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Textile Treats

Textile & Needlecraft Creations, Inspirations & Innovations

MAKE gorgeous gifts Fabric Gift Box



Felt Snow Bears







creativewithworkbox.com | £4.50


TEXTILE LANDSCAPES How to create your own

Issue 152 | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2015


13 TH IN NO SH VE OP MB S ER 20 15


Be Inspired Volume 4

Our best ever annual yet, Be Inspired Volume 4 is essential reading for fans of textile and needlecraft at its most beautiful, innovative and inspiring



Be Inspired Annual by Workbox Vol.4


Available direct from Workbox on 01395 233247 or www.creativewithworkbox.com


Cross stitch inspiration by Rachel Parker on page 44

Mary Bennellick

mary@creativewithworkbox.c om

I’m just going to come out and say it – I’ve always loved cross stitch. It’s around this time of year that I get a quiver in my fingers and a yearning to complete some sort of cross stitchery during the long winter nights. Despite the taboo that seems to surround this underrated traditional craft, it influences many a modern textile artist, and Rachel Parker is one such person. When she says in our feature on her on page 44, “There’s something about the repetition of the simple marks, the building up of rows and the rhythm of needle and thread that really speaks to me” – I totally get where she’s coming from. What is so impressive about Rachel however, is how she uses this influence and translates it into digital craft. Her vibrant and dynamic fabric prints are modern and fresh but you can see where the humble cross stitch has inspired her designs. The moral of the story? Never underestimate the source of your inspiration. This issue, I got the opportunity to quiz Linda Duriez, a local lace expert and vintage specialist, on her incredible collection of vintage and antique lace. I know no one else with a passion for lace like Linda, and it was a real treat to see her collection and discover how her obsession with this most delicate of textiles has grown over the years. Lose yourself in her heart of lace on page 54. Our technique this issue comes from the lovely and talented Carol Arnott – in our step by step tutorial, learn how to make your own textile landscape; we’d love to see your completed scenes, so please write in and show us! Why not have a go at one of our other project makes too – we’ve got plenty of inspiration for new ideas to inspire you to create. It’s great to see how far you can come by teaching yourself a new skill; on page 36, we meet Barbara Shaw, a textile artist whose love

Me, with antique lace lingerie from Linda’s collection, page 54

of scraps and stiches led to an unexpected career later in life creating textile collages. Her beautiful designs are appealing and endearing but her enthusiasm is contagious –she wants you to have a go at textile collage and see where it takes you! Pretty soon now, Be Inspired Volume 4 will be on sale and you’ll be able to get your hands on this glorious tome of crafty goodness. Here at Be Creative, we are so excited to bring you what we believe is our best annual to date! If you really can’t wait until mid-November to buy it in the shops, pre-order now for priority delivery at www.creativewithworkbox.com. Be Creative – inspired by enthusiasts

I want to jump into this textile colla ge by Barbara Shaw!


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Contents Features 12 Do Your Best with ‘Needling Along’ 22 Unpicked: Prism – Art Through a Lens 27 Inspired From Within to Share 32 How to: Simulate Scenery 36 Self Taught Textiles 44 Digital Craft 54 Heart of Lace 64 Weaving for the Future


72 A Contemporary View of the ‘Iron Needlewoman’ 74 Contemporary Textiles



42 Fabric Gift Box 52 Tyrone Toucan 60 Snow Bear


72 4

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tweet us

Join in the conversation! www.twitter.com/WorkboxMagazine



12 64 36 www.creativewithworkbox.com

I Be Creative with WORKBOX 5

Contributors Carol Arnott

Carol is a visual artist and maker living in the East Coast of Scotland. She primarily works in textiles, but enjoys making art from a range of reclaimed materials. www.carolarnott.com

Barbara Shaw

In Buckinghamshire Barbara is surrounded by beautiful countryside which is a constant source of inspiration for her pictures.She loves colour and shapes and treasures beautiful objects which stimulate creativity. www.artintextiles.co.uk

Be… with

EDITORIAL Call: 01395 233247 Editor: Mary Bennellick mary@creativewithworkbox.com Deputy Editor: Amber Balkwill amber@creativewithworkbox.com Art Editor: Peter Frost studio@creativewithworkbox.com

ADVERTISING Call: 01395 233247 Advertising Director: Paul Veysey paul@creativewithworkbox.com Advertising Manager: Bev Ward bev@creativewithworkbox.com SUBSCRIPTIONS Subs Manager: Elsa Hutchings subs@creativewithworkbox.com +44 (0)1395 233247 EVENTS Events Manager: Jake Tucker events@creativewithworkbox.com ACCOUNTS accounts@creativewithworkbox.com ARTICLE SUBMISSIONS TO: Mary Bennellick mary@creativewithworkbox.com

Rachel Parker

Rachel is a young textile designer with big ideas. She paints, draws and photoshops, but most of all, she stitches. www.rachelparkerdesigns.co.uk

Simon Trapnell FRSA Simon was involved in the establishment, and is now director of Nature in Art, the world’s first museum of art inspired by nature. www.natureinart.org.uk

PUBLISHER Managing Director: Paul Veysey River Media Devon Ltd. 8 Woodbury Business Park Exeter, Devon, EX5 1AY +44 (0)1395 233247 paul@creativewithworkbox.com PRINTING Pensord, Tram Road, Pontllanfraith, Blackwood, NP12 2YA DISTRIBUTION COMAG Specialist Tavistock Works, Tavistock Road West Drayton, Middlesex, UB7 7QX

Facebook: Becreativewithworkboxmagazine Twitter: @WorkboxMagazine Pinterest: WorkboxMagazine

Patti Medaris Culea

Patti’s artistic skills developed at an early age thanks to being born in to a creative family. She’s authored 5 books on doll making, and featured in two DVDs. www.pmcdesigns.com

Linda Duriez

Linda ± o wner, collector, designer of antique lace gowns and wearable fashion of the last 100 years, in her favourite vintage frock of the moment! www.daysofgracevintage.co.uk

Other contributors:

Carol Arnott, Judy Balchin, Amber Balkwill, Mary Bennellick, Betty Blount, Roz Dace, Debbie Lyddon, Stephanie Redfern, Barbara Shaw, Debbie Shore, Moira Williamson

www.creativewithworkbox.com Copyright All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval system or transmitted in any form - electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise without the prior written consent of the publisher. Copyright © 2015 River Media Devon Ltd. Disclaimer Whilst every care is taken to ensure accuracy, the publishers cannot accept responsibility for loss, damage or omission caused by error or negligence in the printing of an advert or other information. All artwork is accepted on strict condition that permission has been given for use in this publication. Adverts are accepted on the understanding that descriptions of goods and services are fair and accurate. Workbox does not officially endorse any advertising material included within this publication. The views presented in Workbox magazine are not necessarily the views of the editor or the publisher, River Media Devon Ltd.

Want to find a textile group? Or fancy exploring a new skill and want to find likeminded people?

Textile Artist Helen Cowans, is compiling a comprehensive list of textile groups and tutors in the UK (and tutors who will travel to the UK) of all kinds of textiles and needlecraft - sewing, quilting, embroidery, weaving, felting, spinning, knitting, lacemaking - nothing is excluded. It’s a huge undertaking and she need your help – so visit www.textilegroups.co.uk or www.facebook.com/textilegroups.co.uk and register as a group for free or as a tutor for a nominal fee.

Head to page 40 to viewage our favourite im this issue

Congratulations to Saadia Stuart from West Sussex, who won a copy of ‘Applique’ by Alison Glass, from last issues competition . To be in with a chance to win in this issue’s competition, go to page 9.

Pin Board

The very latest must see, must do & must look from the textile world

Reader Natalie McKay won our competition to win the Libert y Book of Home Sewing in our July/August issu e and wrote in to tell us how much she loves her prize! “I’m really enjoyi ng working my w ay through the book – the ph otography is go rgeous and the patterns focu s on everyday ob jects – I love that I can use wha t I’ve made straig The step by step ht away! patterns are easy to follow and here are photos of two doorstop s I made from the book – one fo r me and one fo r my brother Mark, hence the ‘M’!”


– to check your subscription and renew if it’s about to expire – the cover sheet of your subscriber copy will tell you how many issues you have left – don’t miss a single issue! Save £7.00 off the cover price!

Creative Comments The latest tweets, posts and comments from our lovely Be Creative readers… “I spent an hour in WHSmith’s looking for an inspiring magazine and was amazed at the plethora of choice that was available. After browsing several magazines I chose Be Creative. I have just finished reading it and found it both stimulating and inspiring. I especially loved the articles by Michelle Mischkulnig, Val Hughes, Lynda Monk and Leslie Morgan - I greatly admire their skill, talent and originality. I have just begun to experiment with mixed media and love portraying beautiful landscapes; I feel I have gained wonderful ideas from reading these articles and am raring to get started on my next project. I love the fact that all these artists are not hindered by conventional ideas but are free to experiment with whatever inspires them. Thank you!” Saadia, by email (Our competition winner) “I love Workbox because it’s a one off – original and packed full of colour and inspiration” Debbie, by email “I’m impressed with the range of articles in every issue. Although I sometimes wish for more detailed information, I have found that working out how I would attempt to get a similar effect is more rewarding than simply copying. The illustrations of work are inspirations in themselves and the overall impression is of a big friendly family, of which I am happy to be a member” Rachel, by email

Catch more from the South West Textiles Group and their exciting exhibition ‘Imprints’, in our next issue!

Birds of a feather flock together


Discounted subscriptions for groups, guilds and friends

Got a group of ten or more stitching buddies? We offer a group subscription at just £3 per copy, based on a minimum order of 10 (UK only) saving £1.50 off the cover price!

GET YOUR GROUP SUBSCRIPTION TODAY! Available direct from Workbox on 01395 233247 or www.creativewithworkbox.com



Appliqué bag (detail) (Linda Archer). Rich and textured appliqué surface created by piecing and re-piecing assorted fabrics; densely stitched by hand and machine; adorned with buttons, sequins, beads and braids.


Tell us why you love Be Creative with Workbox! Online: www.creativewithworkbox.com Email: mary@creativewithworkbox.com Post: Mary Bennellick, Be Creative Competition, Unit 8 Woodbury Business Park, Woodbury, Exeter, EX5 1AY Entries will be drawn on 17th November 2015. Winners will be notified by email. (Please provide your full name, address, telephone number and email address when you enter the competition by post or email). See our website for Terms and Conditions.

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• Discover textile artists we love • Subscribe, order back issues and Be Inspired Volumes online • Enter Competitions • Download Project Templates • Submit your event online and view events for the whole country • Contact us – we love to hear from you!

CREATIONS village stitching

“DO YOUR BEST” Is the motto of sewing group ‘Needling Along’. Moira Williamson tells us more…


Don’t Like Mondays’ goes the song by The Boomtown Rats – well, I love the second and fourth Mondays of every month because that’s when I and ten other ladies sew in the small village of Lingen, in North Herefordshire. Five years ago this sewing group was set up by our leader Carole, to explore and experience a range of sewing techniques; we talked about what to call the group and came up with ‘Needling Along’. We all have varied backgrounds in sewing, from those who have not really sewn at all to a couple of ladies who are experienced at using a range of techniques and textiles. Our motto has always been that as long as we do our best,


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it doesn’t matter. We are a mixed group age-wise ranging from our 40’s to our 70’s. Over the years, we have sewn using crewel work, machine embroidery, patchwork, Kantha Hardanger, Black Work, felting and many more hand and machine techniques. We take part in an annual exhibition of sewing held within the Village Church along with the other sewing group in the village at the end of August. A recent project was a hand stitched bird using long and short stitch as the main stitches, as well as other stitches to improve, embellish or enhance the bird. Each of us were asked to think of a bird we would like to sew and told that the

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finished article should be ‘lifesize’, so the albatross was rethought! Most of us had chosen garden or wildlife birds we find in our gardens, one person chose the bird they had seen most as a child; another was chosen because the bird was always around the house; yet another was chosen as it is their favourite bird. At the next session, there was a chirp or buzz within the group, everyone talking about the bird they had chosen, their habitat, colours, the way the feathers lay, research using books, photographs and the internet - people began to think about the work. Most of us chose calico to work on, some used paint to add depth; we then set about finding the range of

CREATIONS village stitching

Images from far left: Barn Owl by Margaret; Nuthatch by Trish; Long Tailed Tit by Carole; Pheasant by Gwlithyn; Dartford Warbler by Rosie

coloured silks/threads our bird would need. Most of us used just one strand of thread when sewing. From transferring the outline of the chosen bird onto the fabric, choosing the threads and needles and tapestry hoops etc, we developed our birds. Many found that the best way of working the long and short stitches using two or three colours, was to use the corresponding number of needles at the same time, others have just used one thread in one needle at a time. Most of us have used just one strand of thread, occasionally working on top of the underlying threads to add a more 3D effect. The best part of being a member of this group is that there is a high level

of support within the group and from our leader Carole; this makes the whole project much more fun. The plumage of the birds began to blend in and depths of colour were showing through. The exhibition of our work was in August 2015, however the end product is not the most important part of the lesson, the journey towards it is more worthwhile as we continue on this lifelong learning extravaganza. When we finish various projects, we all sit back and congratulate each other on a project well done and look forward to the next project. So, don’t sit at home on your own, join a group of like-minded people and learn a new skill. BC


I Be Creative with WORKBOX 13

Coleshill Accessories www.coleshillaccessories.co.uk

Handeze Gloves

Pinking Shears Lightweight, super sharp. Best quality! Best price!


