Bryony's talk was entitled The Textile Menagerie and she describes herself as a Textile Sculptor and it is an apt description when you see the wonderful textile animals she creates and hear how she does it.
Coming from a family of artists, Bryony was always encouraged to create but her degree in silver jewellery making seems a far cry from the work she does now. Trips to India as a jewellery buyer led to an interest in antique fabrics especially saris and kantha work which Bryony began to collect. A seaside exhibition with a friend resulted in 'Flossie' a life size donkey made with old prices of wood for legs and a covering of scraps of old fabrics. Building and improving on this Bryony continued making life sized fabric animals using recycled textiles often furnishing fabrics, especially William Morris designs and velvets.
As mothers often sat their children on the larger figures Bryony realised they had to be strong so she uses cast iron rod, heavy duty sculpture wire and wood for the skeleton which is covered with sheeting and pillow filling is used to form muscle shape. This is then covered with scraps of fabric stitched in place, layering of textiles give the impression of feather on the birds. Duffle coat toggles carved down make a good beak, false eyelashes look very realistic on deer and false fingernails cut into strips make very convincing claws. All Bryony's figures, ranging from birds, guinea pigs, dogs, pigs and deer are life size and have names usually suggested by the facial expression, tilt of head or attitude. Hover your mouse pointer over the images below to discover the names of the animals!
Bryony gave workshops in Australia last year and is due to return there next year and also to New Zealand to give more talks and workshops, she also manages to fit in classes in this country.
Bryony gave us a fascinating and informative talk; it was lovely to see some of her menagerie on screen and meet others in person.
Thank you to Christine Hill for this report and the lovely photos. Ros
On 23 January I attended the Marlborough Embroiders Guild workshop on how to make a summer garden lampshade with our tutor Nikki Vesey-Williams. Nikki was demonstrating the technique first created by Marna Lunt.
It was an extremely enjoyable day with Nikki's teaching being very relaxed and giving all sorts of useful tips about free machine embroidery, such as the appropriate needle for the type of thread used, how to ensure that the thread runs smoothly when running through the machine and also how to ensure that the bobbin is correctly tensioned or lessened off depending upon the texture that is wanted to achieve, amongst other useful details.
Firstly we decided how tall we wanted our lampshades to be and also whether they would be used for a table lamp, or hung from a pendant light. This would then give an idea as to how we would have the inner workings of the lampshade set up.
We used craft vilene for the base, then used green chiffon material in layers to form the base layer of the shade, giving the impression of grass, fields, hills etc
These are bonded together with bondaweb. Once adhered together, a yellow blow pen was used to give an impression of sunrise or sunset and a blue one to denote the sky at the top of the shade.
Once the pen ink had dried, we could then set to using a variety of threads and free machine embroidery techniques on the sewing machine to make a set of grasses, foxgloves, daisies and cornflowers on our shades.
As we did not want to rush this aspect of the embroidery, we were encouraged to develop the rest of this work at home when we had more time to devote to creating a beautiful work of art.
Nikki then went on to demonstrate how we would then make up the shade using double sided tape, lining it with a fine fabric to cover the stitches and give a professional finish. She also showed how we could cover the top and bottom frame with braid to finish off the lampshade.
Apologies for delay in posting details of this workshop. Ros
Thanks to Claire Tubbs for the report and photos.
To start the New Year Helen Brown from the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery spoke to the Guild about the collection of textiles they have assembled over the years. Helen started her talk by explaining that she works part time in the Applied Arts Department and her role is to catalogue and record their textiles.
Their collection covers samples from all over the world going back to the 1570’s. The main source of textiles was from Agnus Fry’s collection of 260 pieces which she gave to the Museum in the late 1940’s and Helen showed us correspondence between Agnus and the curator setting out how she would like the pieces displayed. Agnus came from a large well travelled family (well known for their confectionary business) and was given textiles to add to her collection on their return home. A lot of the examples came from the Balkans and showed brightly coloured work using a variety of fabrics, threads and stitches.
In addition to this collection there were some 19thC baby’s bonnets, parasols made of lace, church vestments, some embroidered gloves, examples of bead work and a Japanese fireman’s kimono.
In time Helen said she hoped the collection could be made available online for people to look at because, unfortunately it is not currently on display. It is possible however to make an appointment for a private viewing.
Report and photos by Ros
At Marlborough & District Embroiderers’ Guild each Christmas we celebrate with a “bring and share” lunch and a “surprise” speaker. This year we celebrated our 40th Ruby Anniversary with a four day exhibition in April and we wanted to end with a grand finale.
