Creative exploration – making the ordinary extraordinary with Sue Lawty

Creative and professional development

Ref: S1D11545

Course cancelled - scroll down for other

About this course

A fun making day of creative exploration examining and manipulating found or waste materials with the eventual aim of structuring and creating a two dimensional fabric or 'skin'.

Course Description

Using multiples of one element either natural, manmade, new or reclaimed, explore rhythmic pattern, texture, repetition and interval in this experimental workshop. The aim is to structure and create a two dimensional fabric or ‘skin’ to use in future work, or act as an artwork in itself.

Practical work will be introduced in three stages:

1. Choose one collected found or waste material. Discover the inherent nature of that material by taking it apart, manipulating and changing its former nature in multiple different ways e.g. cutting, tearing, scratching, scoring, puncturing, hammering, folding, rolling, breaking, soaking, pleating, twisting, slitting, bending and layering.

2. Explore reconstructing and joining by being acutely sensitive to the precise and particular qualities inherent in your chosen material. Be highly discerning and selective in choice of fastening materials, binding, lacing, tying, weaving, wrapping, layering, knotting, knitting, sewing, threading, linking, stapling, pinning and trapping.

3. Notice and exploit potential for repetition, rhythm and pattern. Produce samples, exploring qualities of structure and interval, rigid, taught, dense, open, lacy, floppy, diaphanous, opaque, hard, soft, springy, hairy, compressed, supple, smooth or rough.

The intention is for this to be a playful day of open inquiry, investigation, scrutiny and research.


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

Course Materials


  • The tutor will supply some of the materials, including a range of joining materials.

What students need to bring

  • In preparation for this workshop you will need to make a significant collection of one waste / found material (to be not precious about quantity of resource). This should be a large quantity (bin bag full) of exactly the same thing. Any potential manipulable material would work.
  • Suggestions for your collection of one waste/found material to bring are:
  • magazines
  • newspapers
  • cardboard boxes (flattened)
  • shredded paper
  • used envelopes
  • egg boxes (not polystyrene)
  • brown paper bags
  • paper drinking straws
  • bus/tube/ lottery tickets (separated)
  • tea bags (used and dried)
  • coloured foil chocolate/sweet wrappers
  • foil milk bottle tops
  • coloured plastic carrier bags (colour sorted)
  • twigs
  • leaves
  • straw
  • Joining materials will be provided, but if you have a good quantity of any that you would like to bring, please do. Suggestions for joining materials:
  • brass paper fasteners
  • paper clips
  • elastic bands
  • treasury tags
  • staples and stapler
  • bits of coloured cloth
  • dressmaking pins
  • any wires, twines, string, linens, silks, raphia, sewing threads, invisible thread etc.
  • wooden cocktail sticks
  • small cable ties
  • metal washers
  • Useful tools to bring are:
  • sharp scissors, sewing needles (sharp/dull, small and large eyed), hole punch, awl, hammer, secateurs, stapler, camera, sketch/notebook
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. You may need safety boots, if specified above.


Sue Lawty

Sue Lawty is a highly experienced artist, designer and teacher, whose work is in collections worldwide including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London where she held a year-long residency. Prestigious Artist Research Fellowships include Smithsonian Museums USA and University of Leeds. In 2017, Earth Materials was published about Sue’s work.

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