Drawing and Stitching workshops

  • Dover Museum: The first workshop was about slowing down our perception through drawing and becoming aware of the information and the impact artefacts have on us as we draw. We then looked at images of Dover during World War I—evacuations, bombed houses, warships along the coast—and integrated the found images and drawings into experimental collages. (Stitching was separate for that first workshop, so I am not sure what Rosie’s emphasis was.)
  • Western Front/Drop Redoubt: We looked at the architecture of the fort, considering perspective, the amazing Napoleonic arches, the deep texture of the walls and the play of light through space. Inspired by drawings by a wide range of artists, participants drew throughout the fort using conte crayons and charcoal to build up layers of tone. During the stitching part of the workshop, Rosie introduced the history of the site as a temporary hospital during WWI, and participants integrated both the drawings from the morning, medical imagery and materials related to bandages or red crosses into the bunting.
  • PWRR: This workshop focussed, again, on careful observation of artefacts in the museum’s displays and also WWI objects that Alan Lee pulled out of storage for us to draw up close. I introduced lots of maps that showed the links between Dover and the front, and the participants integrated these with their drawings in a variety of ways. Hats, bugles and ribbons and metals were popular subjects that day.
  • Aylesham: For inspiration, we looked at William Kentridge’s series of landscapes drawings on pages of old mining ledgers, photographs of miners digging trenches during WW1 and maps of trenches on the front. Participants drew from photographs and also from artefacts from Aylesham’s collection, such as a canary in a cage and miners’ lanterns. Emphasis was again on image the darkness of a coal mine, doing rub out drawings and working on dark paper. The stitching followed suit and incorporated much of the imagers explored in the morning.
  • Sandwich: We initially looked at photos of Richborough Port, which was built outside of Sandwich during WWI and which allowed trains to travel onto ships and then off again in mainland Europe for the first time. We drew from objects in the Sandwich Guildhall collection of artefacts and from boats along the River Stour. Last we looked at how the early Modern Vorticist painters in the UK, including Norman Wilkinson and Edward Wadsworth, created dazzle ship camouflage used to fool the enemy during the war by painting bold abstract patterns in the sides of war ships. Participants used India ink and brushes to paint dazzle ships and their patterns, which influences their stitching in the afternoon. Rosie brought in fabrics with interesting abstract patterns to work with as well.
  • St Margarets: Inspired by the handstitched silk WWI postcards in the museum collection, we took a walk in the Pine Garden to look at plants and flowers blooming, as it was spring. We also looked at images of some of the flowers in the postcards and discussed what their symbolism meant. Participants drew from a variety of plants and flowers and made drawings and collages on top of blue stained paper inspired by early cyanotypes. For the stitching session, Rosie brought in vintage floral stitching patterns as well as fabrics with floral patterns. People also incorporated some of the local history and images that Christine Waterman had presented at the beginning of the day.
  • Deal: For this workshop, we concentrated on the medical profession during WWI, as many wounded were brought back to war hospitals in Deal. We looked at photos of nurses and wounded soldiers from the War, and Colin Priest read from the diary of Edith Appleton. We then did figure drawing from reenactor models Andrew and Muriel, who were dressed as a doctor and nurse and brought several artefacts with them. Stitching in the afternoon carried on with these themes and imagery.
  • EKRR: At East Kent Railway, we looked at images of women working in the railway system during WWI, in the absence of male train workers. We looked at photos of women porters, cleaners and engineers. After drawing from the EKRR site, participants made drawing combining found images of the women and the actual site. These themes carried into the stitching aspect of the day, which took place in one of the cars of an old train.
  • White Mill: Again we were inspired by women taking over traditionally male roles during the war. We brought in various images of the Women’s Land Army working at various agricultural jobs. Participants drew from the site, including the architecture of the mill and the artefacts inside the period rooms, and integrated both the observational drawings and some of the photographic images into their stitching.
  • Dover Transport Museum: In keeping with the theme of the museum, we looked at archival images of various types of transport used in WWI, from bicycle battalions to tanks to war planes and trucks. The museum had an exhibition of actual vehicles which we drew from as well. Aine presented her research into cycling during the war, and this inspiration fuelled many people’s drawings, using transfer paper, as well as their stitching.

Associated Artists: Marcia Teusink and Rosie James
Associated Museum: All partner museums