Acrylics ONE : Claire Benn 2020

Claire Benn -  Barn Door detail 3.jpg
Claire Benn -  Barn Door detail 3.jpg
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Acrylics ONE : Claire Benn 2020



 Dates: October 28th - November 1st 2020

Course Fee: £450     Deposit £225 payable on booking



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Information about Claire





A week of exploring the joys of acrylic mediums and paints.

The aims of this workshop are to:

Develop understanding of the properties of acrylic mediums and paints, and how they can be used with textiles.

Explore the use of fluid and gel mediums as glues in order to laminate tissue paper, thread, scrim and/or art papers to cloth to generate surface texture.

Explore underpainting in order to generate ‘life’ in a layered surface.

Use gloss medium as an ‘interference’ layer to develop depth on the surface.

Use stitch with the aim of leaving it in or ripping it out after painting.

Layer, layer, layer!

As such, the workshop will combine several approaches:


  • Use and manipulation of the different media; watercolour-type washes, scraping, sgraffito, lifting off, printing, mono-printing, painting, drawing and other direct surface applications.

  • Combining materials such as paper, thread, scrim and cloth.

  • Starting with a ‘blank canvas’ or using pre-dyed or underpainted cloth such as old dropcloths).

  • Using paper & cloth resists.

  • Demonstrations, advice and guidance on technique and process.

  •   One-to-one feedback to review individual pieces of work and explore how to progress them through further wet processes… or take them into the next dry stage (whatever that might be)!

I will encourage you to sample and then move on to focus on developing two to three finished pieces.


Please note that this class will not cover the process of paper lamination in any depth, although we will use the process for potential art pieces, layering and/or stencils.


IMPORTANT NOTE;  the use of acrylic media will stiffen the hand of the cloth to a greater or lesser degree.  Whilst it is still stitchable (by hand or by machine), it will not be suitable for classic piecing techniques, although it can be cut or torn and stitched together by over-lapping as opposed to classic seaming.



Please arrive no later than 9.15am on the Monday for a 9.30am start.  Teaching hours will run from 9.30am to 5.30pm, although Claire will generally be available from 8.30am to 6.30pm, which are the studio opening hours. On Friday, the studio will close at 6pm.




The supplies fee of £ will include use of the following media and materials:


  •       Acrylic mediums;  matte & gloss fluid medium and matte gel medium.

  • ·       Acrylic paints; a selection of ink, fluid, heavy-body acrylic colours.

  • ·       Fabric Paints: a selection of colours and some metallics.

  • ·       Paper; plain newsprint, acid-free tissue paper and a small selection of art papers.

  • ·       Scrim; jute and cotton plasterers’ tape, and cotton scrim.

  • ·       Tools: a selection of key tools will be provided, including:

ð  squeegees

ð  bristle decorators’ brushes and foam brushes in various widths

ð  a selection of bristle & synthetic artists’ brushes

ð  monoprinting plates (large & small)

ð  credit cards and scrapers

ð  rollers

ð  needle-nose bottles

ð  sponges




As working with acrylics will stiffen the hand of the fabric, DO NOT bring expensive fabric to work on such as silk or high-quality cotton.  Instead, bring: 


·     Inexpensive cloth such as medium-weight muslin, light-weight cotton canvas (7 to 8oz), drill cotton or Ikea linen(no more than 10 metres in total).  There is no need to scour or pre-wash it.

·     Pre-dyed cloth (hand or factory dyed), including “failures” for layering and transformation – no more than 3m.

·     If you have a good-looking drop cloth, then consider bringing it as a foundation for a finished piece.

·     Consider bringing a piece of work that’s in progress or you’re unhappy with and wish to try and transform/save (including pieced quilt tops).

·     And finally, before coming to the workshop please:


ð  Cut or tear four pieces of cloth to a size of 30cm/12” square.

ð  Tack two layers together so you have two pieces to work on.

ð  On one, using a thread weight and stitch(es) of choice, hand stitch the piece in any way you want to.

ð  On the other, please machine stitch the two layers together in any way you want to.

ð  Remove the tacking stitches once finished.

ð  We’ll be over-painting both pieces with acrylics during the workshop.




General Supplies

·     Tools; you’ll see that a good supply of tools will be provided but if you have specific tools you wish to use, then bring them.

·     Thermofax screens:  again, thermofax use will not be the focus of the class, but it can be worth bringing thermofaxes for accent images or to create texture.

·     Two dropcloths: please bring dropcloths 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. Your dropcloths need to measure 1.25mx2.25m, once scoured and shrunk.

·     Disposable gloves if you don’t like getting paint on your hands/nails.

·     1 x box of ball-headed or T pins (please don’t bring the very heavy/thick T pins).

·     Plastic sheeting; one length of sturdy, un-creased plastic, about 2 yards by 1 yard - you’ll be working on this at times so crease-free is important.   Clear, smooth vinyl is available from the studio.

·     Cloth apron (or wear the equivalent of gardening/decorating clothes).

·     One reel each of white and a neutral machine thread.

·     A small selection of neutral-coloured embroidery threads (in white, grey, un-bleached).

·     A sewing kit including a variety of needles.

·     Notebook (for those who like to take notes) and sketch book for design work (or a stack of white, A4 paper will do)

·     Pens and pencils, ruler, eraser, compass etc. – anything that you feel you may need for design work.

·     Paper; whilst a small selection of specialist papers will be supplied as part of the supplies fee, do feel free to bring a small selection of you have some.  Note: DO NOT bring coloured tissue paper, as it bleeds.

·     1 x black Sharpie.

