We enjoyed our annual Ploughman’s lunch at our April meeting when everybody had the opportunity of chatting to friends and hearing what they had been busy creating over the winter months. Plans are well under way for our Summer Exhibition in June so that was also a hot topic of conversation.
Claire showed members her rag rug work and recycled t-shirt knitted bag, Chris C demonstrated the embellishing machine and Nikki chatted to members about her needle felted animals.
Report and photos by Ros
Cherrilyn started her workshop by showing us how to make silk paper using silk fibres. We were then asked to draw a design on soluble fleece, place it on net and then insert it into an embroidery hoop. Using free machining, we then transferred and enhanced our design onto the layered fabrics. The results from the members were really lovely and we had a most enjoyable day.
Thank you Joy A. for your report and the photos.
The speaker at our well attended annual Branch Open Day was textile artist Cherrilyn Tyler whose talk was entitled “Journey Cloths”. She works on net and water soluble fabrics which she first started using many years ago when she was asked to make Elizabethan ruffs for an exhibition.
She was asked to visit Australia but unfortunately tore a tendon in her leg and found, due to her immobility, she was limited in choice for inspiration. Walking her dog on a regular basis in local fields Cherrilyn was able to compare the various seasons and create some amazing, very delicate pieces of textile art ready for the workshops.
Cherrilyn also showed us a design which was inspired by memories of childhood holidays on the beach in Norfolk and included a car park ticket, blackberries and rosehips. Using a completely different topic she showed us a design based on a rant about the election and another inspired by the Charge of the Light Brigade.
In answering questions from members, Cherrilyn explained that she always makes objects on the net or water soluble and never adds them on. She uses a hoop to keep the fabric taught and cream thread in the bobbin except for when she is creating dark objects. She does not do commissions because she likes creations to be her choice and not those of other people.
After the talk members and visitors enjoyed a cup of tea and a delicious selection of shortbreads, brownies and cakes provided by Committee Members.
Report and photos by Ros L
Sandra's "Journeys" began in the late 1990's when she started a City and Guilds course at Windsor. Originally she trained as an artist but then textiles took over but now she combines painting, textiles, collage, photos, heat transfer paper and stitching to create her fabric pictures.
Sandra finds her inspiration in icebergs, ice lakes and lagoons, glaciers and water in places as far apart as the Arctic, Antarctic, Iceland and the Inuit lands of northern Canada and having studied these landscapes over several years she is seeing the effects of global warming which she also brings into her work.
Nearer home Sandra and her husband moved to Somerset five years ago and experienced the severe flooding there which she has used for inspiration along with views seen from the A303 which she travels frequently. Sandra builds up her some of her pieces by transferring the image onto heat transfer paper which she then irons onto thin cotton. She then layers her work with the cotton image, wire form, vilene and backing which she stitches through to give the piece depth. The colours used to create the icy watery landscapes are mostly greys, blues and blacks but sometimes Sandra includes some copper shim and copper paint to suggest a global warming meltdown. "Reality and Rhetoric" consists of six panels and is based on the flooding in the Somerset Levels. The panels are stitched in lines to suggest layers of water but within the lines there is a stitched narrative detailing the history, agriculture and government drainage plans for the area.
Sandra gave a fascinating, lively and informative talk about her work. It will be possible to see some of Sandra's work and appreciate the range of it as she exhibits with several groups including Artists 303 which have an exhibition coming up in Somerton Town Hall and Studio 21 who will be exhibiting at the Knitting and Stitch Show later this year.
My grateful thanks to Christine H for this report and to Vernice C for the photos.
On Monday we had an “in house” printing workshop led by Ann Smith.
Ann started the day with a demonstration of preparing acetate sheets and gelli plates with acrylic paint ready for printing. We started printing on paper and in the afternoon we printed on various fabrics - cottons, linen, silk and organza. We used stencils and various mark making tools to make patterns on the printing plates and some people even added their own glitz to bring sparkle to their designs and some started collage.
Ann was very generous by letting us use her materials which gave us the opportunity of experimenting with different tools and techniques.
The day went very quickly and Ann concluded by giving everybody a couple of luggage labels for printing and we were asked to finish them at home ready for our exhibition in the summer.
