Back in November, I got the chance to meet textile artist Michael Brennand Wood! I went to a workshop for teachers/arts practitioners at the Broadway Gallery in Letchworth Garden City. It was a short notice thing - I was filling a place for a friend that couldn't attend, and I was very pleased to have got the chance. He talked us through the exhibition pieces that were on show in the gallery, explaining his use of materials and their context. He was an easy listen. His enthusiasm came over so clearly and his sense of exploration with materials and where they would take him.
He explained how he often just worked intuitively with materials, letting them speak to him and take their own course.
This is exactly the opposite way I work and it gave me a real injection of thinking about things in a different way. I don't have many happy accidents these days and though that way of working means I can make a very settles piece of work, a product in a way, it also means that it can be a bit predictable and samey. It was really good for me to be at the workshop. It felt like I was being opened up a bit.
Here are some of the sample workshop pieces Michael brought with him. He explained how they were made - simple frames which are then woven into, things tied onto, painted on, dripped on......all sorts of sculptural techniques used to make the surfaces vibrant and varied. Fabrics are used by ripping,tie-ing and threading and yarn used to wind round and across.
And here were our versions!!! Can you tell which one is mine?! Yes, the one on the far right with the cut paper. I tried to use the textiles supplied, but they are just too furry, woolly and...textiley! I just naturally gravitate to paper. All we did was to attach wood together with cable ties to make the basis of the frame, and then tie, weave, stick... anything we wanted, onto that frame. I was rather pleased with mine. It made my mind open up and I had lots of ideas. What I liked most was the openness of it - its not in glass. I get a bit frustrated with my work as its stuck behind glass. It looks its best like that but it would be great to get the surface out in the free air.