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Textile & Needlecraft Creations, Inspirations & Innovations

MAKE pretty projects


Rose Tapestry Cushion


Felt Bowl

d a e r h T n i s t i a r Port FABRICS | WEBSITES | IDEAS | MEMOS | MUST HAVES | EVENTS



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Issue 153 | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016




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


+£1.95 P&P

“Your superb Volume 4 of Be Inspired by Workbox magazine has arrived. The beautiful colourful pictures pop from the pages. So much to read and be inspired by.” – Isabell, subscriber

Be Inspired Annual by Workbox Vol.4


Available direct from Workbox on 01395 233247 or

Mary Bennellick

mary@creativewithworkbox.c om


This issue we introduce to you a brand new feature, our Inspire pages. The result of a lot of happy hours searching online for textile treats and crafty loveliness, Amber and I are really proud of the finished result; 5 jam packed, exciting pages of creative gorgeousness. Look out for our exclusive ‘5 minutes with…’ and ‘Ask the Artists’ sections plus our beautiful buys will have you reaching for the mouse in no time! We hope you really enjoy this feature – look out for more exciting additions to it in upcoming issues! I often wondered what it would be like to have my portrait done; on countless holidays to visit family in Cyprus, I’ve watched a chap, year after year on Paphos harbour, drawing portraits for tourists and although he’s good, I’ve always thought there was a doll like quality to the finished results, like he’d captured a version of a person, but not really them. Emily Tull’s exquisite portraiture however, is a cut above anything I’ve ever seen before; using just one basic stitch, she expertly captures the essence of a person or animal, and translates it in thread and I for one, am mesmerised by the results – no doubt you will be too. If I ever do decide to have my portrait done, it’ll be ‘life catcher’ Emily I sit for… Have you ever looked at a piece of fabric and known exactly what you were going to do with it and been instantly inspired on the spot? Our cover artist Rebecca Chapman, has that experience frequently and shares with you on page 38 just how she is motivated by materials. It’s so exciting to see how embroidery and the concept of what constitutes embroidery is evolving; Elizabeth Jane Winstanley shares her creativity and experimental approach on page 48 – it’s hard not to be impressed by her modern interpretation of this age old craft.

We loved catching up with Liz Payne this issue – she’s the Etsy 2015 Design Award winner and purveyor of eye catching and colourful one-of-a kind embroidered artworks. She too is challenging the stereotype that embroidery is old fashioned and through her work, is redefining the genre. It’s not just young and upcoming textile artists that are embracing change however – the Marlborough and District Embroiders guild are celebrating forty years together this year, and in their feature on page 78, they reflect on how developments in technology are impacting and enhancing their work as a group 40 years after they started. A veritable feast of inspiration awaits you this issue – hopefully I’ve whet your appetite, so tuck in! Be Creative – inspired by enthusiasts

AH – MA – ZING! Page 48

Can this really be stitched? Page 68

Bring out the Beasts! Page 11


7 Competition 9 Inspire


14 Gallery 18 Introducing… Liz Payne 20 Subscribe to Workbox


22 UNPICKED: Kalamkari 28 Working in Series: Redefinitions 34 HOW TO: Rockin’ Rooster 38 Motivated by Material 46 PROJECT: 3D Felt Bowl 48 Experimental Embroidery 54 PROJECT: Polar Bear 58 Hereditary Art 64 PROJECT: A Royal Rose Cushion 68 Portraits in Thread 74 Back Issues 76 EXHIBIT: Charnwood in Stitches 78 EXHIBIT: Forty Years of the Marlborough and District Branch


80 What’s On 82 Creative Bloggers

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38 48

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Contributors Elizabeth Jane Winstanley

Elizabeth is inspired by architectural, geometric patterns, structure, colour, light and illusions. She is currently studying for a Masters Degree in Textiles Mixed Media at The Royal College of Art.

Rebecca Chapman

Rebecca is a mixed-media textile artist and lives near Brighton. She creates contemporary textile art and surface patterns as well as working part-time as an art and design teacher.

Be… with

EDITORIAL Call: 01395 233247 Editor: Mary Bennellick Deputy Editor: Amber Balkwill Art Editor: Peter Frost

ADVERTISING Call: 01395 233247 Advertising Director: Paul Veysey Advertising Manager: Bev Ward SUBSCRIPTIONS Subs Manager: Elsa Hutchings +44 (0)1395 233247 EVENTS Events Manager: Jake Tucker ACCOUNTS ARTICLE SUBMISSIONS TO: Mary Bennellick

Deborah O’Hare

Deborah is a quilter, textile artist and instructor who specializes in hand painted cloth. She designs contemporary small art quilts which are available as patterns and kits.

Helen Cowans

Helen is an award winning, qualified tutor and lecturer; her work is informed by a love of colour and eastern patterns and, in contrast, the evocative and historical Northumberland landscape.

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

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Midge Gourlay

Midge is a textile artist and graduate of the Glasgow school of Art. She lives and works in the lovely village of Port Appin on the west coast of Scotland.

Emily Tull

Emily is a Kent based artist regularly exhibiting her work and trying to push the boundaries of how textiles are seen in the ‘art world’.

Other contributors:

Amber Balkwill, Mary Bennellick, Dena Dale Crain, Liz Payne, Monika Schleich, Sheila Smith, Louise Thomas 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 © 2016 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.




Slow Stitch by Claire Wellesley-Smith This collection of work by textile artist Claire Wellesley-Smith, alongside pieces by other international artists, demonstrates how a less-is-more approach can produce stunning textile art that is more personal and meaningful.

Natural Processes in Textile Art by Alice Fox Filled with beautiful textile art from the author and featuring work from international authors throughout, this guide demonstrates how to work with sustainable materials that are in harmony with the landscape.

Stitch Stories by Cas Holmes This inspiring book shows the reader how to record experiences, using sketchbooks, journals and photography to create personal narratives that can form a starting point for more finished stitched-textile pieces. Explored are useful techniques that add extra interest to embroidery work, such as making layered collages, ‘sketching’ with stitch and advice on design and colour.


Tell us why you love Be Creative with Workbox! Online: Email: Post: Mary Bennellick, Be Creative Competition, Unit 8 Woodbury Business Park, Woodbury, Exeter, EX5 1AY Entries will be drawn on 17th January 2016. 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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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!


Available direct from Workbox on 01395 233247 or














We’ve gone dotty for this fun tote bag – perfect for all your crafty essentials for chic sewing on the go. £11.50 from

I Be Creative with WORKBOX 9

NEWS… Textile artist Sarah Perry will be introducing people to her specialist raised sewing technique at a workshop in the New Year. Sarah is inspired by the natural world and produces amazingly intricate works of art featuring birds and animals. Her fascination with anatomy led her to develop her raised thread painting technique which she is now passing on to others through her sewing sanctuaries.

For a chance to learn Sarah’s specialist sewing technique and create a piece of work of your own, sign up to her next course which takes place in the beautiful setting of the Inn on the Lake at Ullswater in The Lake District from March 16-18, 2016. The sanctuary costs £375 and includes prosecco and canapes on arrival, all meals and a two night stay in the hotel. Partners are also welcome and can stay at the hotel at a reduced rate. Get booking! For more information about Sarah Perry visit her website at To book a place on the course, telephone The Inn on the Lake, Ullswater, on 01768 482444.


Embellish, Stitch & Felt by Sheila Smith Sheila Smith’s popular book – in paperback for the first time – covers dry-felting techniques using hand-held needles and embellisher machines. These mess free techniques open up a range of felt ideas for textile artists. The book includes the use of commercial ready made needle punch felt for fashion and design work. And of course, it provides a range of decorative stitching and dyeing methods that can be used to embellish the felt.

WE LOVE: The colourful illustrations of inspirational textiles. Published by RRP Price: £19.99


Thehomemakery. is a stitcher’s paradise – from its gorgeous layout and appealing palettes to its pages and pages of crafty loot – we love this website for any of our crafty needs and wants! FAVOURITE FEATURE: The really well organised sections making it easy to find exactly what you want.

Ask the Artists





Inject an animal theme into your textile project this season with these adorable fabrics from



1. Simply a beautiful print of a majestic and endangered species. 2. Add a bit of British countryside with these intricate pheasants. 3. Right on trend, make a statement with these vibrant orange stags. 4. What came first, the chicken or the egg? This funky fowl print will keep you guessing! 5. Stylish and cool, this fabulous flamingo print will put the fun factor into your designs. 6. Perfect for a spring theme, these lovely bunnies will add a bounce to your project. 7. Add a foxy feel to your home or a woodland themed project with this fun and quirky design. All from £2.50 per fat quarter



Measure Up! Thought your trusty tape measure was just for the sewing table? Think again! From the décor of your home to lovely gifts for sewing friends, get in on the tape measure trend with these goodies, hand picked by us. 1. Show the length of your love with this solid silver bangle etched to look like a vintage tape measure. Perfect for anyone who loves all things vintage or has an interest in sewing, pricey but nicey! £145




2. Illuminate your home with this colourful and funky tape measure shade! Wonderfully unique and handmade in Devon, this shade will set you apart from the rest. Perfect for lighting up your sewing room, or brightening up your home. £35 3. A must have addition to your crafty stash, this tape measure cotton tape will jazz up any sewing gift and is the perfect way to wrap your crafty creations! £0.80 per metre

“WHAT DOYOU DO WITH SCRAPS AND OFF CUTS AFTER A PROJECT?” “If I have any leftover acrylics, wood or metal then I usually keep it. I have boxes and boxes in my studio, all well organised so they are easy to find. Recently I have been working with recycled materials which I obtained from a scrap store in London. If I have any leftovers that I don’t think I will need in the future, I simply take them back and they put them out for other people. I really do try not to waste anything if I can.” Elizabeth Jane Winstanley (featured on page 48)

“I wouldn’t be able to create my work without scraps and off cuts! Most of my work is based around upcycling scraps of ribbon, lace, fabric and paper that I squirrel away from other projects. As well as my coastal and floral scenes, I also give new life to the scraps by using them to create handmade greetings cards, key rings and brooches. I don’t like to see anything wasted!” Rebecca Chapman (featured on page 38) “I hate waste, some pieces are so small that I can’t save them but on the whole, any scraps or off-cuts get used again. Often, my artworks only need smaller amounts of fabric and I layer up scraps of materials like organza.” Emily Tull (featured on page 68)

I Be Creative with WORKBOX 11


Liz Payne


We grab five minutes with the 2015 Etsy Design Award winner

by Monika Schleich


If you could only use one colour ever again on your artwork, what would it be and why? This is a hard question for me, I love using a lot of colour! I can’t seem to not use pink though - even if I have other intentions at the beginning of a piece, I always end up using it! I guess I always gravitate towards it because it can be girly but edgy at the same time.