For the last 10 minutes we all went round to look at each other’s work and it was interesting to see the choice of colours, some very pale and subtle while others were very bold and bright. When discussing the individual designs Ann used a card mount to identify sections which could be developed further. This was a very useful tip which I am sure we will use in the future.
It was fun day - we came hope with loads of paper and fabric designs and we thank Ann very much for leading the day and sharing her knowledge.
Report and photos by Ros
Our January speaker, Valerie Threfall got the new year off to a swinging start with her highly entertaining talk entitled “The secrets of the honeymoon suitcase”. She started by explaining that she had been giving talks for 30 years and fell into it by accident when a friend, Rosemary Hawthorne, known as the “knicker lady”, found she was double booked.
Valerie first showed us her prize possessions, Queen Victoria’s nightdress which had an insignia of VR36 on it, a pair of her 45” waist knickers and a half petticoat. The next display item was a pale blue whale bone corset from 1900. It was interesting to find out that the bone used was from the whale’s cheek rather than the ribs, which I had been expecting. Corsets then went on to have steel inserts at the time of the 1st World War.
In the 1920’s we were reminded that life changed greatly as there were more opportunities for women and with very few men due to the terrible deaths in the war, women started to dress provocatively. We were shown one of the first bras from Debenhams and a stocking garter above which Valerie explained was the “no go area”. One of my favourite garments was a peignoir which Valerie explained ladies would wear in the morning and in the evening as a housecoat.
During the second world war when fabrics were rationed Valerie explained that enterprising ladies made underwear out of parachute material. To have access to the American or Canadian market at that time was a treat because they had nylon stockings with seams but until well after the war, ladies in this country only had rayon stockings which had to be bought with civilian coupons. I did not realise that the word “nylon” derived from the two centres for nylon “NY” for New York and “lon” for London.
Progressing into the 1950’s and 1960’s with the availability of contraception Valerie showed us how underwear and nighties got more colourful and more daring and many of us saw examples of underwear that we had worn as children and teenagers. It was lovely to see her own honeymoon nightie.
Valerie concluded her talk by bringing us right up to date talking about hen parties, disposable knickers and an example of a gap year t-shirt which had been offered to her son’s girlfriend on a visit.
Report and photos by Ros
What a great treat to welcome our surprise speaker Harriet Riddell to our Christmas meeting this week. I first saw Harriet at Art in Action when she had just left University so it was interesting for me to hear what she had been up to during the past five years.
After our “bring and share” lunch the raffle was drawn and the winner Margaret Gow, had her portrait drawn by Harriet on her sewing machine. It was interesting to see how, starting with the left eye and continuous free machine embroidery, Margaret's face was created on the canvas.
Harriet explained that she followed a course in Contemporary Applied Arts at the University of Hertfordshire. At a life drawing evening class her tutor suggested she bring in her sewing machine to draw with instead of the conventional materials and she has not looked back since. At the age of 10 her grandmother had taught her to do free machine embroidery and this has become her chosen technique ever since. As long as she had a plug, a table and chair she could head off to various locations to find subjects – the launderette, the greasy spoon cafe, a nursing home where she was working part time and Greenwich market.
After graduating Harriet worked for a shoe company and was sent to their factory in China to record the process in stitch. Harriet has now travelled extensively on her bicycle in India with her sewing machine, table and a motor cycle battery to power her machine and has published a book of her experiences. She went on to become an artist in residence in Kenya and, as she could not work in Nairobi, she found herself in the countryside and in the slums.
In addition to portraits, Harriet has drawn the Houses of Parliament, the Royal Albert Hall and various other locations around London and told us how she invites people to ride her bicycle to power her machine. These works have been exhibited at several galleries in London.
I am sure I speak for everybody when I say we wish Harriet well with her wonderful creations and her travels and we will enjoy following her career.
So inspired by Harriet's talk our member, Nikki VW decided to have a go at her own self portrait and the result is below.
Our planned speaker had to cancel her visit but a local illustrator and ceramicist kindly agreed to step in and talk to us at our November meeting.
Jacqui Melhuish has her own workshop and gallery with other artists in Wagon's Yard, Marlborough. Jacqui started by explaining that drawing had been her favourite subject at school and she subsequently went on to become an illustrator. With a young family she enrolled on a foundation course at Swindon College and subsequently took a BA Hon in Illustration. Jacqui started incorporating illustrations in her ceramics and went on to teach pottery at Swindon and Marlborough Colleges.
