Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Playing with silk paper in 2 and 3 dimensions. ExTex 4 - February 6th & 7th.

 Nadines and Anna's vessels.

 The past weekend was the 8th and penultimate session of Experimental Textiles 4. Their final session is next month so the energy within the group is starting to change. You get the impression the girls are starting to put their shoulders back and their chins up, ready for the last push. Their end of year show will be at the NEC at The Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch Show in March.

As the course is not accredited, there is no pressure for the group to finish anything. They can concentrate on their work books and develop some of their samples from the course. It is up to them.
Because of this I find the work and the course workbooks are generally of a higher standard than students who are on accredited courses that have to tick boxes. We have much more freedom and we self moderate. Having taught both types of course - I know which I prefer . . . 

 Catherine's cake. A great start to the weekend. Delicious.

We had some very exciting news on Saturday morning, one of the group has got into a foundation arts course at Hereford College of Arts. She is retiring from a stressful job teaching - to become an art student. She passed the interviews with flying colours. I believe her course work from Experimental Textiles was much admired. You have never seen such a beaming smile on a girls face. She is so excited. I can't name her here, she hasn't told her school yet!

The last 2 sessions of Experimental Textiles are student choice. The group can negotiate what they do - some like to develop samples further or finish writing up their course workbooks. We decided to have the Saturday working with silk paper and the Sunday on their course work. Most of the students are in full or part time work and need some time to catch up.

 Gorgeous packs of silk from Oliver Twists.

All you need to make silk paper is silk fibres, CMC paste (from Art Van Go), protection for your table, a 'J' cloth and net. The net can be net curtain, tutu net, or small mesh plastic net. There will find loads of videos on YouTube showing you the details. It's bit like making papier mache.

We started by making paper first, once you know how little silk you need you  can plough on making vessels and and bowls. You simply layer the silk fibre with the CMC paste and allow it to dry thoroughly, you can then peel your paper off the net.

 A few of the papers

 We used plastic bowls and vases as the moulds to make the 3D pieces. CMC paste resists plastic so you don't need to use cling film as a resist. It doesn't work with ceramic or glass moulds. Once dry all the way through, the silk should slip off the bowls very easily. Tall, straight sided vessels take a bit more encouragement, but they come off eventually.

 Caroline's bowl.

 Nadine starting on her vessel.

 Catherine just beginning her vessel. Starting to paste the silk fibres onto a plastic beaker.

 Some of the group getting stuck in.

Jackie started her bowl . .

 . . And then carried on with more - and more silk fibre decoration. 
It will take ages to dry out - but it will be worth it.

 Karen's bowl and a few of her twisted paper treasures.

 I think this was another of Nadines vessels.

 2 more of Jackie's bowls. Looking at developing the edges.

A selection of the vessels and bowls.

The homework for this session is to stitch into the silk and get all their course work up to date. At the next and final session the group will be bringing all of their work, I will be choosing the work that will be going into the end of year show. It is very exciting - but also a bit sad. The end of another course.

The next course of 9 weekends for Experimental Textiles 5 will start in June this year and end in March 2017. This will be the last time I teach this course in the 9 weekend format. If you are interested we have started taking enrollments. The maximum number for the group will be 10. Have a look at the websites - experimentaltextiles.com 
To enroll phone 01527 69100 or email info@inkberrowdesigncentre.com

If you have any questions about the course then do email me at info@kimthittichai.com

x x x

So I am back with a vengeance with lots to do this week. I am looking forward to the weekend when I will be back up in Redditch for the last session of ExTeXra. This group is comprised of Experimental Textiles 3 students that finished in March 2015. They are creating fabulous work. 
I am currently trying to find any spare weekends, when I can offer the same to the current group.

Have a great week all of you, I will report back on the ExTeXtra weekend when I get back next week.   

x x x

Hello Diana, well done on a fabulous show, Hello Jill, are you relaxing yet? Hello Tod - oh lovely one - and of course - Denise!!

Monday, 1 February 2016

Three weeks in New Zealand - Bliss!

Bliss balls, chocolate brownies and fresh raspberries.
Denise is a fabulous cook -  and it's all gluten free. Denise had been Gluten free for several years, until I met her I had no idea how debilitating it can be.

So - here I am in New Zealand, Christchurch to be exact. Am in a motel for the night as I have an earlyish flight in the morning to start my journey back to the UK. I really don't want to leave - I do so love it here.