Master Seat Stand

Relieve pain from arthritis, tendonitis, carpel tunnel etc. while stitching or knitting. Available in beige or slate blue with or without the extra wrist strap, which gives more support. To measure for size place hand on piece of paper. Mark the paper each side of the knuckles, at the base of the fingers. Measure the distance between the 2 marks and select size. 2.0” - 2½” 51 – 64mm Size 2 2½” - 3¼ ” 64 – 78 mm Size 3 3¼” - 3¾” 78 – 91 mm Size 4 3¾” - 4½” 91 – 105mm Size 5

A sit-on stand to hold any type of frame up to 18". Does the job of a floor stand with the versatility of a seat stand. Height and angle fully adjustable. Folds flat for travel and storage.

£39.50 Tail Catcher Secures the end of your thread when it is too short to use a needle. Thread the loop through your stitching, hook the short thread into the loop & pull through. Not suitable for wool. Choose from:Bee Celtic, Butterfly, Tortoise, Kingfisher

Regular £19.95 Wrist Support £20.95


Magnifying Chart Aid Keep your place on a cross stitch chart. Place the metal board under your chart and the magnifying clear plastic square on top. The red grid lines keep your place as you stitch. The corner magnets hold needles and scissors securely. Size 10cm x 8cm.

Needle Park Avenue Stitch faster by parking your working threads on the Needle Park. Have more needles threaded and darn in your threads less often. Magnetic £7.95

Complete Chart aid £15.95 Magnifying Top only £10.95

De Luxe set of Knit-Pro Interchangeable needles

Lowery Floor Stand Simply the best! Metal construction. Strong and stable, deep clamp holds any frame just where you want it. Height, angle and reach fully adjustable with easy to use levers. Accessories available include chart holder, light bracket, daisy dish and an adaptor for extra wide frames.Available in Silver grey satin finish or in Stainless steel

Silver grey £79.95 Stainless steel £139.99

in tough, rainbow coloured birch. The birch wood tips screw into the cables, enabling you to change size quickly and economically. You can knit round or straight. Great for arthritic hands. Has 8 pairs of needles sizes 3.5, 4.0, 4.5, 5.0, 5.5, 6.0, 7.0, 8.0mm. and 4 cables to make 60, 80, 100 and 120 cms circular needles.!


Postage & packing. Orders up to £12 – £2.95 . Orders £12 to £25 - £3.95. Orders over £25 - £4.95

Order from Siesta Frames Ltd (Please make cheques payable to Siesta Frames Ltd) Unit D. Longmeadow Ind.Est. Three Legged Cross, Wimborne. BH21 6RD

Telephone. 01202 829461 www.coleshillaccessories.co.uk Other items available at www.siestaframes.com


A subscription makes a great gift that lasts a whole year! JUST ÂŁ20 FOR SIX ISSUES

Order online at www.creativewithworkbox.com or call us on 01395 233247


Textile masterpieces we just had to share…

Gold Rhino, 2011 Zoe Williams Wool felt, mixed media, 9” x 10” x 9” in memory of the Western Black Rhino, declared extinct in 2011 www.zoewilliams.com

Bug Balls XXII, 2014 Claire Moynihans’ hand embroidered, three dimensional ‘Bug Balls’ aims to celebrate our fantastically diverse British insects. Each insect is stitched onto a felt ball made from local alpaca wool then presented as an entomological collection. Claire sells her work through exhibitions, galleries and by commission and her work has been exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and sold through Liberty and Paul Smith. www.clairemoynihan.co.uk

An Erring Lace Sue Rangeley Inspired by a line of 17thc poetry by Robert Herrick, which makes reference to a ‘stomacher’ (V shaped bodice panels worn in 16th/17th centuries) this machine embroidered lace piece freely explores the dimensions of a stomacher shape. This embroidery was specially created for the ‘Frost’ chapter of ‘Embroidered Originals’ by Sue Rangeley; the stitchery reflects a frosty palette of iridescent machine embroidered lace, enhanced with hand-beading and sheer applique flowers. Photo credit: Michael Wicks. www.suerangeley.co.uk

Leotard Lisa Kokin Buttons have made cameo appearances in much of my previous work, although they were never the primary material until the button works series which I made several years ago beginning in 2003. My parents were upholsterers and my earliest memories are of playing in their shop with piles of vinyl and foam rubber. I have sewn since I was a child and stitch plays a major role in my work, so it was natural to join the buttons together to form a reconstructed family portrait. What began as a memorial to my father soon expanded to the realm of family portraits, past and present, human and canine. Leotard is one of the first pieces in the series. The inspiration for the piece is a photo of me at age five standing in the backyard posing in my red leotard. www.lisakokin.com

Sewing Machine Wall Art Print The perfect gift idea for all stitchers, this wall art makes an inspired gift for the seamstress in your life. £15.00 from www. giftwrappedandgorgeous.co.uk

Needle Case

This sweet little needle case is made from two thimbles that are hinged together with a gold bow clasp - it makes an adorable gift for all those happy stitchers you know! It also makes a great little stitch kit for your handbag too with room for some wrapped thread, a needle, buttons and perhaps a safety pin too! £12.95 www.lauraleedesigns.co.uk

b Fo or ss ci S ed p am st d an H ed iz Personal

brass split ring s scissors! The antique use or s sew t tha ne yo g and extremely The perfect gift for an tique brass mini dog tags that are 1” lon stamped an nd 2 ha th d wi is 1” and comes sign a personalise this application. De es with no for lin 2 al to ide up so ht lds eig ho lightw h mini dog tag eac e lov u nal the better! yo rso e pe on re message for the , be sassy...the mo fun ve ha ve, ati cre Be more than 9 spaces. lass on Etsy.com yG M ise £10.57 Ra

The perfect mug for any seamstress! Vintage Toy Sewing M achine

This adorable cute as a button chil d’s sewing machine toy is an original from the 1960’s and wou ld be great to display or as a gift for the young sewing enthusiast. £42.89 By MerilinsRetro www .etsy.com

These gorgeous hand printed ceramic mugs are sure to delight any crafty soul you give them to! The single-line design wraps around the mug, tracing the skyline of the sewing room. It was designed by BeckyQueenOfFrocks on Etsy.com in collaboration with skylineuk. etsy.com as part of a collection of your favourite sewing accessories, from seam rippers to sewing machines. £8.00 Pop over to skylineuk.etsy.com to see the full range

The Look Book

Give a gift to someone crafty - here’s our pick of the best textile treats

Travel Sewing Machine & Case

Presented in a gorgeous carry case featuring a vintage world map design, this handy kit is just the thing for quick repairs on the go! Use the travel sewing machine for fixing hems, shortening trousers and emergency adjustments. It’s also great for tricky positions that conventional sewing machines cannot do. £12.99 from www. oakroomshop.co.uk


I Be Creative with WORKBOX 21

CREATIONS unpicked

UNPICKED PRISM – ART THROUGH A LENS Workbox goes inside a PRISM exhibition and discovers the mechanics of the group behind the art


he word ‘prism’ is not one that is immediately associated with textiles, but for the art group that bears the name, the conventional meaning has a resonance with its fundamental aims. Prism has upwards of 80 members gleaned from all corners of the globe with new members applying regularly. It brings together these disparate textile artists and through the prism of a shared ethos and a common theme for each annual exhibition, presents a focused, cohesive and forward-moving body of work while still allowing the individual ‘colours’ to shine through. Since 1999, these exhibitions have taken place to critical acclaim at The Mall Galleries, close to Trafalgar Square in central London, and Prism now tops the list of the five leading UK textile art groups as described in an online chart on TextileArtist.org. In recent years, however, there have been signs that the focused beam has also started to throw off exciting sparks. A subsidiary exhibition in Whitstable in 2012, was followed by a welcomed presence at the Knitting and Stitching shows in London, Dublin and Harrogate in the autumn of 2014, displaying a new selection of work not previously seen at The Mall. A further sign of the group’s development will be a completely new venue for this year’s annual exhibition. Keeping to the traditional May calendar but using Hoxton Arches in Shoreditch, this will be somewhat of a sea change for the group. A short walk from vibrant Brick Lane and easily accessed by public transport both above and below ground, the Arches


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provides an exciting departure after the classic and stately setting of The Mall. The move east, with its trendy bars, clubs and gallery spaces in addition to the time-honoured street markets, shops and cafes, should be an exhilarating adventure for both exhibitor and viewer, especially since some members create exhibition pieces with a specific space in mind. Prism exhibition pieces are typically the result of each member’s response to a title or theme that changes every year to keep things fresh and innovative. Past titles have included ‘Liminal: Crossing the Threshold’, which inspired pieces exploring ideas of coastlines, doors and windows, dawn, dusk and dreaming, and ‘Coded, Decoded’, which ranged from the Turing code-breakers at Bletchley Park and Braille for the blind, to programmed instructions for computerised sewing machines. The format, scale and medium are the personal choice of the artist, giving rise to a remarkably diverse range of works to both challenge and delight the eye of the viewer. As well as variations on hand and machine embroidery, knitting, weaving, appliqué, quilting and mixed media, past exhibits have also included video, sound and light as components of the pieces. Some offerings are personal in nature, reflecting life experiences such as death, parenthood, physical challenges; some are political or controversial, creating a dialogue or highlighting the plight of others. Others are fun, playful, whimsical and everything in between. Whatever the end results, there is always plenty to stimulate and inspire; the exhibition being on the “must see” list of schools and

CREATIONS unpicked

colleges from across the country. One textile artist who applied to join after seeing the 2001 exhibition summed it up: “I saw it and realised I had to join the group or die trying.” You’ll be pleased to know she was admitted and is still exhibiting with the group. A popular addition to the main exhibition is the “shop within the show”; the chance to buy and collect smaller items from your favourite artists if your home or budget won’t stretch to a gallery-size installation piece. It’s a fantastic opportunity to support the best in creative practice and obtain wonderfully hand crafted items not readily available in the high street. Items from the shop make perfect gifts and some visitors have even been seen “stocking up on the best Christmas presents ever”. Not all members exhibit at each show, and those who do have undergone a rigorous selection procedure to maintain the standards and integrity of the group, which has undoubtedly been the modus operandi that has taken them to the top and keeps them there. Likewise, new applicants undergo a selection to become members. A panel of existing members individually views applicants’ submissions at length, doing background research before submitting their choices to the group as a whole. Once a shortlist is drawn up, the group meets to discuss the submissions, to arrive at a mutually agreed final selection. Members are selected on quality of workmanship, artistry, execution and suitability for the group. A great deal of hard work and organisation goes

in to presenting each exhibition. As one committee member put it: “We like to appear as a swan to the general public; the epitome of grace and elegant organisation above while below we’re going like the clappers to get it all done.” Work starts on an exhibition before the previous one has even been taken down, since the title of the next show has already been chosen and made known to the members. This process is one of the most fun items on the agenda of the AGM, with the theme chosen from a selection submitted by members and, following a lively debate, decided by democratic vote. This year’s title is ‘Lines of Communication’, following the suggestion of a book-related theme but widened out to suggest many more additional interpretations. Even after the work has been selected, the catalogue has been prepared and printed and the individual pieces have arrived at the venue, there’s the painting of walls and plinths to do, labels to print and mount and a last check round to make sure all is as it should be. Once the show opens, the shop has to be run efficiently, with stewards on hand throughout the gallery to answer questions, tactfully prevent the touching of exhibits and present a smiling face to the public. Such an undertaking couldn’t be done without the hard work and dedication of all involved, but for members, it is also a valuable way of feeling an active part of the group and an opportunity to meet up with and to make like-minded friends. And, of course, to celebrate with the public the fundamental reason why the group exists – a shared and passionate love of textiles. BC www.creativewithworkbox.com

Clockwise from far left: Mall Galleries Liminal 1; work by Jackie Langfeld; work by Lisa Earley; work by Julieanne Long; work by Liz Harding; Mall Galleries main gallery; work by Prinkie Roberts; work by Molly Williams and Janet Wain; work by Lois Woodger and Consuelo Simpson; Mall Galleries - Jackie Langfeld; Mall Galleries - fairytale room

I Be Creative with WORKBOX 23

Off the Shelf

Our pick of the best books from the Be Creative bookshelf

Don’t Forget! Colour Study (detail) ( Julia Triston). Fragments of cottons and silks appliquéd to felt with an embellishing machine then decorated with buttons and hand embroidery.

