surface tension

This workshop is based on sharing my approach to my own work, where I use cloth, stitch, and collage to create mood and narrative. There will be demonstrations designed to give an insight into some of my favourite techniques, and the way I use them to achieve the desired effect. We will play with some unorthodox ways to use your materials, including rip, melt, and burn ; stain, mark, and print ; layer, conceal, and reveal. The inclusion of distressed and manipulated fabric, paint and paper, and odd found materials, allows you to create many different qualities and textures in a surface to work on. The final layer is created with thread and stitch, which further transforms the surface. You can put these skills into practice, making a series of small samples to experience how they can work to support your own personal themes and interests.

Lesson Plan

Working on a series of small samples during this workshop will give you the opportunity to try out some of the techniques mentioned in the class outline. Then we can use combinations of these processes to help you to develop your ideas into pleasing designs. These samples could be developed later into finished pieces, or incorporated into larger works. Or they could form part of a book.

Requirement List

Working on a series of small samples during this workshop will give you the opportunity to try out some of the techniques mentioned in the class outline. I have many samples to show that illustrate these techniques and ideas for using them. My suggestion is that with your samples you can create a simple book for your future reference, as I have done with some of my own work. Or it’s possible that a sample could evolve into a larger piece of work. Things to bring : For the purposes of this workshop, my suggestion is that you work on some small samples, say about 150 mm square. ( this is not a limitation, merely a suggestion ) If you wish to work to a theme, keep that in mind when selecting your materials. You will need :- All your usual ‘tools of the trade’ – scissors, pins, needles, etc. A selection of the threads that you like to use, and needles to suit your threads. I use mostly cotton perle no. 8 ( or similar weight ) along with finer threads for contrast, and for sewing on attachments. Bring a selection of fabric pieces to use in ‘collage’ – look for contrast and variety in colours, patterns, and types of fabric... silk, cotton, synthetics, lace, etc Lightweight is best. Something coloured to be used as a background for your collage. and a variety of transparent stuff, synthetic organza, and any other lightweight synthetic fabrics Maybe a few beads, buttons, found objects, embellishments of any kind, that you might like to incorporate into your work. If you can, please bring some incense sticks, a tea-light candle ( and something to stand it on ) and a box of matches. And a hand towel, or kitchen paper towels. There will be a charge of $25 per person to cover the items I provide : a pack of essential fabrics, eg. backing fabric, silk, and synthetics. some equipment, and odd supplies ( eg gilding foils, stencils, colouring agents ) for you to play with notes on all processes

Venue Requirements

The main requirements for a workshop venue are: Ample table space for all participants and appropriate seating.
A couple of extra tables for me and my stuff.
Access to water, but not necessarily a sink in the room.
Good lighting. Power points.


texture sample 1


leaf 10


Michelle Sutherland


Karen Workman


Robyn Burch


Beverley Francis


Catherine Polman


heart 1


heart 2


InterTidal 3

Workshop Info

6 hours a day for 2 or 3 days

Skill Level » suitable for all levels
Class Size » 15
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