On Monday we all enjoyed our annual “bring & share” Christmas lunch. Each member was given a surprise embroidery pack and a complimentary raffle ticket - we had a wonderful selection of prizes.
After our meal we were entertained by Eliza McClelland who visited two years ago to talk to the Guild about her beading and held a workshop the following day. Today Eliza, who is also an actress, promised not to mention the “S” or the “B” word (sewing or beading) and to concentrate on the “C” word, Christmas! She told stories and jokes, recited poems and challenged us with a quiz.
It was a great start to the festive season and we all parted wishing each other a very Happy Christmas and looking forward to meeting up again in the New Year.
The next meeting will be on Monday 6 January when members are asked to bring items for a “Show & Tell” table and Ros Lomas’ talk will be entitled “Time to learn”. Members are asked to arrive from 13.30 for a 14.00 start.
It is not very often that our speaker arrives with an easel ready to do a demonstration during their talk. Yesterday Helen Mortimer, silk artist from Newbury talked about her background and how she became interested in working with silk. She had a Fine Arts background and then worked at Sotherby’s & Dreweatts where she was surrounded by artistic things. In 2000 she went to Newbury College where she passed her PGCE and then had various jobs teaching adults and children alike. In 2007 she took the brave step of resigning from her job and concentrating on her own work. In time she had sufficient pieces to exhibit and joined the Newbury Open Studios. She has now ventured further afield and belongs to Made in the Hood which is based in Hampshire.
Helen then demonstrated the technique of painting on silk using steam fixed dyes where she wetted the silk first and then applied various silk paints creating a flower design or in wide bands. Finally she sprinkled rock salt and after about half an hour we were able to see the amazing effect. Helen also talked about using gutta as a resist for the iron fix method of painting on silk.
To end her talk Helen explained the technique for various pictures, scarves, handkerchiefs and cards that she had designed.
Thank you Helen for a most enjoyable and informative afternoon.
The next meeting of the Guild will be on Monday 2 December (12.00 for 12.30) when we will have a "bring and share" lunch and a "surprise" event/speaker - have to wait and see!
Design for Stitch is a six week "in house" course tutored for our Guild members by Chris Cook. Below are the first session results of black and white, a combination of print and stitch.
At Marlborough & District Embroidery Guild we are fortunate to be able to invite nationally and internationally known speakers and tutors. This week has been no exception as a group of us had the opportunity of attending a two day workshop with Ruth Issett.
Ruth’s work is instantly recognisable because of her use of vibrant colours and she has written a number of books on colour, dyeing and printing.
The two days were centred around printing on paper and then material using acrylic and fabric paints. We used a variety of print blocks, print rollers and mark makers and Ruth circulated the room making suggestions and passing on her years of experience.
Having produced a number of printed samples we ended the workshop by applying procian dyes to our fabrics. We rolled each one up separately in polythene and Ruth advised us to try and wait for 48 hours before rinsing out the excess dye. My samples are currently on my utility room floor and I look forward to seeing the end result tomorrow.
Fortunately a visitor, Pippen was very well behaved because he would have made some wonderful paw prints had he got into mischief!
On behalf of all participants I would like to thank Ruth for leading a most enjoyable workshop and for being so very generous with her time and techniques. We do hope that you will return one day and teach us some more.
On Monday we held our AGM with several Committee Members retiring and new ones taking over. After the formal meeting we enjoyed a talk by Christine Seager, one of our regular members and the person who has kindly created our Marlborough & District Embroidery Guild website.
It is always interesting to hear how people became interested in embroidery and this was no exception. Living in South Africa Christine’s mother made all her clothes and when she attended a convent in Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) the strict nuns taught the children to make a sewing bag at the age of 5 and a horse at the age of 6. Both these treasures were passed round.
Christine obviously learnt a lot and at an early age she went into business making dolls clothes for friends using her mother’s sewing machine. By the age of 11 she was making her own clothes and struck a wonderful bargain with her father who promised to buy her new material once she had completed an outfit. She then went to boarding school but unfortunately was not allowed to use a sewing machine so she lost interest and it was not until she got married and her husband bought her a machine that it returned.
She lived abroad for a number of years and when she returned she joined the Maidenhead Embroidery Guild, attended various workshops and followed a City & Guilds course with Siân Martin. She did not enjoy the structure of this qualification but successfully went on to complete the Open College of Arts Textile 1 and 2 courses.
Christine then discovered Committed to Cloth and did a one year course learning to dye fabrics. She made us laugh by saying it was wonderful having the opportunity of learning, experimenting and making a mess in someone else’s workshop.
When Christine moved to Devizes she discovered Urchfont Manor and, because she was keen to make a corset, she enrolled on the Historic Heirloom course tutored by Janet Crowther.
At this time she went to a talk given by Marie Roper through Laura Kemshall. Christine liked the technique and started quilting. Researching more she found Nancy Crow’s website in the States but soon realised that the cost of two back to back courses, the cost of the flight and accommodation was going to be prohibitive. Christine has now embarked on a project following Nancy’s principles and has now completed 4 black and white quilts and has just progressed to adding a colour – red.
In August this year Christine had two quilts displayed at the Festival of Quilts, one on the Contemporary Quilt stand and the second was chosen to be included in the Fine Art Quilt Masters. (See more details on the August Blog write up). With success like this I think we can safely say that Christine has now found her voice in life.
Before concluding Christine answered various questions about her techniques and emphasised how important she has found it to stick to the design principle of the rule of thirds.
The next Guild meeting will be on Monday 4 November at 14.00 hours when the speaker will be Helen Mortimer and her talk will be entitled “ Silk Routes - A Personal Journey”. Doors open at 13.30 hours.
