Monday, 27 October 2008

"Hand-me-down -Drawers" October Meeting

The first meeting of the winter season, on Thursday 16 October, was a great success, with plenty of newsy notices, plans for our Christmas social event and details of our “hands-on” project starting in November.

It was also the debut of our previous Chair, Margaret Waring, as speaker. And she held us spellbound with her topic “Hand-me-down Drawers”.

Margaret told us about four female relatives who are long-departed but whose embroideries and other personal belongings have accumulated in Margaret’s (and husband Peter’s) house. They are too full of memories to be discarded but are no longer fashionable or suited to today’s busy lifestyles. Fragments of delicate stitching, collars and cuffs, tablecloths, cushion covers, buttons, lace, a sewing box, a bonnet – the list of hand-me-down items goes on.

To represent the characteristics of her four subjects Margaret brought four pairs of drawers, ranging from serviceable cotton to embroidered lawn.

At the end of her talk she unveiled a piece of textile art – in the shape of a pair of drawers – that she has created using some of her heirlooms. She has added her own embroidery, including the names of family members and other key words.

Thanks to Hilary Fish for the text and photographs.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Maria Walker - Rags to Riches

Maria Walker's talk on the 19th June 2008 was supported by an array of fine examples of her work.
Her talk moved us through her experiences in art and textiles from accountancy, and her changing emphases in design and techniques. Maria is currently interested in memories and this is reflected in her series of 'dress' mixed media work. Maria is a member of Textile 21 and she has her own website.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

VARIATIONS 2 - Exhibition at Silk museum, Macclesfield

These photographs show some of the 'team' hanging the current exhibition- Variations 2 - at the Silk Museum Macclesfield. It runs until the 26th June 2008.

Pat is explaining the finer points of her work to the director.

Margaret is making some final adjustments to her bags.

Peter attaching the last exhibit!!

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Hardanger Workshop

Julie Eastman writes about the hardanger work shop with Dorothy Hodgson.

"We all had a fantastic day. We began working on a small handanger sample which could be later made into a lavender sachet or mounted on a card to give to someone special."

Below are a selection of the pics Julie took on the day.

Beautiful work ladies, well done.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

March/April update

Our first exhibition this year of members’ new work attracted a steady flow of visitors and may have earned us at least one new member. Here are Margaret and Hilary arranging the exhibits.

The second exhibition opens on Saturday 7 June and continues until Thursday 26 June at the Park Lane Galleries, The Silk Museum.

Hilary Fish wrote this about her exhibit for the June exhibition.

"Spurred on by the deadlines for the exhibitions of members’ new work, I completed the contemporary whitework sampler begun last November at Alston Hall. My two-and-a-half-day course there was a 60th birthday present from husband Graham. From my first experience of a residential embroidery course, I came away exhausted but delighted with the amount learned and the encouragement received. Tracy Franklin was our tutor and I sincerely recommend her relaxed but professional style of teaching. With widely varying levels of skill, each student worked at her own pace. Tracy ensured everyone received personal tuition as well as giving group demonstrations and everyone had practised each aspect of the sampler before going home. "

April 17 meeting
Speakers Joan and Alan Wilkinson had so much to show and tell at the April 17 meeting that they had to be stopped in full flow. Embroideries, textiles, pots, maps, slides and stories held the audience fascinated – but everything stops for tea!

Joan was born in Calcutta and went to school in Darjeeling. She studied weaving as her main subject at Craft College and chose “Aspects of Indian Textiles” as her thesis topic.

Much later, in retirement, she and Alan returned to India and travelled extensively. Wherever they went, they not only bought textiles and pottery but also visited factories and workshops and talked to people working there.

Joan explained that they visited three main areas associated with embroidery – Bangladesh; Kashmir; Rajasthan and Gujarat. Her advice to anyone wanting to do the same is to have patience. She and Alan always go for five or six weeks, as it takes several days to discover each place of interest and then to find transport, tickets and guides – but it is worth it!