What do you like to do to relax? Stitch! With no deadlines! I’m always doing it and I love being really immersed in it.


Describe your perfect Sunday afternoon… A long late lunch with my husband and dog, then maybe a walk in the park followed by a few beers at the pub. After that, back home to watch a movie while I do some embroidery or whatever else I’m making that day.


Which book have you read over and over again? The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. A good friend of mine recommended it to me years ago and it’s always the book I recommend to friends now as well. I’ve read it about 8 times.


What’s your favourite tea time treat? It has to be a biscuit doesn’t it! I’m loving the hundreds and thousands ones lately, with a green tea.

Love to Sew Teddy Bears Renowned teddy bear creator and enthusiast Monika Schleich, shares her expert techniques for sewing these huggable bears. Choose from vintage style teddy bears, polar bears, baby bears, pandas and plenty more soft-paw companions!


The easy to follow, step-by-step instructions for every project. Published by RRP Price: £7.99

Win win! Read more about Liz and her exciting work on page 18 The lady loves pink!

Congratulations to Hazel Shinton from Staffordshire, who won our Janome Sewing Machine competition! A Memory Craft 5900QC is on its way to you! Congratulations also to D Rudnick from Canterbury who won a copy of Contemporary Applique!

To be in with a chance to win a fabulous craft book bundle in this issue’s competition, turn to page 7

Go here! The Craft for Crafters Show Westpoint Arena, Exeter, Thurs 4th – Sat 6th February 2016 Over 120 national suppliers will be at The Craft for Crafters Show this year including Be Creative with Workbox! Pop along and say hi at the show that has it all for every craft enthusiast, featuring live demonstrations, textile displays and so much more! For further details visit


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Don’t miss your last chance to see this fabulous show by the South West Textile Group at the Museum of Somerset, ending on January 10th. All of the exhibitors based their work on a museum exhibit and the results are as wide and varied as they are interesting and beautiful. Find out more at

This gorgeous selection of buttons is sure to appeal to sewing bees and crafters, plus the handy wooden tidy will make a pretty and practical addition to any craft room. £19.99 from

Creative Comments The latest tweets, posts and comments from our lovely Be Creative readers… “I love Be Creative, it’s a wonderful magazine, full of varied, interesting and inspirational articles.” Sue, by email “Just had morning coffee with my copy, packed full of amazing textile art, thank you!” Michelle, via Facebook

READER OF Get 10% offFER! anything by Get organised with this sewing themed notebook. It’s a perfect gift for a friend, or treat yourself! £2.50 from

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Stamp with pride - give your masterpieces a professional finish with this ‘Handmade by’ stamp. £19.99 from Jazz up your sewing cupboard or drawers with these vintage knobs! We love the retro sewing theme which would look fab in any sewing room. £7.95 each from

Beautiful enough to have on display at home and perfect for sitting on your desk at work in case of an emergency repair, this neatly organised essential sewing kit is a crafty must have. £35.00 from

If you are a lover of all things vintage then look no further, this decorative print on antique paper will make a stunning addition to any home or sewing space. £12 from Please note – all products were available and prices correct at time of print.

Never lose your sewing glasses again! Keep them safe and stylish in this cute sewing and knitting themed case. £12.95 from

“It’s a one stop box full of inspiration, creativity and innovations - what more could you want? Workbox will be for you what you want it to be!” Harsa, via our website “‘Sew’ inspirational, ‘sew’ informative, it’s the ideal ‘material’ to ‘embroider’ your life!” Cherryl, via our website “It inspires us with new ideas, designs and stories, a proper put your feet up read!” Clare, via our website “I absolutely love Be Creative with Workbox because it cheers me up every time it drops through my letterbox, brimming with inspirational ideas about textiles, embroidery and crafts. Chronic ill health means I can’t always be creative myself but having this wonderful magazine means I can try new ideas at home, at my own pace and on less good health days, when I don’t have the energy to be creative, I can just enjoy reading about the beautiful creative people the articles are about, or I just look at the lovely photographs. I like the ‘What’s on’ section because even if I can’t attend events, I look at the websites. My subscription is worth every single penny. Thank you.” Ann, by email “Be Creative with Workbox oozes quality from the look of the cover to the feel of the pages. The content delivers even more than the cover promises with a breadth of textile topics covering exhibitions, insights into the thoughts behind the work from solo and group work and thought provoking articles from around the world. Alongside that the book reviews and ‘What’s on’ are a great nudge towards an outing or gift to myself. Oh, and I nearly forgot the have a go yourself project pages. It is almost as if Creative with Workbox was designed just for me and I thank you.” Janet, by email

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Textile masterpieces we just had to share…

100 Drops Amanda Salm 30”h x 40”w x 27”d | horsehair, nylon | coiling, knotted netting | 2014

Splattered and Fractured Leisa Rich 23” x 29” x 3” | ink, canvas, thread, vinyl, fabric | painted, free motion stitched, trapunto | 2013

Glimmer Neroli Henderson GiclĂŠe print (own photograph) on silk, quilted with ultra ďŹ ne 100wt thread, metal foil. Single, double and triple batting (trapunto). 140.5 x 90.5cm

INNOVATIONS contemporary textiles


Meet Liz Payne; an artist from Sydney, Australia, who specialises in bright and beautiful textile art – did we also mention she’s the Etsy 2015 Design Award Winner?


create one of a kind hand embroidered artworks, combining hand painted textiles with embellishments like embroidery and beading. My pieces are colourful, textural and completely stitched by hand. My passion for textiles and embroidery stemmed from a young age. My mum was very influential growing up; she can sew, knit, paint and I was lucky enough to always be surrounded by piles of fabric, wool, thread and beads in every shape, size and colour. I guess it was natural that later I would want to create things that combined my love of all those things! Nowadays, I see working with thread as a replacement to the more traditional paintbrush or pencil; with embroidery, I can add colour and texture to a piece, and build it up so it’s completely dimensional and textural. I also love embroidery for the fact that with each stitch and every bead added, it further adds to the uniqueness of the piece. Using stitch, I like to create a synergy of movement and dimension with various threads and I aim to make them so your eye dances around from one intricate detail to the next. I like to experiment with shape, symbolism and symmetry in my work and try to create a harmonious energy to every piece. As each piece is completely hand embroidered, they are a labour of love, and can be time consuming to complete! After coming up with a design, sketching it and sometimes fixing it in Photoshop or Illustrator, I paint the fabric - this itself can be a lengthy process! Some pieces are more planned than others; sometimes I just like to let colour, pattern and intuition take over. Every piece is so different. Next comes my favourite part - the embroidery! I love gradually adding colour and texture through thread and this is what makes my work unique. I am by no means a traditional embroiderer! I find


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that embroidery can have a stigma to it that it’s ‘grandmotherly’ or ‘old fashioned’. It’s my hope that when people see my work, this old connotation is blown out of the water. I’m taking an old method and choice of medium but applying it in a more contemporary approach. Embroidery also has a connotation to it that it must be perfect - and my work celebrates the fact that it doesn’t have to be. For me, I don’t need my stitching to be ‘correct’ - it doesn’t need to be to still be beautiful and aesthetic as art. I think if it was, my work wouldn’t have the same appeal. It’s handmade and I think people are really starting to appreciate the time it takes for something to be made by hand. Currently I sell my original artwork through my Etsy shop, Flirting with Yellow, ( and I have just started to offer limited edition giclee prints of these originals too. I like giving this option as I find it is a way for people to get introduced to textile art at a more affordable option - and these prints look so lifelike you’d swear they were the originals! Recently, I had some prints displayed at an art fair, and I had so many people coming up to the prints trying to feel the texture! I also stitch custom sneakers, and I’m looking forward to introducing other hand stitched items in the future too. Last year I won the Etsy Design Award in my category of Art, Illustration and Paper goods. The artwork that I won it with was ‘Not Afraid’, which was a textile piece delicately embroidered and beaded by hand in a range of thread, wool, and beads. Very bold and colourful, it was the result of hours of stitching! I was ecstatic to have won the award and it was an amazing achievement for me. To get recognition through such a reputable brand is so motivating for me to continue my dream of producing work like this. BC


INNOVATIONS contemporary textiles

Clockwise from top left: Me Holding Not Afraid; Embroidered Shoes; Me in studio; Do You Feel It detail; Friday 2014; Hello Flower.