A group of 13 guild members enjoyed a fun day learning how to pound and trap flowers. Linda started the day by demonstrating the procedure and explaining that some flowers and leaves were more successful than others.
We soon learnt how important it was to have moisture-free flowers and leaves and to make the flower as flat as possible by cutting the back off and any stamens in the centre.
We experimented on a small piece of cotton by tapping the chosen petal or leaf from the reverse with a small hammer and then progressed to creating a display sampler. Linda encouraged us to write the name of the plant for future reference.
In the afternoon we progressed to trapping flowers. This is done by trapping the flowers and leaves in a layered web sandwich. Cotton or card can be used as a base and piece of synthetic chiffon tops the work. The sandwich was then ironed to heat the webbing. This procedure seals the flowers in place and therefore the colours do not fade.
Below are photos showing our work. Thank you again to Linda for a most enjoyable and informative day.
For our September meeting, Linda Rudkin talked to the group about “colours from nature”. After she retired as an English teacher Linda visited the Bayeux Tapestry and was amazed by the soft rich vibrant colours bearing in mind the age of the embroidery. She soon realised at that time they only had plants to use for dyes so she started researching the topic and created a number of display boards. She produced a board for each plant showing the dyeing samples for wools, cottons & silks. In addition to varying the materials and threads, she used different mordents (fixing agents). Having produced 62 different display boards, publishers A & C Black commissioned her to write a book. The natural dyes included white & red onion, carrot tops, blackberries, coreopsis, comfrey and wode which she grows from seed. She only dyes what she can get in a saucepan and has found that the colours mellow with age. Fresh, frozen or dried plants can be used so she can work when convenient.
Linda explained the dyeing procedure and ended her talk by showing us various pictures some of which had been quilted and embroidered, and cushion covers which she had made.
We did enjoy your talk, Linda and a group of us look forward to attending your workshop on Tuesday to learn how to pound and trap flowers.
Our next meeting will be at 14:00 on Monday 7 October when we will be holding our AGM and Guild member Christine Seager’s talk will be entitled “It’s not enough to make a blouse!” Doors open at 13:30.
Over the years we have heard so many textile artists talk about the importance of keeping a sketchbook. At a recent meeting Maggie H kindly offered to set up a group of members who would be interested in “trying” to meet the challenge creating a page a day. Beatrice & Harry helping Granny Vernice with her homework!
Yesterday four of us went to Maggie’s house for what turned out to be a fun afternoon. We were asked to bring paper, a small square spiral sketchbook, Pritt stick and pencils. After a chat about everybody’s expectations Maggie turned on some music to relax us and we were given our first task using A4 paper.
Two hours passed amazingly quickly and before leaving we agreed the date of our next meeting in October. At home we now have various tasks to do to achieve our goal of "one page a day".
Thank you Maggie for your time and for helping us get started. We look forward to October!
After an early start and three pickup points, our coach arrived at the NEC about 11.00 on Thursday. I am not sure if it was my imagination, but the exhibition seemed larger than in previous years with a wonderful selection of quilts on display and, of course, all the traders who were eager to relieve us of our money. Christine with her Fine Art Quilt Masters
On behalf of the group I would like to congratulate Christine Seager who had two quilts on display, one on the Contemporary Quilt stand and the second was chosen to be included in the Fine Art Quilt Masters. What a truly fantastic achievement, well done Christine! Kaffe Fassett signing books
Christine's second quilt is displayed in the picture below on the left.
It was fun to bump into friends, to spot textile artists who had visited us in the past or who were well known faces in the textile world.
Here is a selection of quilts which I particularly liked. If you have a photo of your favourite, email me a copy and I will add it.
Have a good summer and I look forward to meeting up with you all again in September.
James Hunting’s talk this month was entitled “Traditional hand stitching in a contemporary way”. He had a very interesting background and started by telling us about his time at Goldsmith’s College, graduating in 1986. His first job was in marketing but he was then offered a job with an embroiderer. In those days there was no internet or foreign markets to challenge any business and he started by sewing roses as piecework. For the next 25 years, he worked freelance as a textile embellisher working with names like Jasper Conran, Jean Galliano and Jenny Lessin. He worked on finished garments in Paris and never used a frame, hoop or thimble. In 2004, he decided he had had enough of the glitz of the fashion world and the demands put upon him and returned to the UK to obtain teaching qualifications. He went on to teach on Fashion and Textile courses in Further Education.
In 2006, he was nominated Embroidery Guild Scholar of the year. In the fashion industry he was used to working to deadlines so there was no problem producing a one man exhibition for the Knitting & Stitching Show. He then went on to take a Masters Degree at Cumbria University and half way through the year he got what he called “The Job” when he was asked by the Royal School of Needlework to set up a degree course in Hand Embroidery. He worked there for four and a half years and left last year.
James then went on to talk about his embroidery which he had brought to show us. He chooses to use linen (Texere Linen) and silk (Eterna and Mulberry Silks) and starts by creating a number of backgrounds at once – he can take several weeks to create the mood he is seeking. The next stage is to hunt through his box of figures and trace his chosen design onto his background. He uses silk organza which he often shreds away once the image has been transferred. He surprised us by saying that he never uses a sketch book but has an ideas book instead. He enjoys the gesture or movement stitch for the figures, always keeps his thread short and concentrates on a small variety of stitches. When it comes to display James does not mount or frame his work, he hangs it with pins a couple of inches from the wall allowing it to move.
James uses his embroidery to express emotions, does not duplicate or name his work allowing the viewer to interpret it themselves. He wants people to say “that reminds me of . . . . . . “
James was an amazingly relaxed speaker and this was reflected in his work and his love of fabrics and embroidery.