Thursday, 28 April 2022

New project. Stitched textile artists. Collections.

 The proposed topic for this next project is collections.

My immediate reaction was to consider the collection of antique  lace bobbins which belonged to my aunt with which she worked beautiful pieces of handmade lace.

A small selections of my lace bobbins:

I really loved the above and playing around with the bobbins to find pleasing patterns but then came to realise that these are beautifully worked in fine crochet! I needed to think again!

I still had plenty to chose from and kept coming back to this piece, given to me by my aunt:

It originally came to me in a frame with a tiny photo in the centre of my aunt with her sister [my mum] and her brother. Delightful.

How would I use this? So delicate and beautiful. I felt I'd like to include a vintage and altered photo
which would appear in keeping with the style of the lace.

This altered photo seemed perfect, my mother and aunt playing as children laid over a free machine embroidered image / outline worked on a sheer fabric of the same photo: 


And then somehow incorporated within the piece of lace:

I decided to experiment with printing the photo onto a piece of cotton organdie and laying that over the altered photo. I'm pleased with the effect of the images of the girls and the lace showing through the layers facilitated by the sheer quality of the cotton organdie and suggesting the passage of time:

And with the photos of the two girls laid on top:

Now I'm playing with ideas to incorporate the lace bobbins:

I'm considering interpreting the lace through cut work, I needed to transfer the design onto a suitable fabric perhaps cotton organdie [ as it doesn't fray]. This proved unsuitable as the transfer pen I used didn't show the shape of the design sufficiently for me to work the cutwork accurately.

A piece of cotton lawn proved more suitable, I have worked the outline of a part of the design in running stitch. This will need to be filled with two more rows of 
running stitch over which I'll work a buttonhole edging : 

My reference:
Teach Yourself Embroidery 1938

And Embroidery by Good Housekeeping 1981:

Second thoughts [this often happens when I spend time away from my work!] 
I'll abandon the transfer pencil and try tracing the design onto tissue paper or stitch and tear, then machine stitch the design though the tissue paper onto the fabric and tear it away afterwards. 
That way I can stay with my original plan to use cotton organdie which will be easier to work with - no fraying and a slight stiffness to support the hand stitched cutwork. 

Sounds like a good plan, I love the problem solving along the way with a new project.   

Friday, 19 November 2021

The Society for Embroidered Work, Surface and Depth. Exhibition in Rome, 2021

 I was proud to become a member of SEW in 2019 and delighted to be selected for their exhibition, Surface and Depth in Rome, October, 2021,

The exhibition was held in the Palazzo Velli Expo, in the Trastavere region of Rome as part of Rome Art Week. The aim of SEW is to promote and support stitched art as an artform by breaking down misconceptions, especially in Italy where contemporary embroidery is little known or recognised,

The response was amazing and the exhibition was really well received thanks to the organisers Olga   Teksheva, Felicity Griffin Clark and Cat Frampton. A major Italian newspaper, La Repubblica featured a double page spread about the show and publications in many other magazines thanks to the press officer, Stefania Vaghi. The show became one of the most visited in Rome Art Week.

I was fortunate enough to travel to Rome with my artwork.

                                               Patterns in Nature:



                                              The gallery:

Thanks to Olga:

And Felicity:

Please see the S.E.W. instagram page for lots of beautiful images and information:


Stitched Textile Artists Masterclass weekend August 2021

 This was a residential weekend led by textile artist Sian Martin in the beautiful surroundings of the Ammerdown Centre in Somerset.

Sian had suggested we look at the use of colour and mood, to consider what we are trying to evoke and how.

We were advised to take with us fabrics (preferably sheer) and threads in a colour range of our choice, plus some cheap nylon netting. Sian provided some CMC, a non toxic modelling paste.

I decided to continue with the same colour scheme as our previous (zoom) session as I still had enough space dyed silks to work with.  

Of course roses were still very much in my mind especially as they evoke so much emotion and so decided to explore their potential further.

During the first session Sian asked us to cut our fabrics up and sandwich between 2 layers of netting brushing with the CMC. These were left to dry overnight and in the morning we peeled the netting away to reveal a brand new surface on which to work! 

I was delighted to see that it looked like a sheet of rose petals!

