Hanny Newton is a new tutor to Ardington. We are lucky to have her teach here as she is already very busy working on her second project for The British Museum. More on that, later. We met Hanny in the Newcomers Tent in Art in Action in 2015, Waterperry Gardens, when she had voted for Simon Sonsino’s (Director, Ardington School of Crafts) ‘Iceberg’ piece in the Artist’s Choice vote. Interestingly, Simon and Hanny also attended the same school in Shrewsbury, although not at the same time.
Goldwork traditional and contemporary
Hanny loves the rich traditions of goldwork and embroidery, but is quite clear on the way in which she wants to be a part of this heritage. Hanny questions what it is now and how it is used. She asks what are the rules placed around this skill and what are the rules that she wants to abide by. Hanny says ‘there is a place for traditional methods and there is a definitely a place for those techniques, but as a teacher I want to question what I am teaching. My favourite question for people is what happens if….? For example, the couching technique. Instead of learning lots of do’s and don'ts, I like to take all of that away and just teach the absolute basics. The whole point of the class is that people leave feeling they have a sense of ownership and they have an understanding of what interests them. Then they become designers in their own right. You can enter the room having never stitched and leave the room with your own inventory of stitch inventions’.
We were joined at Ardington School of Crafts in September by the delightful Richard Box for another exposé of his artistic talents. He is so popular with our students, whether for his Drawing for the Terrified, Painting for the Petrified or Machine Embroidery (also known as free-stitching) courses, and it’s easy to see why. Richard has a very easy going and fun style of teaching that it is difficult not to love!
Here’s how he describes today’s Daisies workshop:
“I show the students how to start by whizzing about on my sewing machine. Go slowly I say, breathe and smile radiantly while you are at it! The smiling means they don't jerk – you need a nice, smooth action for this work”. Richard is hardly going slowly at this point as he demonstrates, but then he has been practicing for a few years now, and he makes it look so simple. With the correct foot for your sewing machine (a darning or free-motion foot), you really can whizz up an exciting piece of stitchery.