Paper and textile artist Jennifer Collier has opened a new contemporary craft exhibition and workshop space this year, called Unit 12. I went to have a look and take part in her Banner Workshop. Jennifer provides all you need for all her workshops but always invites you to bring some personal bits and bobs along to include too.
Since I'm slowly assembling items from my family's history these days I thought I'd use some of those so I have some sort of visual snapshot of some of that history. And a few bits from my own life to bring the old and new together.
The studio is a gorgeous space, perfect for workshops of around 10 people or fewer so you get really good support and attention (and lots of cups of tea and cake!). It's on a farm in the the beautiful Staffordshire countryside (about 1 hour's drive from Manchester or half an hour from Birmingham)
It was a full day and I needed it. In the morning you learn and practice lots of individual techniques and prepare your banner. Some folks created some incredible backgrounds with all sorts of paint work but I am not a natural painter - far from it - so I opted just for white with some of the canvas showing through, and a few pearlised paint spots just brushed in with my fingers.
In the afternoon you're able to spend the full session working on your banner. After lots of rummaging, arranging and rearranging here's what I ended up using...
A photo of one of my grandmas; an old crossword; the stamp and some text from my other grandmother's birth certificate; a vintage stamp of Jennifer's; some cuttings from a document my grandad needed to work in the mill; some old passport paper; vintage dress patterns; a few of my grandma's buttons found in the sewing table I inherited; a silver filigree pendant given to me as a child by a family friend; tiny paper tags which I printed the initials of the women in our family onto; some vintage haberdashery from the same sewing table; a few silver leaf sheets and some shells from my honeymoon. And a well chosen dose of stitching and embroidery. (In case my family read this and are horrified I've been cutting up the family history - please don't be it was all photocopies!)
You can see some details of the work, and the work the other people made *here*
I know I'll be back for more, like the resin workshop maybe or something next year...