SSL Certificate

Tilleke Schwarz

June 2015

Telling Your Own Story

Course Description
In this class we will enjoy the adventure of designing while working, resulting in inspiration for a new work. The focus is on design, allowing you to design a new work in your own style and about what you like to tell. We will start with some exercises in mixed media and collage on paper. These fast techniques on paper allow you to experiment and to try out new ideas, even if you do not have a drawing skill. Demonstrations will include the instructor’s favorite embroidery techniques. The workshop will have an emphasis on hand embroidery, but it is perfectly all right to incorporate any other (textile) technique, or use the sewing machine. The workshop will be illustrated with small lectures.

Last but not least: hand stitching is fun but very time consuming, so please do not expect to finish a new work in one week. The aim is to leave the workshop with plenty of new ideas and make a start with a new work on cloth.

Artist's Biography
Tilleke Schwarz (1946) was born in the Netherlands as the daughter of a Jewish cattle dealer. Her background is characterized by a blend of assimilation and interest in Jewish culture and tradition. The Second World War still has a remote influence. Her love of textiles was passed on by her mother, whose family ran a clothing firm. Her mother taught her the basics of embroidery. She was an inspiring role model, covering numerous table cloths and pillow cases with stitched flower patterns, even at an old age.

Tilleke has lived for more than 30 years in a small town near Delft with her husband and a cat. She has a small studio at home and a large studio nearby (suitable for drawing, painting and storage).

Tilleke attended two art colleges in the Netherlands, focusing mainly on painting and drawing. She loves textiles because of their tactile qualities. Textiles generally have a more intimate relationship with the viewer and are very suitable to communicate emotions. Tilleke speaks English with a Dutch and American accent, due to a one year stay in California as an exchange student.

Her professional career started in 1990. Her main activities are: exhibiting all over the world, lecturing and teaching, writing about textile art and other art related activities. Tilleke’s work has been published internationally in many books, catalogues and art and textile magazines.

Artist's Statement
My work can be understood as a kind of visual poetry. It is a mixture of contemporary influences, graffiti, icons, texts, and images from traditional samplers. The work contains narrative elements, not really complete stories, with a beginning, a storyline, and an end. On the contrary, the narrative structures are used as a form of communication with the viewer. The viewer is invited to decipher connections or to create them.

The humor in my work is typical for my Jewish background: a mixture of a laugh and a tear. Folk art and daily life are great sources for inspiration.

I love textiles because of its tactile looks. Textile generally has a more intimate relationship with the public and is very suitable to communicate emotions.

My work can be understood as “Maps of modern life”. A multitude of thoughts are expressed that relate to one another on several levels. It reflects our modern life as we are confronted with an abundance of images and information. In dealing with all this information we cannot always understand and be conscious of everything we experience. But I hope that the poetry will communicate even before it is understood (free interpretation of T.S. Eliot).

Artist's Website

Supply List:
  • * Scissors
  • * Several sizes of needles (for embroidery) for fine and thicker threads and some pins
  • * A choice of embroidery threads (include black and / or a few dark colors)
  • Small leftover pieces of (printed) cloth, lace etc. for appliqué
  • A camera can be very useful (for instance to make pictures of your working process).
  • A small (at least 20 x 30 cm.) piece of fabric for practicing stitches. I prefer even weave cotton or linen. Choose a piece of fabric in white or light colour (darker shades are more difficult to use). NB. Even weave is material where the number of warp threads are the same as the number of weft threads pro centimeter.
  • A larger piece of fabric (at least 40 x 60 cm.) which you can use for your new work.
  • This should be suitable for embroidery, so linen or cotton and also even weave.
  • Images: Please bring a few images of your (recent) work, as Tilleke loves to see what you make and it helps her to respond to your work. It may be fun to share some images with the other students. Do keep in mind that images should be easy to handle and that you only bring very few images as there is absolutely no time for a large slide show of your work.
And optional:
  • An embroidery or sewing machine (if you prefer that instead or to be combined with hand stitching (which I do) and some threads for machine embroidery
  • A hoop or a frame (if you like to use one)
  • A (hands free) magnifier
  • * Textile pens or textile markers
* Materials marked with an asterisk* will be available for purchase in the Shakerag store.
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