ERTF Conference 16th October 2021

Workshop Title: Marking Time

Workshop leader: Richard McVetis

What a FANTASTIC workshop we had with Richard – a London-based artist. He is a graduate of the Royal  College of Art and was a finalist in the 2018 Loewe Craft Prize.  Richard used a range of media including drawing, installation and textiles to explore space and time. Scroll down for some photos of the day. 

 Member Jackie Uphill kindly write the following review which summarises our experience perfectly:

I attended the ERTF conference at Anstey Village Hall and had a wonderful day. Not only catching up with everyone but we were very lucky to have a talk and workshop by Richard McVetis. He was such a genuine and generous speaker, sharing so much much about his journey and processes, explaining his thought that there is a universal language of stitch and textiles, as everybody has them in their lives. 
He talked about the physicality of making, and the actions of his hand being recorded onto the surface of the fabric.  He explained his fascinating view about time and how stitching is not only a signifier of lived time but that it turns time from an abstract intangible, into something you can touch. 
There was also an interesting and touching segment about one of his later works based on his family’s – and especially his father’s – relationship to coal, showing all his research into his family history.  During his talk full of humour and inspiration, he took us from ancient handprints on cave walls, through the patterns of supermarket spills and street drains, to exploring time and the cosmos through hand embroidery. 
Richard’s workshop was looking at the different ways of using and making marks and patterns with just a few very simple hand stitches, by changing the placement and direction of the stitches, the thickness of the threads, combining different threads, couching, wrapping etc. Sitting and chatting with each group in turn, he explained and showed the different ways he used a stitch, encouraging exploration and thinking outside the box. 
All in all a very enjoyable day and certainly reminding me to take enjoyment from the process of making and even acknowledging that the time taken to create textile pieces is not only a necessary, but a valuable part of the piece. 

Richard himself enjoyed the day – his first workshop after the pandemic.  He has sent some links for members

Instagram @richardmcvetis

His shop details (click here)

His newsletter (click here)

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Richard McVetis’ talk to ERTF (please scroll down for workshop requirements)

Richard’s talk explored how the expressive properties of stitch and process can reveal a world seen from within, from a scale that can tell us much more about ourselves, and about relationships and trajectories in time and space. 

This seemingly humble, inconsequential repetitive action of stitching is often overlooked and dismissed as part of the mundane. Connotations of the domestic reduce these actions to the field of the home and of the amateur. Richard says that, for him, however, it restores a sense of order. It informs a more profound comprehension and connection to the world: ‘There is intimacy in this labour-intensive way of making; the ritual and repetition create an in-depth focus and an internal space-time specific to the artist.’

Richard’s Workshop

In this workshop participants explored a combination of traditional hand embroidery techniques, how you do them, and why you do them. We explored the slowness and rhythms of hand stitching; the versatility and strengths of embroidery for drawing and mark-making; and the pleasure in having time to make.

We created textures and patterns, worked a stitch in different threads changing its scale and spacing, worked freely, and combined stitches to mark make and draw. Practical help was given by demonstrating the many ways in which this can be achieved using the simplest of hand embroidery techniques, no knowledge of particular and precise embroidery techniques are needed.