At the beginning of the month I was at West Dean teaching a course on mixed media jewellery to five really wonderful students.
The course was centered around mixed media jewellery with a focus on building confidence in mixed media and combining materials. We spent a lot of time working on textiles techniques in the first half of the course. Working yarns around forms and making three dimensional elements from different yarns. The second half of the course was all about combining the new techniques with other materials and processes...and some students decided to focus on the textiles elements a little longer as they were really taken with the new techniques.
The fabulous five! Josie, Caroline, Margaret, Ildiko and Mary
We covered a lot over the three days including a presentation on mixed media jewellery, making crocheting ball and tube forms, stitching and crocheting around metal wire objects, felt balls, shisha stitching and a few hybrids from these techniques based on the ideas the students had arrived with. It was a really enjoyable weekend for me, with some really beautiful samples being produced. I think a lot of new ideas for future works were taken away to be developed further.
Some images of my samples table
As it was a nice small group it was great to be able to tailor make the course in a really individual way. Some had previous textiles experience and were able to hone existing skills alongside building their material knowledge. Some had less textiles experience and chose to focus mainly on textiles techniques to bring something new to their traditional making. It was good to be quite free with the outcomes, making it really student focused and everyone went away quite pleased with what they had learned and produced over the weekend. I really enjoy these kind of courses where you can demonstrate and share techniques with others.
Images of the work produced by students on the course
West Dean is a really picturesque place to teach. It's situated near Chichester, not far from The Weald and Downland open air museum. It has a fascinating history and beautiful gardens, including vegetable gardens and a greenhouse filled with fruits and a stunning array of chilli peppers.They even hold a chilli festival there once a year!
One of the perks of teaching at West Dean is the hospitality. There is a never ending supply of delicious food and drink. All the staff are so friendly, helpful and organised, they make you feel really appreciated. It's definitely one of the best places I have taught at and I hope to be invited back again.