The Encore Workshops have continued to attract a full house. Following the first printmaking workshops with Seraphina Martin, Nicole Barakat textile artist conducted sessions in creating fabric collages. At first we thought we would be creating soft fabric books but each participant got into the process of making so much that they spent a lot of time on each image designing an image, cutting, gluing, pasting. To our pleasant surprise Nicole showed a lot of people how to embroider for the first time and they really took to it. So instead of books we created a series of images that will be hung on the wall. The beauty of a good tutor is that they adapt to the group dynamic you cannot predict interest, abilities and outcomes. You also have to be aware of individual abilities and directions. Whilst we all agreed that we were exhausted at the end of the workshop day the work made and the great energy in the room made it worth it.
By the third workshop participants were really getting to know each other and be comfortable in the space together. The subject was focusing on portraiture starting with self-portraits. As the tutor for this workshop, I explained to the participants what portraiture was in the context of this workshop and that we would be exploring it in 2D, 3D and in different mediums on paper, with canvas and collage. Everyone also received the photographic image of themselves that they were working from at the end of the workshop. I found it amusing when in the third week one of the participants asked her “what the word portrait I kept using, meant?”. In the end it is the doing not the explanation that really matters and makes sense.
Now just having finished our 4th workshop, landscape with Natalie McCarthy we have a core group of participants that look forward to every Monday. Natalie got our participants to work from photos and paintings of landscape, firstly drawing landscapes then going on to water colour painting and then eventually acrylics on canvas. Natalie focused on mixing colours and creating a sense of space an important element when capturing the landscape. Not everyone took up the challenge of the canvas but for those that did it proved to be a satisfying process. Natalie managed to get a couple of the artists to stand up to try working directly in the landscape. We find once our participants are comfortably seated it is difficult to convince them to try unfamiliar territory, this is partially due to the fragile physical nature of some of the people who come to Roomies and the notion of change or perceived discomfort. Despite all this Natalie adapted to the needs of the group found ways of encouraging experimentation and the stretching of painting skills.
We are now on the home stretch and will be introducing an extra workshop with Jeff McCann creating 3dimensional forms and objects from paper. Jeff will also be introducing a more collaborative approach in some of the sessions and we feel as everyone has got to know each other well that it will produce some interesting results. Initially we thought we would only conduct four workshops and include one day each week on a Wednesday to finish work. The Wednesday proved to be a difficult day for the participating organisations to get to Roomies so we reshuffled things around and Jeff an artist and regular support staff for our workshops was given the final workshop. We will include one final Monday also to sign and finish work for the exhibition.
The work produced in the ENCORE project will be exhibited 17 -28 February with Damien Minton Gallery alongside Roomies Artists work selected by Glenn Barkley. Damien has already exhibited the work of Clarrice Collien a long time artist at Roomies. A catalogue with essay by Glenn Barkley will also be available.
Click on link below to see some action shots of ENCORE workshops below