I've had a wonderful weekend in Nottinghamshire taking a workshop with Hilary Bower. Hilary is warm and funny and there was lots of laughter and shared inspiration with others in the group. A great atmosphere in which to work. The theme was "Magnify" and, in essence, the three days involved exploring different ways of looking - that is really looking - at primary source material to extract information and ideas. I had taken a mixture of found objects from my studio - stones, dried up plant stems - as this seemed the ideal opportunity to develop ways of working with them
I ended up concentrating on these plant stems. I love the way, different aspects of the plant structure are revealed as they wither. I started tentatively, feeling my way through the different drawing exercises. As I relaxed, I became more comfortable but then found it hard to move away from close, observational drawing - clinging to my safety zone. But then, by day three I couldn't work fast enough - I was just trying to get each idea down before it slipped away. I left the source material behind as I tried different approaches to capture the elements that interested me.
Now I'm home, I've pinned my work to the studio wall to look at and reflect. It's interesting to see the progression from the initial, slightly uncertain experiments to the faster, more confident work. I can see the links to the original objects but the drawings themselves are suggesting areas to explore and develop further. I'm not worrying about developing this into cloth - indeed I like some of these as they are. Although, there are some specific elements that I'm excited about and want to try. I've cleared a corner of my studio and am going to carry on with this for a while.