Thursday, 28 December 2017

Alternative Christmas Tree

Call me a grump, but I've never felt comfortable with traditional Christmas trees.  Too Scandinavian, too spikey, too kitsch  - I can't quite put my finger on what it is that I don't like.  So, I was really pleased when Katherine from 20twentyproductions asked me to run a couple of workshops to make a 'Tree of Positivity' with a  group of young people from Cromwell Community College.

I love the idea of a Tree of Positivity because it feels so non denomonational and inclusive.

So we did lots of expressive painting, some random printmaking and then cut and collaged our positive words on labels.  It was fun to do and I think the results are great!


Have a great winter holiday, whatever your beliefs!



 An angel has landed on the Prickwillow phone box!

A collaboration by Cary Outis  (the steel part) and Magenta Kang (the wings)

As you can see it's well tethered and it's staying for Christmas.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Screen Printing on Cloth

Impington Village College
Saturday 25 November
10.00am – 3.00pm

This is a new teaching venue for me.  As it's a building with a great design legacy,  I think this should bode well. (see here) 

I wonder if  Walter Gropius would approve of the spirit of experimental creativity or would he be turning in his grave to see such extravagant surface design?

Here is the class description:

Screen Printing on Fabric: The emphasis is on the experimental, creating simple paper stencils with small silk screens to create bold shapes and pattern on fabric. The day is aimed at those with some experience of screen printing as well as beginners and it is an opportunity to work in a studio atmosphere with tutor support.  An A5 screen and squeegee is provided for use during the day.

What you need to bring:
Apron & wear old clothes
Reference pictures to use as inspiration.
5/6 old newspapers
Notebook and pen
Paper cutting scissors / craft knife & board
Fading marker or dressmakers chalk (only if you already have one)
20 sheets computer / photocopy paper ( not recycled)
Cost of inks in included in course fee.

You will need to bring your own fabric to print on:  These must be 100% cotton. Polyesters and poly- cottons do not print well. I suggest you bring about two to three metres of white, 100% cotton fabric, preferably washed and ironed.  You may wish to pre-dye some of your fabric to create a background but make sure the colours are not too dark. If you are a non stitcher, you can bring pre-made items for printing on eg T-shirts, shopping bags, pillow slips - as long as they are, a light or bright colour and once again, 100% cotton. (T-shirts & shop bags do not need pre-washing)

Inline images 1

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Student Work - Screen Print Summer School

Cottenham Summer School - Spectacular Screen Printing. Why has it taken me so long to post this wonderful work by students on the course? 

Everyone makes SO much work during the week that any pictures I put up can never capture the sheer exuberance of printed fabric that's produced.

As always, what I love about teaching screen printing is that each person in the class brings their own personality to their prints. Some people like to do multi- layer, multi-colour prints, some like to be graphic, some textural.  Whatever style people work in it's always  done with a spirit of exploration and discovery.

Jean's screen

And the print
Betty's print

Nicola'a amazing multicolour print
David adding finishing touches to his cloth

One of sarah's many miles of fabric!!

It's quite difficult to get onto this course but I am teaching two Saturday day schools (not linked) before deep winter.  One is at Cottenham Village College on Saturday 14 October '17 (see post below) and the other at Impington Village College on 25 November '17.  

Monday, 9 October 2017

Screen Print Studio

There are still places left on Screen Print Studio at Cottenham Village College on Saturday 14 Oct 17, from 10 am to 4.00pm -  a lovely long day for getting immersed in a print project.  Cost is £35 / £26

This is an informal class for Adults.  There will be an introductory, hands on demo for beginners who will be taught about equipment, materials and basic techniques for screen printing. All techniques shown are ones that can be achieved at home on the kitchen table.

Anyone who has done screen printing with me before can skip this bit and work on their own projects.

A4 screens and printing inks are provided for use in the class (small materials fee) and you bring your own fabric to print on. It could be patches of cotton if you are a quilter, or textile artist; you can also print short lengths of fabric for sewing up into clothing / tablecloths etc;  or if you don't sew, bring light coloured T-shirts, shopping bags, pillow slips etc.  The college will give you a materials sheet which will explain exactly what to look  for in the fabrics you choose.

 Screen printing is magical and fast - come along with a pile of plain fabric and leave with a great pile of colourful prints.