I have had a wonderful time here. I have been soooooo well looked after by my lovely friend Denise Cleghorn and her husband the very funny Barry. He tolerated me with good humour. I also saw another good friend Christine Marks and her gorgeous man Bob for a couple of days in Blenheim. We have all had a good catch up. Whilst Facebook and emails can help when there is a long distance between you, there is nothing like a big hug when you do get to see each other.

Most of my visit has been spent on Denise and Barry's farm just outside Cheviot on the South Island.

The view across the road.

The view across the vegetable garden

My view from the deck out side Denise's studio. A great view to look up at when you are hand stitching - Sigh!

Across the fields.

Wherever you travel on the South Island, it feels as though you are 'inside' the landscape. There will be a mountain range, river, lake, stunning view or beach quite close by. I think you can see why I love it here.

While I have been here I have been finalising my 6 week teaching 'tour' of both islands for April/May 2017. I am very pleased with how it is coming along. 

Denise gave me the run of her studio, we even got a chance to work together. I have started on the work for my exhibition with Susan Chapman in March at the NEC. It is a great relief to have got started, I was feeling very 'stuck'.

I had great fun printing with my printing blocks. I had made blocks from a drawing of a shell from the beach at Moeraki. What I had even more fun with was the baby wipes I used to clean the blocks. I have been using these wipes for years to clean up but am now taking more care how I use them and dry them. They are fast becoming a favourite.

A few of the printed and overprinted baby wipes.

Starting to hand stitch one of the baby wipes.

I have put by the best baby wipe prints to stitch into later in the month. The prints that weren't so successful I ironed Bondaweb onto the back of them and then cut shell\spiral shapes to be ironed down as applique.

The final arrangement - it took a while . . .
Now it just needs to be hand stitched. The piece measures 33 inches by 22 inches.

I did escape for a few days and drove up to St Arnauds with Christine, on our way along the Kaikoura coast we saw some seals - loads of them. It was great fun watching them.

Seals on the rocks.

Closer to home the closest beach to Cheviot is Gore Bay - just stunning. What is it about water? I am so drawn to it . . . .

Gore Bay.

Fantastic crashing waves. Such energy. 

It was hard to leave Denise, but I will be back in 2017 and this year is going to be very busy with a lot of travel - I have a lot to look forward to.


I will get back to the UK on Wednesday 3rd February, ready to dash up to Redditch on Friday to teach my ExTex 4 girls at the weekend. I can't wait to see them and discover what they have all been up to. They were asked to develop their metal samples for homework. This weekend we will be looking at silk paper and how to mould it.

So watch this space . . . I will be reporting back on the girls latest antics.

I am off to re pack my suit case!!!!


Hello Diana - have a great show - Hello Jill, not long now - gulp!! Hello Tod Oh Lovely One and Hello Denise - thank you. 

x x x

Monday, 25 January 2016

Metal with ExTex 4 January 9th & 10th

A rather splendid sample by Nadine.

Here I am FINALLY, sorry this has been delayed. Have had a bit of a struggle with WIFI access while I am traveling in New Zealand. It can be a problem uploading a lot of photos.

The 7th weekend of Experimental Textiles is a 'students choice'. The group negotiate what they would like to learn. I have to put my hands up to guiding them towards working with metal. It is a great material to work with, the girls had a fun time working with all the supplies they brought into class.

A great bundle of fun to sort out and manipulate.

Different metal shims, embossed or coloured with alcohol inks.

Embossed copper embossed and cut to shape.

Of course - sweet papers were an integral part of the workshop.

This was a fun table full of materials - an old vegetable rack, tin foil and packs of covered metal wire.

These samples were made by layering different metal shims with washers.

Drinks cans came in very useful . . .

Weaving with strips cut from a drinks can.

I will be teaching this group again on the 6th & 7th of February, they have 2 sessions before their end of year show at The Fashion Embroidery & Stitch Show at the NEC in March.  
I am looking forward to seeing what they have done for homework, they are a great group and work hard in between the sessions.

We are now taking bookings for the the last course of Experimental Textiles which will run from June 2016 - March 2017. If you would like more information do have have a look at the website www.experimentaltextiles.co.uk - 
or if you wish to book a place - phone 01527 69100  The group is limited to 10 places. This will be the last time I teach this course in this form.


I am writing this post in New Zealand, those of you who follow me on Facebook will know what I have been getting up to. I have started on some preliminary work for my exhibition with Susan Chapman in March at the NEC - the same show that students are exhibiting at!!! It is wonderful to have the time and space to get on with some new work. With my teaching load I just haven't had the time. I am now making the time.

