Several years later he returned with a wife, Wendy, who made dolls and puppets and she asked Lydie to make clothes for them. One thing lead to another and Lydie ended up dressing puppets and dolls for various projects including Prince Charles, Princess Ann and Mark Phillips for Spitting Image and a large chicken for a Paxo advert. She also made dolls for Jim Henson based on his film Dark Crystal.
Lydie moved away so this initial career came to an end. She then went on to follow a Diploma in Stitched Textiles at Windsor and teach embroidery. She is currently a member of the South West Textile Group exhibiting all over the country.
Lydie was a very generous speaker as she showed us many examples of her work and explained in detail their construction. The "When I grow old I will wear purple" puppet and the "7 deadly sins" dolls were my favourites.
Report and photos by Ros
Linda Miller spent two days with branch members in early October teaching her technique of free machine embroidery. Here are some photos taken by Vernice during the event.
Here are some of the wonderful results.
Photos by Vernice and Ros
After the formal AGM our October speaker was Branch Member, Vernice Church. Last year Vernice was invited to go on a 19 day textile tour of India.
She started her talk by showing us a map of India and explained her journey starting in Delhi, moving on into Utter Pradesh, then Rajasthan and ending in Gujarat. Images of tuk tuks, motorbikes transporting families, unusual doors, windows, buildings, ladies in colourful saris and animals gave us an insight into a country with a completely different culture to our own. Many of the photos showed amazing textures, shapes and colours which could be used as inspiration for textile projects.
Vernice then showed us the various styles and techniques of the tribes in the different states she visited - Bandhani, Banjara, Shisha, Rabari, Sujani, Phulkari and Applique. They all used vibrant colours but each was very different.
The group tour started in Delhi, where they were shown the main sights, then moved south to Agra and one of the highlights of Vernice’s tour was an early morning visit to the Taj Mahal. They then continued to Jaipur, the pink city, where they had an elephant ride up to the Amber Fort, visited the Anokhi Hand Block Printing Museum, watched a cookery demonstration and attended a block printing workshop. There was a lot of retail therapy and Vernice showed us wonderful throws, books and souvenirs of her holiday. En route to Jodpur they visited the Chippa Community in the town of Bagru to see their Dying and Block Printing processes. Vernice concluded this first part of her talk by telling us about her visit to Jodpur, the blue city, where she visited the Mehrangarth Fort.
We now look forward to the second instalment of Vernice's trip when she visits Udaipur and then moves into Gujarat, the home of textiles in India.
Report and photos by Ros
We were offered a wonderful selection of Thai Ikat silk, cottons and hemp to use for our Thai bags. To start the workshop Jennifer explained the technique of reverse applique, gave us a detailed handout and suggested various designs we could consider for our bags.
Although we were using the same technique, each person had chosen their own design and different coloured materials so it was interesting to see the varied results.
Jennifer also showed us how to create braids and different types of prairie points to decorate our bags.
To end the day Jennifer showed us how to finish our bag with a lining and how to attach the braids.
Jennifer was a most generous and patient teacher and we thank you for a most enjoyable day.
Report and photos by Ros
Our September speaker was Jennifer Hughes and her talk was entitled “Culture at their fingertips – the Hill Tribe People of Thailand”. Jennifer trained as a Geography teacher, has an interest in needlework and lived for a number of years in Thailand. She has a wonderful selection of colourful garments and hats which she has collected over the years.
Jennifer explained that the Thai government recognises 6 different groups of Hill Tribe people and they all have their own distinctive individual style. They weave their own materials, usually hemp or dyed indigo cotton, on a backstrap loom attached to a tree or somewhere in the house and garments are then made up using the narrow cloth. At a very young age they are introduced to the various techniques and by the age of 7 or 8 children are expected to weave their own cloth. The garments and head dresses are decorated with stitching, seeds of wild grasses, dyed chicken feathers, and in the old days silver, but this has now been replaced by a lighter metal.
We were shown garments from the Akha tribe, the Mien, who are superb embroiderers, the Lisu, the Lahu and the Hmong.
Report and photos by Ros
Christine Chester’s talk this month was entitled “Afterwards”. Born and brought up in Eastbourne her father was an "in shore" fisherman and so beaches and the sea played a great part in her life. Her grandmother and mother both taught her various crafts but it was not until she was 25 and wanted to give up smoking that she turned to these skills to give herself something to focus on. Christine did her City & Guilds and following the horrific storm in 1987, she created “the Old Sea Wall”.
Christine entered several Hever Castle Quilt Challenges and showed us images of Strips, Stripes & Structures .and an Elizabethan theme.
