Drawing and Stitching at East Kent Railway

Posted on May 17, 2016

Marcia and Rosie led the eighth of ten DMAG drawing and stitching sessions at East Kent Railway on 9 May 2015.

Everyone was given a very warm welcome to the site by the volunteers, led by Alison Hopewell and Mark Hopewell had set up the railway carriage, in which the stitching workshop took place, with a thoughtful and informative display about the project.

“East Kent Railway turned out to be a fabulous place for drawing, especially since we had some lovely (if windy!) weather. In the rail yard we used continuous line drawing as a way to get to know the forms and spaces of the place, then we went on to drawings in charcoal to develop tone. Marcia introduced ways to figure out the challenging foreshortening and perspective of the trains using a pencil to measure angles. Then onto more imaginative drawings incorporating archival photos of the women who took over all the various jobs associated with railways on the home front during the war. These were especially great!”(Marcia Teusink)

“We had an interesting time stitching on a train with everyone getting stuck in and making some fantastic bunting. It was a get opportunity to really bond as we had to continually squeeze past each other to get to the fabrics, or the bondaweb! The sewing machines were set up on 2 tables and the ironing station on another one, with fabric and everything else scattered about. With hindsight it may have been easier to stick to handstitching which would have allowed us to sit and stitch without having to get up and move around so much. But then we have not done machine stitching on a train before! Having done it once and learned how to make it work better I think we need to do it again!” (Rosie James)

Alison Hopewell said “It was a pleasure hosting these workshops and being part of the joined up project.”

Gabor Stark talked to everyone about the role of the East Kent Railway in World War 1: The East Kent Railway was constructed between 1911 and 1917 to serve the growing number of coal mines that were being sunk in the East Kent area. The consortium of mine and landowners envisaged a line that would link the collieries with the main line and a new port at Richborough and also introduced his plans for a sculptural response to his DMAG residency: A Friendly Army built from metal found on site. To find out more, please read Gabor’s excellent blog.

All the participants enjoyed themselves too, as can be seen from the comments we received.

Drawing workshop:

The best thing about the workshop:

  • Exploring a new skill 
  • To restart looking and drawing again
  •  To get to know the place, the history and to meet the local people and the other guests too
  • Drawing the first time in 51 years
  • Drawing in such a great place which I never knew existed.

The most surprising thing:

  • Being able to draw a train in perspective.
  • That my partner can draw!
  • The huge involvement of 200 local people, who take care of the old trains.
  • Charcoal
  • That I did in fact enjoy drawing trains

The most interesting thing:

  • The extent of the role of Shepherdswell station in WW1
  • facts relating to the collieries and that east kent railway existed
  • That drawing makes fun! when I (have to) learned it in school and university it was always with pressure to perform. Marcia has a friendly and easy way to show how drawing flows.
  • Finding out about the place and how it was in ww1

Other comments:

  • Excellent day.Thank you
  • Very informative and enjoyable workshop
  • An action packed session which covered a lot of ground in a short space of time
  • loved the day, loved the place and will return looking forward to the sandwich mill
  • good advice and encouragement and some new ways of actually drawing
  • These project, to combine the work of museums, workshops together with artists, the visit at local special places and the people is also a nice way to make acquaintance with a region and a country. It makes possible to establish new networks and offers the exchange of knowledge and culture.
  • The workshop was professionally prepared: drawing utensils, different paper quality, understandable showing of methods, nice atmosphere, friendly way.
  • That the workshop takes place at this special place. The common presentation of all drawings at the end of the workshop – the comparison without rating.
  • Great day drawing and stitching…. Great place…. Great people….
  • Loved it. Marcia taught me how to do things I’ve never done, would love more.

Stitching workshop:

The best thing about the workshop:

  • Fun
  • Finding out different techniques to help make the bunting
  • Used a different type of thread for stitching with much more freeform effect, had to work quickly to be able to finish the piece, working in a very different environment (train carriage) with limited space

The most surprising thing:

  • The location
  • Experiencing sewing in a train carriage…… Definitely something different
  • That so many women actually worked on the railway during WWI

The most interesting thing:

  •  The workshop was really good prepared and it was fun to try the different methods and materials. I did not know before, that there is a material, wich I can glue on to and make collages with different fabrics. The work together with the other guests was a nice inspiration.
  • The location
  • All the work that women carried out on the railway during WW1
  • The location. I live locally yet had never been to this venue

Other comments

  • The workshop was professionally prepared: sticking utensils, different fabrics, sewing machines, needles and glue, understandable showing of methods, nice atmosphere, friendly way. And that the workshop takes place at this special place, together with local people and guests. Past I have sticked with my grandmother and so was the afternoon also a beautiful childhood memory. 
  • The teacher was patient
  • Venue, topic and tutors made it a very enjoyable day. Thank you!

Photos by Marcia Teusink and Clare Smith