Saturday, 21 February 2015

Sweet Valentines! Goody bags and lovely prints on Saturday 14th February

We were besieged (happily, might I add) at St John's last Saturday. Our biggest gathering yet squeezed into our meeting hall, and it was lovely to be back there for the first time since November - absence makes the heart grow fonder! Quite a few new faces were sprinkled in amongst the regulars, and good vibes abounded. It was Valentine's Day after all.

After running through a bit of a longish agenda (for us... we did have a lot to catch up on), the 'fun bit' of the day was ushered in by our lovely member Trina Duncan, who sprang a big Valentine's surprise by producing a big basket of goody bags to dish out to each and every one of us. The little striped paper bag packages were beautiful, pinned with Trina's own handmade fabric brooches and filled with lots of sweet little goodies (heart shaped chocolates and balloons, mini Jammie Dodgers and Love Hearts).

How lovely and thoughtful of you Trina - thank you! Xxx

We then all had time for a bit of a chat, whilst piling our plates at our shared lunch table and making ready for our screen printing workshop.

Karen Lewis joined us to lead the afternoon, and filled us in on her creative journey with screen print before we jumped in. Karen runs a successful business, producing gorgeous screen printed textiles and teaching print workshops, and is also now an author (take a look at Karen's book, Screen Printing at Home). And yet Karen's first introduction to screen printing was only five or six years ago, when she took a local short course and instantly fell in love with the medium.

Hearing Karen's story, Debbie and I instantly got carried away, thinking "This could be it for us too... Oh my God, lightbulb moment, hello!" (We're easily encouraged, what can I say.) But seriously, we were a bit excited about this screen printing workshop, and we weren't alone - hence, the large number of people crammed into the room.

Karen then began to talk us through a very nifty, ingenious little method, which requires a bare minimum of supplies for potentially spectacular results - only paper, pencil, blade, embroidery hoop, masking tape, inks and an old credit card. Who knew? I'd always imagined that screen printing would require tons of expensive equipment and a lot of space, but the introductory method that Karen showed us was very accessible. I'll let the pictures do the talking now.

I think quite a few of us were pretty wowed by the results, and it was an extremely enjoyable afternoon. Karen Lewis was an amazing and enthusiastic guide on the day - she certainly managed to coax a little screen printer out of us, thank you so much Karen!

Karen Lewis, centre, with some eager screen printing wannabes

If you'd like to find out more about Karen's work, her website is at Karen Lewis Textiles.

That's all for now. Please start binding your feet in readiness for next month's 'Japan Crafts' day. To mark the coming of Spring and the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japan, we'll be joined by the much lauded Katie Chaplin of Japan Crafts for a talk on the kimono, plus we'll be doing origami with our Jayne Everiss. Sayonara!

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