Monday, 11 December 2017

I am ME. A book with a heart.

In February this year I was travelling to work. I was stuck in a traffic jam for over an hour listening to a radio phone in about the refugee crisis.



As the time passed the comments from some of the callers became more and more extreme. Some of the feelings expressed were so intolerant and lacking in any understanding of the plight of our fellow human beings, including children, who have seen and experienced things that we can't imagine in our worst nightmares.

By the time I got to work I was sobbing. I wondered what one person could possibly do to help with this tragedy.



When I got home there was an email waiting for me. Children's Author Sue Hampton had written a heart rending poem about a family arriving in a new country from the child's perspective. She asked if I would illustrate it so it could be made into a book. All the profits from the book would go to People Not Borders, a group of people who will make a real difference to the lives of the people they touch.

This is what one person could do to help! ME!

I asked if I could illustrate the book in textiles and stitch. The book will be given to children as well as to adults and will be seen in schools and churches so I wanted the images to be colourful and exciting as well as powerful in a way that was gentle enough for a child to see. 





I also wanted to introduce children to the beauty of textiles with lots of different techniques because, in the schools I visit, the children have no previous experience of the magic of working with textile art.



I asked my husband Paul Watkins, a most amazing photographer, to take the photographs for the book. I knew he would capture the textures and colours of the fabrics and each and every stitch.

This Summer the book was published by TSL Publishing and is on its second print run. We are all so happy with the book and to have been able to make a difference in our own little way.


If you have room for one more Christmas present for someone you love, please consider sending them one of these little books. They are available from: Sue Hampton. The price is £10 and all the profits will go towards making a real difference to people who really need us to care about their plight.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Letting Go!

Yesterday was the last day of a couple of 10 week Art Journalling Courses.  And nobody wanted it to end!



For most of the people who attended the sessions they have been a golden moment in a stressful week of caring for others much more than they have had time to care for themselves. Spending those golden moments being creative and learning ways to make beautiful art changes lives!

So when the courses ended, there were such mixed feelings: Joy for having been there and sadness that the weekly fix of making art in a safe, supportive cocoon has ended for the moment. It can be so difficult to let go.



But they are all ready to fly! Really firm friendships have been made that will last forever, skills have been learned and talents found that many of them couldn't have dreamed of. Their Journals are exquisite, and very, very precious.



So fly my friends! You haven't really had to let go. All the support is still there for you. And we will be making Art together again really soon.


This little sketch was made with Derwent Inktense pencil in Chinese Ink and a fine black pen. 


Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Nuno Felt and Embroidery

I had a lovely few days off work last week. 

I love teaching families in the school holidays but just for a change I took a few days to chill out and catch up with stuff.

But I also had time to do some Nuno Felting and embroidery using some of the fabulous silk that I bought at the Knitting and Stitching Show last week.




Nuno Felt, for those who haven't come across it, is fine handmade felt that has silk or fine cotton embedded into it during the felting process.

The fine fabric allows the fibres to migrate through as the felt is agitated and allows the two fabrics to become one.

The fabric I had was a piece of fine recycled net, machine embroidered with pale purple flowers. It bonded easily with the fine grey felt.

It made a lovely starting point for the silk embroidery. Easy stitches that showed off the glow of the hand dyed threads.




I've added some hand beading to the centres of the flowers. These tiny glass neon beads give the embroidery such a burst of colour and I thought they'd make the perfect finishing touch.
What do you think?

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

A workshop update

This is a quick little update on the upcoming workshops at Workaid Chesham and St Joseph's Boxmoor. 
I'm sorry it has taken me so long to publicise these. I have been working on all kinds of  new things and will have some exciting news to reveal soon.


Firstly the Workaid Workshops for 2017 and 2018. There are photos of these workshops further down on this blog.




13th and 14th October 2017

Altered Books

10am -3.30

A 2 day workshop on making Altered Books.

£150


25th November 2017

Fabric Books

10am -3.30

A 1 day workshop on painted and embroidered

 fabric books

£65

27thJanuary 2018

The Art of Whimsical Illustration

10am -3.30

A 1 day workshop on drawing, colouring and

 layering illustrations

£65


24th February 2018

A Mixed Media Canvas

10am -3.30

A 1 day workshop using a variety of specialist

 materials and mixed

 media techniques to make a textured and layered canvas picture.

