Monday, October 20, 2008

Fibreswest Retreat

The Fibreswest Retreat is a week long retreat held down in Bunbury every three years. This was my first and it was an amazing experience. Adding to this was the fact that it was held at my old school which brought back some memories!! The place is essentially the same with a number of new buildings. I even went into one of the units that I used to live in. The rooms are much smaller than I remember.

So the way it works is you enrol in a class with the same tutor over the 5 days and then have the opportunity to listen to talks and slide shows by the other tutors. Unfortunatley the class I was in just didn't do it for me. The tutor was fabulous and very knowledgeable, but coming out of a rut after my exhibition I really needed something else to help me with where I'm currently at. You know when sometimes you're just in the wrong time and space to take on things. 2 years ago or 5 years down the track - fine - but at the moment, no. That's how I was feeling. So I spent a bit of time wondering around the other classes, watching and absorbing. It was actually a very fulfilling process being able to talk to other workshop participants and hear their perspectives and experiences. Liz Evans, the felt tutor from Canberra was very inspiring teaching ways to make 3D forms with resists. I'm certainly going to have a try at some of these shapes next time I crack out the wool tops. The idea of stuffing the vessels with plastic bags while they dry to help them keep their shape was really useful too.

Some of the vessels made by the class.

Tanya from FeltWest after her felting frenzy. This lady can felt at the speed of light!!

Nalda Searles' workshop was concerned with natural dyeing, basketry and sculpting with leaves and grasses. Going into this workshop was like heading into another world. Everyone was so engrossed in what they were doing - taking what they'd been taught and making it their own.This is Louise working on the floor.

Nalda's slide show was really inspiring. For many years, she has worked with indigenous Australians teaching them skills like basketry which they have embraced and taken to a new level. Their work is now in high demand. Hearing the experiences she has had with different communities across Australia just leaves you speachless. What a phenomenal woman!!This is a page from Penny (from Northcliffe's) sketchbook. She completed pages and and pages while at the retreat and her stetches are so lovely. That's me in the blue and green. :)
I met a lot of people that I had some connection with - Northcliffe is pretty close to Pemberton where I grew up. Anne who was in my class, used to make my ballet costumes when I was a kid! And she knows my brother in law really well. Another lady I ran into is the Grandmother of my neice! Small world.....
This is Phyllis painting some watercolour paper. I was so inspired from seeing her do this that I've already gone out and bought an A2 pad of the stuff (which I proceeded to carry home on my scootere) and have started painting it. Such vibrant colours!!! Bring on the metallics!
This is a little box created (I think) by Phyllis in Jacinta Leishman's class. Hearing Jacinta talk was soooo useful. Her approach was really refreshing and exactly what I needed to get me back on track. Plus she works a lot with colour, silks and velvets... How can I resist??

Hear are some more images of works from her workshops:

Glen Skein worked with people on boxes - telling a story through artifacts. This reminds me of artist Nick Bantock. Though of course they are different, they both work with found objects. Glen's work is exquisite...

Yet another class did printmaking and journalling a journey. Some of their books were stunning.
The one below used image transfers as well as photocopied images to give a really nice feel. Loved all the different binding styles used too.

Here is the bowl that I spent the week making. Still not finished. It will stay that way for a while I think. I'll come back to it...

In the meantime I've got lots and lots of ideas involving found objects, transfers, watercolour paper, sticks, paper casting and the list goes on!!!

1 comment:

MargaretR said...

This is a wonderfully inspiring post Hannah!