Following her talk earlier in the week, Amanda Hislop returned to the Branch on Saturday 22nd July to share a real insight into her work and process with her 'Imagined Seascapes' workshop.
Landscape + Sea + Sky + Trees is how Oxfordshire based Amanda describes the influences behind her magical work - from small intricate samples to much larger pieces which she shows with the Prism Textile Group and an abundance of awe inspiring sketchbooks full of rich textures and the earth palette of colours which she favours.
Many of us would happily have spent the day looking through those books, soaking up the atmospheric seascapes and wide open spaces, but there was much to do and Amanda wasted no time in showing how she begins to create her mixed media pictures.
Amanda had also provided some treasures for the workshop to use - bags of scrim and cotton offcuts, threads, dried grass, tiny leaves, twigs and beautiful honesty seed heads. She explained that whenever she is walking the dog she keeps an eye open for any useful natural objects that can be incorporated into her landscapes.
People though, don't feature and very few boats appear in the seacapes - you may get the odd vertical line or a diagonal, but on the whole she regards them as distracting. For Amanda it is the wider picture that is important.
On a background of muslin soaked with cellulose paste, she delicately places different papers and threads to create shape, distance and texture - tea bag paper and lens tissue are used to seal different areas onto the background.When dry Amanda begins to add very thin layers of acrylic paint - indigo, white, payne's grey and burnt sienna.
'Less is more' and 'flexible and abstract' seem to be her mantra.
Taking inspiration from their own photos of seascapes or magazine articles, everyone worked incredibly hard - you could tell by the silence!. Amanda had urged everyone to bring images with which they had a connection so that they would be inspired to create.
While we waited for our work to dry, she then showed us a different technique using calico as the background.
With equally tentative brush strokes she added a hint of the picture to come with the acrylics before then adding papers and threads. These also needed to be secured to the background with the tea bag paper/lens tissue. She highlighted that we should be working into the picture rather than using our original lines as a guide.
Enthusiasm for the task at hand was immense and everyone who attended created at least two pieces that they could take away and work on at home. Amanda's last words to us all were - please do add some stitching ..............but don't go mad! Flexible and Abstract al the way. Thanks Amanda.