Contemporary Appliqué by Julia Triston and Rachel Lombard Appliqué is a classic embroidery technique that has recently been experiencing a revival. Appearing in the most cuttingedge contemporary textile work, it can be interpreted in many different ways – layering, patching, applying, overlaying – and offers endless creative possibilities. Each technical variation of appliqué has traditionally had its own set boundaries, but nowadays all the rules are being broken and the technique has become relevant, up-todate and suitable for all varieties of textile art. This impressive book takes a fresh look at the world of appliqué and surface


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to enter our competition on page 9 to win a copy of this book

embellishment, showing you how to develop distinctive and individual designs, create exciting compositions and use unusual combinations of materials. It covers the traditional variations, including bonded appliqué, broderie perse, cut-away appliqué and Mola work, and explains how the standard techniques can be developed to give exciting results in your own textile work, in both hand and machine embroidery. Accompanying the techniques is a wealth of examples of contemporary appliqué to inspire you. The authors are renowned for their thoughtful, creative but practical approach to teaching textiles, making this book suitable for beginners and established textile artists alike. Published by Batsford

Constantinople Quilts by Tamsin Harvey Travel to an exotic land with timeless designs inspired by Turkish Iznik tiles from the Ottoman Empire. Bursting with flora and organic symmetry, the book’s exquisite fusible appliqué projects will take your breath away. Your journey begins with the basics— choosing the right fabric, thread, and needles for handstitched or machine appliqué. Newer or busy quilters can start with table runners or bags and work their way up to Tamsin Harvey’s stunning master quilts. Location photography enhances 8 patterns that effortlessly

go from ancient places to contemporary spaces. • 8 Striking fusible appliqué projects designed from ancient tile work • Travel photography throughout the book shows real-life examples of the intricate tile inspiration • Designs include large and small projects suited to quilters of all levels. Published by C&T Publishing RRP Price: £19.99

Gooney Birds by Betty Blount Now you can stitch a whole jungle full of birds! These 6 adorable birds are stitched with Deborah Norville Everyday soft worsted-weight yarn and are stuffed with fiberfill. Designs include Ophelia Ostrich, Percival Pelican, Tyrone Toucan, Pierre Parrot, Orson Owl and Bernard Buzzard.

• All designs are made using Premier Deborah Norville Everyday Soft Worsted yarn • All designs are stuffed with fiberfill Betty Blount originally designed the Gooney Birds in 1983 for Annie’s. She lives in Odessa, Texas. Published by Annie’s Crochet RRP Price: £5.99



I Be Creative with WORKBOX 25




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INSPIRATIONS doll making

INSPIRED FROM WITHIN TO SHARE San Diego based doll maker, Patti Culea, shares with us her calling to create and inspires you to follow yours www.creativewithworkbox.com

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INSPIRATIONS doll making


believe most people in life have a calling. Some choose to answer the call. A few follow the leading, while others opt out, never learning what might have been. Occasionally the call is immediate, but more often than not, it is a gradual process. For me, a love of art was nurtured from an early age and then became a lifelong passion. Today, I am blessed to see the call enriching the lives of others. As a teenager and into my young adult years, I didn’t care much for sewing. However, after our daughters were born, I wanted us to have matching clothes like my mom made for my sister and me. That led to doll making that progressed to doll designing, which then gave me a chance to teach others what I had learned. I spent 16 years in the travel industry as a sales manager for several airlines and a travel agency. During that time, my doll making was a part-time hobby. In 1995, I answered the creative call and focused full time on my art. What followed were six published books and two DVDs on doll-making techniques and invitations to lecture and teach what I loved around the world. Many want to know where I get inspiration. It comes from several sources, including nature and children’s books. I see fairies in trees and shrubs on morning walks near our San Diego home. Scraps of fabric can be turned into personal creations and my love of fabric and dyes enable me to create elaborate cloth dolls and journals. Another thing that inspires me is an old dress, or, in the case of my doll Alexia, my wedding dress. I have so much fun doing projects with friends and our grandchildren. Right now, under a tree in our backyard, I see a delightful Mad Hatter mosaic on a table with teacups and saucers that my grandchildren Kieran, Kayleigh, Kayman, and Kaylahna and I put together. That was a group project, but mostly, creativity comes to me while I am alone; such as the simple joy of arranging peonies freshly picked from a garden. Music also inspires me, especially the works of Beethoven and Wagner.


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INSPIRATIONS doll making

Previous page: Franalizia2 Far left: Peony Better Above: Arca Best Below right: Firebird Small


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INSPIRATIONS doll making

INSPIRATIONS doll making

“CREATIVITY COMES TO ME WHILE I AM ALONE; SUCH AS THE SIMPLE JOY OF ARRANGING PEONIES FRESHLY PICKED FROM A GARDEN” Life itself is an inspiration and I’m thankful to share that with people, including those I have never met face to face. It is thrilling to receive letters, cards, or emails from people with photos of dolls and journals they have created based on what they have read in my books or seen on my website. One of those individuals is David Elvin. David is such an inspiration. He wrote to me, and I quote “Actually, this (the doll making) is all her fault (his wife Maureen). She was coming to the end of knitting her Scarecrow family. She has severe arthritis in her shoulders, so she can only do light things without suffering a lot of pain. She was thinking of trying a different project for when they were finished. I saw your book on the Internet. It looked very interesting. I said to her these dolls are made up of small parts, you could manage those, there is nothing heavy. So, I bought her a copy.” He later says, “Maureen said, ‘They are so lovely, no way can I make those.’ I tried to encourage her and she said the dreaded words…’Perhaps if you do one first?” The rest, as they say, is history. David has made many dolls and they are all very inspiring. As I shared in one of my books, by its nature, art is creative. It begins with a fleeting thought, a moment of inspiration and then an idea. One should never doubt one’s ability to create. Just look at what you were equipped with when you were created. Each of us carries around a computer that cannot come close to being duplicated. It only weighs about three pounds and controls such things as memory, vision, learning, thought, and consciousness. Inside that computer are about 100 billion nerve cells that are constantly being charged. That computer is your brain and it is ready for you to turn on the creative switch. While the patterns I sell and that are in my books have specific instructions, I hope that they will be used more like a compass than a map. I want to point people in the right direction—and from there, let them take off on their own creative roads to destinations unknown. If they do that, be prepared to find out the finished creation will be much different than what was planned at the start. BC Far left: Steampunk Dolls Together. Above: Patti working on Quilt 72. Top: NinaxGladys


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Have you ever thought about sewing a scene in textiles, but felt a bit daunted at the thought of working out a pattern? Textile artist Carol Arnott, has a tried and tested method of creating any building that makes embroidery much less daunting and will give you an excuse to dig out all those scraps of material you’ve been hoarding and get creating!


When you’ve decided on the scene you’d like to work on, take a photo and get it printed out large enough for you to see the details. A4 size is probably easiest to print out with a standard printer.



If you have a number of buildings in your scene, pick your favourite one then pick your favourite window – it will become your measure later on in the project.

Take a small piece of felt and use your embroidery skills to recreate the window. I prefer to work in a small chain stitch as it’s easy to draw with and is thick enough to be seen. Make sure you consider how big the window needs to be to allow you to recreate details like window panes – there isn’t a correct size to make your window, it just needs to be able to represent what you see. Cut it out, close to your embroidery, but be careful not to clip the thread!


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Using your finished window as a template (count the number of stitches you’ve used), make all of the rest of the windows in your chosen house. When you have finished, lay them out on the piece of fabric you have selected as the main body of your house (I like to use upholstery textiles for my house walls, but any fabric will do).


Lay out your windows so the spaces between them mirrors your photo. Using the same method, use your eye to work out how far out your walls are top, side and bottom and draw the square outline of your house using a ruler and pencil.


Use a glue stick to secure your windows in place and then give them a little stitch in the corners to make sure they’re secure. Using a thread darker than your fabric, sew round the square of your house. You might find you prefer, like me, to use two rows of stitching together to make the image sharper.


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Create any doors or signs (sewing on felt is easiest) and attach everything before you come to cut out the house. If you have a material that frays easily, use ‘Fraystoppa’ so you can cut a nice clean edge without it unravelling. It makes things easier later on if you leave a small bit of extra fabric at the top so you have something to attach your roof to.

Lay your house thus far on the material you’ve chosen for your roof. Use your eye and your window as a reference to recreate the roof. If you try to create a perfect copy of the shape, it may lead to huge frustration and ensuing insanity! It’s much more pleasing to the eye to create a representation of what you see – that’s what ‘artistic licence’ is all about.





Your roof will probably come out slightly from the body of the house and will overlap it. Use the small piece of excess material that you left at the top of the body of your house to attach the roof with a glue stick then sew a couple of small stitches for extra security.

Add any features to your roof, like chimneys or windows, and you’re ready to take on the rest of your picture. Use your window as a measurement reference for any other elements you might want to add, but most importantly, have fun with it!

The sea represents well with old denim. This effect is created using rough, messy folds held together with blobs of glue stick. Through experience, I’ve found that using an old pin board underneath allows you to pin the waves in place until the glue dries securely.

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Boats can be created much in the same way as houses - start with the biggest window and use it to find proportion with the other aspects. As before, a representation of a boat is much more pleasing to the eye that striving for an exact replica. A lot of pleasure can be gained by drawing with your needle and thread. If you can get past trying to be exact, you’ll be surprised with what you can come up with!


When adding your boat to the sea, it will look best if its bottom is covered by a wave. If you’d prefer a less choppy sea, keep the bottom of the boat flat.


If you would like to see more of Carol’s work, or would like any further tips or info, she can be contacted through her website www.carolarnott.com


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INSPIRATIONS self taught textiles

Above: Kiwi; Right: Chair


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INSPIRATIONS self taught textiles

SELF TAUGHT TEXTILES Scraps and stitches led to pictures for self-taught textile artist Barbara Shaw


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INSPIRATIONS self taught textiles


discovered textile art quite late in life via patchwork and it has quickly become my passion - I had many scraps left over from making quilts and wondered what to do with them. First, I made simple cards and then I progressed on to pictures which got ever bigger and more sophisticated. I love inspiring people to try textile collage. I hand-stitch many layers of fabric together to create pictures and because I am self-taught, my techniques are very simple and easily learned. Initially, I used Pritt Stick to bond scraps of fabrics together: it is clean, dries clear and adheres to all the fibres in cloth if you put on enough! Now I hand stitch all my work but the process is still very simple – running stitches in a neutral colour thread (grey or brown usually) hold the many pieces together. Rather like an artist selecting paints, so I choose a myriad of different hues, textures and patterns in textiles. I never draw a plan but ‘sketch’ with fabrics, starting with a background material loosely draped over a piece of board on an easel; then I pin layers, mostly letting the previous ones peep out. I hand-stitch and pin, repeating this process until I am


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Above: Claydon House Right: Lavender and Bees Far right: Cotswold Sheep

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INSPIRATIONS self taught textiles

“I PARTICULARLY ENJOY STITCHING SHEEP AND USING RARE BREED WOOL AND WOVEN TEXTILES TO COMPLETE THE PICTURES” satisfied with the image. I find that walking backwards and forwards enables me to see the picture evolving and I can make changes as I go along. I use silk, chiffon, cotton, velvet, lace and sparkly bits as well as ribbon and beaded bits. The result is that from a distance, the layered picture gives the impression of being a painting. The floor of my workroom becomes a

complete muddle of colour as I rummage for a particular scrap I remember seeing it’s a good thing I don’t mind a mess! My subjects are varied - I interpret animals, plants, landscapes, still life, buildings and more recently aspects of weddings including cakes! Commissions really stretch my abilities – I have been asked to stitch a kiwi bird (having never

seen one I had to watch lots of videos on You-tube for this) for a New Zealander to hang in her cafe and to stitch a scene in the Caribbean from an island I had not visited for a special birthday – such a shame I couldn’t include the cost of a holiday there as research! I can work from photographs but it is useful to see a subject from many angles so that I


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INSPIRATIONS self taught textiles

can build up a picture in my mind of the scene. With commissions, it is possible to incorporate a client’s own fabric in to the artwork, making the picture even more significant with lasting memories of a special occasion. I particularly enjoy stitching sheep and using rare breed wool and woven textiles to complete the pictures. My first Cotswold sheep picture is on long-term loan to the Old Prison Visitor Centre, Northleach, Gloucestershire, where it is frequently admired. The breed is known as Cotswold Lions and it seemed appropriate for the picture to be hung in the Cotswold Lion cafe! Other sheep portraits I have stitched include those from Soay and Herdwick flocks as well as more Cotswolds. People often ask who or what has influenced me. I really like Gustav Klimt’s work, Rembrandt’s fantastic use of light and Kaffe Fassett’s wonderful mix of colours and patterns which always look stunning. As a child, I was always touching fabrics to sense their texture and although I used to knit, I was never really drawn to experimenting with materials. With my current artwork I have combined these influences and learned to try unusual mixes – satisfying when they work but if they don’t, I just add another scrap to cover up my mistake! In 2014, I was Artist-in-Residence at Chastleton House, a 17th century National Trust property in the Cotswolds. Some people may know it as the setting for scenes from the television production of Wolf Hall. The building and its grounds are stunning and full of atmosphere. I hand-stitched six pictures depicting subjects ranging from a view of the topiary garden through to a wall in the courtyard and an image of a chair which has been bought for Oxfordshire County Museum collections. This year I will be Artist-in-Residence at Claydon House, an 18th century National Trust property in Buckinghamshire. Recently this property has been used as the setting for a film production of ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’. I am looking forward to working on pictures depicting a completely different period to Chastleton. Florence Nightingale used to visit frequently as her sister owned the property so I will certainly stitch something relevant to this great lady. There are beautiful Rococo influences in the ornate sculptures and mouldings throughout the property and a magnificent staircase which I hope I can do justice to!


