Workshop: Cas Holmes


Today I attended a full day course with Cas Holmes (and was excited to unexpectedly meet up with fellow OCA student Julie): ‘The Sketchbook Workshop’

I won’t detail Cas’ process for the workshop here, in order to respect the integrity of her course and to protect her process. That will all be in my sketchbook.

However, I am most excited to have taken a piece of paper from plain, to something on which marks were made, outdoor sketching was applied and dyes and stains treated to this base.

How it was appearing before lunch and stitching:


After assembling pieces which included a segment from our partner (thank you Julie) we were encouraged to sketch on to the work with the sewing machine. I have never done free embroidery before and if I thought I was before no wonder I kept jamming the machine. Important rules:  1) feed down, 2) special foot applied…might help me become more fluid with the writing Edith! After some time exploring this, Cas suggested filling the spool with the red no5 cotton I had brought yet retaining the standard machine thread from the top of the machine. I am very excited with the potential of this. I now know where I can take the prints in my ‘Not All Wounds are Visible’ series. It opens many doors.

The bottom images shows me deliberating between the final layout.  When I got home and had some distance from the work I have settled on the right hand side – without the printed lace. It felt more…more less if that makes sense. This is a sketchbook process – not a finished piece assembly. Taking the lace corner off removed the ‘corners’ and offered more planes by which this ‘book’ could be extended as resources and time allow.

Portable process and inspiration.

1 immediately usable tip I did learn today: a jam jar to hold the large cone of machine thread I have been unable to use, so I can use it on my machine.

What have I learnt? That to memorize the drawing by sketching first, my muscles hold the memory; my skin holds the feeling. When I transfer this to machine stitching I move from a much smaller hand and wrist gesture to a whole arm and shoulder repetition of the movement. It might be interesting to explore how the music sketches translate into free machine embroidery. Now, I can have a go at the asemic writing too (using tracing paper or greaseproof paper as first if I wish to imitate a design, later omitting this as I gain control.)

A super day. Thank you Cas.

Went via Barnardo’s: 2 more tops! This time pure cotton to explore: one black, one cream – even if the image on the right would suggest it is grey – least this picks up the details of the blouse.




Glass-fusing results

As a result of the workshop I attended in April, run by Yvonne, I created several small samples/experiments that I collected today.

I am really pleased with the range of effects and glasses I have now played with. I have discovered that taking pictures of glass is really tricky since the depth of glass creates its own internal shadow when the item is left on paper – so I’ve had to explore holding these up to show the translucent effects and reveal the depths.

As a reminder the glass before it went to be fired in the kiln:


I think the top right hand sample mustn’t have survived the firing, but the little blue sample below was a last minute trial and that has processed beautifully.

At the moment I am exploring the potential of this medium and how it could be introduced within my textile work – and how my textile work could be connected with this glass medium. There is much to learn about sulphur and copper based glasses and their resultant effects when they combine with glass from the same and different families – there is much to learn about colour and the chemical reactions with these pigments due to the metal from which they are based.


My youngest daughter also joined me and we had made a solids sample together at the end that has a clear show of the different effects of the metals – the french vanilla frit was dusted over a stencil across the whole yet where it lays on different colourways it ranges from vanilla to agate to brown:


A sample board with all my glass experiments:


Glass fusing

My sea bowl for pt2, pj1 survived the kiln gods! At last, the great reveal:


This is the result of my fused glass Sea Bowl workshop. I am really taken by the process and now result! As a method of joining this has been a new and exciting skill to start to learn.

Before processes:

Today I joined another beginner class run by Yvonne, so that I could experiment further with different ways and orders of fusing (joining) the glass.

These have now gone into the kiln.


I have used stringers, twisted coloured rods, opals and frit as well as tiny beads of dichroic glass and confetti glass. These will all be fused so that I can compare results.


Yvonne prepared a fantastic set of support notes that includes much of the technical information and websites and videos of interest. However, I feel it would be unfair of me to share these links and resources without undermining the integrity of her workshops. I have included the notes in my sketchbook and any additional resources I find would be, of course mine to share. But, I think it would be wrong to share Yvonne’s material online.

