Chateau Dumas Summer Workshops 2016 in partnership with Selvedge magazine

No animals are harmed in the making of Donya Coward’s animal trophies we promise!  Donya is a ‘textile taxidermist’ whose three dimensional animal sculptures are wittily crafted from recycled fabrics, sequins and oddments. Her work is fun and fresh and guaranteed to bring on a smile and a cheer to any interior.
Her work is as much about embroidery skills as animal imagery as her pieces are heavily adorned with beads, jewels and all kinds of decorative stitches including couching and appliqué.   On this week with Donya you’ll choose to create either a pigeon or a crow (wings closed) and our first stop will be to a local flea market where you’ll be on a mission to find fabrics, lace and other bits and pieces to incorporate in your bird project.
Once in the studio you’ll begin with exercises in mark-making and Donya will encourage you to leave your preconceived ideas behind to allow for ‘happy accidents’ to enter into your work.  This preparatory work is playful and experimental and you’ll be rewarded for your risk-taking as you collage, draw with sticks, cut paper and threads, rub away paint before working back into these with layering techniques and processes.
Once you’ve edited your ideas and translated your design onto fabric you’ll be ready to apply them to your bird mould using a template. You’ll find your ideas evolve as you sculpt, often taking you in unplanned and exciting directions.  You’ll marvel as your artwork turns from an empty mould to a fully-fledged bird with a presence and personality of its own.
We take a day out from our ‘veggie taxidermy’ to enjoy a day of dyeing with woad, the original blue dye from the woad plant grown in the Toulouse area since medieval times. You can bring things to dye from home, pick items up at local markets or buy natural fabric to dye from Chateau Dumas. 
During the week there is a visit to the nearby, atmospheric Sunday morning food and craft market in St Antonin-Noble-Val, the medieval town where the films Charlotte Gray and The Hundred Foot Journey were filmed.