Thursday 20 June 2024

 18th July

'Journey into quilts ' a presentation by Sarah Hibbert

Thursday 16 May 2024


 20th June 2024

' Curiously captivated'  a presentation by Rachael Singleton


Workshop 1.5 days - Unfolded Ferneries with Rachael Singleton

20th June 13.00 - 15.30

21st June 10.00 - 15.30


 ' Curiously captivated'  was an interesting presentation by Rachael describing her fascination and obsession and its influences on her work/making.

Rachael has always been a 'maker' and comes from a family of creative makers, this in earlier times probably developed as making things/clothes etc was a necessity. She has had a go at most things, embroidery, patchwork, painting and her work features paint/painting a lot hence Textile and mixed media artist.

To Rachael art has always been a joy and she has done what she has wanted to do rather than being bound by 'rules' she has always liked to 'play' and experiment. This has seen the creation of many sketch books including the concertina book below.


She has had a career in teaching and advising in the 'early years' age range where there is opportunity for more spontaneous /explorative learning. Rachael has also produced books, 'Thinking It Through' outlines the creative process encouraging people to think what gets them inspired and focus on this.  

Rachael has identified being captivated by stones/stone walls, line, markmaking and containing with her work featuring one or more of these themes.

Stones/ stone walls - she collects pebbles, draws/photographs pebbles in rivers/sea, experiments, block prints, she often paints onto fabric, stitches into it, applies pebbles etc to it. Two pieces of work are 'Sandstone tubes' (feature silk, chiffon, organza layered onto painted cotton, stitched and made into tubes) and 'Ocean motion' (made from  5 pieces,wipes used to remove paint from print blocks, featuring reverse applique, stitch etc)


Thursday 18 April 2024

 16th May 2024

'Sculptural textile art' a presentation by Priscilla Edwards

Priscilla has always been creative, painting, making structures with papier mache etc which led to an art course and a degree in Embroidery at MMU. During the course she worked with a variety of materials including clear/coloured plastics and bubble wrap, old/recycled textiles, found items etc and also researched costume,period items eg shoes, undergarments, haberdashery (fastenings, edge finishes, decorative features). Priscilla experimented with fabric decoration, painting, printing, using transfer printing to put her drawings directly onto material which she worked over in stitch (hand or machine) and added in buttons or found items. 

From this her work developed into 3D structures including shoes,flowers,milk jugs, teapots, cups, saucers, spoons cakestands and cakes.







 The starting point for these is a wire skeleton/structure, Priscilla uses paper covered wire, white, which she can then paint, then wraps on the dyed fabrics - light weight silks which include some vintage silk scarves for added colour/pattern/texture, threads/wool, she then applies Batik wax using a brush and once dry works stitch and other items like buttons into this to complete the sculpture.


The materials she uses are increasingly important being found items, broken ceramics eg heads,legs of figures, old leather gloves/ shirt collars/hats/vintage fabrics all of which are repurposed into Priscilla's work eg the birds cages and birds.

Priscilla teaches in higher education, is involved in design work - featuring machine embroidery and free machine work, she creates 2D pieces, up to 100x70cm, using emulsion paint/varnish/glue on fabric which she then layers and stitches into to produce surface decoration. She exhibits these pieces together with the 3D sculptures.

Monday 1 April 2024

 18th April 2024

'Gentle work'  emotions and stories in stitch a presentation by Christine Kelly.

Christine has always been creative and made items, initially using papier-mache decorated in bright colours, then moving on to introduce hand stitch and knitting in the making of rag dolls etc these were given to the family as presents.  

Christine did not have any textiles training until she took a City and Guilds course in machine embroidery. This led to her layering and stitching into paper using machine embroidery. She also collected vintage books,paper, lace, fabrics, traycloths etc all of which are pale colours - cream, ivory, beige, grey, which are calming. Her collection of fabrics and lace often provide starting points for pieces of work.


A move to the country allowed her to develop her work and creativity through the inclusion of nature, seasons, creatures, birds,feathers, acorn cups and then the incorporation of text/own words as part of the piece to tell a story. 

Christine finds the use of words powerful and people relate to them eg 'Words of Wisdom' favourite quotes (worked as a roll)and 'Working hard to make a life stitch by stitch' (book). She uses a water soluble pen to write the words onto the fabric and then hand stitches them with small running stitches and then whips the stitches following /emphasising the shape of the letters.









Christine finds stitching and her work comforting, they anchor her and express emotions.

She has made/used boxes putting words/objects inside to preserve memories, as keepsakes and as gifts.


 Projects undertaken have been the 'Collar Piece' where she was given a shirt collar to do anything creative with. She titled it 'White collar work' inspired by an extract from 'Toads' by Philip Larkin as inspiration applied papier- mache using old receipts, finishing with hand embroidery found objects and also made a bow tie to accompany it.

The next was 'Daphnes Glove' - they were given a vintage glove and a 'Cashes' name tape for Daphne Bryant' Christine created 'Souvenirs from the imaginary life of Daphne Bryant' by finding a photo to use as Daphne, using fingers of the glove to make a broach, the lace trim to make a bracelet, with additions of beads/jewels, an ear ring, a photo frame from rest of glove, for each piece she produced a back story and made a pocket to contain the items.


Sunday 3 March 2024

 21st March 2024

'My felted journey with botanical colours'  was unfortunately cancelled as Helen (our speaker) was ill.

