Artist in residency in Munich – June 2023
In early February this year I received an exciting email from a teacher for whom I had run workshops in the past here in Yorkshire. She wondered if I would like to come to visit her new school Munich, to run a week of workshops for secondary aged children between Y7 and Y12. The workshops would be based on my own practice in printmaking and textiles.
Obviously I said yes!
The next few months involved quite a lot of emailing back and forth and a few zoom meetings to discuss ideas. There were a lot of things to consider and the school wanted almost every student to have an experience working with me.
As I was going to have fairly big class sizes and only one day with each group, I decided to share my approach to block printing, specifically linocut, inspired by natural forms but tending towards abstraction. I also wanted some groups to try working with printed and sewn textiles, I am working with these techniques a lot at the moment. One factor in my decision was the ease of travelling abroad without needing to bring lots of my work. Textile pieces are much easier to pack in a small suitcase!
My overarching goal was that the students would aim to have an open, playful and experimental approach to printmaking and making art, using the techniques I shared.
With each group, I introduced my practice to each group I met, showing examples of my print work on paper and wood via a power point projection and I also showed the sketchbooks and the textiles pieces I had brought. I talked about where I worked and how my local environment and community was significant in my work too.
Lino cut printing
Two of the groups I worked with produced colourful semi-abstract or fully abstract lino cut prints, using drawings of tropical fish that they had previously drawn into their sketch books. To begin I showed them examples of my work inspired by flowers and nature.
I had brought some sections of cut out and carved lino that I had used in my recent work. I demonstrated carving into the lino, arranging the shapes and inking up and experimenting with colours. The students all had a go at cutting two to three different lino pieces of their own, inspired by their tropical fish drawings and then printed them in various arrangements. I think they produced some interesting results.
Gelli printed textiles
I talked to the groups about my hand printed and sewn fabric ‘Book of Days’ which I created using various fabric printing techniques, before adding appliqued sections and other stitched embroidery. I then showed the group how to produce colourful abstract gelli prints onto fabric, to which we then added hand sewing in colourful embroidery, creating different creative and expressive stitches
Another group who worked onto fabric, used the mountains and lakes around Munich as their inspiration. They began by gelli printing and monoprinting textures and colours inspired by the imagery of their subject matter, before adding textures using hand embroidery.
The GCSE students used my linocut printing techniques too but took ideas from the projects they had been working on for their GCSE work. It was interesting to see the various different directions each student took using their own theme as a starting point.
Overall it was a good week. I was very tired by the end as I didn’t sleep that well and each day was very busy. Munich was beautiful though and when I wasn’t teaching, I really enjoyed exploring the city with my family who came along for part of the week. I definitely want to return to see more.