Wet & Wild weekends 2019

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Tray Dyeing.jpg
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Wet & Wild weekends 2019


Claire Benn & Jo Lovelock again be offering a beginners course of using procing Dyes will be running Wet & Wild 1 as a series of 5 weekends and Jo & I will be teaching the last one . The booking retainer is £120 which pays for the last weekend in November.

The dates are:  

January 26th & 27th
March: 16 & 17
May: 18 & 19
July: 20 & 21
September: 14 & 15
November: 16 & 17 Leslie & Jo


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The teaching format of the programme will include explanations, discussion and practical demonstrations, and we’ll provide a comprehensive set of handouts that include full recipes.

‘Homework’ exercises will be set after each session and we’d encourage you to do as much as you can in between sessions, although it’s not obligatory! Practising at home will help to consolidate your learning, develop good technique, get to grips with the media and generally develop confidence: use it, or lose it!  As such, you need to consider laying in some stocks of dye and related chemicals, all of which can be supplied through the studio, or bought from the various suppliers on the website.

Wet and Wild Testimonials

SESSION 1 – JANUARY  26th & 27th

The first session will introduce you to the use of Mx dyes in liquid and thickened paint format.  We will explore:

  1. Soda Ash: preparing the cloth to take the Mx dyes.

  2. Dyes as paints: key ingredients/chemicals, making Chemical Water & Print Paste, mixing dye paints.

  3. Adjusting value & consistency: altering the dye paints to get different consistencies and values.

  4. Basic colour mixing: an introduction to getting complex colours.

  5. Scraping: here you’ll explore the use of a credit card or small squeegee to scrape colour on to your cloth. This technique can be used to ‘over-dye’ existing marks or imagery and/or as an initial ground of colour for subsequent layering.

  6. Exploring mark-making tools: you will undertake mark making with a variety of tools such as squeeze bottles, rollers, printing plates, brushes etc.

  7. Soy Wax: using Soy Wax as a resist, and using other types of resists directly on the cloth.

  8. Batching & Rinsing: the key elements and variables.

You will make a start on exploring layering colour, value and imagery on this first weekend.

SESSION 2 – MARCH 16th & 17th

The second session will enable you to explore in more depth the layering of colour, value and imagery. Whilst you will have the option of working on ‘virgin’ pieces of cloth, we will be encouraging you to develop and layer the cloth you have in progress from Session One.  We will explore:

  1. Introduction to Composition: the key principles & tools.

  2. Introduction to the silk screen: you will explore four key approaches to using a silkscreen, including using a blank screen and making designs from freezer paper, stick-backed plastic and flour paste. We will also help you to develop good technique. In addition to using the silkscreen with Mx dyes, you’ll also be introduced to…

  3. Formosul Discharge: health and safety with discharge media, making discharge media as a liquid and thickened paste, applying and activating the media, stabilising the cloth.

  4. Thermofax screens: an introduction to using thermofax screens including suitable imagery, making a thermofax screen and developing good technique.

SESSION 3 – MAY 18th-19th

Topics in this session will be a little weather-dependent, so we may email you and change the plan a little!

  1. Breakdown Printing: with the chance of good weather, we will cover how to make a Breakdown Screen on the Saturday and you will print your own off on the Sunday. For this activity you can choose to use a decent-sized ‘virgin’ piece of cloth or use something pre-dyed in a pale value of a colour of your choice.

  2. Dry monoprinting: a spin on classic monoprinting techniques which you’ll prepare on Saturday and print on Sunday.

  3. Reminder on composition: whilst we will have been discussing composition throughout (as we learn to layer and develop pieces of cloth), in this session we’ll discuss some works-in-progress in terms of composition and ways forward.

  4. Surface Design: continuation of development of work-in-progress.

SESSION 4 – JULY 20th - 21th

Our fourth session will enable you to explore the world of acrylic products and paper lamination, including:

  1. Using acrylic/fabric paints & mediums: the world of acrylics & fabric paints, different mediums, guidelines for use.

  2. Fractured laminations: using plain newsprint, your first fractured lamination will help you to understand the fracturing process and generate a large-scale stencil for you to use later with thickened dyes, discharge paste or fabric paints. You will then move on to use newspaper to make a start on an ‘art’ lamination.

  3. Building on the art lamination: various ways of using your art lamination including layering it with fabric paints, backing it with coloured or printed cloth and stitching.

