Tag Archives: textile art

The Thread

I’m currently taking part in a small textile art exhibition at the Roffey Park Institute near Horsham. Roffey Park has a new exhibition of art-work every 3 months, and this time they invited six local textile artists. It was good to meet other textile people while we were putting it up (supposedly silently, as we were installing the art in the corridors while training courses were going on, although silence was hard to achieve once we got chatting). It was lovely to meet the other people exhibiting. If you’d like to visit, please phone the institute first as it’s a working environment.

Here’s some lovely work by Isobel Moore and Diane Rogers (below). I’ve seen both their work online and in exhibitions, so it was nice to meet them ‘for real’.

Diane Rogers


Isobel Moore







Also on display are the amazing ‘Rainbow hangings’ that were created by different Embroiderers Guild branches. There are 50 or so densely embroidered hangings, made up individually stitched squares of one colour, between them making a lovely rainbow-coloured collection. They were stitched by different Embroiderers Guild branches and put together as a collective exhibition that tours the country. Here are 2 close-up examples.



Ramster Embroidery Exhibition 2017

It has been great to take part in the Ramster Embroidery Exhibition 2017. Exhibiting alongside some well-known names is slightly daunting, but it’s been an enjoyable and friendly experience. It was wonderful to see so much textile art all together in one place – I think there were nearly 300 exhibits, by 120 different artists, and all so varied. I’ve picked out a few pieces here that I particularly liked.









I love the pincushions above by Jane Cobbett. They are inspired by a Victorian pincushion although they remind me of the mad little silk-worms that are often featured in Elizabethan embroidery. I like the insane grin on the stripy one’s face. I also like the way the velvet pear looks kind of aged.

One of my favourites is ‘House in the Fields’ by Jane Mckeown. There’s something quite modest about it that appeals to me. Even though I have no idea where it is (maybe it’s not a real place at all), but my instant thought was ‘I know that place’. Maybe it reminds me of the small-holding in the Shropshire hills that my parents ran until I was three. It’s beautifully coloured and proportioned. I think it adds so much that the sky is grey not blue, and I love the rows of vegetables all carefully tended. I think it’s a lovely under-stated piece. See more of Jane’s lovely work here

Above: Elizabeth Nicholls, Burning Embers. I like the colours and the freedom of this piece.

Above: Gillian Lamey, Seed Heads 2. This appeals to me because of it’s subtlety. The textures are wonderful (they don’t show up too well here due to the reflective glass, but in real life they’re lovely).

Rita Johnson, Inside the Dance, Embellishment and machine embroidery. I like the sense of movement in this, and the colours.

Above: Jacky Cardy. I treated myself to one of her lovely felted and embroidered bird brooches – I just couldn’t resist.

We took the opportunity for a walk round the beautiful Ramster gardens. The enormous flowering shrubs and trees are magnificent. Some of the magnolias have held their leaves and others had shed them into bright pink carpets (spot the colour coordination with my friend’s clothes!) Does anyone know what this amazing flowering tree is?







‘FIVE’ are in Milton Keynes

‘FIVE’ are back again…

We are moving our recent exhibition (together with some new work) up to Milton Keynes. We are showing stitched textile work inspired by the wonders of World Textiles. You will get get two exhibitions in one visit, because we are exhibiting alongside an Embroiderers Guild exhibition based on the work of garden designer Capability Brown. I’m working away on some new pieces for the new location. Will try to post some images but time is escaping – as it does – I think the world has sprung a leak somewhere, so the time dribbles out!  I hope you can come and visit us at the new venue.


I had a delightful day this week, teaching a textile art workshop to the West Sussex-based Tamarisk Textiles group. What a lovely group to work with – experienced and enthusiastic, and very focussed. The day was based on applique cut-away quilting technique, combined with Procion dyeing (see green sample here). This colour range seemed to catch people’s interest, and about six people chose to work with the combination of very acidic lemon yellow and turquoise, giving a range of greens. I’ll probably add some contrasting stitching to this sample later – maybe in a really different colour like orange or fuschia, or maybe in the darker shades of green already in the piece.