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I have recently experimented with textile collage on sculptures and of course my first one had to be a sheep! I made a wire armature, twisting different weights and thicknesses of wire to produce an animal shape. I covered it with chicken wire, then garden fleece to give me a base on which to stitch my bits of fabric and wool. Hugely enjoyable and challenging to work in 3D! I have also made a jug using the same method. Having discovered how satisfying it is to create textile collages, I am very keen to promote this fun activity. Raid your cupboards for discarded bits and have a go yourself! BC Left: St Lucia Above: Wedding Cake Below left: Chastleton Below: Lavender Fields

If you would like to see some of my work to inspire you, please check my website for where I am exhibiting. For further information about me and to get in touch or to commission artwork please visit www.artintextiles.co.uk barbara@artintextiles.co.uk 01296 488213 or ďŹ nd me on facebook.com/artintextiles or twitter.com/art_in_textiles


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Be creative…


Gift Box

Presentation is important, particularly when giving a hand-made gift, and this elegant box is almost a gift in itself! Fill with jewellery, cookies, sweets or pot pourri, and just see the delight on the face of the person you’re giving it to...


Five pieces of outer fabric measuring 5in (13cm) square Five pieces of lining fabric measuring 5in (13cm) square Eight rectangles of fabric measuring 5 x 4in (13 x 10cm) A saucer measuring 5in (13cm) in diameter Fusible interfacing for the outer panels: five pieces measuring 5in (13cm) square 21in (53.5cm) of lace trim 40in (102cm) of ribbon Two buttons, one large and one small, to trim Pen to mark your fabric Fabric glue


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1. Iron the interfacing on to the outer panel pieces. Sew four of the squares together to make a tube. 2. Sew the final square on to the base to make a cube. Turn the fabric out the right way. 3. Repeat with the lining squares, but leave one side of the base unstitched for turning. Do not turn this cube through. 4. Take the eight rectangular pieces, place the saucer over the top and draw round the curve. Cut around the drawn shape to create eight curved pieces. 5. Pair two of the curved shapes, right sides together, and sew around the curved edge. Repeat to create three other shapes.

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6. Snip into the curve of each curved shape, or trim with pinking shears. 7. Turn the four curved shapes through, then press. 8. Sew the bottom straight edge of each curved piece to the top of the outer cube. 9. Drop the whole of this cube inside the lining – remember that the lining cube should be inside out. 10. Sew all the way around the top, joining the two cubes together. You may need to use the free arm of your sewing machine to do this. 11. Turn the right way out, through the unstitched section of the lining. 12. Sew the opening closed by hand, then push the lining inside the outer cube; press.

13. Cut the ribbon in half. 14. Pop a dot of fabric glue in the centre of the base of the cube, lay the middle of one piece of ribbon across the glue and, when dry, pop another dot of glue in the middle of this ribbon and lay the second ribbon on top. 15. When the glue has dried, run each of the four pieces of ribbon up the side of the cube, and glue at the top, just before you reach the curved flaps. 16. Attach the lace strip all the way around the top of the cube with more fabric glue. 17. Sew the smaller button on top of the larger one, and stitch to the front of the box to trim. 18. When you fold over the flaps and tie the bow, you’ll have a beautiful little gift box! BC

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TIP: Decorate your gift box with silk flowers or embroider on initials to make it more personal www.creativewithworkbox.com

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INNOVATIONS digital design

Above: Northmore Flocktail chairs by Florrie & Bill


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The humble cross stitch inspired Rachel Parker to design her own fabric ; we unpick the connection and make th e leap to digital craft


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INNOVATIONS digital design


’m a textile designer working in digital print and embroidery. I love colour, geometrics and pixel patterns. My designs are often freeflowing and I love working on a large scale – my ideal brief involves an unlimited amount of colour and a huge repeat! I’m perhaps best known for my work with Studio Flock which certainly ticks those boxes. Flock works with recent graduates to give them a creative platform and the chance to manufacture their work on a commercial scale; they saw my prints when I was exhibiting at New Designers back in 2012 as I was just about to graduate from my Textiles course at Norwich University of the Arts. As a result, I now sell my ‘Northmore’ print in some amazing locations including Liberty, Heals and Studio Four in New York; a dream come true right at the start of my career, I still have to pinch myself!

‘Northmore’ is a wild, free-flowing geometric pattern of pixelated shapes. It looks like something straight out of the space age, so people are often surprised to hear that it’s actually inspired by hand embroidery. I like to combine techniques within my work and mix and match ideas, which is certainly something that was encouraged when studying for my Textiles degree. Studying at a comparatively small art school was fantastic because there was a lot of communication between

Left to right: Buttons; Collection samples; Spoken For; Explorations in Stitch; Collection samples


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courses, we were definitely encouraged to collaborate and explore different techniques. I already knew from studying a year’s Art Foundation Diploma at De Montfort University that I wanted to learn more about fabrics and pattern, but I was also drawn to the clean lines of graphic design and the creative practice of fine art. I opted for a course that would allow me to draw together all of my interests, so my work really is a melting pot of all these things.

I work from my home in Kettering, Northamptonshire, as a freelancer on a variety of different projects – this has ranged from designing patterns for beach towels to stitching wall art. Working from home requires a lot of discipline, perhaps even more so now that I’ve got a little puppy assistant! My chocolate Sproodle Louie certainly keeps me on my toes, but perhaps by the time you read this he’ll be the perfect big boy studio dog. Being a freelancer means you have to juggle several projects at the same time, so it’s all good training. I run an Etsy shop called PixelAndThread which stocks a range of original artwork and printed goods. Lately, I’ve been busy working on a range of fabrics that launched in February 2015 with Printed&Co, the brainchild of BeFabBeCreative who are amazing digital fabric printers based in Edinburgh. (They print as little as one metre if you fancy having a go at creating your own fabric). My ‘Sampler Collection’ is made up of fifteen digitally printed designs available by the metre on a range of fabrics in different scales, be it silk for fashion or linen for interiors - and it’s all inspired by embroidery.


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INNOVATIONS digital design

Clockwise from top left: Geometric print; French Knots; Pixel Stitches; Fragment detail; Blue Stitches


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My earliest memory of ‘textiles’ is as a child learning to cross-stitch on binca with my Mum and my Grandma, clumsily constructing chunky representations of colourful fish and flowers. This memory has played a big part in influencing my most recent work. Cross-stitch is perhaps the most basic form of embroidery and yet there’s something about the repetition of the simple marks, the building up of rows and the rhythm of needle and thread that really speaks to me. I love that complex patterns are broken down into individual squares of colour, the original pixel art. When I tell people that I work in crossstitch and digital print they sometimes see this as quite a leap, but to me they go hand in hand. My fabric design process goes something like this: drawing, stitching, scanning, digital drawing, colour, repeat. The first step will always be a simple line drawing on paper. I take inspiration from geometric shapes, cross-stitch patterns, historical samplers and a hundred other things. I try to keep a sketchbook as much as possible so that I’ve got a lot of material ready to refer to. Once I’ve made some marks that I find interesting, I transfer

this to a fresh piece of paper and this becomes my stitching template. I punch holes through the design, deciding which information to keep and which to discard. I like to work onto artist quality watercolour paper because it has a beautiful weight to it. I then stitch through the holes using cotton embroidery thread in various different thicknesses. This part is really fun because the design can change so much from my original intention. The line drawing has become a series of holes and the thread connects them back together in new ways. When I’m stitching, I feel like I’m reliving that first experience with needle and thread. The rhythm of stitching is very calming, and in an age where the majority of our day can sadly be spent staring at one screen or another, creating something with your hands and focusing your attention on that moment is really important. Sometimes, I feel like my brain has too many tabs open, so when I’m stitching, it’s a useful pause to sort through everything in my mind. I listen to music, podcasts and the radio. For me, it’s a moment of reflection in an otherwise hectic day. www.creativewithworkbox.com

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INNOVATIONS digital design

Clockwise from right: Pixelate wall art; Northmore Chair Diamond; Mixed Cushions Factory 3; Rachel

Hand-stitching is incredibly time consuming; so much energy is poured into a piece of embroidery. I love this hand process and the character that each piece has. Even when I’m stitching a series of multiples that are the same design, I know that each one will be ever so slightly different and unique. This makes embroidery a beautiful record of the moment and all of the hours that have gone into it. Sometimes I add to this by incorporating an element of collage using the papers that have inspired me in the first place, such as fragments of vintage embroidery patterns. The time consuming nature of working by hand is the main reason why I first decided to experiment with combining my stitched artwork with digital print. I knew I needed to find a way to make my work viable commercially and I’ve found that the digital aspect allows me to do this. By scanning my stitched artworks and working with them digitally, I’m able to make the best use of all of that visual information which has been so carefully constructed. Some of my prints are purely stitched surfaces put into repeat – this allows me to print metres of fabric that looks as if it’s been embroidered, so I can now have a chair upholstered in printed fabric, like my ‘Yarn’ print for example, that will give the impression of being hand-stitched (I can’t wait to do this!) Other designs, like ‘Northmore’, originate from drawing over the scanned stitches in Photoshop using a pen and tablet so as to retain the hand-drawn quality. The handmade marks provide me with unique grids and shapes to work with, which means that my digital patterns aren’t really quite so digital after all. I call my work ‘Digital Craft’. My style combines the wonderful digital colour palettes that allow me to print in hundreds of colours with the physicality of having created something unique by hand. And it all started with the humble cross-stitch. I bet my Grandma never saw that coming. BC www.rachelparkerdesigns.co.uk www.printedandco.co.uk/ www.etsy.com/uk/shop/PixelAndThread


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Be creative…

TYRONE TOUCAN Why not try your hand at this quirky crocheted toucan


10½ inches tall


Premier Yarns Deborah Norville Everyday Soft Worsted medium(worsted) weight acrylic yarn (4 oz/203 yds/113g per skein): • 2 skeins #1012 black • 1 skein each #1003 baby yellow, #1028 mustard and #1001 snow white • 3 yds #1017 azure Size H/8/5mm crochet hook or size needed to obtain gauge Tapestry needle Polyester fiberfill Stitch marker


7 sc = 2 inches; 7 sc rows = 2 inches


• Weave in ends as work progresses. • Work in continuous rounds; do not join or turn unless otherwise stated. • Mark first stitch of round. Move marker up with each round. • Join with slip stitch as indicated unless otherwise stated. • Chain-3 at beginning of row counts as first double crochet unless otherwise stated.


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Rnd 1: With black and starting at top of Head, ch 2, 8 sc in 2nd ch from hook, do not join, place marker (see Pattern Notes). (8 sc) Rnd 2: 2 sc in each sc around. (16 sc) Rnd 3: [Sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc] around. (24 sc) Rnd 4: Sc in each sc around. Rnd 5: Rep rnd 4. Rnd 6: [Sc in each of next 2 sc, 2 sc in next sc] around. (32 sc) Rnd 7: Rep rnd 4. Rnd 8: [Sc in each of next 3 sc, 2 sc in next sc] around. (40 sc) Rnds 9–16: Rep rnd 4. Rnd 17: Rep rnd 8. (50 sc) Rnds 18 & 19: Rep rnd 4. Rnd 20: [Sc in each of next 4 sc,

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2 sc in next sc] around. (60 sc) Rnds 21 & 22: Rep rnd 4. Rnd 23: [Sc in each of next 5 sc, 2 sc in next sc] around. (70 sc) Rnds 24–44: Rep rnd 4. Rnd 45: [Sc in each of next 5 sc, sc dec (see Stitch Guide) in next 2 sc] around. (60 sc) Rnd 46: [Sc in each of next 4 sc, sc dec in next 2 sc] around. (50 sc) Rnd 47: [Sc in each of next 3 sc, sc dec in next 2 sc] around. (40 sc) Rnd 48: [Sc in each of next 2 sc, sc dec in next 2 sc] around. (30 sc) Rnd 49: [Sc in next sc, sc dec in next 2 sc] around. (20 sc) Stuff with fiberfill. Rnd 50: [Sc dec in next 2 sc] 10

times. (10 sc) Rnd 51: [Sc dec in next 2 sc] 5 times. Leaving 6-inch end for sewing, fasten off. (5 sc) Sew opening closed.


Rnd 1: With yellow, ch 30, join (see Pattern Notes) in first ch to form ring, sc in each ch around. (30 sc) Rnd 2: Sc in each sc around. Rnds 3–15: Rep rnd 2. Rnd 16: [Sc dec in next 2 sc, sc in next sc] twice, sc in each rem sc around. (28 sc) Rnds 17 & 18: Rep rnd 2. Rnds 19–33: [Rep rnds 16–18 consecutively] 5 times. (18 sc at end of last rnd) Rnd 34: [Sc dec in next 2 sc, sc

Be creative… in next sc] 3 times, sc in each rem sc around. (15 sc) Rnd 35: Rep rnd 2. Rnd 36: Rep rnd 34. (12 sc) Rnds 37–39: Rep rnd 16. (6 sc at end of last rnd) Rnd 40: [Sc dec in next 2 sc] 3 times. Leaving 6-inch end for sewing, fasten off. (5 sc) Sew opening closed. Decs are at top of Beak. Fold Beak in half along decs. Join yellow with fpsc (see Stitch Guide) around post of first st at right-hand edge, fpsc around post of each rem st across fold. Fasten off. Fold Beak flat, centering post sts on top. With mustard, fpsc around each st on fold at sides of Beak. Fasten off. Stuff, leaving 1 inch at tip of Beak unstuffed. Sew rnd 1 to Head between rnds 4–14.


