Beyond Text

Please bring examples of handwriting other than your own. This was the instruction to all those attending the Matthew Harris masterclass at the wonderful Big Cat Textiles.

What to bring… after much deliberation I chose a postcard from a wonderful friend who has been and continues to be a constant source of inspiration and support. 

A rather long list of other materials were gathered and I set off for three engaging, thought provoking and quite exhausting days.

Matthew Harris is an excellent tutor, setting a range of tasks to encourage exploration of the drawing process, slowing down thoughts and unlearning habits of technique and mind.

He questioned decisions, opened up opportunities and graciously shared his intriguing techniques with us.

I started big…. shrank back into myself then felt confident to expand and explore new ideas and possibilities. Working mainly in monochrome I was reminded of a magical time spent when I was 17 in Ormeau Baths Gallery. Our art class were introduced to Bill Woodrow and handed an oil bar each to play with. It blew my mind.

Familiar themes of place and journeys came and went and then evolved.

Ultimately I decided to make the lines come to life and spent one morning crafting them using ink and a range of papers. These were then suspended in and around my space. Finally I began to stitch them into a story.

On return home I looked at all the lines, played with them a bit, looked some more and then last week decided it was time for them to go into a sketchbook of their own.

I believe this will be the first of many.

If you ever get the chance to work with Matthew Harris or attend a masterclass at Big Cat Textiles grab it with both hands.

Big Cat Textiles 

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