I am staying with friends that I met when I first taught in New Zealand 4 years ago. Denise Cleghorn and Christine Marks have become very good friends and are a very good reason for me to develop my teaching in New Zealand. I have taught out here every year since 2012. In 2017 I will be in New Zealand for 6 - 8 weeks during April and May. 3 weeks on the North Island and at least 3 on the South. I am in the process of finalising my teaching and will be putting the dates and venues on my diary at the end of February. Isn't it amazing where teaching can take if you make a bit of effort to plan ahead?

Printing with my printing blocks

Before I left the UK I managed to make some new printing blocks based on drawings I made of shells photographed on Moeraki Beach when I was over on the South Island in 2014. I have been playing with the printing blocks, generating ideas.

Denise on her verandah.

For most of my visit I have been staying with Denise at her farm near Cheviot, between Christchurch and Blenheim. It feels as though I have been in paradise, with time to play and experiment in Denise's studio, chat to Denise all day, eat wonderful, home grown organic food and marvel at the outdoor living that you can enjoy this time of year in New Zealand. 

For the past couple of days I have been traveling with Christine between Blenheim, Lake Rotoiti and Nelson. Lake Rotoiti is one of my favourite places. I think you can see why . . . .

Lake Rotoiti.

So . .  I have a week left before I start traveling home, time to get on with some more work and just luxuriate in the lack of pressure that will surely engulf me as soon as I get home.
I will try to upload another post on here before I leave - if not - it will be next week.

Yours, relaxed and enjoying time with friends . . . .  Christine is just about to dish up dinner - I must go . .

x x x

Hello Diana, not long now, Jill hope to see you in March and Tod - Hello Gorgeous!!!!


Thursday, 31 December 2015

Happy New Year! Choice . Chance . . or Luck?

One should always be appropriately dressed when teaching!

It's New Years Eve, how did that happen? 
It is a great time to look back over the past year and think of friends you have met, places you have been and the wonderful things you have seen.

2015 was a busy year with 2 trip to the Antipodes, 3 trips to Ireland - 2016 will be even more bonkers . . .

A sign on the wall of the World of Wearable Art exhibition in Auckland.

I have met a lot of you at the various shows that I do throughout the year, both for myself and for Vilene. We have wonderful chats and discussions about all manner of things as well as textiles, and of course, chocolate! 
One of the main topics seems to be how lucky I am. Until the middle of this year, I had never really though about it - I always say Yes! I am. A good friend of mine who also works on the stand with me, pointed out with great emphasis, that I am not 'lucky'. I have made the decisions and choices that have brought me to this point in my life. I have also worked quite hard in my field for the past 25 years. Having never really thought about it before, it was quite a surprise to think about my life as a series of choices and decisions (some good - some terrible). Of course, chance does come into it. But not as much as you think. One of the best decisions I ever made, was to be different. It took longer for me to get established - but it has been worth it.

My greatest support - my sister - Lynda, 
making Snowball cocktails on Christmas morning

Few of us get by without the support of colleagues, friends and family. They also play a big part. I have spent most of this holiday thinking and planning and taking stock - as you may have noticed.

Anyway - enough of the thinking, lets get on with the blog post.
2015 started with a trip to New Zealand - I LOVE New Zealand. I had been asked to teach at the Quilt Symposium at Palmerston North. 5 x one day workshops!!! I am always amazed at quilters wanting to do workshops with me. 
You have an idea of what a 'quilter' is and what sort of courses they might enjoy. Of course, they are just like anybody else, they want to try all the latest techniques and work with tutors they find interesting.

The tutors who taught at the symposium. From all corners of the world.

The Quilt Symposium was remarkable - over 1.000 students. It was incredibly well organised down to the smallest detail. I have worked at various residential courses both in the UK and in Australia, but I have never experienced anything quite like this event. It really was truly astounding. It was wonderful to meet and work alongside such fabulous tutors - we had a ball - we did work hard too.

One of the happy students on the 1 day version of 'A New Starting Point'.

All my courses were full, even the design one. . . it had a waiting list as well.

The group getting stuck into their 'journeys'.

If you would like to see more of this amazing event have a look at this past blog post. hot-textiles.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01

After the North Island - it was onto the South Island and my mateys Denise and Christine. Having been to New Zealand a few times I have made some lovely friends. These 2 are the best - such fun. Christine had arranged for me to teach a design based workshop that led onto making printing blocks and printing fabrics. This was based in Blenheim. Everyone sees what I am teaching in the UK via the blog and Facebook - they then also want to play!

