Sunday, 18 June 2017

Beautiful Bird Portraits: Workshop

A glorious day at RSPB Geltsdale

Over the winter I had my exhibition 'As the Crow Flies' up at RSPB Geltsdale and they asked me if I'd be willing to run a workshop connected to the show. As access to the site can be challenging in the winter weather we decided that the workshop would take place in the summer. It all seemed like a very long time away but as always happens the time flies by and already it's summer and time for my workshop!

Starling, 2016

Jay, 2016

Crow, 2016

I decided to run a 'Bird Portrait' workshop based on my way of creating my hand embroidered birds so that people could learn how I work and have a go themselves. The workshop booked up quite quickly so we've added a second date (at the time of writing there are three spaces left, please contact RSPB Geltsdale directly to book) on Saturday 1st July. It's always a good feeling when your sessions book up but also a little nerve wracking as I want my workshops to live up to people's expectations.

Materials ready to go

Goody bags ready for everyone

Tea and inspiration

I thoroughly enjoyed running this workshop, it was one of those rare days when things just seem to go the way you want them to. The sun was shining, all the participants were lovely and it was a very relaxed but productive day. I really enjoy running workshops like this one; it's a great chance to share my skills and I love seeing how differently people interpret things.

Creating our bird images on fabric

Creating our bird images on fabric

Creating our bird images on fabric

The basic process is quite simple and it was fun working through it with people and being able to share some of the tricks and tips I've picked up. I was really pleased that everybody had a bird (or butterfly) image they wanted to work from and that by the end of the workshop everyone was well on their way to a completed piece.

Happy stitching

Happy stitching

Happy stitching

Hand embroidery is time consuming so it's hard to finish a project in one day. My pieces take about a weeks worth of stitching to finish so I explained at the start that we probably wouldn't finish our pieces within the workshop. However, once they're started they can be picked up and put down easily and worked on when there's time. I hope that everyone went away inspired to carry on and I hope that they'll share some finished images of the pieces with me.

Works in progress

My demonstration piece

Works in progress

For this workshop I packaged up some of the workshop essentials into little goody bags for the participants, because everyone likes to feel they're getting a little treat. On one of my workshops last year one of the participants described taking a workshop as a real treat and that stuck with me, I want people to enjoy their experience and so I've been thinking of little changes I can make to make the day more special. I'm already looking forward to the next workshop!

Works in progress

Works in progress

Works in progress

Works in progress

Works in progress

Works in progress

Works in progress

Works in progress




2 comments:

  1. Was every single participant an artist themselves? The initial drawings on the fabric are wonderful to begin with! Wish I were on the other side of the "big water" and could attend one of your workshops!
    Kendra, Blue-Eyed Crow Studio, USA

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kendra, the drawings are beautiful aren't they? We did a bit of cheating and some of us used photos and a light-box to get the basic shapes in. The group was a lovely mix of total beginners, people with some stitch and experience and a couple of very experienced artists. If you ever find yourself this side of the pond let me know and maybe we can say hi 'in real life!'

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