I was recently asked to be a visiting textile artist at a school in Ashbourne. I am always in awe of the way that children/young adults work, their confidant creativity seeming effortless when introduced to different techniques.
The school developed a scheme called visiting artist day. Working artists in the trade come in to the school and show the students their specialism. Visiting artist day is delivered at the start of the new brief for GCSE and A’Level for each art and design area. I was brought in as the textile artist for the day and the brief covered many different topics, the main topic chosen for me to cover that day was ‘fragments’ I felt that it lent itself very well to my area of expertise which is free machine embroidery and creative textiles.
I had 20 GCSE and A’level students who were all studying textile design. I started by showing them my range of samples and discussing each one in turn and getting feedback on what they thought in order to gauge their level and previous knowledge. The students then began to design and develop their own work using the inspiration from my samples. After demonstrating some techniques to the group, everyone was up and running. You can see from the images above it did not take the students long to master and further each technique shown. They took the brief given to different level, inputting their own ideas and creative ingenuity. The ideas were flowing, the sewing machines whirring the creativity in the room was buzzing!
I felt really happy with how the day had gone and from the feedback I received it was evident that they had too. I loved my day at the school and came away with ideas and inspiration from the students too, after all we all learn from each other and we all learn something new each day too.
I hope to do more of these sessions as it was a really great experience to be part of the initial stages of a module, delivering techniques that helped the students develop their work for their final pieces. I look forward to re-visiting the school to see the final exhibition of work later on this year.
Thanks to Kate for asking me and thanks to Natalie for having me in for the day, and to the students for making it such an inspirational experience!