·     Notebook/sketchbook; some handouts will be provided but you’ll need to take notes on your process explorations.

·     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.


The Cloth

Choose the fabric(s) you (think you) wish to work with and prepare it accordingly.  Whilst you may normally use Mx dyes, it’s possible that risk may involve using other media such as discharge or pigment (acrylic) media.  Think about where you might be heading and prepare the cloth accordingly.  If you’re pretty certain you want to stick with Mx dyes, then pre-prepare as much as you can – although a soda-soak vat will be available throughout the workshop.  If staring with new cloth and Mx dyes, scouring - even with cloth that is sold as PFD- is recommended.  Bring 10 to 15 metres of cloth in total but don’t cut it until you’re ready to work – you might be working small samples, you might be hurling paint at large pieces – you’ll know when the time comes.

 For dye paints, Claire prefers to work on soda-soaked cloth rather than putting soda ash into the dyes (the benefits of this approach will be explained).  As such, if you’re reasonably confident you’ll be working with dyes as paints, please ensure you sufficient scoured, soda-soaked and dried cloth ready for use on the first day: don’t iron it or fold it once soda-soaked – just stuff it into a bag once dry or or roll it onto a roll to minimise creases.  A soda vat will be available for on-going soda soaking throughout the workshop.  To soda soak scoured cloth:

  • Pre-scour it, then dry it or spin-dry it.

  • Create a soda vat large enough for your needs; the basic recipe is 3 tablespoons of soda ash to 1 litre of water. Dissolve sufficient soda ash for your needs in warm (not cold or hot) water and top up with the appropriate amount of cold water.

  • Place the scoured, dry (or spun-dried) cloth in to the soda vat and leave for 15 minutes.

  • Dry by drip-drying or spin the soda-soaked cloth before line drying (if you have a spin dryer, recycle the run off back into the soda vat). DO NOT TUMBLE DRY.

  • Once dry, stuff it into a bag or roll it onto a roll to minimise creases (don’t fold or iron).

Additional Media

If you wish to use media outside of that specified, please bring it with you.

If you are going to work with acrylics brought by Claire, and not studio supplies, dyes etc, let me know when I ask for your Balance of Payment and I will reduce the Studio Supplies fee.

General Supplies

  1. Two dropcloths: please bring dropcloths that are sturdy, such as drill cotton or denim. Old sheets are too thin and avoid heavy-weight muslin or canvas as it tends to hold wrinkles. Your dropcloths will need to measure 1.25 x 2.5 metres, once scoured and shrunk. Those travelling by plane or train need NOT bring dropcloths to enable them to use their baggage allowance for more exciting items.

  2. Rubber gloves (suggest 2 pairs).

  3. 1 x box of ball-headed or T pins.

  4. 1 x black Sharpie.

  5. Sketch book or white paper for on-going design work or notes to self.

  6. 1 roll of lining paper (available from any DIY shop).

  7. At least two pieces of sheet plastic measuring 1.25 x 2m (this will be used for batching and/or working on).

  8. Pen and pencil.

  9. Cloth apron (or wear the equivalent of gardening/decorating clothes).

  10. Comfortable, rubber-soled shoes (you may be standing a great deal and the floor is concrete).

  11. Notebook.

  12. Camera.

  13. An iPod and headphones if you like to work to music, or simply signal to others that you don’t want to chat.

Note: The studio stocks a wide range of cloth and media and a selection of tools such as silkscreens, squeegees and needle nose bottles. Participants are welcome to top up their supplies before leaving, but please note the studio does not mail order.


Re Acrylics:

Claire will bring: Acrylic paints & mediums;  matte, gloss & gel mediums (e.g. for use with paper lamination or other techniques requiring acrylic mediums) and a range of acrylic paints and fabric paints.  If you use these there will be a fee to pay her in cash at the end of the week.

Re Studio Supplies:

The supplies fee of £40 will cover use of the media listed below.

  • Procion Mx dyes; thickened and liquid.

  • Discharge - Formosul in paste or liquid format.

  • India ink; in black.

  • Resists; Soy Wax, flour paste, cover film, freezer paper, masking tape (for resist work on cloth or on-screen).

  • Chemicals; Urea, Ludigol, Calgon, Sodium Alginate (for making Chemical Water and Print Paste), Soda Ash, Salt.

Tools:   a selection of key tools will be provided, including:

  • silkscreens & squeegees

  • bristle decorators’ brushes and foam brushes in various widths

  • a selection of bristle & synthetic artists’ brushes

  • mono-printing plates; bench-sized (sheet acrylic and glassine) and small plates

  • tjantings & other soy wax tools

  • credit cards and scrapers

  • rollers

  • needle-nose bottles

  • sponges

An ample supply of thickened and liquid dye paints, discharge media, Chemical Water & Print Paste will be ready for use on the first day.  Thereafter, a rota will be established where 2 different people per day will be responsible 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.


maybe you need to think about bringing some tools to work with that would represent a risk for you!  You might even think about making some tools.

Please contact Claire at if you have any queries.  In the meantime, I look forward to a week of commitment and courage.

Taking Risks 11.jpg


To encourage the sense of retreat, the following format will be followed:

On Wednesday, please arrive no later than 9.15am, ready to start at 9.30am.  General studio hours from Wednesday to Saturday will be 8.30am to 5.30, with teaching taking place between 9.30am to 5pm.  Be aware that whilst Claire & I will be around from 8.30am, they will be busy doing preparatory work and may not be able to engage!  On Sunday, 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

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 :

 Leslie Morgan

Leslie - 07720287860