Cut-away applique is as old as the hills, and has been used in many different ways by so many different cultures and embroidery traditions ranging from India to Panama. On the left is a photo of a piece I made donkeys years ago, using cut-away applique (I’ve shown it here before, I forget why). The padded top layer is dyed viscose velvet and the bottom layer is a ‘sandwich’ of different fabrics and threads. Stitching goes through all the layers and is then cut away leaving the top one standing proud of the background. The difference with this one is that I dyed the fabric first, which is why the greens and reds haven’t bled into each other. I did it that way because I didn’t want to blend them and end up with brown. For the blending approach, it’s important to like the colour that you get when your chosen colours bleed into each other.

At this week’s workshop everything was stitched in white on white, and then dyed at the end. The idea is that the dyes will ‘bleed’ across the different fabrics and react differently with each one. The background is built up with pieced and patched bits of un-dyed fabrics with different textures, which is held in place with decorative stitching in undyed thread. It is all dyed at the end.

I think I’ll re-dye this yellow and turquoise one, as the turquoise would be better darker – I think it looks abit ‘weak’. The other issue with this one is that a slight bondaweb sheen can be seen through the strip of dyed lace, so I think that would be better hand-stitched into place instead.

This purple one was made in a slightly different way. Rather than applying bits of fabric, I layered lots of snippets of thread across a backing fabric, on a layer of bondaweb, and then stitched them down with machine vermicelli free-stitching. I’m not entirely convinced by this one because there’s a slight sheen coming through from the bondaweb (it doesn’t show in the photo and other people say it’s OK, but it annoys me). Deeper layers of threads would solve that, but then they slither around while you stitch over them. This was dyed with turquise and fuschia pink. I haven’t photographed the orange and fuschia pink piece that I made as a demonstration in class as I haven’t rinsed it out yet.

Some hand-stitching gives a good contrast to the machine vermicelli stitch (student’s work).

The group produced some lovely work. It was quite a tall order to create the backgrounds, stitch them, apply the padded and raised motifs and get it dyed, all in one day. It could only be done with an experienced group. Some people used my Indian motifs and others created their own. I’m really annoyed with myself for not taking photos of work in progress, and I only remembered to take photos after most of the pieces were packed away. As a result I’ve only got pictures of six pieces of work from the day instead of all 15, but they give an idea of the range of work. I’d be pleased to see some photos of some of the finished pieces when they’re dried and rinsed out. Scroll down for some of the work produced in the workshop.

Nice use of the repeated motif, and some surface couching that took the dye well (student’s work)

Some nice colour bleeding in the bottom half, where the red has been given freedom to find it’s own way into the yellow. (student’s work).

I like the way the colours blend and bleed across the motifs in this one (student’s work)

Some subtle colour mixing in this one (student’s work).


‘FIVE’ Exhibition is now open

The ‘FIVE’ exhibition is now installed in Worthing. I’ve ‘disappeared’ from my blog for a while because of preparations for the exhibition, so I’m pleased to say it’s all hung and open to visitors now. There’s one photo above of a finished section, and I’ll add more photos of the final installation when I’ve taken some in better light.

In the meantime, here are some photos of ‘work in progress’ while we were hanging the work. We did have a few ‘headless chicken’ moments, but we were OK once we’d worked out a ‘grand plan’ of what was going where before getting down to details. There’s so much to organise in advance, down to the minutest details like the size and length of screws needed, where to source plinths from, publicity and writing Artist Statements etc. Working out a ‘house style’ was well worth the time invested, to give some continuity for labels etc.

The ‘team’ all stayed at my house during the 3 days of installation as I’m the only one local to the exhibition. I have to admit, by the time we were kicked out of the gallery each day at closing time we were ready for a glass of wine or three. My husband is now convinced that textiles are just a ‘cover’ for an eating and drinking group. Mind you, having just taken out the recycling I can see why he thinks that!

We’re at The Studio Gallery at Worthing Museum and Art Gallery, Chapel Road, Worthing BN11 1HP. If you’re planning to come over, then a good time to come would be this Saturday, 14th May between 2 and 5pm. That’s the one time when all five of us will be there so we’d love to see you then. Otherwise, we’re open until May the 21st, from Tuesday-Saturday, 10.00am to 5.00pm. Do come to see us if you can. Here’s a sneak preview below of part of the room in a panoramic shot.



