When I was at West Dean in February there was an exhibition of work by some of the college tutors, including some exquisite woven pods by Mary Crabb. So when a textile friend announced that she had contacted Mary about running a workshop, I jumped at the chance!
This friend Barbara, along with dachshund Bertie, hosted the workshop in her beautiful house and garden in Hove. I wasn’t surprised to learn that she regularly opens her garden to the public as part of the National Gardens Scheme – it’s a multi-layered, multi-textured sensory delight, perfect for such a creative workshop.
Mary arrived with boxes of wonderful goodies, particularly paper threads in luscious colours, and books to inspire us all. Along with the mix of fabrics, wool and thread we had brought ourselves, we were certainly spoilt for choice!
We started by learning how to twine on a paper cup cut into strips. This helped us to maintain the shape without worrying too much about tension. We explored different threads and created coloured patterns, as well as learning how to introduce new threads when the old ones ran out.
We then moved on to an exercise intended to create a flat motif, to get used to working with warp threads in the round. However, we all decided that we wanted to go straight into making vessels, resulting in an array of teeny pods!
The combination of a glorious pot-luck lunch in the garden and lots of gossip to catch up on meant that most of us managed only to make a start on creating a larger vessel in the afternoon. The exception was Chrissie, who made a wonderful bag with Indian trimmings.
However, with Mary’s very useful handouts, we will hopefully be able to finish what we started. 🙂
All in all, it was a very inspiring day in gorgeous surroundings. Many thanks to Barbara for hosting, despite the electrical problems!
Some of Mary’s work can currently be seen in Back to the Beach, an exhibition at Worthing Museum and Art Gallery, which runs until 22 August 2015.