I Be Creative with WORKBOX 19




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CREATIONS unpicked

UNPICKED KALAMKARI With a common interest in Indian textile designs and a reputation for high quality textiles – we meet the members of this exciting group


alamkari, the Dundee-based textile art group, is building a strong reputation for exhibiting high-quality creative textiles within the Tayside region. The six founding members met while studying City and Guilds Creative Textiles at Dundee College and on graduating, decided to work together as a formal group in order to exhibit their very varied work. At that time, they knew nothing of the organisation and administration of such an event, but were given advice and support by two of their former tutors. “I still cannot believe we took on what we did”, laughed one of the original members. “Full of enthusiasm, we learnt ‘on the job’ how to do what was necessary, and our first exhibition was held in the Dundee University Botanic Garden in 2009.“ When thinking of a name for the group, Dundee’s textile heritage and its historic link with India through the jute industry made the name Kalamkari seem appropriate. Group members had a common interest in Indian textile designs including a fabric painting and dyeing technique known as ‘kalamkari’, which provided the inspiration for the group title. Now numbering ten, each member of the group has continued to extend the boundaries of textile art using new materials and techniques. For example, Maureen Shepherd uses the rural environment in Angus, with its ancient history and the cycle of the farming year as the inspiration for her work. She buries natural fabric in the field, which when dug up, retains a memory of the soil in the resulting random patterns. Her own printed and stitched marks then build layers


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to tell a story. Maureen has been working on a series of textile books, one of which gained her an award of commendation from the Meffan Gallery in Forfar. Jan Reid’s Crystal Garden was based on a poem called ‘Frosted Windows’, describing a time before central heating and a child’s fascination with images of leaves, flowers, fossils and ferns, soon to disappear when the sun comes up. Jan works with layers of sheer fabrics, mainly silk organza, combining mixed media layers, either mono printed, stamped or screen printed with layers of stitch on a background of painted and dyed silk or cotton. Sheila Paterson cleverly combines commercial prints with her own dyed and patterned fabrics, and recently created a series based on shop windows as the source of inspiration. Working with only a rough sketch allows Sheila to improvise, letting the fabric suggest the way forward, but surface textures are always smooth. Free-stitching on the machine is her favourite technique and her love of colour and enjoyment in pattern and design help her to achieve her aim of making happy artwork! ‘Memories and Mementoes’ was the theme of Kalamkari’s most recent exhibition, and Morag Gray explored ways to document the past using fragments of lace, chintz and broken china to create textile pieces with vintage appeal and a personal worth. Old stamps, cigarette cards, and letters are stitched onto recycled materials using hand or machine embroidery. Nostalgia and reminiscences have also inspired Lorna Morrison’s recent work with a wartime memory of American rangers billeted with her family in Dundee

CREATIONS unpicked

during WW2. By using photo transfer techniques, Lorna collaged letters and photographs onto tea-stained calico, to evoke the frugality of wartime and create a lasting record for her family of the time. Childhood memories of family holidays in North Berwick in the 50s and 60s led Carol Gorrie to produce a series of upbeat work, using Pebeo silk and fabric paint and stitching with both hand and machine embroidery. Carol likes to experiment by using all sorts of mixed media, machine embroidery, transparent fabrics, dyeing painting and printing, and her work is often based on words and nature. Lynn Gourlay portrays the natural world working from photographs and sketches, and has produced a series on animal themes including hares, pigs and deer. She is currently working on plants & flowers (easier to photograph and they also sit still whilst you draw them). She then applies delicate colour by painting with fabric paints before using free machining to sketch the subject, and finishing with fine hand stitching. Flowers have also been a recurring theme in the very detailed embroidery executed by Mary Wallace, who has won several awards in Northern Ireland for her beautiful work. A large piece entitled ‘Ephemeral Love’ based on the legend of Aphrodite and Adonis featured a purple dyed silk Wood Anemone with 3D wired petals, with a background inspired by Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’ to represent love with straight stitch, couching and gold kid. One of the most emotive examples of textile artwork is a poignant wall hanging by Helen Methven based on Alzheimers disease. Measuring over two

metres long, Helen created a regular grid of two inch squares made of mixed fragments secured by Aquabond on chiffon and machine stitched onto a white muslin ground, with the first panel of bright colours gradually becoming darker and more sombre to reflect the deterioration and loss of abilities, progressing into the complete dependence of a childlike state when the colour fades out to soft formless white. The translucence and sensitive delivery of this striking work would not have been so effective in any other medium. Mona Clark, with a background in fashion journalism, now mainly works on fantasy dolls. Every possible stitch and type of decoration can be used to great effect and the fine detail and small scale lends her work enchantment. A fragment from a chamois leather glove was transformed into a jacket and duffle bag for a Flower Power doll. To date, dolls have been made to represent the Elements; earth, air, fire and water, and the most recent exhibition featured the Arabian Nights heroine, Scheherazade. For Kalamkari’s next exhibition, which has the theme of nature and wildlife, Mona plans to create a ladybird and a dolly bird of paradise! There’s no limit to the combined talents and creativity of Kalamkari and being part of a group brings a stronger dynamic to their collaborations, as each member’s work has a unique approach and different influences. The resulting textile artwork is varied and innovative with a broad ranging appeal that has been much admired. BC

Clockwise from far left: Maureen Sheperd Earth Poem I; Mona ClarkScheherazade; Lorna Morrison Wartime; Morag Gray Falling; Jan Reid Crystal Garden; Lynn Gourlay Three Hares; Sheila PatersonGrasses

I Be Creative with WORKBOX 23

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Textile & Needlecraft Creations, Inspirations & Innovations

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Desert Sands


Redefinitions Dena Dale Crain revisits and redefines earlier pieces of her patchwork 28

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City Sidewalks


eaching for the European Patchwork Meeting in 2009, I stayed at a ferme auberge in Val d’Argent, France, in a typically small and lonely bedroom. Evenings spent alone and without other entertainment were long. Luckily, a local shop stocked some top quality coloured construction paper, cellophane tape and a pair of paper scissors. After teaching all day, then enjoying a relaxed and delicious supper, I spent my evenings mocking up designs for patchwork as 6” plans for much larger pieces. I quickly worked through five or six of these. I photographed the work as it grew, in case I needed later to reproduce the process. Much later and back at work in my studio in Kenya, I selected one mockup to develop fully as a patchwork quilt wall hanging. I opened the final photo in a photo editing program and traced an outline of each separate shape of colour. This step gave me a line drawing for the

patchwork. Far too small to use, the next step was to enlarge the sketch to an appropriate size. I chose 42” and worked to that size from then on. Continuing to work with graphic design software, I extracted each shape from the composition and to each one I added seam allowance. Then I arranged the shapes into a tight layout that would fit onto each piece of silk dupion fabric I intended to use. I printed the patterns and set to work cutting out the shapes from the silk with fusible interfacing backing to control raveling and slippage. Next step was to piece the quilt top. Plenty of inset angles had to be pieced, and I often resorted to half-seam piecing to facilitate the job. Pleased with the top, I stacked the layers and began quilting with stitch-in-the-ditch quilting and an echo design situated in each patch sewn with threads to match the fabrics. Linear elements were easy to sew through all layers with a tight satin stitch in contrasting colour. The quilt’s title is “Path Less Traveled.”

From here, a new art quilt series was born. Called “Redefinitions,” this series was the beginning of a revisitation to earlier forms of patchwork based entirely on squares and rectangles. Each piece in the series has added to or altered what I learned from the previous work. Linear elements in patchwork design have become far more important to me in recent years - and I have developed new ways to produce them. Other features have found their way into the work as the series moves ever more steadily toward stronger composition with fully developed focal points. Second in the series is “On the Slant.” Three colours, an on-point setting, and some contrast colour machine embroidery made this piece restfully unusual. Black glass beads and rectangular silver sequins added some sparkle. Again, I made a full pattern on the computer and cut and sewed so the patchwork would contain no unnecessary seam lines; each seam involves a change in fabric!