Make 2. BACKGROUND Rnd 1: With yellow, ch 2, 8 sc in 2nd ch from hook. (8 sc) Rnd 2: 2 sc in each sc around. (16 sc) Row 3: Now working in rows, sc in each of first 4 sc, leaving rem sc unworked, turn. (4 sc) Row 4: Ch 1, sc dec in first 2 sc, sc dec in last 2 sc, turn. (2 sc) Row 5: Ch 1, sc dec in 2 sc, turn. (1 sc) Row 6: Ch 1, sc in sc. Fasten off. IRIS With azure, ch 2, 8 sc in 2nd ch from hook, join in first sc. Fasten off. Sew to rnd 1 of Background. PUPIL With black, ch 2, 4 sc in 2nd ch from hook, join in first sc. Fasten off. Sew to center of Iris. Sew Eyes on side of Head 1/2 inch from Beak.

last sc, turn. (15 sc) Row 7: Rep row 3. Row 8: Ch 1, 2 sc in first sc, sc in each of next 6 sc, 2 sc in next sc, sc in each of next 6 sc, 2 sc in last sc, turn. (18 sc) Row 9: Rep row 3. Row 10: Ch 1, 2 sc in first sc, sc in each of next 7 sc, 2 sc in next sc, sc in each of next 8 sc, 2 sc in last sc, turn. (21 sc) Rows 11–17: Rep row 3. Row 18: Ch 1, sc dec in first 2 sc, sc in each sc across to last 2 sc, sc dec in last 2 sc, turn. (19 sc) Rows 19–23: Rep row 18. At end of last row, fasten off. (9 sc at end of last row) Sew to Body with row 1 directly under Beak.


Make 4. Rnd 1: With black, ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook. (6 sc) Rnd 2: Ch 1, 2 sc in each sc across, turn. (12 sc) Rnd 3: [Sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc] around. (18 sc) Rnd 4: [Sc in each of next 2 sc, 2 sc in next sc] around. (24 sc) Rnd 5: [Sc in each of next 3 sc, 2 sc in next sc] around. (30 sc) Rnd 6: [Sc in each of next 4 sc, 2 sc in next sc] around. (36 sc) Rnd 7: [Sc in each of next 5 sc, 2 sc in next sc] around. (42 sc) Rnd 8: [Sc in each of next 6 sc, 2 sc in next sc] around. (48 sc) Rnd 9: Sc in each sc around. Row 10: Now working in rows, sc in each of next 10 sc, leaving

rem sc unworked, turn. (10 sc) Row 11: Ch 1, sc dec in first 2 sc, sc in each rem sc across to last 2 sc, sc dec in last 2 sc, turn. (8 sc) Rows 12 & 13: Rep row 11. (4 sc at end of last row) Row 14: Ch 1, sc dec in first 2 sc, sc dec in last 2 sc, turn. (2 sc) Row 15: Ch 1, sc dec in 2 sc. Fasten off. (1 sc)



Make 2. Rnd 1: With mustard, ch 2, 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook. (6 sc) Rnd 2: 2 sc in each sc around. (12 sc) Rnd 3: Sc in each sc around. Rnds 4–23: Rep rnd 3. Rnd 24: [Sc in each of next 2 sc, 2 sc in next sc] around. (16 sc) Stuff.


Hold 2 pieces with WS tog; working through both thicknesses, join black with sc, sc in each sc and in end of each row around, working 3 sc in sc of row 15, join in first sc. Fasten off. Rep with rem 2 pieces. With tip of Wings at back of Body, sew rounded end of Wings on side of Body, 1 inch from edge of Chest.

Rnd 25: Sc in each of next 3 sc, ch 1, sk next 11 sc, sc in each of next 2 sc. (5 sc) Rnd 26: Sc in each of next 3 sc, sc in next ch-1 sp, sc in each of next 2 sc. (6 sc) Rnds 27–30: Rep rnd 3. Stuff. Rnd 31: [Sc dec in next 2 sc] around until opening is closed. Fasten off.



Make 3. Row 1: With black, ch 20, sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each of next 17 chs, 3 sc in last ch, working in unused lps on opposite side of foundation ch, sc in each of next 18 chs, turn. (39 sc) Row 2: Ch 3 (see Pattern Notes), dc in each of next 17 sc, 2 dc in each of next 3 sc, dc in each of next 18 sc. Fasten off. (42 sc) Sew ends of 2 Feathers across rnd 35 at back of Body. Sew last Feather centered above first 2.

Rnd 1: Join mustard with sc in 4th sc on rnd 24, sc in each of next 2 sc, ch 1, sk next 6 sc, sc in each of next 2 sc. (5 sc) Rnds 2–7: Rep rnds 26–31 of First Toe.


Rnd 1: Join mustard with sc in 7th sc on rnd 24, sc in each of next 5 sc. (6 sc) Rnds 2–7: Rep rnds 26–31 of First Toe. Sew openings between toes closed. Referring to photo for placement, sew feet to bottom of body. BC


Row 1: With white, ch 8, sc in 2nd ch from hook, sc in each rem ch across, turn. (7 sc) Row 2: Ch 1, 2 sc in first sc, [sc in each of next 2 sc, 2 sc in next sc] twice, turn. (10 sc) Row 3: Ch 1, sc in each sc across, turn. Row 4: Ch 1, 2 sc in first sc, sc in each sc across to last sc, 2 sc in last sc, turn. (12 sc) Row 5: Rep row 3. Row 6: Ch 1, 2 sc in first sc, sc in each of next 4 sc, 2 sc in next sc, sc in each of next 5 sc, 2 sc in www.creativewithworkbox.com

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1. One of many dresses to be found in the shop. This one is Edwardian with fine hand pin tucks and Valenciennes lace insertion with heavier narrow Torchon lace for definition. 2. This gorgeous jacket is one of only two in Linda’s collection. Highly unusual and prized, it is an early machine lace fashioned in the Italian lace style.


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Famed in the West Country for her exquisite bridal gowns and iconic shop, Linda Duriez tells us about her life-long love affair with lace and why she has left mainstream bridal behind and is following her heart‌



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’ve known Linda for many years – we first met when as a newly engaged bride to be, I stepped into her bridal shop, Pirouette, and she told me within seconds of meeting me that she had ‘just the dress for me.’ Incidentally, she was right. I later discovered that she was also a hoarder and collector of antique lace, the top floor of the shop was given over to her precious antique finds and it was quite some time before I realised just how obsessed she was by this most beautiful of fabrics. Now, Linda has sold Pirouette and runs Days of Grace, in Budleigh Salterton, Devon, an emporium dedicated to true vintage gowns and lace, an environment that allows her to completely indulge her passion and live and breathe for collecting, selling and treasuring lace. Linda, tell us about your long love affair with lace. Why did you start collecting? Well you’re right, it is a lifelong passion from childhood, right from cutting out pictures or designing dresses for paper dolls – remember them? I would cut out pictures of ballet dancers or heroines from comics and create my own dresses heavily influenced by Sunday afternoon movies - I remember the old black and white film of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and imagining that gown in the staircase scene to be of the palest pink and lace – hopelessly romantic and ethereal and it captured my imagination. I had a curiosity to see my grandparents wedding dresses and would pester them for their old clothes too and dreamt of having a shop one day. My first schoolgirl Saturday job in a boutique had me going on buying trips with the owner and I would save all my wages to buy an Ossie Clarke dress for £11, an absolute fortune back then. It wasn’t until the hot summer of 1976 when moving to Devon and opening an about to be demolished shop in Exmouth with nothing but my eclectic vintage clothes that I realised I’d landed in the land of lace. At that time, not many people collected lace, although the vintage clothes market was extremely healthy and dealers and film and TV costume departments would buy from me. 3. A Honiton lace appliqué flounce that graces a shawl.

4. Hand made crochet lace headpiece with other accessories available in the shop. 5. Stunning lace two piece from the early 1900’s using embroidered Tambour work on net.


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Tell us about the most unusual, rare piece you have ever come across. The best of the handmade laces I have are Brussels handmade bobbin lace on handmade net ground - work so fine, it takes at least 30 hours of work to the inch or more and that’s if you were good! Bobbin lace is like elaborate plaiting around pins on a pillow and takes forever - the thread is so fine. Few would be interested in making this lace now as results take so long but there are still wonderful makers in our area. Your knowledge of the different kinds of lace is astounding, how easy is it to identify each one? It’s trial and error really. Over the years I have read up and researched the many different kinds of lace and have got to a point now where I can recognise nearly all of them on sight. I met Pat Earnshaw, a prominent figure in the lace world and a teacher and collector often at the English Lace School in Tiverton (now closed and Pat has sadly passed away). She took me under her wing and gave me a book I still treasure, “The Identification of Lace”, the best book on lace I’ve ever found. I would always meet people who were convinced that their lace was Honiton just because it was from Devon, and I was way too young to be trusted to know, but gradually they realised I was becoming very knowledgeable. 03


How do you care for your collection of lace, some of it being hundreds of years old? Acid free tissue paper is the mantra. I also use a hard, well perfumed bar of soap; it repels nasty moth and silverfish and is more romantic than camphor. Lavender bags are excellent too. My advice would be to roll rather than hang a garment on a hanger and beware of folding with heavy things on top as this will weaken the folds. Unfortunately, you can spend lots of time lifting out a silk veil that has been folded in a box and then it falls apart at the harsh folds. The Royal College of Needlework will also give advice on repair and cleaning if you have a particularly old piece. Beware of hooks and eyes too, especially as rust can spread as well as the obvious snagging problem.



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Which is your favourite kind of lace and why? My favourite laces, now that’s difficult! My first exciting purchase was a 1920’s antique lace wedding dress that I still have. I remember the lady well and she told me that her mother made her dress from her earlier Edwardian wedding dress, a story I was to hear over and over (see image 6). Lace and handwork was so prized with trousseau garments started very young. This dress is made from Irish tambour work with unusual raised flowers giving a 3D effect in places but true to the era, it is drop waisted with lace ruffles dropping below the knee with a matching jacket. Later, Brides Magazine loved it so much that they gave it a full page spread with an earlier Edwardian piece. Our local Honiton lace is another favourite, especially appliqué on net. I have a spectacular veil and bridal gown flounce in it. Lots of stories about Honiton lace abound in this area; lace motifs made along our coastline were collected for Queen Victoria’s veil and gown, lace could even be used as currency with the baker. I just love the history of lace steeped in these parts.


6. Mentioned in the article, this dress was remade in the 1920’s from Grandmother’s earlier lace! 7. Detail from a Bruxelles lace veil.

8. Detail from a Bruges lace cuff. Photography by Rachael D’Cruze Sharpe


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Then there’s Irish lace which falls into three favourites - tambour which is an embroidery on net, Carrickmacross (think Princess Diana and the Duchess of Cambridge) - this is a cottage door lace made by appliqué - pieces of fine linen, edged and sewn onto net or joined together with worked threads called brides. Lastly, old Irish crochet plauen lace which is heavy and crunchy and gives lovely depth – I find Americans adore this one. I used to go to France because I particularly liked their textiles as well as certain lace like filet lace, there are so many different patterns and though originally made in one country or another, the patterns have been used by English lacemakers for a very long time. Amazingly, not all lace was handmade; old machine and chemical lace is beautiful and was made on machines with thousands of needles. Many lace makers fled to England from France but many of these machines were broken up following the Industrial revolution. I love the early machine laces which copy the early Venetian Laces - Venice being the original home of lace in the 15th century. What kind of person buys your lace, and what do they do with it? Mostly collectors or brides making their own dress; antique veils are always popular but the good ones are scarce. I’m lucky in that I started collecting many years ago and I have an enormous collection. I work with several seamstresses as well as a museum restorer and am at this moment creating again with my old lace to make an individual range of one off designs for the shop! My own wedding dress and those of my friends were often pieced together with antique lace and silk lined and I find there’s a demand for my designed dresses again. I’ve recently sold one of my designs from the 80’s, entirely antique lace which is exciting, so the design route is one direction forward as well as moving my antique lace collection from the attic, trunks and drawers to the shop. So what’s next for Days of Grace and your beautiful lace? I find that nowadays, both myself and the shop are quite well known, so Days of Grace is a good advertisement for anyone inheriting lace to come to sell. We no longer have a lace shop in Devon and I think there is a demand for one alongside a demand for one off antique lace designs so I’m thinking of creating a separate collection name. BC www.daysofgracevintage.co.uk



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Snow Bear Sven bear loves to play in the snow. His winter white coat is layered on and he has a warm knitted blue hat and scarf to keep out the winter chills. His snug boots are needled on over his teddy legs and they are fashionably trimmed with fluffy wool. To make Sven’s two little friends, just needle the basic bear parts smaller than the template.


