Tate Modern courses

Coloured Rhythms: Experiments in Abstraction Led by artist Sarah Sparkes

Sonia Delaunay Rhythm 1945

Sonia Delaunay Rhythm 1945


Grey Art Gallery New York © Pracusa 2014083

This practical six week course takes inspiration from Tate Modern's exhibition of the influential avant-garde artist Sonia Delaunay and her vibrant abstract compositions and designs. Explore and play with colour and form to create you own series of vibrant abstract art works.

Beginning with your sketch book, your own developed motifs are translated into larger scale works from fabric and wall paper designs to improvised costumes.

Delaunay's extensive body of work is noted for it's dynamic use of strong colour and rhythmical geometric shapes. Her work extends to painting, textiles, fashion design, stage design and beyond. She is also known for her innovative collaborations with poets, choreographers and manufacturers, from Diaghilev to Liberty.

Following Delaunay, you have the opportunity to work with diverse media: collage, printing, painting, mixed media, wall based works and 3D paper constructions. Over the course of six weeks your artistic language is developed through creating small and large scale works in both two and three dimensions, working individually and collaboratively to produce a diverse body of your own vibrant artworks from intimate sketch book studies to impressive wall hangings.

On the final day of the course a small exhibition of your work in the studio takes place to which you can invite family and friends.

No technical knowledge is required and all levels of ability welcome. Materials are provided and ticket price includes entry to the exhibition on several sessions. Led by artist Sarah Sparkes.

Programme outline

Week one

8 June, 2015 18.45–20.45

You have exclusive access to The EY Exhibition: Sonia Delaunay where you are guided through the exhibition by artist Sarah Sparkes, as well as having the opportunity to explore on your own. You’ll return to the Clore Studio, Level 0 to create your first abstract compositions in your sketch books using collage.

Week two

15 June, 2015 18.45–20.45

This is a solely practical session in the studio where you create a series of dynamic abstractions, exploring colour theory and rhythmical forms using collage, mixed media and simple printing techniques. You are working in your sketch book and then expanding these designs into larger collective wall-based works.

Week three

22 June, 2015 18.45–20.45

A chance to make a short visit to the exhibition again to gather reference material in your sketch books, with particular reference to Delaunay's costume designs. Back in the studio you are creating a range of textile, wall paper or costume designs, inspired by these using mixed media.

Week four

19 June, 2015 18.45–20.45

Using coloured papers and cards and your imagination, you are working in small groups to create fantastical improvised costumes and wearable accessories. Have your camera ready to document your work as you or one of your fellow participants model it.

Week five

6 July, 2015 18.45–20.45

Course participants have the opportunity to visit the Sonia Delaunay exhibition for a final time. In the studio, with the following week’s exhibition in mind, you can choose to work on a new abstract composition of your choice, or finish work begun in earlier sessions.

Week six

13 July, 2015 18.45–20.45

During this final session you are displaying the works you have produced during the course in a mini exhibition and have the opportunity to invite your friends and family to view your creations.

Note: you will be given a sketch book to bring in each week in which you can explore and develop processes and ideas. You will be invited to bring in various contextual materials, such as collage material each week.

Tate Modern

Clore Hub

London SE1 9TG
Plan your visit


8 June – 13 July 2015

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