About a year ago our Programme Secretary, Vernice asked if Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn would join us as our “surprise” speakers and to give the after lunch talk.
Just look at this "bring and share" spread! A big thank you to everyone for preparing such a delicious meal and to my fellow Committee Members for their hard work in decorating the hall and clearing up after and of course to Vernice for asking Jan & Jean to speak to us.
The Committee were sworn to secrecy so our guests and the remainder of our branch members, numbering over sixty, were thrilled to see displays of Jan and Jean’s work and to hear them talk about how they have collected ideas and recorded them over the years. They talked about their various trips abroad and how landscapes in Israel, Australia, the Grand Canyon and New Mexico had brought inspiration together with fossils on Charmouth beach, pot pourri jars, house renovations, craters on planets, the clock in St Mark’s Square in Venice and even the slime in Steve’s pond!
Below is a selection of photos of their work which they kindly allowed me to take and some of the images from their presentation. Sorry some of them are a bit skew! Click on the first image to enlargen and then you can scroll through to see the details of their exquisite work.
We were very grateful to Jan and Jean for making our Christmas meeting such a memorable one.
Report and photos by Ros
Juliette Orton’s day school on Monday was a resounding success: we all benefitted from her inspirational packs and flexible approach to complete a number of pieces (refreshingly unusual to be able to complete pieces in the course of the day).
The stitch and tear process was relatively simple but can achieve strikingly diverse effects : many people had a chance to practise their machine-embroidery skills while others worked on complex pieces incorporating a variety of techniques. Everyone, whatever their skills-set, was pleased with their progress.
Report and photos by Clare R
Thank you Clare! Ros
I visited the three day West of England Quilt Show yesterday in the exhibition hall at the University of West of England in north Bristol. I wanted to share with everyone the work of Chrisse Seager who kindly looks after our website. She had a number of quilts on display, some cushions and a beautiful quilted jacket. Our congratulations for coming "runner up" for the Best in Show by a Professional - see centre image below.
Helen Colling was introduced to needlework at an early age and was encouraged by her City & Guilds tutor to apply for a 3 year Stitched Textile Diploma with Jan Beaney & Jean Littlejohn. During the drawing module she explored transparency – looking through glass doors, reflections, shadows and layers. The topic for her final piece was the atmosphere after something has gone.
Helen has developed her work since her qualification using poetry and the transparency layering technique. She explained how she uses Reynolds freezer paper to print photos onto cloth and hand stitches outlines. We were interested to see her final work sandwiched between two layers of Perspex which emphasises the transparency theme.
Helen takes part in Open Studios and exhibits with Okra textiles.
Report by Ros
Mandy Nash started her workshop by explaining the fibres and fabrics that can be used with nuno felting and how different types of wools give different effects.
Mandy then went on to demonstrate the first technique of nuno felting. She laid out wisps of wool all over a square of muslin in one direction and changed the direction for the second layer. Small pieces of fabric were added for decoration and then the sandwich was put between bubble wrap and a noodle was used for rolling. After rolling and turning numerous times, olive oil soap was added at the end before throwing on the table to form the felt.
The second technique also used muslin but this time the wisps of wools did not cover all the muslin, they were laid down to form a chosen pattern. The rest of the process was similar to the first.
Mandy was very generous with her tips and suggestions and we left the workshop with a lovely variety of individual samples.
Above are examples of Mandy's work.
Thank you for a fun day, Mandy.
Report by Ros
Earlier this year the Prospect Hospice in Marlborough approached Marlborough & District Embroiderers Guild to ask if they would be interested in creating a hanging for the new Outreach Centre of Prospect Hospice at Savernake Hospital in Marlborough.
Our member Margaret Heath, who had created and overseen the Upper Kennet Valley Embroidery, was asked if she would be interested in managing this latest project and kindly agreed. Margaret has now designed a triptych hanging with the theme of spring, summer and autumn and she showed her drawings and shared her ideas with a group of interested members at a recent Stitch Day. The hanging will be a mixture of hand and machine embroidery and it is hoped a number of members will contribute to the final work which will probably take about 2 years to complete.
We plan to record the progress of this project so watch out for more postings.
Report by Ros
Information in this blog is provided by branch members who have attended the meeting, workshop or event.
Marlborough & District Branch is a member of the Embroiderers' Guild, the UK's leading crafts association
* The Embroiderers' Guild website -https://embroiderersguild.com/
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