Saturday 5 May 2018

Exploring Place with Debbie Lyddon

Last week I spent 4 days in the Hampshire countryside near Winchester at The Granary Studio run by Susan Chapman.   The workshop was called Exploring Place and was led by Debbie Lyddon.

The first three days each had a walk with a purpose - to either look, listen or touch.  Day 4 was a consolidation day - hopefully finishing things.

Day one concentrated on looking. We looked carefully at things in the distance, in the middle distance and close by.  We were encouraged to pick things up from the environment and take them back to the studio.

Debbie also asked us to make small drawings and to write words.
Marks made back in the studio

Back in the studio, Debbie showed us how to make gesso using the lumps of chalk various people had picked up.  I sewed some fabric to make a cylinder and put it onto a piece of pipe and covered the fabric with the gesso.  I also painted gesso onto two squares of fabric.

We used some of the things we had picked up to do some printing.

Day 2 was about listening.  We went outside again and each chose a place to stand or sit.  I lent up against a wall in the churchyard.  Again we were encouraged to write words about what we could hear and to make marks to represent the sounds.

We could choose to make a long 'timeline' book or a one sheet 'environment' book.  I made both.  This sheet of paper was folded and cut for the 'environment' book

 And part of the folded 'timeline' book can be seen in this photo.

Day 3 concentrated on touch.  We went out for a walk again and picked up things from the environment.  Again we wrote words and make small drawings.  However we had to feel the object with our eyes closed and draw.  Not at all easy!

One of the things I picked up was a broken piece of bathroom tile.  One side was shiny blue and the other side was rough.  Using one of the gessoed squares I sewed a pocket with the gesso side inside, to reesent the rough back of the tile.  I cut another piece of fabric and coloured it blue.  I used beeswax on this to make it shiny and smooth.  Then sewed it together to make a pocket.  The piece of tile sits inside gessoed pocket, which in turn sits inside the blue pocket.

I had written some of the words from day one on tissue paper.  I glued those to the cylinder and to the second square of gessoed fabric.  I also glued some strips of the printed fabric round the cylinder and waxed it.  I stitched on the fabric square.

On the last day Debbie showed us how to make paper pockets on the sewing machine.  I made a large one to hold a piece of roof tile I had found.

I made a small one using one of the leaf prints I had done to hold a piece of peeling bark.

I used some of the left over prints and other bits to make a small book.  I had also coloured a piece of fabric and handstitched a leaf print onto it.  I made this into another pocket to hold the book.

As I had so many projects on the go during the 4 days, it was a lovely surprise at the end of the workshop to put everything together and find how much I had done.

Thanks so much for joining me today.


  1. Wow that does look a fun course! I would loved to have been there with you on this occasion, but with Mum in hospital it probably wouldn't have happened even if I had booked. I absolutely love using the senses and outdoors to inspire work and thoughts. I also love writing. Thank you for sharing what you did and I look forward to seeing the actual work one day x

  2. Love the concept of drawing an object by 'feel' alone. That would make a wonderful project to do with my 9 yo granddaughter. When I get the fun chance to watch art making through the eyes of a child, I always enjoy learning something. I especially love the tiny pocket with the bark sticking out. I have a peeling water birch in my backyard next to a tiny fish pool. I think today is a great day to gather some of that gorgeous bark and plant it in a tiny pocket to sit on my window sill. Making sill setters is so fun to do. Lovely post today!


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