Tag Archives: Worthing

Last year…

So many blog posts get partly written in my head, usually when I’m driving, when I have time to think about it but not actually do it……and then a month goes by, and another month…….

There’s always something else pressing, like ‘life and stuff’. I’ve been sucked into Facebook (a bit late to the party, resisting all the way, but now I’ve become quite an addict). And I think there’s also a loss of momentum with blogging, and wondering who is out there reading it. FB is so quick and immediate; just toss in a photo and a couple of sentences, and job’s a good’un. There’s an argument in my head between the appeal of the instant click and share, and the enjoyment of longer reflections and ramblings with time to explore thoughts and ideas. But if I always aim for longer reflections then this may be part of the reason why I don’t get round to doing it, so maybe I need to start again with shorter simpler posts. Anyway, to get started again I thought I’d just post some a few random photos of what I’ve been up to since my last post.

A lovely course with Hilary Beattie: print, dye, collage and stitch.

Playing with colour

Goldwork poppy, my entry for the Embroiderers Guild ‘Page 17’ Exhibition. Each entry is inspired by Page 17 of a chosen book – in my case W Keble-Martin’s ‘The Concise British Flora in Colour’

Some simple Christmas tree decorations. A bit naff maybe?

Goldwork: gold-foiled silk, couched ‘Jap’, edging machined with metallic thread on soluble fabric.

I can’t seem to leave goldwork alone…I always want to do ‘just one more’.

Oh OK, one more then…

From a course with Alexandra Waylett. A lovely day.

This is going back a bit now, but I think I posted it as work in progress but never put the finished thing on here.

Unexpected holes under the house are very distracting. We are surrounded by a sea of mud, while the path and terrace are being drilled/dug up. It’s amazing how much time and energy these things absorb.

Oh, and another distraction is that I’ve been working on a new website for Worthing Tuesday Embroiderers Guild. It’s had more attention than my own website, so do check it out here.

That’s all for now. It would be great to know who reads this. I know from Google Analytics that people do visit, but I’d love to know who you are so do leave a comment. ‘Toodle Pip’.



‘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).



There’s something about the sparkle of metal thread that keeps drawing me back to it. Perhaps I was a magpie in a former life? Here’s an update on the piece that I was working on some time ago, based on motifs from Indian textiles. I’ll just show you some details rather than the whole finished piece, because it will be going into our exhibition in May – but once it is up on the wall then I’ll post pictures of the finished thing. I’m working on several other pieces alongside it, but this particular one has been quite time-consuming so it’s good to see it finally coming together. I really wanted to do something that was purely decorative and not ‘conceptual’ in any way. I prefer not to use an embroidery hoop where I can avoid it, so working on thick felt makes that easier as it isn’t too floppy. Unfortunately it makes it hard to photograph. Something about the way felt absorbs light seems to drain the colour out of the photo, so it either looks dull or harsh. The colours are better in real life, honest! I’ll post some of the other pieces that I’m working on in another post quite soon.

On the subject of bling, I ran a day workshop on goldwork last week for the West Sussex Federation of Women’s Institutes. They have regular craft days that are open to all the different local branches. It’s an opportunity to get together and learn something – and yes, some stitching did go on in between the chatting! I enjoyed teaching such a friendly and welcoming group, and their enthusiasm was lovely. I offered the choice of working from my design, or ‘going off-piste’ and working more spontaneously. Three people chose to work from the design and nine chose to work spontaneously. I have seen people getting quite stressed with goldwork because of the emphasis on ‘perfection’ and the difficulty of achieving that in the early stages. It’s hard to try to produce something perfect when you’re learning the techniques, and the traditional plain silk backing really emphasises any little mistakes. The idea of doing it more ‘free-form’ is to let the materials dictate the shapes, so that there is no ‘right or wrong’ place to position each piece. As I explained, the design did not need to be any more challenging than starting with a zig-zag or a wiggle, then letting those develop to complement the first lines, and then filling in spaces. Several people produced pieces that looked quite ‘art nouveau’ in their shapes, because they let the materials ‘flow’ quite naturally.

Working like that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and I did explain that it was abit of an experiment, but I was impressed that so many were willing to give it a go. The people who worked from a design also produced some pleasing results.

Now I must focus on finishing off the half-done pieces for the exhibition in May. Just to remind you, it’s from Fri 6th May to Sat 21st May (Tuesday to Saturday) 10.00 to 5.00, at The Studio Gallery at Worthing Museum and Art Gallery. See the ‘FIVE’ page on this website for more details.



‘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