Coarse wool: white for bear, bobble, snowball and fur trim; beige for boots Merino tops: white and black for layering, and nose and mouth details Two 2mm black glass eyes with a single loop 4-ply (fingering) yarn in blue Sewing thread


Triangular felting needle, gauge 40 Foam pad Wooden barbecue stick Embroidery scissors Dressmaking pins Waxed dental tape Long needle Knitting needles, 2.5mm (US size 1) Tapestry needle


The template can be downloaded from our website www.creativewithworkbox.com


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Be creative…


1. Using white coarse wool, make the bear’s head, nose cone and two ears, arms with thumbs, standing legs and body. Attach the head to the body. Attach the nose cone, and then the two ears low down on the head to allow room for the hat. Attach the eyes, and add the nose and mouth details with black Merino wool. 2. Using white Merino wool, layer the fibres over the unjointed bear parts, using a layering technique. 3. Using the beige coarse wool, wrap lengths of fibre round one leg and foot, and needle them firmly in place, shaping the front of the boot so it is smooth and round. Keep adding the fibres until the boot is complete. Repeat on the other leg. 4. Roll a length of coarse white wool between your palms and wrap it round the top of each boot to hide any untidy fibres. Needle to secure. 5. Joint the bear using white coarse wool, needle a small smooth, round snowball. Place the bear’s left paw on the foam pad


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and needle the ball firmly into his palm. 6. Make a white bobble for his hat in the same way. 7. Knit the bear’s hat and scarf following the instructions below. Sew the bobble to the top of the hat, and sew the hat to his head. Tie the scarf round his neck. Knitted hat Cast on 30 stitches, then knit 2 rows and purl 1 row. Work next 2 rows in stocking (stockinette) stitch, starting with a knit row. Continue in stocking (stockinette) stitch, decreasing on the knit rows as follows: Row 1: K4, K2tog, K8, K2tog, K8, K2tog, K4 (27 sts). Row 3: K4, K2tog, K7, K2tog, K7, K2tog, K3 (24 sts). Row 5: K4, K2tog, K6, K2tog, K6, K2tog, K2 (21 sts). Row 7: K4, K2tog, , K5, K2tog, K5, K2tog, K1 (18 sts). Row 9: K4, K2tog, K4, K2tog, K4, K2tog (15 sts).

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Row 11: K4, K2tog, K3, K2tog, K4 (12 sts). Row 12: Purl. Cut the yarn to a 30cm (11¾in) length. Thread it onto a needle and then through the remaining 12 stitches. Pull tight. To make up Use the long end and the tapestry needle to sew the two hat seams together, working any ends in neatly. Knitted scarf Cast on 4 stitches and knit 67 rows in stocking (stockinette) stitch. Cast off. Teddy snowman YOU WILL NEED: • Coarse wool: white, orange and black • Two twigs • Two 4mm beads for the eyes • Sewing needle • White thread

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1. Use white wool to loosely needle felt a fluffy, soft 6cm (2¼in) ball for the body. 2. In the same way, needle felt a 4cm (1½in) diameter ball for the head. 3. Needle two semicircles for the ears and needle them onto the head. 4. Needle a small cone for the carrot nose using orange wool. Attach the nose. 5. Attach the eyes, then needle the mouth and the black spots on the body. 6. Use a scalpel to cut a slit on either side of the body. 7. Push a twig into each of the slits and then needle round the twig to firm the fibres. BC

Little Needle Felted Teddy Bears ISBN: 9781782210696

Containing 20 fabulous little bears to choose from, all easy to make and packed full of personality

Order your copy online at

www.searchpress.com for free p&p in the UK!



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I Be Creative with WORKBOX 63

INSPIRATIONS stitching stories


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In trouble torn Egypt, the Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Centre gives life, hope and art to the creatively gifted


ature in Art, the awardwinning museum on the outskirts of Gloucester, whose unrivalled collection celebrates fine, decorative and applied art inspired by nature from across the world, recently showed a stunning selection of tapestries from the Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Centre in Egypt. Their

first collaboration with them was back in 2009. Since then of course, there have been major changes in Egypt which have had a profound impact on the centre so this exhibition was a way of again giving the UK public the opportunity to see their amazing work and of supporting Wissa Wassef in these difficult times. Ikram Noshhi, director of the centre explains ‌ ‘The centre has always been


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INSPIRATIONS stitching stories



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Previous page left to right: Birds at Night, 2014, 0.92 x 1.25m by Nadia; Geese Palms 0.85 x 0.97m by Nadia

Below: Lotus Pond in the moon light, 2014, 2.06 x 1.36m Sayed Mahmoud

independent and financially self-sustained. The January 2011 revolution which was embraced with such joy and hope by the great majority of Egyptians, has tragically been followed by months of turmoil and increasing instability. The Egyptian economy is in shambles, tourism has dwindled to a standstill, business closures and unemployment are rampant and by the government’s own admission, the majority of Egyptians live below the poverty line. The Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Centre has not been immune to this downward spiral. With almost no tapestry sales revenue for many months, the future of the 50 artists and the entire art centre is now in jeopardy’. The centre is the life work of its founder, Ramses Wissa Wassef (1911-1974), who was dedicated to releasing the innate creativity of young Egyptian villagers freed from the constraints of a formal education. Trained as an architect (partly in Europe), he had a great enthusiasm for indigenous Egyptian forms and spontaneous expression which he lived out, designing award-winning buildings using traditional methods and vernacular forms. The art centre itself is typical of his work. When he won the prestigious Aga Khan award for architecture in 1983, the awarding committee summed up the art centre project as follows – “For the beauty of its execution, the high value of its objectives, as well as the power of its influence as an example, for its role as a centre of art and of life, as represented by its location, its endurance, its continuity, and its promise…the project is perfectly adapted to its environment, enhancing the role of earth as a building material and demonstrating innovation in the organization of volumes and its subtle use of light. The Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Centre has a social as well as a sculptural and spiritual dimension, as it has proved. A place supportive as well as poetic, or supportive because it is poetic, where the young tapestry weavers of the community have been free to develop an artistic hand craft, producing tapestries of great excellence and renown.” These words eloquently sum up a project that is far more than just a centre producing tapestries. Rather, it is an organization that has a profound and wider sphere of influence, founded on a considered, sincere and unique ethos. Such innovation and honest endeavor should be an inspiration to us all. Through his life, Ramses Wissa

Wassef became increasingly interested in periods of history when craftsmen were prosperous and respected members of society. This led him to think that the conventional distinction between the ‘artist’ who creates and the ‘craftsman’ who merely executes, had the effect of stifling creativity. His perception was that although every child is moved to express him or herself in drawing from the earliest age, this urge is almost always smothered once formal education begins. His underlying fundamental belief was that everybody could be nurtured into a creative craftsman if only they were encouraged and given the right attention. As he himself put it, “I had this vague conviction that every human being was born an artist but that his gifts could be brought out only if artistic activity was encouraged from early childhood by way of practising a craft…the creative energy of the average person is being sapped by a conformist system of education and the extension of industrial technology to every sphere of modern life.” As a result, Ramses advocated moving away from the routine mass production of the modern world and returning to a more natural and expressive way of working. So, to test his theories, he established an after-school club where he taught the craft of high warp weaving. As soon as students had mastered the basic technique, he left them free to decide what images to produce. He insisted on only three rules: no sketches, no external aesthetic influences, and no critical interference from adults. Encouraged by the success of this experiment, in 1952 Ramses and his wife Sophie decided to expand the project by establishing the Wissa Wassef Art Centre. They purchased some land on the edge of the village of Harrania, near Cairo, and having built a workshop, they installed some primitive looms. They then invited, with the consent of parents, any child to come once a week to learn to weave. Protected from external aesthetic influences, adult criticism and interference, the children were given the benefit of time in which to develop their skills and individuality. It quickly became clear that every child was able to create works of astonishing beauty and that “no child is devoid of the most surprising gifts”. In the 62 years since weaving began in Harrania, it also has become clear that this innate creativity can grow with the child into adolescence and adulthood. Nine of the original group


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INSPIRATIONS stitching stories

Clockwise from right: Nawara Radwan making Chickens; Holly Hocks 1.04 x 1.48m by Nagar Ibrahim; Dying wools in the grounds of the Centre; Nile Valley being made by Sayed Mahmoud 2013

of children who began working around the age of twelve, many of them now grandparents, are still weaving under the guidance of Sophie Wissa Wassef. In 1972, a second generation of weavers was started, guided by the Wissa Wassef’s daughters, Suzanne and Yoanna. At first, Suzanne’s natural choice was to invite the children of the first generation weavers. Many of these children had spent their earliest years sitting beside their mothers at the loom. Soon, Suzanne discovered that they imitated the adults’ designs knowing that these had already pleased the Wissa Wassefs. She often told the children, “I want you to bring out what you feel, not what your parents are doing.” The lack of spontaneity in their work moved Suzanne to disband her newly formed group and replace them with a whole new group of children whom had not been exposed to weaving at all. Their challenge, and that of their teacher, was to become free from the natural impulse to imitate by using the technical skills of weaving and to find fresh interpretations of the work. Suzanne made an extra effort to free the children from a desire to merely imitate nature. Unlike the first generation, the second generation from the start were made aware of the characteristic details which they wanted to represent. Here she describes her aspirations for the weavers; “I wove from the age of eight to sixteen and discovered that the technique had many possibilities. The more I wove, the more I discovered how freely one can express oneself on the loom. It was my aim since then to initiate in the weavers this sense of free expression and unfolding magic.” Working with this in mind, the results were indeed surprising. Suzanne found that once the children had learned to think for themselves, they were able to create in the round, whole scenes and broad landscapes, something that had taken their predecessors much longer to achieve. It is essential to realise that, the entire development of the second generation, took place without the presence of Ramses, since he passed away in 1974. While her encouragement and


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guidance to the children from the start was based on her father’s beliefs, she made some modification to meet the huge social changes in the Egyptian society as a whole. The success of the second group is a further proof of Ramses Wissa Wassef’s belief in innate artistic ability and the circumstances in which this can best be fostered. Suzanne continues her effort with 18 weavers ranging from the ages of thirty to forty five. The artistic products of the centre are not its only contribution to Egypt and the world. The project has transformed the lives of poor and illiterate villagers by bringing education, improved health, prosperity, fulfilment and self-respect to all who are involved as well as equal status to the women. Ramses and Sophie encouraged the first-generation weavers to attend reading and writing classes and the second-generation to remain at school until the age of 16. They also arranged for a private doctor to visit the centre twice each week to help combat bilharzia, stomach illnesses and other problems that were widespread at the time. The centre also inspired commercial entrepreneurs to introduce the craft of hand-weaving in many parts of Egypt, giving employment to hundreds of young men and women. The success and development of the centre is a testament to the passion of its founders. After Ramses’ death in 1974, his widow Sophie took charge and his philosophy continues to be its fundamental principle and guiding spirit. Sophie and Ikram Nosshi, the current director, also designed new buildings to augment the centre which includes a permanent collection of tapestries. Both groups of weavers continue to produce wool and cotton tapestries that are remarkable and unique works of art. Examples are held in private and public collections worldwide, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, British Museum, Manchester’s Whitworth Gallery and Nature in Art. BC www.nature-in-art.org.uk www.wissa-wassef-arts.com

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BACK ISSUES ON LY 1 LE FT ! 71 Limited Stock American Quilts, Beading, Helen M Stevens, Belgian Lace, Mexican Textiles, Charles Henry Foyle Trust City & Guilds

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60 Millennium Embroiderers, Decorative Beaded Purses, 1,000 Years of Pilgrimage, The Stuart Embroiderer, The Boutis Quilt, Tapestry Weaving

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98 Limited Stock Contemporary Whitework, Quilt Network Japan, Ramses Wissa Wassef, Lacemaking, Danish Landscape Embroideries


126 Talking Textiles – East, Bolton Embroiderers’ Guild, Tapestry, Fantastic Fans, Maria Walker

127 Bravo Art Bras, Sue Goodman, Spinning Wheels, Ruth Norbury, Miniature Needle Arts

129 Karen Erlebach, The Blue Belle Gallery, Norfolk Lacemakers, Wider Horizons, Quay Crafts

130 Print, Dye & Stitch, Miniature Quilts, Hand and Lock, Jacqui Barber’s Hand Made Bobbin Lace

131 Contemporary Lace, Mining a Golden Seam, Angora Wool Dress, Sally Sparks’ Atlantic Adventure

132 Art Meets Science, The Fastenings Family, Rag Rugging, Stitching on Rag Paper, Gordano Textile Artists

133 Limited Stock Travels in India, Making an Irish Dance Dress, Free Motion Embroidery, Chameleon: Images to Inspire

135 Devon Lace, Inside the Bowes Museum, Remembered in Thread, Afghan Inspirations, Inkberrow Student Files

136 Teddy Love, Devon Lace pt2, Conventional vs Organic Fabric, Flowers in Felt, The Needlework Archives

137 The Rolling Hills of Dorset, Stunning Contemporary Lace, Killerton’s Objects of Desire, Stitching Wider Horizons

138 Gilda Baron, Quilts for Japan, The Doll Makers Circle, The Duchess of Cambridge’s Wedding Dress, Grace Lister

140 Interview with Naseem Darbey, Into the Weave with 45 Southside, Gail Critchlow Quilting, A Hanging for the Mayor

141 The Great Tapestry of Scotland, Fabulous Felt by Chantal Seddon, The Motion of Stitching with Michala Gyetvai

142 Sally Sparks Travels to Bhutan, Embroidered Art by Lindsay Taylor, Ophelia After Millais by Ann Holden


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143 Travels to Bhutan: Part 2, The Hare by Richard Box, One in a Minion, In a 17th Century Garden, Trish Burr Interview

144 World War 1 embroidered cards, French Inspiration - Hastings to Normandy, Inspired by grandchildren

145 The Longarm of Quilting, Smockers Celebrate, Magna Carta 800th anniversary, Box Clever with Sleaford embroiderers

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147 Flower Power – Monica Crescini, Mad as a Hatter – Heather Wilson, Thread Painting, Lace at Waddesdon

148 Textile Treasures - Living Threads Exhibition, Dresses to Impress, Doll Making, Dreaming of Doone, Working with Wax



149 Texture, Surface and Pattern with Sue Hotchkis, Print your own fabrics, Reinventing cross stitch, Di van Niekerk project

150 Colourful Textile Journeys, Machine Embroidery with Richard Box, Canadian Environmental Art, Addicted to Lace

Each Binder holds 12 magazines enabling you to keep your magazines in pristine condition Overseas Postage: Europe £3.00 each, Rest of World £5.00 each (Airmail)

151 Story Telling in Textiles, Extreme Embroidery – Breaking the Rules, Creating Tyvek Textures, Contemporary Traditions Current issue also available Please see order form for p&p costs.


