Wild Sharing: Multimedia Collage with Shirley Nette Williams

Participants met for a day in the woods, experimenting with mixed media collage with artist Shirley Nette Williams.

A finished collage

Next to a roaring fire, Shirley began the day with blind contour drawing. This technique, in which an object is drawn without looking at or removing the pen from the paper, produces a much freer experience of seeing and making. The resulting drawings are less lifelike but hold much more interesting lines.

Within these blind contour drawings, each participant identified shapes to use as the basis for their collages. Some shapes were transferred to fabrics and ironed directly onto prepared canvas, while others were used to create stencils. Once layered with abstract paint and fabric, participants used a variety of embroidery stitching to finish their abstract compositions.

As with many of our workshops, everyone agreed that the discussions had within the group on the day were as valuable as the skills learned.

Starting out as a fashion designer and following a period of intense experimentation in fine art, Shirley Nette Williams now creates multi-layered prints and mixed-media sculptures. Making art is Shirley’s way of living, exploring and interacting with the world around her.

Shirley’s artwork utilises craft processes that are rooted in the domestic and feminine. In contrast, she juxtaposes unusual and unexpected materials within her work in reference to colours and textures found in her urban surroundings. The artworks challenge viewers to look carefully at the world around them and discover the beauty of imperfection.

The element of surprise, chance and play is vital in her process and becomes the inspiration behind the workshop. The brain relaxes while the hands are working. Everyday concerns can be left behind for a few hours when engaged in playful making.

Multimedia Collage was a continuation of our Outdoor Institute of Art: Wild Sharing workshops, where our unique location and communal approach brings like-minded people together for peer-to-peer learning, informal skill and knowledge sharing, providing both a creative and social opportunity.