The central focus of this workshop is on the tool that creates the mark/stitch. Needles, like brushes, come in a wide variety of shapes, weights and lengths. Each has its own specific set of handling qualities designed to facilitate certain tasks. It is important to question the inter-relatability between the needle, thread and gesture deployed to create a visual mark. Each one exerts its own influence. If you are interested in working with thread, your choice of needle is at the sharp end of any deliberation as to how to proceed.

At the onset of the workshop, you will be given a collection of needles which will include long, curved, split, upholstery and basketry in a variety of thicknesses and lengths. You will also be provided with a raised floating frame, which facilitates a more expressive and gestural interaction with the ground, as it allows for a greater degree of physical interaction and movement both above and below the surface of the cloth/ground you choose to work into.

The course will begin with a series of demonstrations that outline the technical parameters of the equipment you will be working with. This will be followed by selected visual references to add context to the nature of your experimentation, imagery that relates in feel, concept and aspiration. This is not a stitch workshop per se but an opportunity to either experiment in a freeform gestural way or reference/extend traditional stitch structures. You are free to combine any forms of graphic mark making-media, thread, wool, tape, pencil, paint or crayon together.

The first session will be a brief group introduction and outline of the workshop. You should bring something that either describes your working methods or illustrates your chosen area of visual research.

Where courses can be regarded as stalking horses for ideas, workshops are designed to mentor and substantiate participants’ own practice via individual and group discussion. The tutor’s aim is that you will return to your own workspace empowered and with a renewed sense of self-belief.

Visit the West Dean College website to find out more and book your place.

Dates: Sunday 20 – Thursday 24 August 2023

Level:  Intermediate/Advanced

Fee:  £563