The Sewing Machine Project - A contemporary view of the ‘iron needlewoman’

Debbie Lyddon of Studio 21 gives us an insight into the group’s latest exhibition 72

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Studio 21 is a well-established group of textile artists that aims to challenge and support its members and to provide regular opportunities for exhibiting at a professional level. The group was formed in 1997 to develop and extend innovative techniques and to push the boundaries of traditional expectations in textile art and stitch. Collectively they aim to produce a new body of work for exhibition bi-annually and The Sewing Machine Project is their latest venture.

Main image: Fold, Debbie Lyddon

Left to right: Circles Lines Repetition 1, Anne Froggat; Sgraffito Drawing 1; Machine Part Wire Sculpture 3

The Sewing Machine Project is a well-researched exhibition that explores all aspects of the sewing machine. The group have been working on this theme for two years and subjects range from sewing machine mechanics, decoration and operation to personal, cultural, political and social histories. Each member of Studio 21 has produced a comprehensive body of work that reflects their personal interest in this transformational machine. The Sewing Machine Project falls into three parts. Part 1 is a visual, aural and tactile response to the Sewing Machine. Part 2 is a cultural, social, historical or personal response to the Sewing Machine and Part 3 is a joint project that uses the sewing machine as the main method of construction and stitching. Part 1 was done during the first year of the project, and Parts 2 and 3 during the second year. Throughout the two years of the project, members of Studio 21 took part in regular informal workshops and creative activities. Drawing, mono-printing and sculpture sessions took place during their monthly meetings to enable the group to work together in a supportive manner and to allow individuals to increase their knowledge and enthusiasm and to develop work in their chosen area. The initial activity was to take

apart three abandoned machines to reveal their workings: nuts, bolts, levers, drive belts and camshafts were all stripped down to leave the solid metal hulk of the machine. The sewing machine parts gave the group their first inspiration and the shapes, lines and textures of the mechanical paraphernalia were explored and developed in the first phase of the project with rubbings, wire sculptures and sgraffito sketches. The group went on to discuss the sensory effects of the sewing machine: its sound and its feel, and what the machine means to their practice. These discussions resulted in each member choosing three words to describe their response to the sewing machine. These three words formed the basis of their first personal project which was made at the end of the first year of the project. Words chosen and responded to include: Rhythm, Repetition, Lines, Circles, Excitement, Cogs and Stitch. The second phase of the project saw each member researching one topic related to the cultural, social or political history of the sewing machine. The next large pieces of work were linked to these individual areas of research so a variety of work and approaches can be seen in these pieces reflecting each artist’s

individual approach to the project. The joint project ran alongside the second part of the project and used the sewing machine as the only method of construction or stitching. All members took part and a different member set each task. The tasks were: 1. Blue 2. Little Boxes, Little Boxes 3. Interlocking Forms 4. Machine Sound 5. Automatic Stitches Work from all parts of the project can be seen at the exhibition. Studio 21 member, Liz Heywood, sums up the project in this way. “The sewing machine project does not sound a very stimulating theme to inspire exciting work, or so several of us felt at the beginning of the venture. However, it is such a loose definition that we have indeed all found many intriguing aspects connected to this subject and the work produced is inspiring and varied as we have each followed our own interpretation of the subject. In the process, we have also learned a great deal about the fascinating history and social implications of the invention of the sewing machine. So perhaps it was a good theme to challenge textile artists who are all enamoured of their sewing machines.” BC


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Contemporary Textiles The Cheshire Textiles Group take us on a tour of their latest exhibition


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Cheshire Textiles was originally set up in 1988 by a group of embroiderers who had all completed City and Guilds Creative Studies and wanted to continue sharing their passion for creative stitch. Over the twenty seven years, membership has fluctuated and skills have broadened to include degrees and MA’s. At present, the group has seven members, including one of the founder members, Elizabeth Mott, who is still taking an active role. Members have an individual approach to their work which always lends itself to interesting and exciting exhibitions. Occasionally we will work to a set theme, as in the case of our exhibition earlier this year at Little Moreton Hall, where the National Trust property and Tudor history were the main focal points. Themes can prove more challenging but sometimes this is beneficial, revealing a new and unexpected line of investigation. We have a large exhibition, ‘Unravel’, at The Waterside Gallery, Sale, from 3rd October until Saturday 21st November 2015, entry

is free. Here, we have taken a new approach by not only having the finished two and three dimensional pieces on view, but there will be some sketchbook research, samples and personal artist’s books. We hope the exhibition will be more enjoyable by including these extra items and perhaps ‘unravel’ some of the thought processes behind the final pieces. A sketchbook is a textile artist’s ‘best friend’; a precious place in which to store information and ideas. The traditional way of using such a book is to pick up a pencil and draw but the creative textile artist will consider it more of a mark making exercise and look to using a whole variety of methods and implements, far removed from the obvious. The digital camera is also a very useful tool. The essence of textiles is their tactile quality and often it is hard to resist touching the items on display. To help, we have included in our exhibition a row of perspex name plates from which some worked samples are suspended, ready to be handled and enjoyed and hopefully keep the main work free from fingers! Simple individual and

Clockwise from left: Work by Grazyna Whittle; Jen Holmes; Sue Dunbar; Jean Haigh

personal handmade books will also be available to read and gain some insight into the work. Our name Cheshire Textiles suggests we work purely with fabric and although we all share an interest in historical and traditional embroidery our own techniques are far removed from the origins of embroidery. We consider our work to be ‘contemporary textiles’ with experimentation being the key. A few members use print including work with manipulated digital images and the domestic printer. Natural materials like wood and sticks are used in conjunction with threads, creating their own set of challenges. The sewing machine can sometimes be pushed to the limits, working with papers or enjoying the freedom of dropping the feed dog and creating beautiful free movements. Two of our members, Jean and Grazyna, are very skilled artists in their own right, but they love the addition of fabric and thread to create texture. You might expect dyes to feature strongly in our work but at present, many of the group are using acrylic paint and inks to provide colour washes. Stitch still plays an important part in the work, perhaps taking on a more functional, rather than decorative role, although selecting the right thread can influence the final outcome. Like all textile artists, we accumulate materials and find our environments regularly expanding to accommodate it all! Members of Cheshire Textiles enjoy being part of a group, we offer friendship and support and meet regularly to talk about current exhibitions and discuss our work. Our aim is to have regular exhibitions and share our passion for textiles. BC Members are - Bridget Bowie, Sue Dunbar, Jean Haigh, Jen Holmes, Shosh Lewis, Elizabeth Mott, Grazyna Whittle Our next exhibition ‘Unravel’ The Waterside Arts Centre, 1 Waterside Plaza, Sale M33 7ZF 0161 912 5616 3rd October - 21st November 2015 Mon-Sat 10.00am-5.00pm Entry is free www.cheshiretextiles.org.uk


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What’s on...


Please send your event information for the January/February 2016 issue (Published December 15th) to reach us by mid November. Please include all relevant dates, opening times, venue and contact telephone numbers. We try to ensure that all events, of which we are given notice, are included, but cannot guarantee that your listing will be printed. Please send all events information to: River Media Devon Ltd, 8 Woodbury Business Park, Woodbury, Devon EX5 1AY. You can contact us on: 01395 233247 or email us: events@workboxmag.com and mark subject ‘What’s On’, or go to www.creativewithworkbox.com/events and then your event will appear online on our site as well as in the Workbox Magazine.

Embroiderers’ Guild NOTICEBOARD

28 November 2015

Every Third Monday of the Month

THE LICHFIELD BRANCH OF THE EMBROIDERERS GUILD Methodist Centre, Backcester Lane, Lichfield, WS13 6JH 7:30pm. Visitors always welcome. For more information, please ring: 01283 813320

Every Fourth Thursday of the Month

THE BASINGSTOKE BRANCH OF THE EMBROIDERERS GUILD Popley Fields Community Centre, Carpenters Down, Popley, Basingstoke, RG24 9AE 1.30pm. Visitors and new members are always welcome. Contact: 01635 250527

Every Second Saturday of the Month

THE DERBYSHIRE BRANCH OF THE EMBROIDERERS GUILD St Mary’s Church Hall, Darley Lane, Derby DE1 3AX Member-led workshops from 10:30am before branch meeting at 2pm. For more information, contact: janet.austin2@btinternet.com

19 November 2015

Visitors £3.00. For more information, visit: www.croesew.blogspot.co.uk

THE PORTSMOUTH & DISTRICT BRANCH OF THE EMBROIDERERS GUILD A workshop with Judith Cordelll on the ancient craft of Temair - Japanese embroidered thread balls. Full day workshop from 10am - 4pm. Bring your own packed lunch. £25 members or £30 non-members. For more information, visit: www.temari.com

Quilters’ Guild of The British Isles AND Quilt Groups NOTICEBOARD 2 November 2015

WESTON QUILTERS: TALK BY JENNY LESTER AND MYRA TAYLOR United Reform Church, The Boulevard, Weston-Super-Mare, BS23 1LF 7:30pm to 9:30pm. For more information, contact: 01278 793627

3 November 2015

THE NORTH WALES BRANCHBRANCH OF THE EMBROIDERERS GUILD Parkway Community Centre, Off Rhos Road, Rhos on Sea, Conwy, LL28 4SD Join in friendly ‘Informal Workshops’. Work on any project you have on the go and take time to chat with other guild members. Bring a friend! Bring a packed Lunch Opening Times/Charges/Phone: 10am to 3pm. Free to Members.

DART QUILTERS COFFEE MORNING Ipplepen Village Hall, Near Newton Abbot, Devon 10:30am - 1pm. Admission £1.50 to include cofee and a cake. Trading stalls selling fabrics and notions, Chinese auction, book stall, hand made Christmas items and gifts and other stalls in addition to quilts on display. For more information, contact Geeta on: 01803 295320

To submit your event go to www.creativewithworkbox.com The listings in this magazine have been collated in good faith. River Media Devon Ltd make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information it publishes, but it cannot be held responsible for any incorrect information, any loss or damage arising from any errors or inaccuracies or cancellations of events that may be contained within these pages Readers please note: It is a good idea to check dates and times of opening etc, before going to an exhibition or event.