Christine and Denise looking at the 'journeys' on the wall.

Denise painting up her 2 colour way section from her journey.

The group chatting and printing.

Christine mucking about!

On of the designs made into printing blocks and then printed.

More of this workshop can be seen here . . .hot-textiles.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02l

Back home in February is was on with the shows and more workshops. As many of you will know, most of my bookings are made 1 - 2 years ahead. Large events like the Symposium are booked 3 years ahead. So it is always great when a workshop that has been in the diary for a long while, hoves into view.

I taught workshops at Art Van Go in Knebworth, The Bridge in Brighton and for guilds in Newbury, Solihull and North Kent and Belsey Bridge and Chichester. I get the best students, they work hard and have fun.

I love the excitement at the end of a workshop when everyone is looking at the  work created on the workshop.

 One of the samples created on the Solihull workshop.
Lutradur applique cut with a soldering iron.

One of the greatest pleasures I have is teaching my Experimental Textiles course. I am currently teaching it at the IDC Studios at The Old Needleworks in Redditch. The course is going well. It is run over 9 weekends from June to March. If you are interested in the course, have a look at the website.  www.experimentaltextiles.co.uk 
This is the 4th year of my teaching the course in its current form. I will be teaching one more year after this, then I will stop and teach it online.

ExTex 4 drawing the still life.

The Vilene stand at The Knitting and Stitching Show, Alexander Palace

I appear to have created my job with Vilene. I am officially a Creative Consultant. As many of you will know, I have been working and experimenting with Vilene products for years. It seems I am employable!!! It means I get to do The Festival of Quilts and The Knitting and Stitching Shows, at least for the next 2 years. All the shows and dates are on the diary on the right of this post.

I dashed off to Australia in September to teach at the Geelong Forum. I flew into Melbourne and the day after I arrived I met the lovely Glenys Mann for lunch in Federation Square. I hadn't seen her for a year or so - it was a real treat to have a good catch up.

Glenys Mann outside one of the exhibitions we visited at Federation Square.

On the way to Federation Square I walked down one of my favourite lanes in Melbourne - the one that is full of graffiti.

This one caught my eye amongst all the colourful madness.

There is a lot more about my time in Melbourne and the graffiti here -hot-textiles.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09

Before I taught at the Forum in Geelong, I met up with my friend Gillian who is a member of the Geelong Embroiderers Guild and had organised for me to teach - yes,  you guessed it, my design workshop. So the journeys were painted, printing blocks made and printed fabric in abundance.

  One of the printed samples created on the Geelong workshop.

There is a lot more about this workshop and some more amazing graffiti on these posts. hot-textiles.blogspot.co.uk/2015

Then it was onto the Forum - my goodness it was fun. Hard work with lots to do but very good fun. I met some fabulous tutors and great students. They produced some remarkable work - do have a look at the blog here
hot-textiles.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09 1  and here  hot-textiles.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10
My splendid group of girls - what fun we had, and I was introduced to Haigs chocolate -scrummy.

It was then home and straight into The Knitting and Stitching Shows, starting with Alexander Palace in London. I had 2 weeks off before the Dublin Knitting and Stitching Show and spent it on the West Coast of Ireland. It is so beautiful there, I love the wildness of it. 
One of the many delights of teaching is you get you meet other tutors and make new friends. One if whom is Nicola Brown. We met on the Forum in Geelong. 
Nicola lives in County Carlow in Ireland and as luck would have it she was back home when I was there. So I drove down to see her and stay for a couple of days. She is very great fun and is a fabulous felt maker and eco dyer. I love her work.

Nicola on Carracloe beach.

I hope that I will have time to nip over to see Nicola again in 2016 and hopefully she will visit me in Brighton. To see Nicola's work - have a look here -

Are you bored yet? Nearly finished . . . 
Dear Viv from Art Van Go asked if I would work on the Artists in Action stand at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show. I had to get permission from Vilene as I was supposed to be on the stand - but they let me off for a morning. I had the best time and worked alongside my lovely friend Susan Chapman. 

Susan and I have an exhibition together and The Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch Show in March at the NEC. i really need to get on with some work . . .

Susan and I on the Artists in Action stand

So, you will be pleased to know that more or less brings me up to date - I leave for New Zealand on the 12th January. I hope to get one more post written before I leave about what is coming up in 2016.

Lake Rotoiti, South Island, New Zealand.

I want to thank you for being part of my life, whether you read the blog, are one of my students or a friend or colleague. 

Happy New Year!

x x x