'The unstitched coif' a presentation of work which was created to contribute to a PhD research project by Toni Buckby was delivered by Sue Jones one of the core group members.

In 2023 information went out to find 40 stitchers to stitch a piece of 'Blackwork' based on an archive from the V & A.

400 people from all over the world applied, there was funding for a core group of 40 although any of the others could join and stitch if they wanted too.

One workshop was held at the V&A, another at Sheffield Hallam as the PhD was in conjunction with Hallam. At the workshop they looked at historical Blackwork, fabrics, stitches, how it could be used in modern times etc.

The project was based on a panel (15" x9") from the 1600's which featured a coif - an Elizabethan headdress. This panel however had had the original stitching/embroidery removed leaving just the outlines.

Each of the members (150) started with a printed panel of the coif, the fabric for the core group was Italian and 75 threads to an inch - a strain to see when stitching!

Sue wanted to use colours rather than black, her first flower took some 30 hours of work, then via the social media chat (set up for the group to exchange ideas, problems etc) Sue learned that someone had identified the flowers/plants and the flower she had completed was not in a colour which she considered suitable so she unpicked it, and restarted using appropriate colours.

At the conclusion there were 77pieces of work these were created by people from all over the world with members ranging from the youngest at 13 to the oldest at 85. Some had used traditional blackwork for all of the coif, others used a mix of stitches including backstitch and beading, some had even tried to link it up with electronics to produce,for example a flashing of an eye in animals or birds or flower centre.

Members had decided on their own threads eg pure silk for the sheen, vintage sylko etc, some used applique and machining, others just outlined the shapes of flowers, leaves, animals and birds. 



As part of the project members had to record information about the choice of stitches, techniques, colours etc so at the end for each piece of work there was a record of the person, the stitches, time taken (for Sue 250 hours!)  and the work.

 Currently the V&A are having extensions but the hope is there will eventually be an exhibition of the work, the curator had looked at all the exhibits and emailed each contributor personally.



It was most interesting to not only hear about the project but to see so many different and varied outcomes from the same starting point of the original coif  design.

Thursday 8 February 2024

 15th February 2024

Boro, history and reinvention was an interesting and informative presentation by Angela Oswald.

The origins of Boro are in Japan where it is 'The Art of Necessity'

Boro depends on rags, scraps and tattered cloth which is unique to Japan, the aim is to repurpose old fabrics by stitching and mending. This 'new' fabric is then layered and stitched together to make garments, frayed edges are also a feature.

Initially the fabrics came from India, many were indigo dyed, and they were worked and worked being made into garments like Kimonos.


Boro dates from the 17th Century, from 1603 to 1868 trade with Japan was severley limited as the borders were closed (to prevent diseases and Christianity entering the country)by the Shoguns.


The poorest people, peasants and artisans, wore Boro the fabrics used being home spun hemp, rough cotton and cast off clothing which were re worked into cloth which was used to keep the poor warm and covered.


 Boro is the result of repetitive stitching of the fabric over and over through the generations, the fabrics are patched (to mend and strengthen)  and sashiko stitched to provide decoration.


Indigo dye was used as the plants grew readily in hot countries so everyone could grow the plants and it was cheap and popular. The Dutch East India company traded from one island in Japan, however Japan eventually started to trade more widely and this saw the decline of Boro with it being seen as shameful.


Now Boro is being used as a decorative technique with a variety of materials used for patching and running or blanket stitch being used to attach and enhance.


This is a traditional type of bag which was made to carry the rice eaten for lunch

Tuesday 2 January 2024

 18th January 2024 

'My textile practice and love of ecoprinting' -  a presentation by Jane Hunter


Mini workshop 13.00 - 15.30  'A little tin of stitched treasures' 

NB will be part 2 in March








My textile practice and love of ecoprinting

Jane is from a family  who have always knitted and sewn which led to her following a creative career. At university she studied knitted and woven textiles including dye, stitch, weave etc, this was followed by creating her own knitwear which she sold at agricultural shows. Jane then took a teaching qualification, worked on knitting/felting and since Covid has focused on 'ecoprinting' of fabrics.

Ecoprinting incorporates her love of nature and dyeing, Jane uses all natural ingredients but as a chemical reaction is required in order to dye she uses mordants, Alum, Iron Sulphite, Copper and Aluminium Sulphite ( these help with light and colour fastness).


She uses alum and iron the most, liking the iron as it reacts with the tannins in the leaves. The different colours are all obtained from leaves which Jane picks in the summer (when they have most colour), dries them in layers of paper with card on top. Oak leaves have a good tannin content,the tops and undersides give different colours, birch leaves give green whilst onion skins are amber. Ferns, honesty, geranium, ash leaves all give good shapes.









 To create silk scarf Jane paints on the mordant, layers the leaves on top,rolls them round a bar/pole and wraps with string, puts into bag and steams in a pan  or folds and presses between blocks,clamps them before  dyeing.


Jane uses freezer paper to separate the layers of fabric and once removed the print on the paper can be ironed onto a scarf or used to cover books or make cards.






Fabrics used are silk, cotton, wool (merino), the wool can also be felted to achieve texture. The protein fibres give the most detail whilst cotton (cellulose) needs different treatment(slaked lime/vinegar) and paper requires the leaves to be in very close contact to obtain a good print.