Day four we looked at more examples of Boro, and Dorothy showed us a small collection of vintage clothes that had been mended and repaired over and over. Some of the history and stories attached to these pieces were very poignant.
Our next exercise was to play around with different papers and cloth samples, burning with joss sticks, and smoking the surfaces over a candle. It was quite surprising how many different marks could be achieved this way, and we did have fun. On a safety note, all of this was done outside, with a couple of buckets of water close by!! Some of my examples can be seen above.
Remember the large sheet of paper I painted at the beginning of the week with a brush on a long pole? Well on day 4 we had the choice of either making a folded book with it, or another book made up of stitched signatures. I decided on the latter, and you can see the front cover above, and a small selection of the inside pages below. Because both sides of the paper had been painted, one side with heavy energetic movements, and the reverse with slower, lighter gestural movements, it was interesting to see how they went together when placed opposite each other on some of the double pages.
This took us to the end of the fourth day, and I ended up finishing my large book at home that evening.
Day five was a bringing together of all the elements we had made during the week, but we also watched another slide show of some examples of work by other textile artists. Dorothy introduced us to many names, most of whom I hadn't heard of, and need to explore further. However, one in particular stuck in my mind, as her work on Journals really fascinated me. Sandra Brownlee is someone who I'm definitely going to enjoy investigating!
The smaller book that I showed yesterday is now complete, with a wrap made from a piece of the batik I made. The following photos show the little book open, in different ways, because it's almost like a small sculpture! I added some beads from my ancient box of memories onto the waxed threads that stitched the individual signatures together.
Onto the third and last book, made up from the small sheets that we 'marked' onto with a variety of pens, the nail patterns, our fingers, the burning and smoking, and some personal papers and cloth that we brought with us. The small piece of Kantha that we stitched is for the cover of this small book, and as you can see below, mine still isn't finished. It will be though, because I'm getting quite fond of it!
I've added some hand stitch to this page of finger prints.
Above right, I covered some newspaper with gesso, and then printed with a knitted bootee made by my mother for my first baby, and worn by all three of my children! I have also treated the surface with thin washes of paint before rubbing over with some Markal sticks.
Smoked and burnt papers. I couldn't resist making a small choir with my finger prints into the smoked surface on the left!
I placed these two pages together, because the left page reminded me of braille, and the right side is my stitching made whilst being blindfolded.
Finally, a page with a piece of paper lamination that I particularly liked, especially with this sudden splash of colour! The prickly pear seems to relate with the spikiness of the nail holes on the right.
These posts can only give a very small flavour of what the Human Marks workshop with Dorothy was all about. I can honestly say that it was one of the most enjoyable weeks I've spent in a workshop, or similar setting, and it has given me so much to ponder on and think about. Dorothy Caldwell is a truly inspirational and very generous teacher. I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity for such an experience.