This weekend I was at Art in Action in Oxfordshire teaching some crochet workshops for West Dean College.
Art in Action is a showcase for artists to sell their work direct to the public while demonstrating their craft. I watched glass blowing, bronze casting, life modelling for sculptors and painters, egg tempera mixing and many more craftspeople at work, all of which was fascinating.One of my favourite demonstrators was Roanna Wells, a young textiles artist who has just graduated from Manchester. She specialises in embroidery and creates spectacular, large pieces using textural marks formed with a needle and thread. I am glad others thought she was fab too, as she won the Best of the Best exhibition.
A very exciting exhibit was the Mexican tent, which was a riot of colour and texture. I loved the intricately cut tissue paper decorations that looked fantastic hung in a rainbow palette from the ceiling and the Frida Kahlo brooches printed on beer bottle tops.
My workshops were for crochet beginners and only lasted an hour and 30 minutes. I must admit to being a bit apprehensive as to how much the participants would acheive because the craft is very fiddly when just beginning and I usually let students practice a simple chain for at least half an hour just to get their hold and tension right. However, I was pleasantly surprised as many of the learners went home with a very basic flower. Perhaps it was the arts and craft bug seeping into them by osmosis through all the demonstations and workshops and creativity surrounding them!
The weather was a little changable to say the least, which reminded me that I really need to invest in some good quality wellies. However, aside from persistantly wet feet, it was an interesting weekend overall. I even managed to sell some work in the workshop teachers' tent, which is great, although that also means I am now going to have to work extra hard this week to fill up the Kiosk on Sunday...!
Don't forget to check out more of my classes at West Dean College, as well as the many other delights they have going on.