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Hello again, and another happy (and sunny!) Monday. Are you doing anything exciting this week?

It’s the last of our workshops this week, before we take a little break over Easter (don’t worry, we’ll be back with a new, jam-packed timetable after the holidays!!). Tonight is woodcarving with Bill Hudson, a great chance for beginners to learn the art of woodcarving to make art or furniture – or advanced woodcarvers can drop by to use our space and equipment. Thursday is pottery with Leyla Folwell, she’ll be running classes all afternoon and evening for children as well as beginners and advanced adults. For a full list of our workshops and to book your place please click here.

There are plenty of great events going on all over London this week. On Thursday 29th, the Courtauld Gallery is holding a special late night opening of their Mondrian/Nicholson exhibition. The gallery will be open until 9pm – with live music, talks, workshops and drinks – with free admission to all of this if you dress in the style of the glamorous 1930s!!

The Fashion and Textile Museum has recently opened the exhibition “Designing Women – Post-War British Textiles“. This exhibition showcases the work of three important female textile designers who’s use of colour and abstract forms helped bring modern art into the family home.

Make sure you get out and about and enjoy the sunshine. Sunday 1st of April is the 14th Streatham Common Kite Day – fly your own kite or watch some of the stunning displays. There are also instructions on the site for making your own kite.

Whatever you do this week, have a great time!

We are very happy to have a new inspiration post from Art in the Park artist Andrea Sinclair. Andrea is a multi-disciplinary artist and co-founder of Art in the Park, and here she shares the sights and sounds which are currently inspiring her.

I am visiting….. Dorset, for my friend Gill’s birthday bash, 25 people in a beautiful Rectory near Bridport. I love Dorset, with it’s undulating landscape of subtle colours, amenable farmers (no keep out signs), and of course the dramatic Jurassic coastline. I took lots of photos of landscape, details and colours which I might use in my textile artwork.

I am thinking about…… Colour and texture in stone and the small organisms that live in and on it…lichens, mosses, insects, eggs. Sedimentary stone that holds ripples in sand from millions of years ago.

I am cooking…… Beetroot cake, with the last of the beetroot from my allotment. It’s delicious. This recipe won the Art in the Park cake competition, and we’ll be posting the recipe on the blog very soon… Try it!

I am hearing…… I did a lot of singing this weekend, as it was a very musical group of people at this party in Dorset. I sang a Czech song from our choir with my friend Nicoletta (song called Okolo). Check out our choir web-site onĀ wingitsingers.webeden.co.uk

I am making…… A textile wall piece using my photos of stone as inspiration. I have used techniques of batik, fabric painting, machine and hand-embroidery and am currently adding some texture using needle felting.

I am seeing…… The beautiful Dorset landscape. I also saw the Grayson Perry, just before it finished and loved his diverse selection of objects and his down-to-earth comments about being an artist / craftsperson.

I am reading…… The Hare with Amber Eyes, by Edmund de Waal, which is about small, exquisitely crafted objects and how they weave in and out of a spectacular family history.

It’s a new year and we have a new timetable of courses and workshops at Art in the Park!

Our talented and friendly artists are running a wide range of courses to suit any ability. If you want to get creative or learn a new skill in 2012 this is your chance! We will be running classes in woodworking, recycled fashion, pottery, mosaics, pewter casting and life drawing.

For more information about each course, dates and to book please click here!

Fire-Etching WorkshopsWe recently ran two ‘Fire-Etching’ workshops as part of our Service Level Agreement (S.L.A) with Southwark Council. Southwark needed us to brand some signposts for Southwark Park but with the collaborative efforts of the local community.

Initially marketed as ‘Branding‘ workshops, we found despite a healthy turnout on our first session that many people were confused with the word ‘Branding’, associating it with the kind of branding you refer to in the marketing world. Our workshop was definitely much more exciting and hands on than this!

So, the workshop was rebirthed (over soup, bread and other grown tidbits from our garden) into ‘Fire-etching.’ I don’t like to brag (maybe just a little) but I came up with it thinking along the lines of scorching wood with fire.

The first session was held on Thursday 24th February and we were blessed with a rare day of sunshine (some warmth) and a bucket-loads of children to the playground. Easing participants to our outdoor fire-etching setup was then a question of safety as we could only have a maximum number of people etching at a time.

Our second session on the Saturday 5th March (you can’t have the same luck twice) was a gloomy and chilly day with not as much people turning up as the previous session but still a pretty healthy turnout. However, a more manageable number meant you could spend more time on one signpost, giving way to much progress that day. All in all, the two sessions bore very healthy results and participants found themselves intrigued and hooked onto ‘fire-etching.’

“What the heck is fire-etching?”

Here is a brief lowdown on ‘fire-etching’:

  1. Trace your design onto the wood using carbon paper,
  2. The carbon paper should be put under your design while you trace on it. Once done, it should leave a clear impression,
  3. Many iron rods with different types of heads are then left in the path of a live blow torch,
  4. Once heated enough and wearing very heavy-duty gloves, carefully and with a firm grip hold onto one end of the rod,
  5. One glove should be more heavily padded than the other, this hand should be the one holding the middle part of the rod (never hold the end which is heated up, it will be extremely hot and even with padded gloves, you will end up getting burnt!),
  6. Angling the heated end of the rod into a comfortable position, you can then ‘etch’ the design by carefully placing it onto the wood, essentially scorching the wood.

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More Fire-Etching pictures and narrative