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Joyful Noise

On the Slant

By the third attempt, I felt I was doing far too much work making patterns to achieve an effect few people would notice, much less appreciate. Instead of making a mockup and using it to develop a full paper pattern, I let go! I simply handled the fabrics in the same way I had worked with construction paper in the beginning, and paid no further attention to where seam lines fell. In the next piece, linear elements came in made from fabric, not from thread. I was a little careless, sloppy about maintaining straight lines and right angles. The resulting piece has a softer, more irregular feeling to it. I love the variability of the linear elements, echoed with variegated thread used for dense quilting. I figured that if the Gee’s Bend quilters could work without rotary cutter stiffness, so could I, and the title became “Gee Whiz!” Redefinitions IV: Snake and Ladders drew from an African batik for its inspiration and detail. Cut with greater attention to straightness, this piece


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reclaimed some of the stiffness lacking in the previous work, but that is good contrast for the embellishments: appliqué strips cut from the batik. Dyed fabric texture, bright color and high contrast set V: Urban Africa apart. Again, variable linear elements appear, along with Kitengela Hot Glass beads from Nairobi and some hand quilting with heavy thread. VI: City Sidewalks came next, with its on-point setting and free assembly of patches. The print fabric was mine, handstamped in a workshop using Oshiwa blocks with Paula Benjaminson. Tropical Rain came next, looking much different from the other pieces, but made by the same processes. The feature for this work is hand-beading that took three days of solid work. The wavy lines that look like falling drops of rain are patchwork! Next in the series was VIII: Desert Sands, this one using freehand-cut curves as well as straight lines. Shifting grain line directions created the illusion of two offwhite materials from the same piece of silk


dupion. The mottled print was created with acrylic fabric paints, some of them metallic. This piece now belongs to well-known art quilt collector, Del Thomas. In IX: Joyful Noise, I threw caution to the wind. I gave up entirely worrying about whether patches were square and lines were straight. Quilting also became important at this stage as I experimented with zigzag lines to expedite the process. This work was borderline on quality standards, as I was entering a difficult period in my personal life. This sloppiness maintained through the beginning of Liquid Gold, eventually set aside as an unfinished work. In any series, there are more and less successful pieces. Liquid Gold was my worst attempt, until I resurrected it and completed it with a personalized quilt-asyou-go method, a single sashing finish. Hand-painted and stamped materials combined with black and white solid colour silks and a gold metallic synthetic cloth made this piece worth salvaging,


Gee Whiz!

Snake and Ladders

Urban Africa

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Kenyanese Checkers

Tropical Rain

Liquid Gold

Heart of Africa

and the restructuring gave the composition new importance. Back on track, XI: Kenyanese Checkers presents a fusion of woven check, rigid and square, contrasted with freehand cut patchwork made from hand-painted and stamped silks, emphasized with black outlines and embellished with beadwork. This piece pokes fun at the political and economic relationship currently enjoyed by China in Kenya. XII and XIII got sidetracked. Number 14 is Heart of Africa, a piece that is now complete but for a label. Highly experimental, I used this piece to further develop the quilt-as-you-go method, this time shifting from a narrow, single sashing to a sashing so wide it is actually part of the patchwork. The Redefinitions series, by its nature, permits such wide sashing that magically blends into the rest of the work,


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and it permits easier quilting of smaller sections before finishing the quilting on the sashing only. I learned much from the making of this quilt, including how to close the sashing on the back with quilting rather than with hand stitching. Many of my methods are speed techniques, but I always strive not to sacrifice quality when applying them. Redefinitions is not a finished series by any means. I have indeed learned a great deal about better ways to handle my medium, and no doubt more new ideas will occur to me as the work progresses. This is the benefit of working in series, of latching onto a single or a set of ideas that we, as artists, push to the maximum. What I love about this series, in particular, is that there are no boundaries, no limitations on what I can do with these methods. I use straight seams or curves.


I use any fabrics, with or without supporting materials. The colour palette goes a long way toward establishing character and impact of a piece, as do any selected embellishments carefully applied. The constructed linear elements add great accents and demand closer inspection. Using hand-painted and hand-stamped or stenciled materials makes the fabrics my own. Every day brings new challenges and a fresh consideration of how to accomplish that which I hope to achieve. Making Redefinitions art quilts makes me wonder why I ever designed and quilted in any other way! BC Visit for my personal blog, and for QuiltEd Online art quilt classes


Path Less Traveled

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Quilting extraordinaire Deborah O’Hare shows you how to create your own painted and printed rooster YOU WILL NEED: For background Plain white or commercially printed white on white fabric – 8 x 10in/20 x 26 cm for background – 7 x 7 in/18 x 18 cm for Rooster Iron on fusible web 7 x 7in/18 x 18 cm Acrylic paints and/or textile paints Eraser (or foam carving block) and carving knife


Pencil with eraser (or similar small circle stamp) Wine cork (or similar larger circle stamp) Bottle top or other circle shape e.g. cardboard thread spool Packaging polystyrene (pizza base or similar) Sequin waste or other small scale grid for stencilling Selection of threads

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INSPIRATION A holiday in Portugal introduced me to the Rooster of Barcelos. I had no room in my luggage to bring home one of the many ceramic versions available so I purchased a tote bag with his image on and it is from this that I have taken my inspiration.


There are no ends to the possibilities and co mbinations that can be created with layers of paint and stitch. It is wha t continues to drive my creativity . With fabric, paint and a few supplie s, you can create your own, truly un ique pieces, from the design, right th rough to the fabrics used. It do esn’t have to be difficult or complic ated and this project will help yo u to get started.


Begin by painting the background fabric. Water down the paint to make a wash and cover the fabric in your chosen colour. Choose a new colour and repeat for the Rooster body fabric.


Transfer the Rooster body shape to fusible web (remember to reverse image) and iron onto the back of dry fabric. Cut out and before fusing it to the background, place onto paper or a drop cloth and begin decorating.


In a contrasting colour, use a wine cork or similar circle shape to stamp along the bottom and side edges.


Add more detail with a bottle cap or small cardboard tube. Use a smaller circle e.g. a pencil eraser to add some smaller circles to the body and tail.


Carve, or cut with scissors, a simple shape from an eraser or carving block and add more detail.

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Add texture to the left over Rooster fabric by stencilling with sequin waste or similar small grid. Use this to cut out the comb, beak and wattles.



Fuse all elements onto background fabric and start stitching.


Stamp shapes with neat paint onto background fabric. When dry, paint over with a watery wash. Rooster completed with bubble wrap (body) and hand carved stamp (comb).


Make your own stamp by ‘drawing’ into some packaging polystyrene. A piece of masking tape attached to the back makes a nifty handle. Stamp across your fabric to make a repeating design. Always make sure the ink is perfectly dry (heat set with an iron) before proceeding to the next stage. Paint wash with free machine stitching.


This one has been finished with hand stitching. The legs have been done in a thick couched thread.

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• Use undiluted paint for stamping and stencilling. • Use watered down paint for colour washes. • If using ordinary acrylic paint, it will stiffen the fabric and may be hard to stitch through. Mixing the paint with textile medium can help to make it softer. Deborah O’Hare is a textile artist who loves to paint on fabric. She hand crafts unique one of a kind painted fabric, designs patterns, and offers workshops. Find her at


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MOTIVATED BY MATERIAL Finding just the right piece of fabric can be all it takes for Rebecca Chapman to be inspired to create


Left: Summer Agapanthus Above: Autumn Poppies

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very child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” According to Pablo Picasso we’re all born artists but recently I’ve started to wonder; when do artists actually become artists? If asked to state my occupation, I would say that I’m an Art teacher. I currently teach Art and Design at a sixth form college but I am also in the process of trying to establish my own creative practice as an artist. However it still feels too daunting, too soon to say “I am an Artist” – mainly because people will then often ask “what type of artist?” and when you try to explain that you make mixed media textile pieces, a blank expression is often what you get in return. So when do you actually become an artist? For some people, I suppose they always know that to create is their path in life. For me, I never really considered pursuing a career solely as an artist as I never thought that I’d be able to make ends meet. I knew that I would always create and make and I thought I would always find time to do this alongside whatever I chose to do as a career. These days, I now find myself trying to convince students that they can be artists, or designers or whatever they want to be within the ever growing creative industries. To enjoy what you do is surely the most important thing. I wasn’t always interested in textiles. Landscape painting was my first love. Summer holidays were spent with sketchbook in hand, trying to capture the Cornish coast using watercolour and acrylic paint. It was through working at a school where art textiles featured in the curriculum that I started to experiment with incorporating free embroidery stitching into my work. I found that I enjoyed the freedom that comes with machine stitching and the combinations of paper, fabric, stitch and paint, appealed to my mixed media approach.


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Clockwise from left: Agapanthus; Spring Daffs II; Sea Teasels; Ranunculus II



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INSPIRATIONS materials Clockwise from left: Sea Thrift; Ranunculus I; French Lavender

My inspiration now comes from a variety of places but it is still firmly rooted in the natural world. I am drawn to motifs that herald a particular time of year, the bright yellow daffodils of spring, the deep blue of agapanthus in summer and autumn’s dried russet poppy stems. Trips to the beach and walks in the hills usually see me returning to my workspace with pockets full of shells and dried flowers - plus a head bursting with ideas. Sometimes it is the subject matter that sparks an idea, but often my inspiration comes from the materials themselves. I try to work with recycled fabric remnants, though sometimes I can’t resist treating myself to a piece of new fabric if it’s just the right colour or texture. I usually source the fabrics in vintage shops, car boot sales and charity shops and it seems I have a magpie eye for turning something old and forgotten into something beautiful. Sometimes, the smallest intricate detail of a piece of lace or the repeat pattern of a particular design on fabric can spark an idea that prompts

a piece of work. Paper also plays a part in my work and I love working with old sheet music, maps and wallpaper to add another element of pattern into the work as well as a sense of time and place. I also create my own printed papers using paint and linocut techniques to create bespoke colours and arrangements. The process for my work usually starts with a collection – that might be a collection of collage materials and fabrics or a collection of found objects that interest me for their shape or decoration or because they represent a memory of a particular time and place. I then create drawings or photographs to really get to know the chosen subject. Once a vague outline of a composition has formed in my mind, I then begin to layer up the background textures and colours using remnants of fabric and machine stitching. If I feel that I need a particular tone of colour that is missing, I will paint paper samples which are then worked into the piece along with other patterned papers. I then work on top of