  4. Paper Lamination stencils: you will have the opportunity to use your stencil with dye paints, discharge paste and/or fabric paints. You can choose to do this on virgin cloth, or continue to layer a work-in-progress.

  5. Laminating art papers: a different approach to lamination using art papers.

SESSION 5 - SEPTEMBER 14TH & 15TH, Jo and Leslie teaching:

Your final session with Claire and Jo covers:

  1. Consolidation: time will be allowed for you to continue moving works-in-progress to completion.

  2. Happy Endings: various approaches to finishing and presenting art textiles.


SESSION 6 – NOVEMBER 16th-17th

  1. Flour Paste on screen

  2. Interfacing stencils

  3. Semi-permanent screens ( screen filler and drawing fluid)

  4. Positive and negative images for screens

  5. Tray Dyeing

Leslie will bring in her work, and screens so you can get to know her before you have to make the choice whether you continue on to Wet & Wild two, or the Colour Course and Creative Play Course!


If you choose to register for Wet & Wild Level 1 you will be committing to attending all five weekend sessions costing £120 per session, so a budget of an annual class fee of £600 will need to be allocated.  A deposit of £120 will be taken on registration, which will effectively pay for the last session.  All other sessions will be paid for at the end of each weekend and a card reader is available at the studio.  Please diarise all sessions, as it is difficult to catch you up if a session is missed and please note, payment must be made even for a missed session.  If you have a difficulty with one of the weekends please contact Leslie.


Teaching hours will run from 9.30am to 5.30pm.  Please turn up between 9-9.30am and if it’s helpful to arrive earlier to avoid traffic, we will ensure the studio is open for access at 8:30am.  The studio will close at 6.00pm.

Whilst tea, coffee and biscuits will be available all day, please ensure you bring a packed lunch for each day.  We have a microwave if you wish to re-heat soup or ready meals.



The programme fee covers tuition, the use of the facility, tools and media but DOES NOT include your cloth.  There is a large selection at the studio for you to choose from, or you can of course buy from other suppliers.  BUT… please do not use calico or very cheap fabric.  Whilst calico will eventually yield good results, it takes a lot of time and effort for that to happen and results are always initially disappointing. The cloth must be natural fibre; cotton, linen, viscose/ rayon, hemp or silk (but not wool).  If you bring your own cloth, please make sure it is scoured before use (we will provide information on how to prepare for the first class on registration).

 You will also need to invest in 2.75m of drill cotton to use as a dropcloth, and two or three rolls of sturdy sheet plastic to roll your cloth in whilst it’s curing.  The studio stocks both.

We will advise you as to what to bring in advance of each session, but generally speaking…

  1. wear old clothes (and/or bring a cloth apron),

  2. always bring well fitting rubber gloves.

  3. your cloth (which in time will include work-in-progress).

  4. your lunch (tea, coffee, water and biscuits will always be on tap).

  5. sheet plastic (available to buy at the studio at £2.50 for a 2x1.25m piece).

  6. dropcloth (available to buy at the studio at £4.50 a metre, and you will need 2.75m)

  7. a notebook and camera

Please note :

It is important to wear sturdy, flat, rubber-soled sensible shoes with good support. (you’ll be standing a great deal and the floor is concrete).


Many students complete a City & Guilds programme, a Diploma, or Wet ‘n Wild and then wonder; what next?  Various options on ways are available to enable students to be part of a group.

Wet & Wild, Level II This is the recommended course immediately after Wet & Wild 1

A continuation of Level I enabling students to further explore surface design and layering of multiple processes.  This programme is run as a day-a-month event.


Stitching with Intent: construction and stitch based with the option to engage with wet processes as your ‘plan’ dictates.

Working with Intent: working towards a specific plan or goal with your cloth using wet or dry processes.

COLOUR with Breakdown Printing

This is a 5 day retreat which is one of the best courses you can take. The greatest challenge in making complex cloth is to achieve the appropriate colours and tonal contrasts to achieve successful layering. This course gives you a way to create a personal study of colour and how to mix and achieve the colours you want and experience in layering them. 

Unlocking the Mystery of Creative Play

‘How do I make better work?’ We will look at simple language and principles of design found in the physical world. Working from a personal starting point, discover tools to create contrast and harmony using colour, value, size, shape, and texture. Bring your curiosity to discover what you like and how to achieve the elements you need to work with your theme and create effective compositions. This is a 5 day retreat in 2019 or 2020!: Creative Play Course