Silk Bags

A selection of the silk evening bags made by members at the Jackie Cardy Workshop. Clockwise from top left, the bags were made by Anne Williams (purple), Ann Holmes (pink), Rita Russell (cerise and purple), Betty Taylor (maroon and cream), Carole Biggs (orange) and Hazel Weselby (turquoise). Betty started again from scratch when she got home as she was not satisfied with her first attempt!

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Jackie Cardy Workshop

On Thursday 27th March 2008 Jackie Cardy held a workshop at St John's. She showed us her take on a six panelled silk evening bag. Here is Jackie working on one of the panels with a selection of her bags at the front.

There was a great array of bright colourful silks chosen and after a morning of pattern cutting and constructing we were able to decorate the panels with free machine embroidery, beads or applique,

Here is Jackie helping Margaret with her cord, we all made at least one cord using a variety of thread to coordinate with our silks. The cord would be sufficient for a fastening and tassel.

Some of the days results above, still plenty to do at home! Close up detail of panels and cords.

This is Betty's bag, she raced ahead and managed to almost complete it. The reason it is upsidedown is that we all thought it looked like a whale and it was the only way to get it to stand up for a photo.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

VARIATIONS - Exhibition at Silk museum, Macclesfield

Everyone is invited to view our latest exhibiton, details below..........

These two photos show one of the exhibits, 'Patchwork of Life' by Margaret Steeden.

The concept of patchwork of life is reflected in the half empty/half full sections, the emptiness & gaps in one's life, the isolated squares, the purity of new life and the richness and closeness of family and friends. The green squares represent the green grass that tempts us but is no where as rich and full filling as life. Tonal change reflects the wealth of knowledge and wisdom gained throughout life.

This closeup shows the detail of the hand embroidery employed throughout the piece.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Recycling Workshop with Jen Holmes

Better late than never................. Our November Workshop was on Recycling with Jen Holmes

She designed the workshop to encourage us to be experimental in the use of recycled materials within our embroidery. Her staring point was that embroiderers' like to collect and work with found materials and create a piece of art.
We were asked to take 3 categories of materials : papers, plastics and found objects (natural, metals,plastics and packaging).
The session was very enjoyable an she managed to get us to think more three dimensionally and create free standing pieces.

Jen Holmes is part of TELA and has exhibited in Tameside and at Farfield Mill near Sedburgh
and also part of

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Ann's Monsters

Ann Holmes made these little darlings for her grandchildren for Christmas. The largest 4 were for the grandsons and the mini one for her granddaughter, it has fancy pink clothes and sparkly hair. Ann got the idea after seeing similiar monsters in a magazine advert. The shiny black fabric was a find on the sales table one Thursday and after working out the pattern needed Ann used both sewing machine and hand stitching to complete the finished items. The fun bit came with the decorating with a variety of beads, braids, sequins and glittery materials. Ann says it was worth all the hard work and aching fingers just to see their faces when they unwrapped them. Well done Ann very inventive!!!!!!!!!!Posted by Picasa

Thursday, 28 February 2008

February meeting - Golden Hinde

On Thursday 21st February 2008, Sue and her daughter Sarah brought their golden wares and works of art to show us how it is done! Golden Hinde is owned by Sarah and mum acts as chief advisor. Sue entertained us with her goldwork stories that spanned 30years regularly interrupted by Sarah! what a dynamic team they made.

Betty is getting some tips on a goldwork course she has enrolled on!

The mobile shop Sue and Sarah brought with them was far too tempting for most members and the kits sold very well. I personally bought a telescopic magnet for all those dropped pins and needles.We are looking forward to the Workshop that Sue will be leading in October.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

January Meeting 2008

This is Michelle Harper who gave a very informative and interesting talk on her work as a free lance textile conservator. Michelle is professionally accredited and is based in Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent and can honestly say that her working days are never alike. She has worked on diverse projects such as the mask worn by John Merrick, the elephant man, wall hangings in National Trust and British Hertiage properties as well as private assignments where family heirlooms are displayed to advantage. The example given was that of a corset that was mounted so that it is took on the natural shape of the female form! Michelle can be contacted at for talks or commissions.

On the display table this month were items completed by Margaret Waring, the fourth in her series of granddaughter bags was proudly displayed. (Photo below) The colours were particularly subtle in this piece.