I was intrigued to find that the colour in glass is made from metals and so I have rooted out a secondhand copy of Colour by Victoria Finlay to see whether she discusses this in her (read-a-very-long-time-ago) brilliant book. I am also going to look out for pink and purple glass in stained glass windows as this colour is the most expensive to  make – due to the use of gold!


T1: MMT: Pt1; Pj1: ex 4 ii

I’ve been wondering how I can make layers that meld together. I know this exercise is about joining overlapping edges but the concept of heat manipulation and fusing has taken me to explore the process of fusing glass. Back in ATV I was taken with the colour bleeding when salt was mixed with watercolour and alcohol inks as seen here– this led to experiments with alcohol inks and yupo paper, linked to here – but I still wasn’t satisfied.

I’ve contemplated resin and glass – solidifying that liquid moment, retaining the gloss. Glass has edges that can be toyed with as well as colour – I can visualise it poured, dripped, flattened, shaped – it seems a material that is crying out to be incorporated into my work. What if the edges to be joined were edges of glass – how would this be achieved? What if this were then joined to the welded steel or delicate crochet lace, or the net-making I was working on in ATV. What if the colour came from glass?

Today I was lucky enough to explore this medium for the first time in my life. Mr Man had booked me a course at a reasonably local art enterprise: Creative Creek. The course was run by artisan Yvonne Rigby and with a title of ‘Sea Bowls’ was a complete lure.

I don’t wish to be detailed on here with regards to all the processes we learnt and the details of the workshop- out of respect for Yvonne and her classes, but I will add to my list of new words: slumping, frit, ‘kiln gods’, opal powder, bubble paint… as well as new processes and compounds that have taken on new meaning: copper oxide for bubbles, coloured stringers, thin fire (I think this is what I heard?)

However, the day was exceptionally well organised in terms of time and resources and potential. I desired to work to creating a fractured lace type edging with intermittent bubbles recalling the work of Baptiste Debombourg in his installation in Brauweiler Abbey in combination with weathered rock forms I had saved some while back in pinterest.

I created my intention on paper (an unusual about face for me – it has been so long since I had a final product in mind rather than simply working with materials and process and seeing where they lead).

After sketching and making notes in my little daily sketchbook I wanted to try out colourways so used the drawing app on my phone (which could be further exploited as it can save layers – today we were working with 2 layers of clear glass sandwiching a coloured layer that will be fused in a kiln and later slumped into the bowl shape.


Then on to the coloured layer – I experimented with medium frit and copper oxide, bubble paints, opal powder and copper paint.


These layers will be fused and the glass will expand and pull back together during the kiln processes. I am curious how this will turn out, but I will have to set that curiosity aside until it has been through the kiln twice under the care and expertise of Yvonne. I am hoping for bubbles and erratic edges of colour and fused movement.

Is this eligible for the joining project? I believe so – each layer of glass overlaps as I learnt that glass doesn’t mix but it will mix optically in the same way a pointillist painting works. I have put in some clear glass too between areas to see how that adds to the separation and joining.

I have so much to learn from Yvonne and she may have the answers to current & future question – can you fuse glass to textiles – ‘so long as the textile can withstand 800 degrees’ – kevlar springs to mind immediately – How sturdy is glass? ‘Rigid and firm and strong but not resilient to impact’ – it can be part of my touch-and-feel intention for my work. Can you make texture with glass? What about a fabric out of glass? Here Yvonne directed me to two UK artists who are at the cutting edge (no pun intended) of glass textiles or textile glass. I have emailed these artists to await their permission to write a visual review of their work, but in the meantime they are both innovative and inspirational and worth a look: (especially her gallery 2 with lace glass)

and (see in particular Richard Parrish’s glass tapestries)

I really hope to continue learning how to integrate this medium into my work and a huge thanks to Yvonne for her teaching, time and expertise…but most importantly what feels like the opening of a conversation I’d very much like to continue.

Can you imagine being able to create a playground of steel and fabric and glass with ghosts of this (Ernest Neto) and this and this (Lisa Cahill’s ‘Tide’) and this (Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam) and finally this (Maggie Casey). I can and I want it…

Update 16.3.16 (Thanks to Yvonne for correcting my mis-hearing of ‘frit’ as ‘grit’ I have now amended the errors above).

Update 17.4.16: the result: the sea bowl survives the kiln gods.