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these multiple layers to add the subject. I do experiment with drawings and designs for compositions in my sketchbook but once I start stitching and layering up the colours, textures and patterns, anything can happen! I think it’s important to stay flexible and accept the accidents that happen along the way – sometimes they can end up bringing a piece of work to life. I am now finding that the mixed media textile work I create often inspires other related works. I have recently started creating surface pattern designs which I am hoping to develop further into a range of printed stationery products. It’s important for me to keep experimenting and learning new techniques, it’s an addictive process. It seems like everywhere you look, people are exploring their creativity in so many different ways. The internet is a great way to research new techniques and also seek out new artists and designers for inspiration. I find that I use Facebook more than ever before (search Rebecca Chapman Artist). It is extremely useful in gaining instantaneous feedback on the work I’m producing and it’s amazing how a few likes and shares can motivate you when you’re having ‘one of those days’. I currently sell my work through my online Etsy shop (search for RebeccaChapmanArt) which is also another great place to find and share inspiration and ideas. My vision for the future of my work is to continue creating contemporary, eye catching work which celebrates colour, texture and pattern. I hope that I will be able to continue to explore my new found love of mixed media textiles with a wider audience in the future and I do hope you’ll stop by and follow my journey as an artist. BC

Left: Spring Daffs I

Right: View from the Dunes


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Be creative…

3D felt bowl Have a go at this sculptural felt bowl – perfect as a decorative piece or for storing knick knacks


Bowl to shape the finished vessel Dissolvable fabric Merino wool tops Organza fabric scraps Silk tops and silk carrier rod waste 505 fabric spray adhesive Felt stiffener Tailors’ chalk Olive oil soap Clear plastic film, such as cling film


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1. Measure the diameter of the vessel to be used as shaper. Add on one-third to allow for shrinkage in final felting. For example, for a finished diameter of 24cm (91⁄2in), add 8cm (3in) for shrinkage. This results in a 32cm (121⁄2in) starting measurement. 2. Cut two circles to the required starting size from water-soluble fabric. Mark the centre of the circles with pencil. 3. Place one circle flat and lightly spray one side with 505 temporary adhesive. 4. Pull tufts from silk tops and lay down a good layer of silk fibres radiating out from the centre until the circle is covered.


5. Place organza fabric scraps randomly over the silk fibres and then add pieces of carrier rod waste. 6. Lay horizontal overlapping rows of merino wool fibres in place. 7. Place a second row of fibres at right angles to the first layer. 8. Lay the final layer of silk fibres to cover the wool – radiate from the centre as for the first layer of silk. Pieces of carrier rod waste and tiny fabric scraps may be added for texture at this stage too if desired. 9. Take the second watersoluble circle, divide it in to eight wedge-shaped sections and mark with pencil.

10. Place the marked circle on top of the first circle and fibres, then place under the needles of the embellisher, hold flat and carefully guide the embellisher along the marked sections to stabilize the package. 11. Working systematically one section at a time, mesh the fibres together until the full circle has been completed. 12. Turn the package over and embellish the other side, working in a circular motion. 13. Mark the base of the vessel on the centre of the circle with tailors chalk. Mark eight lines evenly radiating from the outer edge of the centre circle to the edge of the main circle.

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14. Cut along the lines carefully, stopping at the edge of the base circle. 15. The cut edges will form darts to shape the vessel. Overlap the edges of each cut by approximately 1.5cm (1â „2in) and pin in position. If more shaping is required, increase the overlap. 16. Use the embellisher to hold the darts in place. Remove pins from each dart before embellishing and mesh both edges of the cut firmly together from both sides of the package. 17. Carefully immerse the package in a bowl of warm water to dissolve the base fabric. Gently rub with olive oil soap until the wool begins to felt and feel firmer.

18. Rinse out the soap. 19. Turn the bowl upside down and place the felt over the upturned bowl with the inside surface of felt against the bowl. 20. To mould the felt over the bowl, first place the bowl on top of a jam jar to lift it off the working surface and then pull the edges of the felt as hard as possible over the edge of the bowl. Steam can help this stretching process but protect hands with heavy rubber gloves to avoid scalding. 21. Leave the felt to dry out completely on the bowl. 22. Remove the felt from the bowl and work free machine stitching closely over the surface using multi-coloured or metallic thread.

23. Cover the shaper bowl with tightly wrapped plastic film. Steam felt again and remould on the bowl. Leave until completely dry then dry paint the outer surface of felt with felt stiffener. 24. When the stiffener is dry, carefully loosen the plastic film from the bowl and lift the felt; remove the plastic film. If a stiffer effect is required, apply a second coat of stiffener. BC

Embellish, Stitch, Felt by Sheila Smith is published by Batsford. Photographs by Michael Wicks.

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INNOVATIONS experimentation

EXPERIMENTAL EMBROIDERY Elizabeth Jane Winstanley is not your average embroiderer; her experimental approach pushes boundaries and excites the senses


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INNOVATIONS experimentation

Left: Malleable triangles that are composed of laser cut and etched acrylic and wood. Right: Three meters in length this malleable piece is made from acrylic and wood. Its tactility mimics the movement of a woven fabric.

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INNOVATIONS experimentation


ince I can remember I have been a creative person, from my earliest memories of painting and drawing with my mum. Textiles really became a passion of mine during my years at Garstang High School; from then on I chose to study textiles at Blackpool Sixth Form, Blackpool and The Fylde College and then Embroidery at The Manchester School of Art, which is really where my work came into its own. The tutors there are second to none, especially my personal tutor Nigel Hurlstone, who was and still is such a huge support and inspiration to me. During my final year of the Embroidery course, I began to experiment with everyday objects such as the inner tubes of biro pens, roller hair bands and split pins. This experimental approach became the foundation for my BA project and really became a fundamental part of my design process. Layering the biro tubes produced illusions of broken lines. Creating illusions is something that still fascinates me. I naturally evolved into making my own units with materials such as acrylic and wood. The introduction of light sources exploited the light emitting properties of the acrylics. Combining traditional screenprinting techniques produced further delusions and the light sources created even more illusions of secondary colours.

I combine traditional hand methods with digital technologies such as laser cutting. This whole body of work pushes the boundaries of embroidery through materials and techniques. I still feel it has so much more potential and is the reason why I chose to continue my studies at The Royal College of Art, this time in an MA in Textile Mixed Media. Before embarking on my MA journey, I took a year out. I was lucky enough to have my own solo show at The Manchester Craft and Design center. I have exhibited in various venues across Manchester, Birmingham and London. I was also selected as a New Design Britain Awards Finalist in 2014 and I was commissioned by The Whitworth Art Gallery and collaborated with various people and companies such as The Imperial War Museum, Tristen Poyser and 0point3recurrin. This whole year was a crucial time for networking and experiencing the industry. Centre top: Two meters in length and a meter in height, this light installation commissioned by the Manchester School of Art is composed of eight hundred acrylic circles and semi circles that trap the light emitting wire, which are fixed onto a screen printed acrylic background. The top layer has one thousand clear rectangles hand threaded to create the illusion of broken lines. the whole installation takes eight hours to install.

Above: Recycled broken plastic bottle caps which have been inserted into recycled leather.


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Centre middle: Inspired by the embroidery technique of quilting, recycled bottle inserts and cable ties have been used to construct a hard patch work quilt that is malleable and has the potential to be used for architectural purposes.

INNOVATIONS experimentation

Above: Myself at the Solo Show Launch ’Tactile Illusions’ at The Manchester Craft and Design Centre.

Main image: Three Meters in length this malleable piece is made from acrylic and wood. Its tactility mimics the movement of a woven fabric. (Same piece as on previous page.)

Below: Four- Screen Printed Acrylic Panel.

I am an interdisciplinary designer that pushes the boundaries of textiles. I use materials that are not usually associated with the textile design field; I fuse these unconventional materials with traditional materials. I combine digital technologies with hand building techniques. I am a material led explorer, often allowing the material to dictate the outcome. I seek to create tactile, engaging, interactive work with movement, light, illusion and colour. Interactivity, human engagement and collaboration are the driving force behind my work.

My most recent project at the RCA has addressed the future of our planet, utilising industrial waste and re-thinking the possibilities of this ‘waste’, which is something that is really important to me and I aspire to explore further. This concept of re-thinking an object or material is a topic that I am constantly drawn to as some of my most successful projects have started by simply exploring an every day object. I am thrilled when a person who is observing or interacting with my work questions what it is. Re-imagining and almost concealing the original form makes people question possibilities. I’ve also become highly intrigued with the medium of film. Since we were asked to create a film for a project, I haven’t stopped. I have now made a film for every project we have completed at the RCA. I am already onto my fifth. I have found documenting my work gives me a profound feeling of achievement and more importantly, it enables people to see how much work goes into the design process. It has also opened up more opportunities; film is now something I would love to go into or collaborate on beyond graduating.

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INNOVATIONS experimentation Left: Future Textiles Sample, exploring alternative media utilising leather, pins and silicon.

Below: Layered sheets of laser cut acrylics and wood, applied LED’s to manipulate the colours.

Right: Inspired by the windows at The Manchester Craft and Design Centre acrylic and wood spiral together. Below right: Future Textiles Sample, exploring alternative media utilising poppers and leather.


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INNOVATIONS experimentation

Main image: Malleable triangles that are composed of laser cut and etched acrylic and wood.

