One of the most exciting elements of the festival of crafts (Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 October) (as well as the opportunity to buy from over 80 of the UK’s leading makers!) is the opportunity to engage with young people and introduce them to craft. One of the activities programmed for young people is a tote bag block printing workshop. We caught up with Jo Hayward, the workshop tutor, to find out more about her specialism for teaching, the class itself and the skills they can learn….
Jo, you are a practising textile artist, can you tell us a little more about your work?
I trained at the University for the Creative Arts studying textiles for fashion and interiors where I specialised in printed textiles. My personal work mainly involves breakdown printing using silk screen. The marks I make tend to use are playful, expressive and organic which work well with bright colours. I like to often use Milk fibre fabric as it is rather unexpected, the texture is very soft and light but not too delicate. I also use silk georgette as a lighter alternative, which can show off the layers of colour and create new compositions however the fabric is draped.
What is the piece/body of work or achievement you are the most proud of?
Even though it may have been a little while ago now, I still feel that my degree show works have been the best pieces I have created. I spent such a long time on them and put my heart and soul into the project. I used as many of the processes that I had learnt about during my studied, all into fashion art pieces.
When did your craft practice begin and what drew you to textiles and making?
I knew I wanted to explore textiles from a young age. All of my tutors have been a huge influence and I’ve always enjoyed making things in general. I feel that textiles is such a great way to explore 3D and 2D design together with such a variety of materials. I found that textiles isn’t just about fabric and sewing, it’s about print, weave, fashion design, embroidery, felt making, digital design, rug making, pattern design, there are so many specialisms within the subject and I’m only at the beginning of a long journey to find out what possibilities can come from it.
What are your future ambitions as a maker and as a tutor?
I look forward to potentially starting my own business, running craft workshops at a set location with all the facilities needed. I look forward to gaining much more experience in other places and meeting new people along the way.
You run amazing participation and workshop sessions for young people. What do you most enjoy about teaching? Why do you like teaching young people?
It is a great feeling putting smiles on people’s faces and knowing that you have been the first person to introduce someone into a technique that has inspired them. I was asked to deliver my first workshop around 4 years ago which was a screen printing workshop for a group of students that did not have the privilege of a textiles course at their school. I loved the experience of working with young people to help them explore craft and making in a way they hadn’t before. Since then, I have been delivering workshops at Farnham’s UCA, Basingstoke “All our own crafts”, Onslow Infant school in Guildford and Watts Gallery and would like to continue to offer workshops all over the south, to get more young people interested in craft. I feel that it is very important to influence people when they are young to give them the best opportunity to explore so many options when they are older.
What skills can the young people who join you on your festival of crafts workshop develop? And what will they come away with?
I will be giving a demonstration of how to make their own block prints which is a very old technique dating back to 200AD. They will learn about what print pastes are used on fabrics and how to use their own blocks onto found fabrics which aims to encourage recycling and redesign. Then go on to using this knowledge to develop a repeating print which will go onto their own tote bag at the end of the session.
What are you looking forward to most about being at festival of crafts?
I am looking forward to working in a fantastic environment where many makers all come together to celebrate craft.
Workshop information: Tote bag block printing
Learn how to craft your own textile print block which can be used to create your own pattern. Other design materials will be available for you to work on top of your design to add texture, colour and marks. You will leave with your own individual tote. No previous experience necessary.
Tickets are £23 and suggested for ages 10 – 15 years. Classes run 10 am – 12 pm or 1 pm – 3 pm. Buy your tickets for tote bag block printing here . For further info on festival of crafts, other workshops and full listings, please look on the craft site pages here