A Focus on Composition : Claire Benn 2018

Focus on Composition 5.jpg
Focus on Composition 5.jpg
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A Focus on Composition : Claire Benn 2018


A Focus on Composition

It’s challenging to get to grips with wet processes in the world of surface design, and getting to grips with composition can be even harder.  This workshop is for students who wish to really focus on building their ability with composition in relation to art textiles.

 Dates:  August 20-24 2018

Course Fee: £450     Deposit £225 payable on booking

Supplies Fee : £ 35



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For Information about Claire please go to 




Class Description

It’s challenging to get to grips with wet processes in the world of surface design, and getting to grips with composition can be even harder.  This workshop is for students who wish to really focus on building their ability with composition in relation to art textiles, and is NOT suitable for beginners. 

It will encompass:

  • Working with key design principles in terms of exploiting elements such as balance, contrast and relationship, and the use of..,
  • Colour, value, scale and imagery to drive visual interest.
  • How to use devices such as focal points, pathways and other ‘doorways into the picture world’.

We will also examine and explore how the process of design can start with building a background, or start with a strong compositional element.  I will bring in examples of artwork to use as a focus for group discussions to identify compositional elements and we will also undertake group critiques of student work.  In addition, I will work individually with students to review their own completed work and the work-in-progress they develop throughout the week.

As such, whilst this is a hands-on class, the focus is not on technique or processes.


In addition to supplying the media, the studio has a good selection of tools for everyone to use.  

  • Procion Mx dyes; 11 key colours for thickened and liquid dyes, or immersion.
  • Discharge; Formosul in paste or liquid format.
  • Resists; Soy wax, string, freezer paper and masking tape (for resist work on cloth or on-screen).
  • Chemicals; everything needed for dye and discharge work.
  • Tools: a selection of key tools is available for general use at the studio, including such items as:
  • bristle decorators’ brushes and foam brushes in various widths
  • a selection of bristle & synthetic artists’ brushes
  • various rollers
  • mono printing plates (large & small)
  • scrapers (e.g. old credit cards and small squeegees)
  • needle-nose bottles and some ‘Montana’ markers
  • tjantings & other soy wax tools

An ample supply of thickened and liquid dye paints, discharge media, Chemical Water & Print Paste will be ready for use on the first day.  A rota will then be established so the group takes responsibility for keeping stocks topped up.  Recipes will be posted to ensure consistency throughout the week.  Other media such as fabric paints, matte medium, soy wax etc. will be available for use at any time.


The Cloth

Choose the fabric(s) you wish to work with and prepare it accordingly.  How much you bring is up to you; you know your own work rate and racing is to be avoided, whereas thoughtful consideration will be encouraged.

For dye paints I prefer to work on soda-soaked cloth rather than putting soda ash into the media. A soda vat will be available for on-going soda soaking throughout the workshop but please bring at least two metres ready soaked and dried.

General Supplies

  • Silkscreen: if you think you’re going to use a silkscreen that may involve using soy wax or flour paste to create the design, then bring one or two of your own.  Otherwise, screens are available at the studio for use with items such as freezer paper, sticky-back plastic, masking tape or breakdown printing.
  • Tools; you’ll see that many tools are available for genera use but if you have specific tools you wish to use, then bring them.
  • Thermofax screens:  the studio has a thermofax machine.  Please note that your imagery will need to be in laser print or photocopy format (not inkjet), although you can photocopy at the studio if you need to.
  • Two drop cloths: please bring drop cloths that are sturdy: drill cotton, denim or something similar in a neutral colour are best as they are sturdy enough to flip over and use both sides before washing is needed.  Old sheets are too thin and avoid heavy-weight muslin or canvas as it tends to hold wrinkles. Your drop cloths need to measure 1.5m x 2m, once scoured and shrunk.
  • Rubber gloves (suggest 2 pairs).
  • 1 x box of ball-headed or T pins (please don’t bring the very heavy/thick T pins).
  • 1 x black Sharpie.
  • Notebook or sketchbook; handouts on recipes and some process will be provided, but it can be useful to record your order of process on individual pieces, or make notes during general discussions.
  • Pen and pencil.
  • Cloth apron (or wear the equivalent of gardening/decorating clothes).
  • Comfortable, rubber-soled shoes (you’ll be standing a great deal and the floor is concrete).
  • A camera as it’s useful to record work-in-progress.
  • an iPod and headphones if you like to work to music.
  • Anything else you can think of that you’re likely to need!

If you are flying please talk to Jude or Leslie about thing you cannot fit in, or you cannot get.

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).


On Monday, please arrive no later than 9.15am, ready to start at 9.30am.  General studio hours from Monday to Friday will be 8.30am to 5.30, with teaching taking place between 9.30am to 5pm.  Be aware that whilst Claire & Jude will be around from 8.30am, they will be busy doing preparatory work and may not be able to engage!  On Friday, there will be a closure/review session with the group immediately after lunch.  You’ll then have time to do a little more work, clear up and be ready for a prompt studio closure at 4pm.

Studio Information

Directions etc http://www.committedtocloth.uk/say-hello/

Lunches, tea/coffee and nibbles and fruit will be provided.

See the Accommodation list, which comes with student feedback, if you need to stay locally.

Contact : www.committedtocloth.uk/say-hello

 Leslie Morgan lm@committedtocloth.com

or Jude Kingshott  jude.kingshott@btinternet.com