I am heavily inspired by the world around me, I often find myself gazing at architecture, dissecting geometric shapes; repeating, tessellating and structural patterns are a prolific influence. Not only in man-made structures but in science, through biology or cellular structures for instance. I am fascinated with outer space; one of my favorite things to do since moving to London is regularly visiting the Royal Observatory. ‘Dark Matter’ is their most recent planetarium show, it was absolutely mind blowing and the visuals are spectacular, it feels like you have the stars at your fingertips. I follow designers and artists such as Yoyoi Kusuama, Jane Bowler, Neil Musson and Thomas Heatherwick, all of which are interdisciplinary creatives. That is the beauty of their work and my work, it can be adapted, this is an element I will always strive to retain, as collaborating with fellow creatives is such an exciting thing to do. With two minds coming together, each with a world of knowledge from two different specialisms, the possibilities are endless! I am motivated by my passion for my practice. The audience drives me. Seeing people engage and respond to my work is so rewarding. I know I have the mind to create wonderful things and I want to share that. Creativity is my life and possibilities are only limited by one’s imagination and I have a big imagination. I am proud of how far I have come, from a small northern village, a working class family, to London and one of the best colleges in the world and I am so excited for the future and so grateful that I am here at the RCA and in our fantastic capital. BC Tweet@EJW_Design Like Elizabeth Jane Winstanley on Facebook


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Be creative…

Make your own…

Polar Bear Make this enchanting polar bear using the snow bear instructions from our November/ December issue. You can view the project on our website


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Be creative…


Follow the instructions as for The basic bear, omitting steps 6, 10 and 19 and substituting the following: 1. Sew up the darts on the two sides of the head, placing the sides of the darts together with the right sides facing. Do not cut the darts open. Continue as explained for The basic bear. 2. Using a black wax crayon, draw the nose on the wrong side of the fabric for the middle head piece – the result is that it should look a little darker on the right side of the fabric. Then sew up the darts on the middle head piece and continue as explained for The basic bear. 4. Sew the darts on the two body pieces. The body consists of three pieces; the back piece is sewn in between two mirror image body halves (similar to the middle head piece, which is sewn between the side pieces of the head). 5. The turning and stuffing opening is on the tummy. The neck plate is sewn in all round at the neck opening. 7. The polar bear has four legs. The front legs are different from the back ones. Each leg has two mirror image pattern pieces (instead of the one mentioned for The basic bear). Place them together with the right sides facing, then sew up as far as the bottom edge (sole) and to the turning opening. Sew in the sole as explained for The basic bear. The inner and outer legs are identical except for the marking point for the cotter pin, which is only required on the inner leg. When pinning, remember that there is a left leg and a right leg.


40 x 90cm (15¾ x 35½in) white mohair, long pile 15 x 20cm (6 x 7¾in) dark brown paw fabric 5 cotter pins 10 metal washers, 20mm (¾in) diameter 4 hardboard washers, 60mm (2¼in) diameter (back legs) 6 hardboard washers, 55mm (2in) diameter (head and front legs) 2 glass eyes, 8mm (¼in) diameter black felting wool (nose) black darning thread (mouth) toy stuffing dry felting needle fine fabric marker scissors/tweezers/disposable razor

Height 35cm (13¾in) (nose to bottom) Templates Polar Bear (10 pieces)


Prepare the pattern pieces as described for The basic bear. Use a fine fabric marker to transfer the pattern pieces to the white fabric fine; try to avoid a black one as it will show through the seams on the white mohair. If you prefer, you could use a pencil, but don’t press too hard. Be particularly careful when drawing the face, and press very lightly. Cut the pieces out of the mohair or paw fabric (twenty-five pieces in total) on the straight grain with a 2–3mm (1/8 in) seam allowance.

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Be creative… Sewing the claws

12. Push the head cotter pin through the middle of the neck plate from the outside as per the markings. 14. When assembling, make sure you attach the front and back legs to the right parts of the body. 15. Stuff the body very firmly around the neck, and quite lightly in all other areas. If you make the whole body too stiff, the bear won’t be able to stand and the four limbs will stick out. If the body is quite soft, you will be able to squeeze it together at the shoulders and pelvis to give the bear a better shape. Sew the tail like an ear and fill with just a little stuffing, then sew up and attach at the same level as the dart on the bear’s bottom (check first to make sure you have the right position).


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Sculpting the soles





22. Dry felt the nose with a little felting wool and a felting needle. 24. If the soles are sculpted and the claws embroidered, the bear will be able to stand better. The claws are embroidered on to the soft tips of the feet rather than on to the soles. Sewing the claws 1. Sew the claws on the mohair (not on the paw fabric). Using a double thread, insert the needle at the tip of the seam, and bring out again 2cm (¾in) further along the paw. Guide the needle through the loop at the beginning of the thread.


2. Push the needle in the first insertion point on the seam again, and then out on the outer arm 1–2mm (1/16 in) (depending on the size of the paw) to the right of the first claw. 3. Push the needle in again 1–2mm (1/16 in) to the right of the first insertion point, and back out on the outer arm 1–2mm (1/16 in) to the left of the top of the first (middle) claw. To complete the third claw, push the needle in and out 1–2mm (1/16 in) to the left of the first insertion point. Knot the end of the thread and secure in the arm.

Sculpting the soles 1. Using a double thread in the same colour as the sole, push the needle into the middle of the sole and pull it out again through the mohair at the top of the foot. Push it back in again close to the first insertion point, then guide the needle through the loop to secure the thread. 2. Use this method to sculpt three indentations in the sole so the bear will be able to stand unaided. 3. As well as sculpting the foot, you can also embroider the toes with darning thread. BC

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1b 3a 3b 4b 4a


Pattern can be enlarged to any size preferred

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CREATIONS interview

HEREDITARY ART Married to a painter and with three artistic children, you could say that for Midge Gourlay, creativity is in her blood‌


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CREATIONS interview

Left: 3D printed baby shoe based on honiton lace. Right: Sea Arisaig

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background in textiles. I live and work in Port Appin which is situated between Oban and Fort William on the West Coast of Scotland. I was trained at the Glasgow School of Art specialising in embroidery and weaving. I studied under Kath White and completed my diploma in 1968. I then undertook a teaching diploma at Jordanhill College of Education the following year. I met my husband Alex at Art School and since his retirement from the BBC several years ago, we share our studio here in our home. We have views overlooking Loch Linnhe to the island of Lismore and to Morven on the other side of the loch. Alex is a painter and I work in textiles. During my professional life, I have taught art in primary schools, taught part time at the Glasgow School of Art, taught adults in evening classes and run workshops. In 1983, I retired from teaching as I became ill with ME. After a long time I was able to work again on my textile work and undertook commissioned and exhibition work. My work has been a huge part of my life and I cannot imagine a day without doing a little something in the studio or much more if I can. I tend to work on rainy days, which we have quite a lot of living here, and during the winter. My other love is gardening and growing plants. We have three children with their own families and six grandchildren. All three of our children went to Art Schools when they left school; not surprising really as they must have received a double dose of artistic genes. They all make their living from their art.

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CREATIONS interview

Do you work alone or are you part of a group? I work alone in my studio but am a member of EDGE Textile Artists Scotland. This is a group of professional textile artists in Scotland that run courses, talks, mentoring, social events and exhibitions. I am also lucky that my daughter Kim is a textile artist and teacher. We can compare notes and ask each other for advice. Where does your inspiration come from and how does this reflect in your work? Are you influenced by your beautiful surroundings in Scotland? My inspiration comes from various sources and depends on where I am. Holidays are a great inspiration as I draw and take notes in sketchbooks. Going to new places is exciting and one sees things so vividly. Soon we will visit North Uist which is full of wild places and wonderful colours, but not many trees. I work a great deal from land and seascapes and am very fond of trees. I love the way they are set in the landscape, along the edges of fields. Recently, I have made a series of decorative shoes from shoe lasts that I have picked up in flea markets in France and Finland. I also designed a decorative 3D printed shoe as a gift for a newborn based on Honiton lace. I had to get help with the computer modelling though! I have also been working from customs and imagery from Gaelic culture. A couple of years ago I had a local solo exhibition based on fairy dogs. These dogs had been described in a book about Gaelic mythology. They belonged to the fairy folk and were used for hunting. The dogs were green, had red ears and yellow paws. Their tails curled over their backs and some had plaited tails. I had great fun inventing landscape homes for these dogs. The pieces I made for this exhibition were fairly small and were framed. Local landscape does influence me, especially the sea and the colours of the changing seasons.


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Your portfolio includes a lot of ecclesiastical embroidery, what do you particularly enjoy about this kind of work? My ecclesiastical embroidery is very different from my own work which can be rather organic in development. I am on the list of artists who work for the Church of Scotland. Commissioned work has to be designed and thought out beforehand. I usually work to a price decided on in advance but normally put in many more hours. I make a full size design of hand coloured papers which can be put up in the church for a church committee or person gifting the work to see, normally a pulpit fall or communion table cover. Even if the commission is a preaching stole, I make a full size paper version. This method allows me to see the design in the building; a very different space from my studio. The design must sit in the church well, be the right colours, shapes, textures and be fairly simple but effective. One has to juggle with what the brief was and what I want to put in myself which involves finding a happy balance. Ecclesiastical techniques can be very different from my own work and may include very fine stitching, gold work, applique, use of leathers, padding etc. The design will include some symbolism and I have often used a book to help me called “Signs and Symbols in Christian Art� by George Fergusson.


Left to right: Section from the Great Scottish Tapestry; Little Red Riding Hood Boots She left them behind in the forest; Details of Andalusia; Sheep Bible Markers for Glencaim Church Galloway.

