and (thankfully) not a lot to do with fish! Create textile sculptures as wearable scarf brooches or free form structures. Using sheer fabrics, silks, knitted wire and fishing wire to produce these freely curving, lightweight structures. Whether you embellish with machine or hand stitch; add beads as you please, or leave plain, the finished result gives a gracefully, sensuously curved organic form.  This is a day to use your sewing machine.

Gone Fishing! Example by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Gone Fishing! Example by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Gone Fishing! Example by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden
 

Workshop 4.                                                31st July 2017
Not so Standard Angelina - Hundertwasser style!!

Having had the pleasure of visiting the world famous (in New Zealand) Hundertwasser created toilet block in a remote outback of northland New Zealand, and seen the powerful
connection that Hundertwasser had to the area, combined with his popularity amongst textile artists, I have combined Angelina fibres into his delightful, organic designs.
Angelina fibres are well known for their iridescent lustre and simplicity of use. You will be making the most of the ‘non-bondable’ range of fibres, using a soldering iron, machine or hand stitch, couched accent threads and a smattering of beads, as a panel, purse or glasses case etc. This could be either a subtle or a bold, dramatic panel with ideas to expand your techniques and to use on other projects.
Not sure that Angelina fibres are for you? This course is a must for you  - I have had so many converts!
Suitable for hand or machine stitch or a combination of both.

Angelina meets Hundertwasser Example by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Angelina meets Hundertwasser Example by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Angelina meets Hundertwasser Example by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden
Angelina meets Hundertwasser Example by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

 

These ‘Taking Textiles Further’ summer workshops give me the opportunity to share with you a mixture of tried and tested techniques, and new ideas developed during recent ‘play dates’ in my studio. I look forward to working with you.
All courses are suitable for all levels. Techniques are adaptable for any experience.
£25.00 per class or book all 4 for just £85.00.
To book, simply email, alysnmm@gmail.com, or message me through facebook with your request for a place and I will send you payment options.

The venue of Risley Village Hall is convenient for the M1 being located just off Junction 25 on
Derby Road, DE72 3SU. There is plenty of parking & the venue is on a bus route between Nottingham and Derby.
Courses start at 10.00am, to 4pm.  Refreshments provided, please bring your own lunch.


Though I live in New Zealand, I return to the UK each year and am happy to take bookings for workshops and talks.
Please contact me if you wish to know more, and if you visit New Zealand,  I run retreats at our beautiful oceanside accommodation and studio ‘Kotare House’.
Contact: alysnmm@gmail.com
And: AlysnMidgelowMarsdenArtTextiles on Facebook







Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Hello Strangers


The longer the time is between posts, the harder it is to know where to begin or what to miss out. And given that it has been a while since I wrote anything, I think that a quick visual resume will work. To some extent the reason for the lapse was that after a busy visit to the UK for October and November I got home to an equally busy home where we had to complete some alterations to allow us to be ready to offer holiday accommodation called the Kaka (native nz parrot) and the Ruru (Morepork owl) apartments through airbnb, and later in the year, when the studio is complete, we will be able to offer workshops and residential retreats. Which is exciting, and tiring!





Before leaving for the UK, we had the final two days of a five day development mentoring course for Kowhai Arts. After 3 days of  new design ideas and techniques, these last sessions were aimed at beginning the development of individual pieces.











During my trip to the UK I showed my latest works at the Knitting and Stitching Shows in London, Dublin and Harrogate. In an exhibition called ‘Permutations’  (more of which later), some of these pieces were also just shown in the Living Threads exhibition in Derbyshire, and there is an on going and developing story involving them which I hope to fill you in on soon.

Permutations exhibition by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Permutations by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Permutations exhibition  by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Children, friends and family were with us throughout December, January and February. So lots of entertaining, sightseeing and as my gardener sister had travelled from the USA to avoid the Trump inauguration, there was lots of garden design, digging and construction to be done. We are reaping the rewards already with heaps of spinach, beetroot, tomatoes, peppers, chillies, one watermelon (we planted far too late really so even one watermelon setting was an achievement). We also have a great load of kumara growing away and hope for a good harvest later. None of which I take any credit for as my gardening skills are on a par with my cooking (burnt offerings).


3 kg of spinach in two cropping so far, we will never be in danger of iron deficiency now!

Brian pickling the first beetroots.

The veggie patch created by the hard work of the family

For my own development, I took part in the 100 day challenge for the second time. This effort involved drawing from life, but not looking at the sketchbook, only looking at the object or view. Sometimes this leads to interesting lines and marks, sometimes to hilarious results. Have a go for yourself. There was a great exhibition of 100 of the 100 day artists work held in Auckland. Many of the projects were photography based, but a good number were thoughtful, skilled or just plain quirky.




100 day artist

100 day artist

100 day artist

100 day artist

100 day artist

The exhibition



I have a small regular group on a Tuesday morning. We have been tending to work on new techniques for a few weeks at a time. After the Christmas break we have changed our structure a little. When you work with a group over a long time, it is not just new techniques which are the focus, but is a great chance to concentrate towards more personal creative development for the participants also. To give us a structure which allows this to be the main focus, we are now working on a cycle of activities. The first week of a month is a design experimental session, the next two weeks are experiments in techniques with the aim to record a process and to store the results in a format which is accessible for future projects. The final week of each cycle is a self directed project or a challenge which will mean that everyone gets to work on something of their own choosing, probably a larger project which are brought for evaluation and discussion. At the moment in these weeks we are working with a linen bobbin which I bought for everyone whilst in the UK. This format gives us a pace and variety which can be lost when you work with a tutor over a long term and so far it is going well, with my class finding that they are happy to approach new ideas knowing that even if they are not their favourite, that there will be a change very soon. And because of this, they relax and have a go, often finding that they do actually gain valuable skills even if they would not have tried the ideas out for themselves or if they had to produce a completed project from a new idea.



Almost finally, a recent trip to New Plymouth gave me renewed inspiration to delve further into the possibilities of non-fusible Angelina fibres. Thank you ladies at the Eltham Retreat.
Not so Standard Angelina workshop



Not So Standard Angelina workshop

Not So Standard Angelina workshop

Not So Standard Angelina workshop
Whew, I will leave you with that for now, back soon.
Thanks for reading.