Frequently asked questions

Online Workshops

How does an ONLINE Workshop work?


Good question! I have filmed each section of the workshop and it delivered to you via email/password protected section of my website: There is a sechedule aglined to each of the online classes.
You watch the videos, download the realted PDFs and engaged with the tasks...there are usually follow on tasks for those who want a little bit more. There's a private Facebook group where you can share your work with me and you fellow students. This is also a great place to ask questions and get feedback & support.




Why is there a limited time period?


It all about procastination - or the avoidance of it!
As an experienced tutor I know that a little time pressure really helps you to get the work done.
Plus - I'm there helping your through - interacting in the online classroom on a daily bais: that input needs a concentrated time structure.




What equipment and Supplies do I need for Silk Screen printing ONLINE Workshop?


You will find a list of information here : https://www.dionneswift.com/print-supplies...but its also copied below. Silk Screen and Squeegee – ideally approx A4 in size [A quick Google or Ebay search will provide you with reasonably priced equipment – I use a wooden framed screen with mesh 43, this is a standard fabric printing mesh]
Also try Art Van Go [UK] Procion dyes with Manutex thickener Available HERE [Kemtex – Reactive Dye kit, you may have some of your own already] I would suggest that you may need at least 500gms of extra manutex F700 powder to run alongside this dye kit. (Manutex is also know as Sodium Alginate: it’s a seaweed based thickener) You may prefer to buy all the elements separately from Kemtex, get slightly larger quantities and be more selective with your colours [if your don’t want to over do it, stick with primary colours as you can mix other tones from there 5 or 6 colours would be a minimum I would think]. Urea and Soda Ash/Bicarbonate of Soda are also in the kit…you will need those too [Either soda ash or bicarb – both work] 500gms of urea & or soda ash/bicarb would always be useful Other suppliers:
Art Van Go [UK]
Maiwa.com [Canada]
Dharma Trading [USA] Fabric – approx 2m to start with – 100% cotton white/natural coloured. You’ll need more as the addiction takes hold! Opt for a plain rather than a textured weave for now. [Silk, linen & viscose are also great to use, but more expensive when you’re learning the process] Give your fabric a wash in the machine before we start to get rid of any processing coating that may have been applied [no need to soda soak!]
I use fabrics from Whayles [Bradford] Ltd in the UK – they deliver abroad, but you’ll also find the companies above useful. Craft knife/scalpel with cutting board or scissors Copier/printer paper Kitchen roll A few paint brushes/mark making tools Masking tape Plain flour Yogurt pots/jam jars/mixing containers – start collecting, a dozen should be fine 1 litre plastic measuring jug An electric stick blender: Wilko have a very inexpensive blender [the type you stick in a saucepan to liquidise soup!] A wipeable printing surface: pond liner, heavy plastic, laminated table cloth: as large or small as your work space will allow. DIY Screen Print Table Create your own DIY screen print table. Don’t be put off printing your own fabrics. Here’s a quick and easy print table to make yourself then you can join my Silk Screen printing ONLINE workshop JOIN HERE! You’ll need:
-A panel of wood: as big or small as you can muster. DIY stores supply MDF or chip board up to 8ft x 4ft!
-Carpet underlay – felt or rubber type
-Pond liner or heavy builders plastic
-Craft knife &/or heavy scissors and a staple gun or hammer and tacks/gaffer tape Ply, MDF or chipboard; a layer of underlay; rubber pond liner The carpet underlay gets held down onto the board with staples, tacks or gaffer tape – this provides some ‘give’ in the surface. I have found pond liner to be the nearest/most economical table surface – whilst not fully heat resistant it copes with everything I have to throw at it. Wrap the pond liner around the board, stretch and staple in position – you can use fancy hosptial corners if you like! On large pieces of liner there can be folds and creases – a hair dryer/heater and some stretching helps ease this away. I also like to scour the surface with wire wool before I start working – I tend to use masking tape to stretch my fabrics and it needs something to ‘bite’ on to. Your new print surface can now be placed on top of your dining table, on trestle legs etc., etc.. then when you don’t need it lift it off and store away…under the bed, behind the piano, in the shed…





Italian Summer Schools

What do I need to bring?


All the main workshop equipment is here...lovely new sewing machines, silk screen printing equipment, dyes & auxcillaries, fabrics & threads...any specifics for the workshop will be mentioned in the course description...for instance speciality fabrics for devore etc. You will want to bring your own sketchbook [aim for good quality paper that will hold a bit of water]; a few of your favourite drawing impliments and I like Caran d'Ache crayons when I'm out and about [they are clean & easy to use plus you can add water when you get back to the studio] If the weather is set to be warm, sun cream, sun hat and swimming gear are called for... plus a refillable water bottle. Keep an eye on the weather forecast as full sun isn't always assured! As a general rule hotels in Italy don't usually have a kettle in the room for tea & coffee, so some students like to bring a portable version and some teabags!!