CREATIONS interview

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CREATIONS interview

Please describe your techniques for us – do you have any favourite methods, materials or machines? I use many techniques, choosing ones to suit the work I am doing. In the past, I received a grant from the Scottish Arts Council to develop the technique of silk papermaking. Hand dyed unspun silk fibres are melded together using a special PVA glue to create a surface which can be drawn on or stitched into. I like this technique a lot and still use it on occasions. A few years ago I bought an embellisher machine and I use it to distress fabrics and to ‘meld’ fabrics together so that there are not too many hard edges. I have a variety of textile paints, oil bars and outliners to hand. I have drawers full of threads and I have collected old pieces of lace and add small pieces as I work. Do you go through a particular process when planning a new piece? When planning a new piece of work, I have an idea in my head but I also work from drawings and photos too. The work grows and changes as it develops. Sometimes I work on two pieces at once. The end work can surprise me and I wonder how it got there. Sometimes the work can cause me quite a lot of worry but I know that if I stick with it, the work will end up fine.


Left to right: Bran Elfin Dog of Fin Mac; Cocoon Net; Church at Albas; Vendange

You have exhibited many times, how do you feel this helps you as an artist? I have always exhibited my work since leaving Art School so many years ago. It does help to have something to work towards, but generally I just work whether I have an exhibition coming up or a commission to work for. I really am happy when I am working. It gives me great satisfaction to create something, generally out of very little and on some good days, it just flows. It is satisfying when my work sells but I am not worried about it going because I am always onto the next thing. What’s next for Midge Gourlay? I would like to go to India. I am sure it would be very interesting and inspiring. My daughter has visited there a lot and her house is filled with wonderful textiles. At the moment I am into horses (visually) and setting them into landscapes. They make a nice change from trees and dogs. How can our readers find out more about you? I share a web site with my husband. You can see work on the site in my gallery, ecclesiastical work, a short video of us working, CV and shop. Our studio is open by appointment and we open for several days under Art Map Argyll, an open studio event. Visitors are always welcome! BC


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CREATIONS interview

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Be creative…

A royal rose cushion Have a go at making your own bloomin’ beautiful cushion by Louise Thomas


he Queen Elizabeth rose is my favourite. Blousy big pink blooms present themselves mostly in long-stemmed clusters – like chummy little ballerinas, who have dressed themselves with varying success and then can’t go anywhere without their mates. In a house my family and I lived in, we had a beautiful Queen Elizabeth rose, with large pink blooms in singles and clusters


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and glossy dark-green leaves, which did a marvellous job of hiding the neighbour’s brick garage. The rose was a present from my late mother-in-law and we were loathe to leave it behind, but it was simply too big to dig up. And besides, the new owners would probably notice the huge void. I decided I would ‘honour’ it with a painting, or maybe that should be ‘humour’ it with a painting (especially since I didn’t have the right pink). Either way, I liked the resulting


watercolour and decided a tapestry cushion could be another variation on the theme. I went for an aqua background to make the pink really pop, and managed to match the pink wool as a closer fit to the rose’s original colour than I did with my limited water colour palette. The finished cushion is an ancestral gift, something to remember my mother-in-law by, which hopefully, my daughters will want to keep and pass on.

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At least 17 x 17” (43.2cm square) of 10mesh (10 holes per inch) double-thread cotton canvas. I use a larger sheet as I prefer to mount my canvas on a frame for stitching. The finished tapestry is 14” (35.6cm) square. See the key for wool numbers and quantities in both DMC and Anchor Tapisserie Wools. The cushion in the photo has been worked in Anchor Tapisserie Wools. The quantities required are rounded up to the nearest skein, so expect a few left-overs. The quantities given are those required if you work the tapestry in continental tent stitch. I only used a few centimetres of the second skein of 8436 and 9022, so if you use it more conservatively (I had to unpick a few bits when I changed the pattern around) you might get away with one. Approximately 1.48m of aqua piping or other suitable trim. Approximately 0.5m square of Warwick’s Aqua Macrosuede, or other suitable cushion backing material One 30cm zipper in matching colour, or buttons if you prefer. Matching sewing thread. A cushion inner to fit

TOOLS A frame – but if you don’t have one, don’t let it stop you. I’ve always got a better result using a frame; the canvas stays taut and the finished work doesn’t warp. If not using a frame, just be aware that the tapestry may need to be stretched back into shape when finished. A size 18 tapestry needle, or similar blunt needle that can fit the wool through, but which doesn’t stretch the canvas holes. Embroidery and fabric scissors Sewing machine – or a needle and thread if you’re going old school.


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Be creative…


Mount the canvas on a square or oblong tapestry frame if using one. I use small safety pins to secure it at the top and the bottom to the fabric bit of the frame and then roll each side taut. If the sides of the canvas are prone to fraying just use some masking tape up the side edges to keep it all secure. With regards to wool length on the needle, I find that about 60cm is about the most you can get away with, without it knotting and being a pain to pull through the canvas. To start, simply leave a 2.5cm length of wool at the


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back, which will lie underneath the first 10 or so stitches. Following the chart, work the tapestry in tent stitch using one strand of wool (the wool as it is, don’t double it or split it). I prefer continental tent stitch which forms long neat slanted stitches on the reverse side. The suggested wool quantities are for this method. It uses a lot more wool, but the finished tapestry is thicker and the back looks tidier as wool can be threaded underneath the sloped stitches on the back when jumping from place to place. You can also use half-cross stitch which uses


much less yarn, but the back of the canvas isn’t covered, the finished work is thinner and the back definitely less tidy. But if you are not worried about the back, then this option is fine. You will need a doublethread canvas for this stitch. Whichever stitch is used, try to use an even tension – don’t pull the thread too tight. When the tapestry is finished, cut out the work allowing about a 2.5cm canvas border all the way around. If it needs to be stretched back into shape, a process called blocking, spray the back of the work with water to dampen it. Blot the

tapestry with paper towels to mop up any excess water. Tack it flat around the edges and to the correct shape onto a piece of board – I use an old ply drawing board. Do not tack it through the work itself and use rust-less drawing pins. Leave it to dry well. Use the finished canvas as a template for cutting out the backing material (although make sure you cut it square). If mounting the zipper between the piping and the backing, then only cut out one piece of fabric. If mounting the zipper part-way up the back, or using buttons, then cut out two

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Front Queen Elizabeth Rose Wool Chart

10 Download the chart from our website Back

suitable pieces of material, allowing extra for the seam in the middle or an overlap for buttons. Join the material at each end leaving a suitable space for the zipper. Pin the zipper in place and stitch. If putting the zipper between the piping and backing, make sure to put it at the bottom end of the tapestry pattern. Pin and sew the piping around the tapestry edge on the front of the tapestry, sewing as close as possible to the edge of the worked pattern. Sew the backing fabric all the way around if you have

already attached the zipper in the middle, or sew the backing along the sides and top and about 2cm in either side of the bottom where the zipper will be attached. Pin and sew in zipper. I used a zipper foot for both the piping and the zipper. Lastly, trim and overlock any seam edges, allowing about a 1.5cm seam. If you don’t have an overlocker, zig-zag stitch or similar would be fine. Insert the inner. Give it a bit of a slap and that’s it! BC

Louise Thomas is a writer, editor and artist living in Lower Hutt, New Zealand. She specialises in writing about science issues and has won awards for her science reporting. She also enjoys photography and drawing, with commissions including botanical drawings and other science illustrations. She is also a needlepoint enthusiast, and has recently decided that life is too short to not do more of the stuff you love. When she isn’t writing, playing in the garden or with needlepoint, she is usually found at the netball courts coaching schoolgirl netball. Contact Louise on, check out her website at or find her on Facebook (louisethomaswriter). All photographs courtesy of Louise Thomas

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INNOVATIONS thread portraits

PORTRAITS IN THREAD Using just one simple stitch, Emily Tull combines her background as a painter with her artistic flair to create portraiture at its very finest


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INNOVATIONS thread portraits

Left: Fox Right: Fragility 1, detail.

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INNOVATIONS thread portraits


aving grown up in a creative family with a mother who is a seamstress and surrounded by fabric scraps, it shouldn’t really be a surprise that I have come to use textiles in my artwork. The question I am often asked is “how does a painter become a hand stitcher?” The truth is, it was a very easy and small step. Having graduated with a Fine Art degree from Kent Institute of Art and Design in 2000, I was looking to formulate a new layering process in my painting. I’m not sure what led me there but I put a scrap of muslin up to my canvas, pressed oil paint through it with a palette knife and pulled the fabric away. The result was mottled and random, I loved it! For eight years I used this technique, adding in other fabrics like netting, but eventually I hit a dead-end, feeling that something was missing.