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7 November 2015

NORTH LANCASHIRE AREA DAY AUTUMN 2015 Brindle Community Hall, Water Street, Brindle, Lancashire, PR6 8NH 10am - 4pm. Traders, raffle, show and tell, tea, coffee and home-made cake. Bring a packed lunch. Members: £6. Non-members: £12. For more information, e-mail: lissieb@gmail.com

12 - 14 November 2015

WEST OF ENGLAND QUILT AND TEXTILE SHOW UWE Exhibition and Conference Centre, Frenchay Campus, Filton Road, Bristol, BS34 8QZ This is the South West’s showcase of patchwork, quilting, sewing and embroidery. 10am - 4:30pm For more information, visit: www.westcountryquiltshow.co.uk

14 November 2015

REGION 11 WEST MIDLANDS AREA DAY Trinity Centre, Mill Street, Sutton Coldfield, B72 1TF Speaker: Pauline Barnes - ‘Textures & Threads the last Four Years.’ Show & tell, bring your quilts to share with us, traders, demonstrations and raffle. 10am - 4pm. Members £6. Non-members: £9. For more information, contact Ruth: 01213 538785 PAISLEY PATCHERS PATCHWORK QUILT SHOW AND CHRISTMAS FAYRE Wallneuk North Church of Scotland, Abercorn Street, Paisley Entrance £3 per adult & 50p for children. Tea/coffee and home baking is included. 10am - 2pm. For more information, contact Audrey: 01505 323390

19 - 24 November 2015

THE CONTEMPORARY QUILT GROUP EXHIBITION The Old Fire Station Gallery, Upper Market Place, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 2AQ

An exhibition of work on the theme ‘Structures at The Old.’ Open 10am - 5pm daily. For further information, contact Kate: kate@findlays.net

20 -21 November 2015

PIECEFUL PATCHERS EXHIBITION Our Lady Of Consoation Church Hall, Hawthorn Avenue/Eskdale Drive, Bonnyrigg, EH19 2AW Admission £3 which includes refreshments Raffle, sales table, trader. limited parking. Friday: 10am - 8pm Saturday: 10am - 4pm For more information, contact Mary: 01314 549376

26 - 29 November 2015

HARROGATE KNITTING AND STITCHING SHOW Harrogte International Centre, Kings Road, Harrogate, HG1 5LA This is the definitive event for anyone with a love of stitch and crafts, supplies, workshops and textile art. 10am - 4pm. For more information, visit: www.theknittingandstitchingshow.com

Lace Guild AND Lace Groups NOTICEBOARD 7 November 2015

THE MAKIT 25TH ANNIVERSARY FENLAND FAIR The Burgess Hall, Westwood Road, St Ives, Cambridgeshire, PE27 6WU 10am to 4pm. Admission: £5. 40 plus suppliers, hourly free raffle, free tea and cake in the afternoon. For more information, visit: www.makitfairs.com/fenland-fair

21 November 2015

THE SOUTHERN COUNTIES LACEMAKERS AND NEEDLECRAFT FAIR Havant Leisure Centre, Havant, Hampshire PO9 2AY 10am - 3:30pm. Admission: £4.50. For more information, visit: www.havant-suppliers-fair.com

5 December 2015

THE MAKIT LQ&N CHRISTMAS FAIR Cranmore Park, Cranmore Avenue, Shirley, Solihull, West Midlands, B90 4LF Display of Lace from the Lace Guild Collection. Display of Textile Art – celebrating the work of Annette Morgan and workshops with Annick Staes, Kay

Dennis, Pat Brunsden and Melanie Missin. 10am - 4pm. Admission: £7.50. Over 70 suppliers! For more information, visit: www.makitfairs.com

Events Nationwide 24 October - 6 December 2015

TEXTILE 21 EXHIBITION - CREATED IN COLOUR The Whitaker Museum, Haslingden Road, Rawtenstall, BB4 6RE Textile 21 are following on from their successful exhibition ‘Fashioned in Silk’ by developing their designs used for the silk organza toiles and utilising a riot of colour for this 3D textile art exhibition. Free admission. 10am - 4pm. For more information, visit: www.thewhitaker.org.co.uk

31st October - 7th November 2015

CONNECTIONS ANNUAL TEXTILE EXHIBITION Long Load Village Hall, Long Load, Somerset, TA10 9JX Open 10am - 4pm Sales table, tea and coffee available. Free entry email: lizmiltoncottage@aol.com for more information

2 - 7 November 2015

‘MY WORLD IN STITCH’ BY LIZ SWINBANK Birdwood House, Totnes TQ9 5SQ Monday - Friday 10am - 5pm Saturday -10am - 4pm Free entry. For more information, contact: lizswinbank@gmail.com

3 - 7 November 2015

3 DIMENSIONS EXHIBITION Upstairs Gallery, 268 High Street, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, HP4 1AQ Tuesday to Saturday. For more information, visit: www.upstairsgallery.co.uk

7 - 21 November 2015

FACETS TEXTILE ARTISTS - HANGING BY A THREAD Gallery, Glapthorn Road, nr the Great Hall, Oundle, PE8 4JF An exhibition of new textile art works on our interpretation of the theme of Hanging by a Thread. Free admission. Opening times: Mon-Sat 10:30 - 1pm, and

2:30pm - 5pm. Sun 2:30pm - 5pm. Contact: facets@hotmail.co.uk

20 November 2015 1 January 2016

LOUISE GARDINER SOLO SHOW AT ANTHROPOLOGIE Anthropologie, 131-141 Kings Road, London, SW3 4PW The work will include velvet pillows and poufs, silk scarves, silk embellished quilts, original embroidered artwork. Louise will be in attendance during the first week. 10am - 7pm For more information, visit: www.lougardiner.co.uk

22 November - 11 December 2015

THREAD AND SHUTTER EXHIBITION The Hawth, Hawth Avenue, Crawley, West Sussex, RH10 6YZ Third exhibition of new and exciting textiles and photos. Monday - Saturday, 10am - 8pm. Admission free. Free car parking. Disabled access. For further details, contact: Lynn Collison lynncollison@threadandshutter.co.uk www.threadandshutter.co.uk

27 November 2015 6 January 2016

‘ART & SOUL’ - AN EXHIBITION & SALE OF CONTEMPORARY TEXTILE ART BY NATURAL PROGRESSION TEXTILE GROUP Avant Garden Centre, Wigan Road, Leyland, Lancs, PR25 5XW Open Mon - Sat 9am to 5:30pm, Thurs 9am - 7:30pm, Sun 10am - 4pm Free entry. Disabled access & ample parking. For more information, contact: 01772 433777

28 November - 17 January 2016 ‘REWIND’ - THE TEXTILE ART GROUP (TAG) EXHIBITION Bankfield Museum, Akroyd Park, Halifax, HX3 6HG Celebrating 20 years of work. Opening times: Tues - Sat, 10am - 4pm. For more information, contact: jay.johnson@btinternet.com

1 - 6 December 2015

SPECTRA TEXTILE ARTISTS EXHIBITION - ‘RESTRUCTURED’ Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking, Surrey, RH5 6AA 9:30am - 5pm. Free entry. For more information, call: 01737 242354 www.spectratextileart.co.uk

To advertise your event here email: events@workboxmag.com www.creativewithworkbox.com

I Be Creative with WORKBOX 79

A DASH OF DAILY LIFE, CREATIVITY AND IDEAS Stephanie Redfern welcomes us into her blogging universe and reflects on how it influences the creative process I do like a blog. I like to see what other artists are doing, where they have been, and what inspires them. A blog can teach and entertain, and introduce you to new ideas, new artists, exhibitions, books and philosophies that may have otherwise passed you by, and propel you into a much bigger world than was possible before the arrival of the internet. I decided to start my blog in 2010, to complement my website which I had made several years before. I’m on my third website now, but a website is a more static provider of information and images, whereas a blog can be a lively diary and record of ideas, work in progress, with a


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dash of daily life thrown in too. I generally use my blog to talk about my creative ideas and artistic practice, with the occasional outing, exhibition or holiday introduced into the mix. I prefer to put as many relevant images in each blog post as possible, and to keep the text as concise as I can although I may not always succeed in the latter! At the same time, I don’t want to put too many images in a post, as I think this can lead to an overload for the reader, and dare I say it, can become a little boring. My blog now receives hundreds of views weekly. This amazes me, and I love the way blogs connect with like minded

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people all around the world. Most people don’t comment, but many introduce themselves to me as readers at shows or when I am teaching. I think they are very generous with their time in wanting to read my blog, and that you have a duty to them to try to keep it interesting and as informative as possible, whilst reflecting your practice and creative development. I try to be as entertaining and as inspiring as possible, and if I do something a little different or go on a course or two, which are my latest exploits, one of my first thoughts is ‘I can blog this!’ I try to blog frequently, at least every two weeks or so. I think this is just about right for my readers and myself; I don’t want to continually bombard them. A blog is a very good tool in terms of structuring your work too. I particularly like posting work in progress images; I find sorting and showing my materials, editing them, showing my work space, tools, drawings and sources of inspiration can both expand and consolidate my ideas and the eventual work that emerges. Of course, not every idea or enthusiastic beginning leads to a finished, resolved piece of work, and I try to revisit work that has changed direction, to show that creativity with mixed media is a fluid thing, and that mistakes happen, and also that pieces sometimes simply do not work out, and that it is all part of the process of creating art. I was a ceramist for twenty years, after studying ceramics to BA level at university. I made sculpture and vessels, hand built and thrown, usually in porcelain. In 2003, with no real prompting, textiles, my first

Left page: From The Rainforest Leaves, a hanging book with 10 parts, each measuring 80 x 58 cm. Left: Autumn Forest. 60 x 80 cm.

Middle left: A Year of Thoughts, a scroll book in three parts, each measuring 100 x 31 cm

Middle right: The (see image left) scrolls rolled. Bottom: From Into the Cacao Grove. Background image: From The Summer Gardens. 43 x 32 cm

love from my art foundation days, took over, and millions of stitches later I am still at it, enjoying the immediate sensation of colour, design, line and shape using drawing, print, textiles, paper and text. Textile work starts with an interface of design and material. I paint and print my fabrics using a variety of media, and construct my work using collage and stitch. Many of the best things that happen are a combination of personality, experience, life and the patterns and spaces that move me. My work consists of large wall hangings, and smaller pieces of textile work, which may be free hanging, framed or on canvas, and artist’s books. I spend a very long time placing and arranging the elements of my work. I always work instinctively, rather than to a set, rigid design; this way, new pathways open, fresh ideas emerge, esoteric connections are made and depth of feeling is revealed. Some pieces are calm, others are vigorous and stimulating; I particularly enjoy experimenting and juxtaposing different materials, observing as they establish and develop the mood of a piece. I stitch using many different threads, and use many beads. I have frequently incorporated found materials, including bark, pebbles, plastics and metal in my pieces too.


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Left top: From Shadow and Light. Left bottom: From The Rainforest Leaves. Right top: From The Stone Bird. 80 x 58 cm

Right bottom: From Found, a hanging book, one of 12 pieces, each measures 55 x 75 cm. Background image: From The Summer Gardens.

My steadfast influences with me right through college and my ceramic years, are the natural world, from landscape with its layered views, shapes of field, details of fence, tree and weather, to the rainforest, mainly sourced at various botanical gardens, unfortunately not as yet in real life. My own garden, formal gardens, topiary and botanical subjects are old favourites, as are insects, birds, the occasional mammal, the seasons and the night sky, and science in general. A day in a natural history museum is a joy; I can indulge my love of fossils and bones, and marvel at the variety and intricacy of life. Visiting as many exhibitions as possible, particularly shows of contemporary art, and enjoying children’s book illustration are also important factors in my creative life. Sketchbooks and photography are essential ingredients, the foundation of all of my work. I have many that I have filled over the years, and constantly refer to them. My work has become more autobiographical over the last few years. This has happened quite naturally, and I have embraced this development with interest. This has happened since I started to make artist’s books; it seems the possibility of establishing a narrative has brought about this development. I have made fifteen artist’s books, mostly bound books. In many ways these have now become central to my practice. I made ‘Into the Cacao Grove’, my first book, in 2009. I write all the text in my books, a practice which started with Into the Cacao Grove. The book consists of eighteen stitched textile illustrations with accompanying text, and measures 90 x 56 centimetres. It weighs over twelve kilograms. This was followed by ‘The Stone Bird’, inspired by a fossil of an archaeopteryx, and featuring a variety of birds and text. It is equally hefty! My binding methods are simple, and definitely not perfect book binding techniques. Each page is edged with fabric, drilled and glued,


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then threaded with strong cord, and sometimes decorated with beads and other threads. Other books have followed, including ‘Mist and Grey’, ‘White Noise’, ‘The Summer Gardens’, ‘Walking in Venice’, and more recently ‘Shadow and Light’. These books have led to a change in my work, since I now introduce more media into the mix, such as digital print on a variety of surfaces, found objects and autobiographical narrative. ‘A Year of Thoughts’ is my first scroll book, made in three parts, on wool felt with text, stitched fabric and paper applique. I would like to make more scroll books; I like the idea of a secret, rolled book unwinding to reveal rich images and text, and then being rolled up again to continue on its travels. I have also made several concertina books, and two boxed books, ‘Found II’ and ‘Beach’. The scope for exploring and making mixed media artist’s books is endless and thrilling. I have developed the concept of hanging books to present some of my pieces; basically this arrangement consists of the pages of a book displayed as a wall hanging instead of being bound, or in another format. I sometimes start to make a book with the idea of it becoming a bound book and it suggests to me that it should be wall hung. My only personal rule is that a hanging book should include text. Most of my books include the use of Khadi paper, which has been hugely instrumental in moving my work into new areas. It is hand made recycled 100% cotton rag paper from India, available in many sizes and weights, and I use it to both make work from and to support my pieces. Every so often, I like to experiment with different techniques and media, and find that when I do, my work changes and moves into new areas in a way I can only describe as organic. This is the best way to develop new work; anything forced never works for me. BC www.stephanieredfern.co.uk stephanieredfern.wordpress.com

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I have taught children, adults and students with special needs for over thirty years, and have been artist-in-residence at many schools, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, and many times at the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists. I teach independent textile workshops, having just recently stopping teaching regular ceramic classes after thirty one years. I have also curated a number of exhibitions, both in textiles and ceramics.


I Be Creative with WORKBOX 83

Go ahead… get creative!

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