£65



24th March 2018

Folk Art Embroidered Hearts

10am-3.30

A 1 day workshop of Folk Art inspired hand

 embroidery on vintage  wool blankets using

 vintage found objects

£65


28th April 2018

Scrap Stitching and Embroidery

10am -3.30

A 1 day workshop using precious scraps of silk

 and vintage fabrics  with hand embroidery and

 found objects.

£65


30th June 2018

A Folk Art Painted Chair

10am-3.30

A one day workshop using hand painting and

 stencilling to 

decorate a small wooden chair. You will need to

 supply a chair or I  may be able to source a small 

 Ercol school chair  for you at an extra cost.

£65



Workaid, 71 Townsend Road, Chesham, Bucks,

 HP5 2AA



The Boxmoor Art Journalling Workshops are at St

Joseph's Hall,

 Horsecroft Road, Hemel Hempstead HP1 1NR

A very short 5 minute walk from Hemel 

Hempstead Station on the line from Euston.






Each 3 hour workshop will build on the skills 

learned previously to 

make up a very varied and comprehensive mixed

media course.

The sessions will be relaxed and fun and the

 techniques will be simple to achieve.

You will be amazed at the beautiful pages you will

 make. You will need to bring an A5 or small 

6"x6"square journal to  use.

I can provide one for £4 if you let me know in

advance.


Session times may vary so please check the times

of each workshop.

£35 per session.



21st October 2017

12pm -3pm

Starting right at the beginning of this course on

Art Journalling, 

we will learn how to apply paint and decorate the

surface of our pages using stencils. 

We will be painting the pages for using at the next

session to make 'Waterfall Pages'


18th November 2017

2pm- 5pm

At this session we will be using the pages we

decorated at the last session to make 

'Waterfall Pages' We will learn to

use punches to enhance our pages and embellish

 them with drawing techniques.



9th December 2017

12pm-3pm

At this session we will explore the use of die

cutting, layering and painting to make a textured

 collage.





Saturday, 2 September 2017

New Workshops at Workaid



I am starting to book dates for the new workshops for 2017 and 2018. There will be a whole new Art Journalling Club which will build into a comprehensive mixed media course. 
I will also be teaching Art Journalling for adults, for families and in schools.
On January 27th I will also be holding a workshop on Whimsical Illustration.
We will be making hand drawn illustrations and manipulating them to make exciting multi page art.

Also coming this academic year:
Lots more mixed media, hand stitch, book making, handmade felt and folk art and embroidery on vintage textiles.
Keep watching because I'd love you to join us.


Tuesday, 8 August 2017

A Folk Art Swallow at the Festival of Quilts

In a couple of days the wonderful Festival of Quilts will open at the NEC in Birmingham.

It truly is a festival of creativity, not only for quilters but for visitors from around the world who love textiles of all kinds.


Next Sunday I will be teaching one of the 3 hour workshops using the most beautiful materials. A joy to stitch with.

We will be making an applique Folk Art inspired Swallow picture using Donegal Wool Tweed by Fabric Affair and Embroidering it with WonderFil Ellana wool threads.

I am so looking forward to the show and even more looking forward to teaching this lovely workshop.


I hope to see you there

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Folk Art Sailor Pincushions

July's workshop is coming up very soon and I thought you might like to see what we will be making.



This is an antique Sailor's sweetheart pincushion from the V&A museum collection.

Sailors made them on the long journeys at sea for their sweethearts back home. Often they were made with beautiful embroidery, motifs which reminded them of the subjects closest to their hearts, patriotic or religious themes.

They featured pins which were pushed into the cushions in decorative patterns. They are heirlooms and social history and things of wonderous beauty!




We will be using these as our inspiration to make an heirloom of our own. We will use embroidery, needle felting, beading and found objects to make an exquisite picture. 

If you fancy joining us for the day on the 8th July 2017, in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, there are a couple of spaces still available. The cost is £65 and includes all materials. Leave a comment and contact me through my website: www.paulawatkins.co.uk