Maggie Ayres

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Previous Newsletters

Newsletter - April 2008

Cutting it even closer this month, I think April's Newsletter has probably arrived in May for those living in Australia. However, May's should be out sooner as I will be writing about the Spring Fling Open Studio event towards the end of that month.

Meanwhile, coming up in this newsletter:

AA2A - Artist's Access to Art Colleges - what it's like to suddenly have access to far greater resources
Video about the AA2A experience
High Resolution Image for you to Download



From 26th April to 30th May I am exhibiting a few artworks as part of the Castle Douglas Exploring Embroidery group at The Mill on the Fleet, Gatehouse of Fleet, Kirkcudbrightshire.

The Spring Fling Taster Exhibition at the Catstrand in New Galloway, runs from 1st May to 21st May.

The Spring Fling Open Studio Event, itself takes place from Saturday 24th to Monday 26th May. I'm on the Red Route.

From 27th July to 28th August I have a solo exhibition also at
The Mill on the Fleet, Gatehouse of Fleet, Kirkcudbrightshire.


Do come along if you can.


AA2A - Artist's Access to Art Colleges at the University of Cumbria

As I've mentioned in previous newsletters, last October I was selected for the AA2A (Artist's Access to Art Colleges) scheme at the University of Cumbria in Carlisle. This gave me access to the fabulous resources in the textile department comprising of the Dye Lab, Printed Textiles, Constructed Textiles and Embroidery.

AA2A logo

I'd not worked or studied in an art school environment before, so this opportunity allowed me to step beyond my smaller studio into a much larger and better resourced environment. Lots of time was spent experimenting, exploring and expanding my practise. New directions and developments in my work arose.

Silk-screen printing captured my imagination. I particularly loved using polychromatic techniques and in this way produced several pieces that I have been able to work on further with stitch.

Polychromatic printing (sometimes referred to as "breakdown" or "deconstructed" printing) is an almost magical process. Procion dyes, often thickened, are painted directly onto a screen. A chemical paste solution is then drawn across the screen with the squeegee. This allows the dye to release and print through onto the fabric. Several prints can be taken, each being rather different, achieving amazing shapes and effects.

In Constructed Textiles, I discovered the wonders of making Nuno felt. With this technique wool fibres are felted onto a fairly loosely woven fabric such as muslin or silk chiffon. Beautiful shadows and creases are formed as the wool shrinks on and through the backing material.

With hand rolled felt too I was able to explore my own ideas for texture. I realise that the felt doesn't need to be smooth and firm and even. I can create holes and cobwebby areas that enhance the piece. I love the way this looks. I do not claim to be a skilled felt maker but I am not afraid to manipulate the fibres to gain the effects that work for my purpose.

Finally my work was displayed in the university in a showcase exhibition. It was another daunting time but ultimately I was very happy with the way it looked.

Final Display

So now my time on AA2A is finished. I feel that it has allowed me to develop so much as an artist. I learnt a lot from both staff and students and I am so grateful for their support. I'm sure, as the next few months go by, I will think about it often as new beginnings happen yet again.


AA2A Experience

Some of the artworks created on the scheme.


Download a free high-resolution image for your own wall or computer desktop

Following on from the theme of the video above, here is an image taken from one of the pieces I created using Nuno Felt, a technique I had not tried before, but quickly came to love

Right-click on the image and select Save Target As. You can then save the image on your computer and print it off on photographic or watercolour paper at up to A4 size without losing any quality, or use it as a desktop background for your computer.

Be advised that the image is approximately 2MB big, so might take a little while to download

If you run into any difficulties then please let me know.


Questions and Comments:

I would very much like to hear from you. Please email me with any questions about my artwork, or with ideas of things you'd like to see and read in future editions of this newsletter.

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Wishing you all the best until next time,



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