Stitch Retreat Part 2

In mid-January I went on the second instalment of the Stitch Retreat with Hilary Beattie. Here are my blog posts about the first one last year: day 1, day 2 and day 3.

This year, the plan was to work with a pallete of materials and work towards a finished wallhanging or canvas with them. We spent the Friday night evaluating our materials and working out what needed to be added to them. I had a range of good prints, but the colours did not hang together well, so I spent the time overdyeing them with slate, fig, orange and turquoise dyes.

On Saturday, we did various composition exercises, including using quilt block patterns to create backgrounds.
I used the Attic Window block to create this spread in my sketchbook:
  
I liked the layout so much that I used it as the background for my two final pieces, a pair of canvases to go either side of the clock above my front door.

I also used the offcuts to make these two sketchbook spreads:

  
 With a bit of washi tape and some gelatos  

  

 
And then I also added some ivy leaves to the earlier backgrounds:

   
 
 I then went on to my main pieces. After quite a lot of experimenting, I ended up with two background compositions that I liked:

   
  I like this secondary triad colour scheme, but when I added my focal point figures they disappeared into the background. One tip I picked up from Hilary was to add an area of black and white behind the focal points for contrast, which worked for me.   

   

 
On Saturday night, we ended up with quite a lot of wine left over from dinner! Slowly people started to go to bed, and we ended up with just Hilary, Maureen, Judith, Vicki, Nichola and I still polishing off the wine and working on into the night.

  
Hilary working into an altered book

  
 Hilary and I colouring 

I did 10 double sketchbook spreads that were really relaxed and enjoyable (AKA wine-assisted!). I only have this picture of one spread, so I will have to scan the rest in soon:

  

At 2am, this was the state of the wine:

  
On Sunday, I spent the morning finishing bonding down my collage, having decided about 10pm on Saturday that ironing was rapidly becoming dangerous.

I then freemachined everything down with a wiggly grid:

   
 

  
Now I need to add more free machining, hand stitch, and work to draw out the focal points more.

All in all, an amazing weekend, and I am looking forward to the next one already.

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