Saturday 2 February 2019

Cas Holmes: From the Land

Last week I spent two days at Littleheath Barn doing a workshop with Cas Holmes.  I was a good girl this time and did exactly what Cas asked - well as near as I could make it.  I sort of did landscape rather than the time I did Venice at a workshop on hedgerows!

I love well-organised workshops and this was a really good example of one.  Cas started with a demo and some talking.  Except it wasn't a monologue - it was a series of questions we had to answer to develop our thinking and our observational skills.  Throughout the day there were more sessions like that.

We started with mark making on white fabric and paper.

Cas had given us a photocopy each and I ripped mine up and placed it over the top of a strip of bought fabric which in turn lay on top of my fabric (above).

I used Koh-i-nor dyes and some acrylic paint.

I removed the paper strips

And then the bought fabric.

I started to look at making layers with the newly painted fabrics and with odd bits I had taken with me.

Cas suggested make 2-3 samples tearing up the papers and fabrics we had.

The last activity on day 1 was to paste all the pieces together, shown here on my third sample

When the pieces were wet with paste they all appeared very dark and very green and went home a trifle disappointed.

However in the morning when they were dry they were much lighter - but still very green.  Cas talked to us about manipulating the surface removing parts rather than adding more.  I removed one small bit but didn't like what I had done and eventually added a bit to cover it up!

Cas suggested that people might like to put the piece they liked best to one side and practise on one of the other pieces.  And, well you know me!  I ignored that and put my three pieces together.

Cas challenged me to bring some of the back to the front and I folded over one of the pieces to make a raised section.

The raised section folds out.

Then I was very brave.  I got my sewing machine out and did free machine embroidery.

Cas gave each of us a personal challenge and mine was to raise a seam.  It's not really clear on this photo but I promise you it is there.

In the afternoon we hand stitched.  At first we were only allowed to use variations of straight stitch and then we could add no more than 2 other stitches.  I used herringbone stitch and a few french knots.

I brought it home with the intention of sticking this piece into a sketchbook.  But Cas shared her photo of it on Facebook and I have received several positive comments about it so maybe I'll do some more to it and find a way to display it.

At the end of the day Cas asked each of us the one thing we would take away from our 2 days.

My reply:  if you don't like work being green then don't start with green paint!

Thanks for joining me today.


  1. I love it. Sounds like a great workshop. It's strange how others view our work and it's good to know what others think, especially of pieces we aren't happy with.

  2. Brilliant report Bernice...ha, maybe doing the green pushed your boundaries..less reluctant to make change if you do not have an immediate connection. Thank you for the comments on developing critival thinking as we work through q and a. Making and meaning side by sife x


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