Monday, October 6, 2008

Design Retreat

September, 2008

I want to catch you up on the past two weeks in September. Many things have occurred that were exciting and fun.

First, on September 18th – 20th, we hosted our annual Cochenille Design Retreat in Carlsbad, California. This is an event we done practically every year since the early 1990’s. This year, our these was “On the Surface”. Jenny Dowde, from Australia, was our guest instructor.

The following was the structure of the retreat:
Day 1
In the morning, Jenny gave a lecture of her creative path, and how she moved from fine art training to fiber arts. Jenny has published three books in the fiber arts realm. Her specialty is scrumbling, as she calls it, which is free-form crochet. She also works with numerous surface embellishments. In the afternoon, I talked about the Creative Process, and then, we walked through several design exercises you can do that help you to open your eyes to the tricks of design.

Day 2
This was ‘my’ day. We worked in workshop format, and focused on painting, stamping, printing, and other forms of surface design using paints and dyes. Students created samples of numerous techniques that could be applied to knits and wovens. My favorite technique involved shaving cream, and allowed you to create a marbled effect on fabric. The steps were as follows:
1. Spray Shaving Cream on the fabric until you have a one inch thick mat, the size of your fabric.
2. Dabble textile paint on the foam. I do this in lines, of alternating colors.
3. Take a pronged fork, hair pick, or similar, and drag it through the colors so to marble them.
4. Lay a piece of cloth on the color and gently pat it.
5. Lift the cloth gently and set it aside, foam-side up.
6. Repeat the process with two or three more pieces of cloth. Each one will be progressively lighter.
7. Take a plastic ruler, and scrape the foam off of the cloth.

Day 3
Jenny demonstrated various techniques relating to embellishing the surface. These included beading, stitching, needle-felting, and more. Students made samples of the various techniques to record for later use at home.

We have such a blast at the Retreat. Each year, it is a different theme, and we have anywhere from 15 – 30 people attend. There are generally two teachers, and possibly a third, as a guest speaker or mini-workshop leader. I’m already thinking of themes for next year, and we will keep you posted via our web site and email list (for those who want to know).

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