Architectural Inspiration

That was in fact the proper title for my course based on architecture and architectural elements but somehow it went through the system and came out as Architectural Landscapes. This did not put off the creative band of students who attended the course at the RBSA Galleries in Birmingham this week. It was the first time I had led a course based on architecture; I use the subject at times in my work but not in a particularly straightforward way. The students confirmed by the variety and expertise of their work that it is indeed an inspirational topic, one which they have, through the work produced and their analytical and thoroughly creative attitudes, made me realise I want to keep working on and developing much more in my own work.

No more words, here’s the action. Well, more like quiet concentration to be exact.

At work in the gallery.

Sue already had a beautiful sketchbook on the go, and was working on developing a theme based upon Venice.

This is actually a sample piece she moved onto, to try out different papers and fabrics together. The final piece will be larger and will be the result of meticulous drawings and applique.

This is Sue’s daughter Rachel, who had some excellent reference images of rusting metal rods against rich colours. She painted and printed all the fabrics for the piece.

This is how the work had developed towards the end of the second day; the photographs that inspired it are on the right. I thought it was gorgeous; more detail and stitch will be added.

Here’s Shelagh, who teaches textiles herself; she produced not only three pieces ready to stitch but two books in progress and many lovely sketchbook pages. Her work was an inspiration to us all, and she introduced me to some compelling new materials to try.

Her zig zag book, some book pages and a work ready to stitch, just part of Shelagh’s excellent work.

Carolyn developed an elegant sketchbook throughout the two days, working with Medieval arches which through the use of negative space and manipulation became a series of wonderful abstract shapes.

Some of Carolyn’s richly  painted materials and great shapes, which she built up throughout the course to use in future work.

Lesley is an accomplished artist already who went out into St.Paul’s Square, where the gallery is situated, and came back with some fantastic lively and colourful drawings which we all loved. She has such a sense of colour and pattern, her work was glorious; the pigeons she drew and included were such characters.

Here’s the largest of her pieces, almost finished. She added some bold descriptive stitches and then intended to mount it on a canvas at home, and hang it immediately on the wall; which was a pity since we all wanted it…

Diana does lovely considered work; she came to one of my classes earlier in the year. She made a beautifully drawn work sheet with fabric and paper samples she had either painted or retrieved from her stash. Diana is the person who introduced me to insect houses, by showing me a photo a few months ago of one she had seen. We modelled ours on that picture, although it’s smaller than the original.

This is the early stages of Diana’s elegant piece which will be in three parts, based upon a house in France.

Rachel had her AS level results during the course; she did really well. She is working on a well thought out and colourful piece based on Gaudi’s work. The fabrics and felt she painted  were stunning, along with her choice of patterned papers and fabrics.

This is Rachel’s piece, still a work in progress, and unfortunately missing the lovely balcony she appliqued, using richly coloured and patterned papers, but isn’t the rest exciting?

This is lovely Lian, the baby of the class, brave enough to tackle the Eiffel Tower, no less. I would have been scared solid but she worked really hard and produced [and she will finish it, I know] a wonderfully textured and detailed piece of work.

Here she is again, she just wouldn’t stop. She received the student bursary for under 18s, given by the RBSA during the Summer School to selected students.

Back in the studio today I pinned up some of the fabrics and paper I painted as demo pieces on the course, to remind me to use them in my own work in progress, which I think will be called The Moth Pages. I have three big projects on the go at the moment, and I have determined that I will start no more until they are done, except small pieces for an exhibition I have with my daughter in November, which of course I am convinced is ages away.

6 thoughts on “Architectural Inspiration

  1. Crikey Steph – what a scarily talented lot you got there – some fantastic work, and as ever, I just wish I had been there …. and I want Lesley’s blue pigeons too! Do tell us about the moth pages -not allowed secrets when you are famous. Will def. e-mail next week – H xx

  2. They were good weren’t they? I’m usually influenced by my students and I’ve actually got some time now to take those influences on board, so I’m out in the garden with my new pencils and pad doing sketchbook work for a change. So many of them bring great sketchbooks. I’ll post some images. How’s your work going Hil, let me know. I’ll check your website for wip too.

  3. Thank you Stephanie, what a lovely blog to read and a great record of our wonderful 2 day workshop at RBSA. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and your work and advice was very inspiring. I’m really pleased with the piece I produced and I’ve already started to add some hand stitching. It was great working with a group of such talented people and seeing so many different ideas developing from the theme. I’m truly inspired and moved on in my work. I’ll send you a picture when the stitching is complete. Thank you. Rachel Castle.

  4. Hi Rachel, I’m pleased you enjoyed the post. The students’ work has inspired me to use more architectural elements in my own work and like you I was thrilled to see so many different approaches to the theme. I’ll certainly offer the course again, it is wonderfully flexible. Your choice of source material was inspiring and broadened the theme too, which is just what was needed, ideal. When you finish it send me an image and it will go on my blog. Steph.

  5. Hi Holly, well if you are ever over here during the summer, look up the RBSA in Birmingham! I do like your gel prints, you could demonstrate how you do them. I’ve heard about them but have never tried them.
    Steph.

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