Sian asked us to divide our new piece of fabric into 4 pieces

We were to produce 4 pieces evoking 4 different moods.

I considered the rose, noting the thoughts and words which came up as I worked. The rose as a bud and flower - full of promise followed by the inevitable decay, full of promise until changes take place; although decay may also be perceived as beautiful. The rose as part of a bouquet which may be celebratory ( think bright colours) or sent in sympathy (muted colours).

I chose to explore how a rose garden may change over the 4 seasons and the moods this may evoke.

I looked at the nature of my rose petal fabric, the reverse, the holey nature, the exquisite edges. 


Soft colours, gentle stitching to evoke emergence, hope, growth, activity and renewal

I gently gathered and manipulated the fabric to suggest the idea of growth and activity going on below the surface 


Bold colours, abundance, opulence. In order to evoke a feeling of abundance I used strips of fabric for stitching in bright colours weaving in and out of the holes in the surface with french knots and running stitch


Summer's opulence has given way to a more subdued feel, This is work in progress and yet to be stitched. I love the edging achieved in this sample and the 'petals' which are falling away


A sense of winter closing in, darker colours and a feeling of heaviness. Work in progress and stitching yet to be worked to evoke the mood.

Four seasons:

I'm planning to develop this in the near future with another larger piece in the offing. Lots of opportunity to experiment with stitch to build on and evoke feeling.

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Hand made book to celebrate my Grandmother's life as a child, young woman, nurse, mother and farmer's wife and in later life.

 I wanted to make a book to accompany the embroidered panel to celebrate my Grandmother's life.

I made lots of hand made paper of varying thicknesses, including thicker weights for the cover. I added a strong tea solution to the paper pulp to give an aged appearance.

A piece of embroidery which I've stitched based on a piece originally worked by my Grandmother is sandwiched between two layers of paper and 'framed' by an oak leaf shaped surround.


The frontispiece in my Grandmother's autograph book is decorated with a beautiful oak leaf design, I've copied this onto some tissue paper and glued it to the inside cover. I added a sample of her handwriting which appeared in the original book giving her signature and address, it's wonderful to have this.

 More hand made paper which has been embossed with a real oak leaf. I'm thrilled with the result!

Here she is probably in her mid twenties:

Her initials embossed in hand made paper:

As a child playing on a swing! Probably a common style of photo at the time. I've added a ribbon sash to embellish the photo a little:

Her wedding day! May 1922. I have embellished her bouquet with some hand stitching [bullion and French knot with detached chain]; I think my Grandfather looks very dapper and proud in his top hat!

Here they are as a family! My mother is in the centre front and she says Grandpa had probably just fed the pigs given the bucket in his hand. I love this relaxed family portrait and would love to know who the photographer was! I sourced the newspaper page from Google images, it was dated 1931 which would have been around the correct date.

Farmer's wife and busy feeding the ducks:

Children playing and running through the farmyard:

Nursing years. I don't have a photo of my Grandmother in her nurse's uniform and this image was sourced from The Red Cross website. The background photo is of the clinic in Exeter hospital  which I've printed onto calico and then added the free machine stitched image of the nurses.

The autograph book has many sincere messages of thanks, poems, drawings,and anecdotes:

These are oak leaf collages made up of monoprinted papers to symbolise the autumn as my Grandmother registered with the Red Cross in October, 1915:

A double page spread clearly showing the soldiers waiting to be seen and the nurses in their splendid uniforms waiting to start work, I've added some monoprinted and text within poppies to add to the atmosphere in the photo:

The later years. My Grandparents as I remember them. I love this photo:

My Grandmother was a very practical and accomplished needlewoman. I love these beautiful calico covered buttons and I'm lucky enough to have a full set! 

I've added text from an embroidery book dated 1939, I've actually got 2 copies so felt ok about using these pieces of text from the pages of the tattiest one! And they're very apt!!

A piece of my Grandmother's embroidery:

And this entry was made by my 11 year old self in her autograph book after she died, I remember feeling very sad. She taught me many proverbs and this is one of them:

And at the back of the book.............. I always like to have a pocket or envelope for odd snippets left from a project and I found this little envelope with a memo to remember inside and that seemed very apt:

A fitting end to the celebration of a wonderful lady and a life well lived..........