Inspiration for her work comes from a happy family upbringing and Jacqui uses childhood memories and sayings of relations, holidays and books to illustrate her work. There is no doubt Jacqui is a very talented lady being accomplished as an illustrator and ceramicist but she told us she prefers to work with clay now and her favourite piece is what she calls an ancestry totem.
It was interesting for us as textile artists to hear how Jacqui collects her clay direct from the supplier and loves to make large scale upright vessels. She explained how she constructs a frame out of cardboard tubes and the like, onto which she can rest the slabs of clay and allow them to dry rather than using the coil pot method. Just look at the pieces of old lace which Jacqui has pressed into the clay before firing.
Jacqui's enthusiasm for her subject became apparent when she explained that every new idea had to be practised and she really enjoyed the challenges of working with clay and the surprise results when doing raku firing. Exhibiting at Open Studios she was fortunate to sell a lot of her work but with her teaching commitments she finds time for her own creations limited. Hopefully in the new year after her Christmas Exhibition she will be able to restock her cupboards.
A group of MDEG members recently spent a most enjoyable two days taking part in Alexandra's workshop.
She introduced the workshop by showing us some of her own stunning bags and cushions. Day one involved creating a multilayered piece of fabric which we then machine embroidered with up to three different thread colours. Alexandra demonstrated each stage, then allowed us time to complete it before showing us the next stage of construction.
Many of us choose to buy a bag making kit containing fabric layers, template and bag clasp. Other students chose to make a fabric sample for a cushion, or to embellish a project of their own. Alex brought along a dazzling array of decorative fabrics for us to dip into. The hard art was deciding which to choose!
We appreciated that Alex spent time with each of us, advising on fabrics and colour combinations, plus offering ample help for those new to machine embroidery. We all progressed well on the day one and by the end of the day, most students were well on their way to completing a decorated fabric square.
With many workshops, embroidery techniques are tried out, yet the samples can end up confined in a drawer once they are taken home. However on day two, Alex carefully guided us through the stages of cutting, sewing and constructing a bag. By the end of the day we had all completed a beautiful bag, or a stunning panel of our own. The bags were each unique, colourful and stunning. Thank you Alex for such an enjoyable workshop. I'm sure that we will all have a go at making more bags in the future.
Report and photos by Jackie Bagg.
Thank you so much Jackie - your help is much appreciated and your photos were great! Ros
Twenty five year pins and certificates were presented to Margaret Gow and Rosemary Hawes by Ann Smith at the AGM meeting in October.
Rosemary and Margaret joined the Guild in 1991 after visiting an exhibition of embroidery together in the Marlborough library. Mary Greening was Chairman at the time and the subscription was £12.50. They recall enjoyable meetings in the Scouts Hut in Marlborough and workshops in the pleasant surroundings of Urchfornt College. However, soon after their joining, meetings moved to the Bowls Club, and before long, as numbers grew, transferred to the current location in Lockeridge with better facilities for both meetings and workshops and delightful views. Over the years they have both been involved with the branch’s various workshops and exhibitions, and have worked on several projects including the Marlborough Surgery hanging in 1997 and the Kennet Valley Embroidery which hangs in the hall. The embroidery now used as the reception desk tablecloth was renovated by Margaret and Rosemary from an earlier project made in the 1980s. One particular highlight they both recollect was spending days at Avebury Manor in 2011 helping to complete the embroidered bed hangings.
Rosemary has always enjoyed needlework from an early age. Her mother taught her to knit at age three, and a nun at her convent school taught her to sew and make Brussels lace. She now enjoys making quilts and all types of embroidery, and has been involved with the stitching of the Turkey work chairs at the Merchant House from its inception. She has also run an Embroidery Group for the U3A for the past 25 years.
Margaret learnt to sew with her grandmother and still has a handkerchief case embroidered in cross stitch, made in school. She taught herself crewel work and other forms of embroidery, mostly from books of which she now has a large collection; but has also learnt many skills from the various workshops she has attended over the years. She has also spent time on the Turkey work project, and is now happily involved in embroidering flowers for the Guild’s latest project – the Prospect Triptych.
Thank you Margaret & Rosemary for giving us these details.
Photos 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/
* The Guild Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/embroiderersguild/
* The Guild Pinterest pages - https://uk.pinterest.com/theembroiderers/
design by chrisse