Saturday, 29 March 2014

The Experimental Textiles End of Year Show at the NEC March 20 - 23

 Tucked away in one of Mary's work book was this beautiful sampler of textures.

The Experimental Textiles End of Year Show went down very well. It was good to see so many visitors asking the girls questions. It makes a massive difference when you are making a piece of work to know that it is going to be seen by thousands of people - it can be very scary. 
Especially when it is the first time you have ever shown your work!

 The day always started quietly as the visitors made their way through the show to our back corner. It gave the girls a chance to 'warm up'. 
This is Kat and Rachel explaining about the course.

 Rachel's paper collage is a the top and 2 of Val's samples are below.

The students have to help hang the show and then steward it between themselves.
I am there to keep an eye on things  . . . . 

We had a lot of interest in the course - I am hoping to run 2 courses side by side from June - one on a Thursday and Friday and the other on a Saturday and Sunday. We already have students enrolled from Scotland and Cornwall as well as the local area. There is a good Holiday Inn Express close where by the students from further afield can stay overnight. One of the reasons I teach the course in Redditch is that is almost the middle of the country, has a train and train station very close by and is very close to the major motorways.

There are a maximum of 10 students on each course and we are taking enrolments now so if you are interested go to -
 One of Mary's weavings above and one of Val's experiments with using one of her block designs for applique.

 Kat's transfer prints at the top with felt by Val and a print by Mary.
On the plinth we have 'Bette Noir', Mary's 3D piece and few of the felt bowls.

 From the left - 4 of the 'Jouneys', a selection from the large still life and then some of the samples featured below.
 Kat's large, stitched paper collage at the top surrounded by gorgeous stitched samples.

 This was the beginning of Rachel's final piece. As the course is not accredited it means the students have less pressure to make a final piece, unless they want to. They can choose to do what they want to. Rachel wanted to continue making considered, stitched samples, until the show loomed into view - then she wanted to make something special. Having created so many samples of how to create the finished piece, Rachel out of time to finish it, but it still looked great. It just needs more stitch. This is one of the reasons it is important for the groups to have an end of year show - it changes the way you see your work and up to a point - how you you work.
I was particularly pleased with Rachel's work throughout the year as she had never even picked up a needle before the course. She can now work confidently by herself. 

 One of Mary's samples - Layered and stitched Tyvek  zapped and backed with pale grey fabric.
 Mary's fantastic woven bowl.

 From the top, Barbara's 2 newspaper faux chenille samples, left is Barbara's hand dyed and stitched sampler and Val's final piece.

 Val's final piece, layers and layers of hand dyed natural fabrics hand stitched in self coloured thread. It too a very long time to sort the way the colour 'falls'.

 One of Mary's hand dyed samples - about 10" x 7", the flowers can bet into all kinds of shapes.

 Val's small hand stitched sampler - just beautiful.
 Rachel's lovely hand stitched piece. So much fabulous hand stitch.

 Val's paper collage made from one of her still life paintings.

 Mary and Barbara taking advantage of a lull in proceedings to have a bit of lunch.
 The group's work book were very popular indeed - well they are the backbone of the course. The girls will have these amazing resources for the rest of their lives.

 One of Mary's designs from her journey. Print blocks on the left, print on the right.
 One of Rachel's samples for her final piece.

 Barbara's 2 felt hangings were just superb and very popular.


I hate it when a long course finishes - you build a bond with each student. I know I will be speaking to them and seeing them again, but for now I need to think of the next course starting in June.

One of the good things about the end of the course is the occasional gift a tutor receives - I was very spoilt this time with books and even a 'monster'.
  . . AND a rather large box of chocolates. Very carefully chosen - look at the design on the corners - quite 'journey' like.

. . . and the the description of the box of chocolates . . . couldn't be better . .

 . .  and NO!!! there aren't any left! Quelle Suprise!!


News about

While I am away from the 30th March - May 6th will be on a 28 day turnaround as opposed to the usual 7 working days. Jayne will be coming in to pick and post orders once a week but orders will take longer than usual to get out. All orders should be out within 14 days but I need to cover myself!!! 
PlayPacks will be unavailable till I get back and we are out of stock on the small Hot Spots. however, the new KK glue is now on the site and Reclaimed Textiles should be on the site next week. I am leaving a pile of signed copies for Jayne to post out.

KK Glue sprinkled lightly through a stencil and then foiled.

This will be my last post before I leave  -  I will post from Canberra next week - oooerr!!!!

