Mulberry Centre workshop – seeing links with Dresser’s botanical drawings

When Dorothy went to the garden centre it was pouring with rain. The forecast was for yet more rain and storms to come. With their bright gem like flowers, the Primulas looked cheerful so she choose four pots to bring to the Mulberry Centre for us to draw.

We were shocked when she asked us each to pull a flower apart. But as we examined the petals, sepals stamens, carpels, buds and stems and placed them carefully on sheet of paper we began to see links with Christopher Dresser’s botanical drawings. For the record we took some photographs.

We were then amazed at the tools we were expected to draw with! There were six choices: feathers, spent matches, cut card, long barbeque sticks, lengths of cut card or a tooth pick, and Chinese calligraphy ink. In the hands of different people these resulted in, on the one hand, some very bold drawings and on the other much more delicate explorations. How would these possibly work together?

Dorothy made multiple black and white photocopies of all the drawings. In our second session we cut these up and placed the cut outs on large sheets of paper. When we were happy with the design we stuck the cut- outs down and added colour with Chinese brushes. The photographs of the laid out plant parts led us into creating designs which were surprisingly different from the pots of Primulas we had first seen. In contrast to the tightly clustered leaves and flowers we allowed ample spaces between the shapes. Our designs have room to breathe.

We decided to title our fabric PRIMULA: Deconstructed and Reconstructed.(“Just like us”, some- one commented! )

For more about the Mulberry Centre


Mulberry Centre workshop with Primulas