‘FIVE’ Exhibition

I’m pleased to tell you about our new exhibiting group, ‘FIVE’. We’re a group of textile artists (yes there are five of us – how did you guess?!) who have joined together as an exhibiting group. We met through the City and Guilds Diploma course in Stitched Textiles at Missenden Abbey, and became firm friends through our shared love of everything to do with textiles. How lucky you are if you stumble across people with shared interests, and what a joy it is to support and encourage each other along our textile journey.

We all felt ready for a new challenge, so we decided to plan a joint exhibition of textile art. We all love the rich variety of world textiles, which we studied in some depth during our course, and it left us buzzing with new ideas for designs. For this reason we decided to base our first exhibition on World Textiles. The starting point for each piece is something from the world textiles that we love. It may be a colour combination, a pattern, a shape or function, or it may just be a texture.

We’re all working on very different things. I’m working on a series of Indian-inspired panels, using the bright colours and the ‘sparkle’ of Indian textiles. Barbara is working on cushions, some of which are inspired by the subtleties of English embroidery. Elaine is making a series of embroidered mirrors that each reflect the colours and motifs of different continents, all so very different from each other. Suzanne is working on a hand-felted and embroidered jacket in the vibrant and exciting colours and patterns of Guatemala. Cheryl’s ‘family  of stitched dolls’ represent family groups from different countries and cultures who are uprooted from one country to another, and the journey they go on as they move from a familiar culture to a new one. They are currently travelling the country, and the people ‘hosting’ them are writing different entries in their travel journal. It will be interesting to see what has appeared in the journal by the time they reach Worthing in May.

It’s an exciting and challenging experience putting on our first exhibition outside the more ‘sheltered’ confines of end-of-course shows. It’s all very exciting – I’ll keep you posted.

Creative Waves, Art on the Pier at Worthing

I’m really pleased that five of my pieces have been chosen to feature in a ‘community art’ project on Worthing Pier. The Creative Waves project has been going for several years now. It features the work of artists from the Worthing and Adur area, on panels along the pier.  The images are printed onto specially treated vinyl which is resistant to UV damage, and they are mounted between glass panels that run down the centre of the pier. They stay there for a year and they seem to stand up to all the wind, salt, rain and blazing sun that comes their way.  The west side will feature one piece each from 50 artists, and the east side will feature five pieces each from ten artists.  The images on each side are mounted ‘back to back’ so that other panels can still looked through as windows. I like the very broad interpretation they give to ‘art’ – as well as paintings and drawings, they also feature silver-smithing, sculpture, embroidery, felting, printing and photography, amongst others. They also include lots of images from local children. Wow, if I’m pleased to have my work there, just imagine how exciting it would be if you were a young child! You can read more about the project here. I’ve just received the proofs (see below) of the images that were chosen (if you’ve looked at the Gallery pages here then you may recognise them). Worthing pier is a short stroll from my house and it will be quite surreal to see my own work there when we go down for an afternoon tea or an evening drink. How exciting!

Fossil bark, mono-print and dye

Flower Stem, wrapped wire and stitching on soluble fabric

Jane Robinson Bark cloth.

Fossil rock, gold-work on dyed and manipulated fabric

Turkish tulip flower-light, stitched on soluble fabric and wire





Goldwork embroidery: 3D floating fossil rock

This embroidered floating fossil rock was a Goldwork piece for the City and Guilds Diploma in Stitched Textiles (Embroidery). It uses traditional metal thread techniques. Silk and viscose velvet was dyed with Procion dye, and the ‘veins’ in the rock were machine-stitched with Madeira FS20 thread in black and gold. The goldwork fossils are stitched with traditional metal thread techniques (leather kid, jap, purls and pearl purl) and the fabric is then scrunched and tweaked into the 3D rock. It floats on electro-magnets, using ‘Levitron Fascinations EZ float’ technology.

I hope you enjoy it.