I'm off to find my BIG suitcase and start packing.

Have a great weekend!

Hi Jill and Diana and Swansea!
This one is for you Mr Sculpher I hope it has passed muster?

x x x

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch at the NEC March 20th - 23rd

 A girl needs a certain kind of sustenance when doing the shows . . . . .

Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch was brilliant - busy - but brilliant. I didn't get a lot of chance to see all of the show but what I did see was fantastic. 

The exhibit I liked the best was Barkcloth to Artcloth - it was remarkable. A collaboration between Textile artist Bobby Britnell and Shoe designer Janet Middleton using traditional Barkcloth material from Uganda and re-inventing this wonderful fabric and creating little shoes. The idea was for textile artists to decorate a piece of barkcloth in their own style and Janet was to make a small pair of shoes from it.

This exhibition has been created to raise awareness and funds for Hands up for Uganda. A project that was started by Bobby ad her family that has just grown and grown, what everyone had achieved is quite fantastic.  

The shoes will also be exhibited at the Excel show 3rd - 5th April - Creative Stitches/Fashion and Embroidery. Do go and see them if you can - they are delightful.

The NEC show is a great way for me to catch up with loads of friends - here are three of them . . . .

Viv from Art Van Go, Bobby Britnell and Sue Chapman. The three graces???

Steph Redfern was there with some great new work. 

 . .  and Kathleen Laurel Sage was on the stand behind me - and also delivered a workshop for me everyday in the Vilene Experimental Textiles Workshop.

Hilary and her girl Friday! 

The divine Hilary Beattie had a joint exhibition with Jenny Rolfe.

One of Hilary's quilts.

It was great to catch up with Jean and Walter from Oliver Twist. Here is the lovely Walter posing beautifully in front of their colourful wares.

And of course there was Art Van Go - and young Kevin Mead. (Viv was on walkabout somewhere).

And then Bobby arrived . . . 

 . .  to share Crocs . . .

 It was fab to see Margaret Beal again - and she has a new website - do take a look.

My dear friend Wendy Dolan was also there - Wendy ( is being a big help to me while I am in Australia and running the Vilene Experimental Textiles Workshop at the Excel show for me.

I ran a 45 minute workshop every day extolling the virtues of the S133. The heaviest iron-on interfacing from Vilene. I had the flower shapes laser cut and the students decorated them with decorated newspaper, transfer foils and sparkle.
We had a great time and the students created some fabulous work.

My Experimental Textiles group also exhibited at the show - I will post about that on Saturday.


Hello Jill
Hello Diana
Hello Swansea!!! 
We all miss you.

x x x

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Jersey Textile Showcase - March 5th - 11th Part the fourth . . .

This was Fay's sample mirror to show the students what could be achieved.

This will be a very fast post - I am getting ready to leave this evening for the NEC and Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch. I didn't want to leave with out telling you about one of Fay Maxwell's workshops at The Jersey Textiles Showcase.

It was titled 'A slip in time'.
The 3d shapes or 'slips' are worked on a cotton fabric base and embroidered with crewel wool and stranded cottons. The little flowers are wool blanket circles covered with tapestry wool and perle. No silks at all, though you could use them.
Her website is broken at the moment, she can't get into it to change her address as she has just moved, but you can email her at - If you want to know of any upcoming workshops.
All her workshops are excellent but this one caught my attention because of all the layering of techniques which can only be developed over time and years of experimenting. She is such a star!

Detail of the mirror above.

Here is a bag of 'slips', little separate 3D shapes that can be stitched on to - anything!

Aren't they lovely?

This is the corner of the mirror at the top of this post with 3 of the slips placed on.

 . . . and more . . .  Can you have too much texture???

 . .  another detail . . .

One of the students starting their long and short stitch for the slip.

These mirrors are just divine - so beautifully worked.

A few close ups so you can see the layers . . .

A happy group of ladies working hard.

Fay (left), is a fabulous, funny and very experienced tutor. Her work and ideas can be very quirky but using traditional techniques. A very clever combination.

This Fay's spectacle case that she wears around her neck - isn't it FAB.

I hope you think this was worth sharing - I just love Fay's work - and of course Fay!!! We both travel too much to see each other often. so it is a great treat when we do.


Right - that's me off and dashing about now - need to buy a new electric screwdriver, mines not charging ggrr!!! B and Q here I come.

Will post from the NEC as and when I can - if you are on Facebook I will be updating daily at 

x x x