“NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF A GROUP – A COLLECTIVE ETHOS PUSHES IDEAS FORWARD”
– S.C. Ceramicist
This was the quote that welcomed us to the four day summer school with the Textile Study Group. Our instructor was Mary Sleigh who is a long time member of this 25 strong group of professional artists and teachers. It is set up as a time for artists of all walks of life to come together to take one of three classes given. Each class is limited to 16 so you can see that early registration is required.
This year we had our summer school at the Farncombe Estate near the village of Broadway and the city of Oxford UK. It is a 1500 country acre site with many different places to stay and many things to do. The food was delicious and plentiful.
I attended with my friend Anne Louise Gillilan who lives in both Hungary and Alaska. With me being from Brighton, UK and Vancouver Canada, introductions left a few raised eye brows and puzzled looks but we assured them that we were friendly folks,
I was a bit dubious about the content of our class initially as my interested lie more in painting and drawing which can include stitch. Mary talked about making books and boxes. We also learned about paper folding. As it turned out, I had a precious piece of rusted fabric with my late father in law helped me with through a loan of a can of rusted everything. I was able to build a lovely book witch I will keep as a sign in book for my art shows.
So what else did I learn from this unusual turn of events? Firstly it was not to be too hasty in passing judgement on content when I don’t know the full extent of what is to be taught. I refreshed knowledge I had gained years ago with my training at Gail Harkers Centre for Creative Arts in Washington. I also gained many little gems of information to do with my passion of art. I learned how to make my own gesso the way the old masters did with rabbit skin glue, I was able to see what the latest books and tools were when the mobile Art Van Go van with Kevin came for one day to quench our desire to buy the latest things on the market. Lastly and most important was the interaction with so many professional artists who like me came to have a break where they could just learn and play with art.