Friday, 20 June 2014

A New Starting Point - Boxes and Brooches for the East Sussex Embroiderers Guild at West Dean College, 13th - 15th June

The view from the workshop door - one of my favourite views.

West Dean College has got be one of the best places to teach in the U.K. The grounds are beautiful, the gardens are varied and colourful, the teaching areas are excellent and the food is - just fabulous! 
East Sussex Embroiderers Guild hold their Summer School there every year. I was lucky to be asked to teach this year. Sophie Long was the other tutor. Her goldwork is very modern while still being traditional.

We had great fun - we were a small group of six - I think I have taught all the other member of the Guild in this area of the country over the past ten years.
I had been asked for a three dimensional slant on my newspaper based workshop - A New Starting Point. So I took my die cutting machine along to cut the boxes and brooch blanks.

Some of the group painting up their papers and old books.

The group brought in a great selection of foreign language newspapers, old atlases, technical and childrens books. We coloured these with a very dilute solution of procion dyepowder and water. No fix is needed as the paper is not going to be washed.


Layers of dry and colourwashed papers ready to use for layering.

We also painted up Bondaweb ready to layer up with all the papers.

This is just painted Bondaweb ironed onto turquoise colourwashed newspaper, it look good enough to stitch already . . . .

Caroline layered up her papers and then printed onto them. The print was then stitched around in a toning colour thread.

A stretched canvas was covered with toning newspaper to create a mount for the stitched layers. Caroline didn't want to rush the stitch to finish the work before we left - she is going to send me an image when it is finished - I hope!!! You can get the idea of what she was trying to achieve.

Layering decorated strips of newspaper with painted Bondaweb and gilding flake.

Laying down strips of road atlas alongside strips of decorated newspaper.

A subtle fish block print ready to stitch.

A combination of newspapers and transfer foil.

More prints on the layered newspapers.

There were many brooch blanks cut - here are just a few . . . to achieve a firm background for the brooches - the layered papers were ironed onto S133 - the stiffest iron-on interfacing then cut with my Big Shot Pro die cutting machine.

 This joyful colour combination of newspaper, old books, gilding flake and print eventually became a box - after the layers were ironed onto Decovil 1 - the new leather feel iron-on interfacing.

The finished box. Just gorgeous!

We had a great time at West Dean - a few glasses of wine were drunk and one or two excellent puddings were eaten. Well it would be very rude not to.

I will be back teaching at West Dean next month -
Reclaimed Textiles - paper, print and free machine embroidery. The course is running but there is room for a couple more if you fancy a treat.

This sample was made by Veronica Wells and is featured in my book Reclaimed Textiles. We will be working along these lines, using free machine embroidery to raise the surface of the printed papers.


I am now teaching again locally in Brighton at The Bridge - my courses can be found here - There are still spaces on my course A New Starting Point which is similar to the one featured on this post. It is a weekend workshop - July 5th and 6th.

I have booked an extra course today - September 6th and 7th (Saturday and Sunday) - Hot Textiles. I haven't taught this for a while and students new to heat distressing may find this workshop useful.


Layers of transfer print and transfer foil by Tracey Knight.

I am now counting down to the beginning of my Experimental Textiles course at The Old Needle Works in Redditch which starts again next week and finishes next March.
I am very excited - we have two course running, one on Thursday and Friday and the other on Saturday and Sunday. To make it even more fun - two of my students from last year want to do it all over again - they loved it so much. Which does make me wonder if I should make it a two year course rather than a one year course - but - I think not. I'm supposed to be slowing down. Poor old girl . . . . If you are very quick you can still enrol if you fancy learning all the basic textile techniques you will ever need. Have a look at the website -


I have this weekend off - whoo hoo!!! I am spending it with my sister at her house. A great time will be had. I don't spend enough time with her.

Have a great weekend everyone. 
x x x

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