I ran my first-weekend beginners collorgraph course at my studio in Crystal Palace last weekend.
I am really lucky that the person who owns the complex where my studio is located has such a great eye for detail and has designed the whole complex in a way that always inspires me to be creative. Everything from the reclaimed doors and windows, to the cobbled street that leads down to the studios and the fairy lights that are on when you come out at night, helps to create a magical space. I always feel that when I come into that space it gets me ready for immersing myself in making art and I wanted to share that with my students.
I decided that the workshops were to be spread over a weekend in order to give a sense of a mini-retreat as it's
so nice to know that when the day finishes you have got another day to work with. This helps to avoid the panic you can get when you are constrained by time and feel you have to get it all done and finished in a rush.
My aim for the participants was for them to learn and practice some basic techniques and get them to play with materials and discover what finishes and textures different materials could create. We used simple materials, mount board, different tapes and knives to cut in and stick on, to make lines and texture into
the boards. It was also a chance for them to have a practical experience of how they could transform simple drawings that they had made into something completely different.
One thing which is really fun about collographs and using ink or acrylic paint is that you never know exactly what you are going to get. You can plan it, do the drawing, put the ink or the paint on, but when you actually lift up the board and see what you have produced it's an incredibly exciting process unveiling and discovering what you have made.
What was great about this group is that they just jumped straight in and were open to experimenting with what kind of finish they could create on the plates. They were scratching into the ink. applying different thicknesses of ink, wiping and swiping and really playing with all the surprising textures they were creating. It ended up being a magical experience for all of us.
I know they were happy with what they made and enjoyed the process and found it highly satisfying and engrossing. One of them had never done it before and she was just amazed at what she had produced.
For me, it is a real gift to provide a space for people to be creative, peaceful and happy and to be able to share the things that I have learned in my art career with eager and inquisitive students. An added bonus is that I am also learning from my students as they bring a whole new way of doing it which in turn feeds back to me.
What was so touching as well about this 'mini-retreat workshop' is that while we were immersed in doing the artwork we were also having amazing conversations about life, creativity, family relationships and lots more. There is something about creating in groups that create a sense of energy, intimacy, connection and openness. We all felt it was a safe and supportive space to create, play and talk.
Whilst we covered only a tiny bit of what is possible there are so many approaches and methods still to try. I am therefore putting on more classes and workshops which will also introduce colour into the collorgraphs, working with fabric and much more.
If you are interested in finding out more about my upcoming workshops and classes or would like to ask me any questions I would love to hear from you. Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org