Abruzzo is a very relaxed and informal setting, so no need for your 'Sunday Best'... we will be working outside most days and I have aprons available for everybody at the studio. Oh yes, bring your enthusiasm and a few basic phases to win you favour with the locals ;-)




How many people are on the Summer school?


There are 6/8 places available.




What's the best way to get to Abruzzo?


The nearest airport is Pescara https://www.ryanair.com there are regular flights from Stansted, UK and other European airports. Students arrive on the Sunday afternoon flight, getting to Pescara at approx 5.30/6pm - I shall be at the airport to meet you.
Depart on the Saturday evening flight [to coincide with transfers/pick ups] or extend you stay in this wonderful region. [NB. you can hire a car or allow me to collect you from the airport 50 euros paid locally : once you’re at the hotel you are unlikely to need a car unless you intend to extend your stay in Italy] Some students find it easier to fly to Rome – there is a coach that connects from right outside the terminal [of both the Roman airports] to Pescara [approx 2.5 hours €27 bookable online] Prontobus http://www.prontobusitalia.it If you aim to arrive to coincide with airport collections/drop offs, I can whizz by the bus station to collect you as well 🙂




Where do I stay?


I reccomend staying at Hotel Al Duca in Atessa. - It's a lovely venue, just 11 rooms - exceptionally clean and centrally positioned for an easy stroll to a little bar for an aperitif! The hotel restaurant is well regarded in the area – there’s free wifi and access to the local swimming pool a short walk away. A few of the rooms have balconies - its worth asking when you book.
Approx prices: Single room 45/50 euros
Double 65/69 euros [twin beds]
Double 65/69 euros [double bed – ask for ‘matrimonial’] I have added an easy option to my booking system: you can now pay for the workshop and hotel deposit at the same time...pay the remainder at the hotel before you leave.

If you prefer to self cater there's also Casa Pietra or Agriturismo Montagnola - for both of these you would need your own transport




How does it work if I'm travelling on my own?


It's not a problem at all.
Several participants will be travelling on their own - I have a devised a nifty way to arrange a pre-flight rendeveous at Stansted Airport should you wish to connect.
I will be at the airport to collect you and drop you back after your workshop week :-)




Can I bring a partner?


Sure no problem: But as an alternative might I suggest that 'significant others' travel out to meet you at the end of the workshop, so you can extend your stay and have some quality time: allow the workshop week to be time to get to know you fellow students and indulge in the full workshop experience. Shoud you have a non-participating partner in tow, I would suggest they hire a car so they can get out and about. Public transport in this area isn't very frequent. There's a public swimming pool in Atessa - free to guests of Al Duca, but we arent far form the sea! The public gym is excellent: my children highly reccomend it!
The area is on the edge of the Majella National Park where there are numerous walks and excursions.
There is local bike hire and a wonderful coastline to explore dotted with the famous 'trabbocho' - wooden fishing platforms only seen in this area....there's plenty to do.




Can you cater for special diets?


No problem at all - but please let me know in advance.




Where is the workshop held?


La Vecchia Scuola, Colle Case 15, Tornareccio [CH], Abruzzo 66046 ITALY We bought La Vecchia Scuola in 2015, gradually renovating it. As an old school it's the perfect situation for a Summer School and I transform the space into a series of large airy studio spaces during workshops.
There's space for sewing machines, a further print area, space to work outside and of course, an alfresco dinning area.
We are situated just 5 minutes outside of Atessa - I will collect you from the hotel each morning ready for the days activities.




What is there to do outside of the workshop schedule?


Atessa is a small but very beautiful only Italian hill top town - the old door ways, tiny alleys and hidden squares are delightful. There are enough bars and little eateries to give you variety: any tourists are immediate celebraties...the grapevine will be working overtime - you will be treated very well! There's a public swimming pool in Atessa - free to guests of Al Duca. The public gym is excellent: my children highly reccomend it!
Market day is Thursday - so we start late & you can explore! The area is on the edge of the Majella National Park where there are numerous walks and excursions.
There is local bike hire and a wonderful coastline to explore dotted with the famous 'trabbocho' - wooden fishing platforms only seen in this area.





Janome Masterclasses

Do I need to bring my own Sewing machine?


No - not unless its stated in the workshop description.
All machines and equipment are provided for you during my Italian workshops and Janome Masterclasses - you just need to turn up with your enthusiam and enjoy!




Where is Janome HQ, how do I get there?


Janome HQ, Janome Centre, Southside, Bredbury, Stockport SK6 2SP, UK https://goo.gl/maps/jcY497e2mzw cut and paste this link for a Google map which will give you directions from your location. The nearest train station is Stockport, from there is a short taxi ride [approx £10]




Can you cater for special diets?


Yes of course - please let me know in advance.





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