If you are interested contact

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Handmade Book

A little handmade book from some of those coloured papers:

Front cover

Concertina pages for display

Little collage motif on corner of each page

And a rectangle of painted paper to frame picture or to write upon

The end...       

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Coloured Papers

Whenever I start a new project, I like to begin by making components.  And the components for my book making workshop are coloured papers.

You can buy all sorts of lovely papers from hobby shops but they are expensive and in the end, they're somebody else's work.  So I like to get messy and make my own.

Splashing, stencilling, printing

Wax rubbings and paint- I used a combination of brusho and food colouring.

So much fun!


Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Little Paxton - The Hub - The Norris Museum

Screen printing workshop in a garden opposite the new community Hub in Little Paxton.   This workshop was sponsored by the Norris Museum as part of their community outreach program.   We used a modified version of the Hub’s logo as a frame and we asked people  to draw something that they would really like to see in a museum. We had so many great results:

I don't have favourites - as you can see I love them all - but this one has a  special place in place in my heart - it's just so happy!

And 'grown ups' could take part too.

There was a very neighbourly friendliness to the whole day, culminating in the generous sharing of a great hamper of fruit that someone won at the raffle. What better way to spend a Saturday than printmaking outdoors amongst a bunch of lovely people?

Friday, 21 July 2017

Screen Print Street Child

Here's a great example of a project that brings two excellent charitable organisations together: St Philips Church Centre in Cambridge and  Street Child - a charity who provide educational opportunities for some of the world's poorest children.

A small group of people in the church wanted to do something that would motivate them get out the house and in contact with other people.  They also wanted to do something which would benefit another charitable group. 

Rob contacted Street Child who do really amazing work in West Africa and Nepal (check out their website: Street Child )
and asked them if there was anything practical the St Philips group could do to help.

Anyway, Street Child were doing a fund raising bike ride in Sierra Leone and said they could do with some flags to go on the bikes so that their logo would be visble to all. 

So we spent a few weekend sessions sampling, screen printing, sewing, glueing and..... ta-da, here is one of the 40 flags we made:

It was fun making these, even though the sewing part was a bit of a challenge.  Annie was the hero of the group and she was determined to get them done!

Here are some pictures Street Child sent us of the actual event.

And a comment from the organiser:  "The flags were a huge success on our bikes during the trip and they look great on our staff motorbikes too! "

Well done Annie, Kieron and Joe!!!

Monday, 19 June 2017


I often find myself waking up in the middle of the night  with a great idea's usually a great idea for how to help a student resolve a creative problem. And I love that - for me teaching is a creative act in itself.

But sometimes, in amongst the teaching, I get a longing to just do something of my own.   So, I was delighted when Jenny asked me if I wanted to team up with a charity shop in Cambridge to make something as part of the CirculArt trail.  

I was given a choice of a couple of shops and I chose the  Romsey Mill Shop.  All the charities do fantastic work so that wasn't really one of my criteria.  What I do love about this shop is that it's really packed with stuff and it's totally chaotic. In fact, it's kind of an old style charity shop where you  feel you could discover a great bargain hidden on a rack of jumble.

Some time ago, I was given some lovely old cotton sheets and I've been saving these for a special project.  The cotton has been softened from use but it still has a lot of life left in it.  So I decided to print it up and sew it into a dress.

This photo is by Derek Langley 2017  

I thought that 'cycling' would be an appropriate theme for Cambridge, with a nod to 're-cycling'.

I used a 1950's reissue of a Vogue sewing pattern (1172) and printed each panel with a different version of the same basic set of motifs.

Here's the dress at home, having it's first fitting, propped up on the piano.

Cary set up the window display for me because I was out teaching that day, and a lovely lady, called Claudia,  whom I have never met in person, (though we have been corresponding by email) sent me some photos of the window. The building is being renovated so there's a maze of scaffolding you can see reflected in the glass.

You may be able to see that I also printed a couple of rescued T-shirts and bags that I had lying around in my studio and I dyed a couple of old sheets to use as a backdrop.

This has been fun!   And even more fun going down Mill Rd to see what the other CiculART artists have done in the other charity shops.

The T-shirts and bags will be for sale in the shop after the exhibition is over - all proceeds to Romsey Mill Charity.