Monday 15 July 2019

Q&A with Bernice

For our second question and answer session, I am going to speak to Bernice - Bernice is one of the founding members of Traverse, she is also one of the main posters on the Traverse blog and, has her own blog (link below) so if you are familiar with our blog, then you will know Bernice but, let's find out more:

Can you tell us about you?
I have been married to Roger for 36 years and we have one son. He and his wife and children live in Sydney, Australia.  After working as a teacher I spent 13 years as a Church Administrator and 18 months as an office manager for a friend's electrical company before properly retiring in 2011.

How did you get into textiles?
I took ill health retirement from teaching when I was 43 and was introduced to textile classes by my neighbour. She told me about City & Guilds Creative Embroidery and I spent 4 years doing parts 1 & 2. I stopped doing textiles for a while and came back several years later by way of scrapbooking and art journaling. I am a compulsive workshop collector and have done far too many to list. They are mostly technique workshops, so I know a lot of techniques but rarely spend time developing them into something that is me.

What inspires your work?
Anything and everything!

Currently my work is based on the theme for the next Traverse exhibition or the Art Textile Group I belong to at Littleheath Barn Studio. I work better with themes and with deadlines.

I am also taking a Master Practitioner course with the School of Stitched Textiles.  Currently I'm working on the 2nd module of  three.  You can follow my progress with this on my blog: Newly Creative.  My completed module 1 piece is part of the current Traverse exhibition - Revealed.

The Road Not Taken

What are your favourite techniques to use? What are your favourite mediums?
I love mixed media but I am still trying to work out how to use the techniques I use in art journaling in textiles.

I really like Breakdown Printing and spent 5 days with Leslie Morgan at Committed to Cloth last year learning the technique. I am attending 2 Leah Higgins courses later in the year to develop this technique more.

Breakdown Printing

How did find your creative style?
I am still trying to find it. Recently someone said my work looked pared down and edited. I’m hoping that was a compliment! I keep going to workshops in the hopes I’ll find something that will become my style.

How do you start a new project?
I think about the theme a lot and quite often do a mind map (or whatever it’s called these days) to see what ideas I have. And then I just jump in. I rarely do samples and I let the fabric or media tell me where it wants to go. I do a lot of thinking on the way. I ask myself ‘what if I did this or that?’ and work out what would happen in my head rather than through samples.

What do you do if you hit a creative block?
I walk away. I read or watch television. I’ve given up Pinterest because although there are lots of ideas I feel I can’t match up to what I see there. I know that is daft as my work is well done but I tend to think if someone has made a piece that they have said all there is to say. And yet I know that’s not true as what I have to say will be different. Perhaps these thoughts are what cause the creative block!

Favourite quote?
I’ve only just found this quote but I think it describes how I work to a T.
Jasper Johns: ‘Do something, do something to that, and then do something to that.’

My other favourite quote and one to live by is from John Wesley:
‘Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.’


Thank you Bernice, it has been good to find out more about you and your work. Our next Q&A piece will be with myself!