A lot of Christine’s work has been influenced by family events and in 2004, after her step son’s car accident she created “Faint Hope” which showed the harsh words of the consultants together with the words of hope sent in cards from friends and family.
Christine felt she was become a butterfly with her work flitting from one thing to another so while at Committed to Cloth she decided to concentrate for one year on one technique. About this time her father had a stroke, his memory deteriorated and he could not read. This event in Christine’s life has given the foundation for various pieces of work – Fragile Fragments and Layers of Memory which won a prize at the Festival of Quilts. She used a selection of photographs which her mother had taken of her father as a fisherman and used various techniques to distort them to show the fading, gaps and deterioration in his memory.
Realising how precious life is, Christine decided to give up her job, set up her own studio and start a Masters degree at the University of Brighton. The final piece was based on empty pockets showing the emptiness of the brain. Pockets were cast with plaster and she pointed out the fluff and crumbs which has accumulated at the bottom of the pocket had been transferred to the cast.
In 2014 Christine was diagnosed with breast cancer and she decided to create a series of panels in red which she entitled One Woman's Journey to document the six radiotherapy treatments. She explained that the amount of work in each panel was determined by how she felt at that point – panel 4 had no stitch at all.
Christine is a founder member of UnFold which is a group of artists who had a successful stand at the Knitting and Stitching Show.
Report and photos by Ros
As I love hand stitching I was particularly looking forward to this workshop with Kathleen.
She started by showing us work from four different textile artists who used hand stitching. One was well known to us, Emily Jo Gibbs but the other three were new names - Magdalena Godowa, Kimika Hara and Natasza Niedziolka. Below you will see details of their websites.
Before us on the table Kathleen had displayed various fruit and vegetables which she had cut open to show their insides and we were asked to choose one. The challenge was then to replicate the fruit either adding appliqued materials or just hand stitch. Below you will see the amazing results.
Kathleen has another interesting sideline which she told us about briefly at the end of the day. She makes truly amazing little people under the name of Murgatroyd & Bean. I know my grandchildren would adore to hear the tales and to see these people so I do hope she publishes the stories one day.
Thank you to Kathleen and her friend for a most enjoyable day.
Report & photos by Ros
I was curious about the title of today’s talk “Butterflies and Banners” so it was interesting to hear the story. Born in Derbyshire Heather Everitt spent a lot of her young years with her grandmother who taught her numerous practical skills. Heather was very lucky because she had inspirational teachers at Secondary School, during her Art Foundation course and later at Manchester Metropolitan University where she followed a BA Hon Textile/Fashion chief study in Embroidery. Anne Morrell and Isabel Dibden Wright were two of her tutors and she was given the opportunity to explore behind the scenes of the Whitworth Art Gallery and Gallery of Costume at Platts Field. Heather became interested in heirlooms and tried to age her fabrics to make them look old and worn.
A fortuitous meeting at the final exhibition of her course opened an interesting door which over thirty years later is still a major part of Heather’s work. A gentleman asked if she would be interested in making a masonic banner and she makes on average 6 to 7 a year. Heather also makes replica banners and conserves old worn ones.
After university Heather tried to make a living designing and making hats and cushions but soon realised that she needed more lucrative employment. She became an articled Primary School teacher on the outskirts of Manchester and later moved to become an Arts Co-ordinator in Devon.
Eventually, after 17 years full time she was encouraged by her husband to reduce her teaching and eventually give up work and concentrate on textiles. She got commissions for waistcoats and ties concentrating on nature for inspiration – fish, butterflies, moths etc. Heather used a lot of Liberty fabrics in her work and told us how one day six years ago she queued along with lots of other people to have the opportunity to show her work to a buyer at Liberty’s in Regent Street. She was not successful on this occasion but went away fired with enthusiasm as she subsequently got commissions for weddings and other occasions. More recently she was exhibiting at a craft fair in Devon and a visitor said she knew someone at Liberty’s and promised to contact them. As of last year Heather’s amazing butterflies are now on display in the Liberty Home department.
Heather then went on to explain how she draws or paints the butterfly, chooses the Liberty fabrics which she layers up under organza. The various areas are cut back according to her design using a technique know as reverse applique. The thorax of the butterfly is made using wet and needle felting. Finally Heather adds some “bling” to her work in the form of sequins or the like. The finished butterfly is presented in a labelled box with an OS map as a background identifying the area where it is found.
Heather is very pro-active with a Facebook page, a newsletter, an Etsy site and also sells through “madebyhandonline.com”
Report and photos by Ros
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
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.
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