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As with many moments in life there was a coming together of different elements I had stored away in my brain over the years – commonly known as the ‘light bulb’ moment. This particular ‘bulb’ appeared while I was making a human size 3D rabbit for a band - a willow structure covered in hessian - and whilst stitching on the hessian, the question “why don’t you try stitching a portrait on this?” entered my head. Now for someone who doesn’t really do stitching and or sewing and owned about seven cotton threads, this was quite a brave move but actually it felt very natural. I decided a self-portrait would be the easy option, a scrap of muslin was pinned onto hessian to act as a ‘skin’ and I roughly drew an eye. Applying the thread was pretty scary as I had no idea what I was doing and had to approach it as I would a painting, slowly building up colour by colour, overlapping the thread until I was happy was the overall effect. All my


Above: European Owl Opposite page clockwise from top left: Red Squirrel; Atlantic Puffin; Hedgehog; Izzy

INNOVATIONS thread portraits

early pieces were portraits and the stitching was much looser and minimal in the amount of stitches/detail. By creating wildlife artworks, it gave me a chance to experiment with fabrics and I had to drastically increase my thread palette; since then, my portraits have become more detailed and the amount of stitching is much more! I have to admit it is a haphazard method and over the last eight years, it is ever changing as I want to keep the work feeling fresh and progressive. The process itself I liken to drawing, like drawing with colouring pencils, cross-hatching and scribbling with random stitching. I prefer to call my method of working as needle painting or hand stitching, as I am using basic cotton thread and there is no structure to the application of thread, the aim is to build up an overlaying of colours as I also manipulate the angle of the stitches with my needle. My artwork does tend to

be called embroidery, but I feel my work isn’t as ‘neat’ or structured and does not contain any type of stitch than a basic stitch. Inspiration for my artwork comes from a variety of places but mainly have foundations from my fine art background. Artists including Lucien Freud, Francis Bacon and the Pre-Raphaelites have always played a major influence in all my artwork, but with my stitched pieces, history, folklore and literature have fed my ideas. Egyptian tomb paintings, movement in sleep and religious relics have inspired my portraiture, and whilst I predominantly focus on British wildlife, the species I am recreating at the moment are connected with myths and superstitions. My main aim with my creative process is to bridge the gap of what is deemed art and craft, with what is seen as a feminine technique and giving the illusion of an image which on first appearances looks painted.

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INNOVATIONS thread portraits



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INNOVATIONS thread portraits

Left: Melvin Bragg’s portrait Right: At work with Melvin Bragg as my subject

Last year, I had the pleasure of viewing some of the work of Mary Linwood, large scale embroidered versions of famous paintings – they were amazing! She was a true pioneer who was famed for her work and highly sort after, but fell out of favour in the fickle art world and is a little neglected in art history. The critics in later years described her style of work as curiosities – it’s a fear I have had with my own work, that although original, it will never been seen equal to other styles of art. Luckily, in the last few years, I have seen a large insurgence of other textile artists taking on the traditional ‘art’ and I am finding now that many open exhibitions are having a textile art sub category. After many years of applying for various competitions/exhibitions with mainly rejection as the outcome, last year was a breakthrough- a portrait was accepted into the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition and I was also a contestant on Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year series. The Sky Arts competition was the

biggest challenge I have ever taken on; to make it into the 72 final contestants was a big surprise and it stills feels a bit of a blur now. I hadn’t seen the previous series so wasn’t sure what to expect but I think that worked in my favour. My regional heat of 12 artists was filmed in the beautiful Wallace Collection, London, and we had just 4 intense hours to produce a portrait of our famous models. Melvyn Bragg was my subject – a great face to capture, my usual working process had to change so there was more to see at the end of the day than just an eye! Under the close eye of the judges and general public, the hours flew by way too fast! I can safely say I have never stitched so fast and was extremely pleased with what I achieved. This was topped off with making the final 3 artists in my heat but not making the semi-final, however I hope I did the textile art world proud. Here’s to a promising future in the world of textiles. BC

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Charnwood in Stitches

An exhibition of textile art by the Second Turning Textile Group at The Charnwood Museum, Loughborough


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Charnwood – an evocative name to give us inspiration for our exhibition “Charnwood in Stitches”. The Borough of Charnwood covers a large part of Leicestershire and is well-known for the beautiful countryside of the Charnwood Forest, from which it takes its name. The largest town in the district is the market town of Loughborough which has a long history of the hosiery industry, a renowned bell foundry, the Great Central Heritage Railway and other manufacturing industries. Granite quarries are still

operating in the district and slate used to be quarried in Swithland Wood. Charnwood Museum, the venue for our exhibition, is situated near the centre of the town in the Victorian surroundings of the Queen’s Park with its distinctive Carillon. The building was originally the Queen’s Memorial Swimming Bath, and after being used for some years as a Function Hall it became a Museum in 1999. This rich heritage has given us many avenues to explore and on which to base our work.

Here’s a taster of what visitors can look forward to. BC The Exhibition is open now until 31st Jan. 2016 at The Charnwood Museum, Queen’s Park, Granby Street, Loughborough LE11 3DU. Tel. 01509 233754 for opening times. Admission Free.

Clockwise from far left: The Aviary by Francine Wilkins; Butterfly meadow by Janet Humphrey; Going Through by Chris Baldwin; Bluebell Time by Inez Munton; Forest Floor, Wayside View both by Gill Webster.

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Celebrating… Forty Years of the Marlborough and District Branch Chris Cook tells us why she and the other members of her branch of the embroiderer’s guild are digging through their fabric stashes looking for scraps of red…

Here I am, sorting through my hoard of red fabrics and threads, some so precious that I have never used them, while other scraps drift in and out of my magpie collection. We have been challenged by our chairman to each make a ruby square; the square is to be ten inches by ten inches, we are free to use any materials, any


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techniques, any design. The colour is to be predominantly red but to include touches of other colours. Yes you’ve guessed it, our Marlborough and District Embroiderers’ Guild is forty years old in April 2016. We are celebrating with an exhibition of members’ work and to take centre stage, we are planning to show a block of ruby squares.


There are so many decisions to make when starting a piece of work. We are able to explore, invent and be excited by a whole range of products and materials. Our workbox is as likely to contain a soldering iron as a needle case. We may have fabric paints and printing blocks, brushes and rollers. We may hand stitch with the most astonishing range of threads or use


Clockwise from left: Ruby II; Woodpecker and Box; 1976-77 Guild Programme; Cockerel.

a sewing machine as a drawing tool, employ soluble fabrics to create lacy structures, or work with a whole range of non-woven materials. Embroiderers nowadays are bombarded with so much choice. Styles of embroidery come and go and change frequently over the years. Embroidery worked an age ago dates alarmingly. Such pieces can end up in a charity shop only to be reclaimed by a new generation searching for vintage items. As we look forward to our next exhibition, we start to wonder what our branch was like forty years ago. Thanks to one of our members, we have the Branch programme for 1976/77 and we read that meetings were held in Marlborough Public Library. Monthly talks and workshops laid the foundation for how our branch works today. In this old programme, we see Miss Kaye Norris gave a series of talks about the History of Embroidery. Kaye Norris had been taught by Constance Howard at Goldsmith’s College of Art, they remained life long friends. Some examples of Kay Norris’s work can be seen in “Inspiration for Embroidery”, by Constance Howard published by Batsford in 1966. Constance Howard had an enormous influence on contempory embroidery, urging that the design side of embroidery should not be overlooked and was as important as the craftsmanship. Another book by Constance Howard, “Embroidery and Colour”, was published in 1976, which is as

relevant now as it was forty years ago but it appears strange to us that a book about colour has so few coloured illustrations. Nowadays, modern technology means that we have easy access to wonderfully produced books full of enticing colour, not to mention CDs and YouTube with instant access to the world of “how to do it” range of crafts. Followers of Pinterest and blogging embroiderers abound. Our own branch now communicates with members online and we have published our own newsletter since 2001. One of our members designed our website and another writes a regular blog showing photos of talks, workshops and outings. In 1977, Mrs Vilma Wells gave a design workshop with an exercise based on black and white counterchange. The results of this can be seen in the box top designed and then the box constructed by Lorrain Lockwood. Lorrain’s embroidered Cockerel was part of the Branch Challenge of 1977. Back then, members were given a preprinted picture of the cockerel and told that they could use any method excluding gold work or canvas work. Both of these pieces were in the 1978 July exhibition. Early meetings were held in Marlborough Library, then the Scout Hut, followed by the Bowling Club and now our Branch meets in Kennet Valley Hall in Lockeridge and

we currently have a membership of sixty five. As well as monthly talks with regular and exciting workshops, we run a stitch day for members who want to come and do their own work. We run a six-session course, ‘Design to Stitch’, which covers machine techniques with a chance to experiment with design. Young Embroiderers began in 2003 and continues to thrive, meeting regularly during school holidays. Marlborough and District Embroiderers’ Guild has held four previous exhibitions since 1978 and our next exhibition is well into its planning stage. At each meeting, new ruby squares are finished and presented and they look very exciting. We do hope that you will come and visit our exhibition in Lockeridge, in April 2016 and see for yourself. BC The Marlborough & District Embroiderers Guild Ruby Anniversary Exhibition of Textile Art & Embroidery 22 – 25 April 2016, 10.00 – 16.30 hours, Admission £3.00 (to include catalogue) Kennet Valley Hall, Lockeridge, Marlborough, SN8 4EL Tea & cakes available all day, sales tables, textile demonstrations, Young Embroiderers’ display Tel No. 01672 861658 (Secretary)

I Be Creative with WORKBOX 79

What’s on...


Please send your event information for the November/December 2015 issue (Published October 15th) to reach us by mid September. 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: and mark subject ‘What’s On’, or go to and then your event will appear online on our site as well as in the Workbox Magazine.

Embroiderers’ Guild NOTICEBOARD Every Third Monday of the Month


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

Visitors are welcome whether nonstitchers, beginners or more experienced stitchers. We will be very pleased to see you. For more information please call: 01642 314860



Sunnyfield House, Westgate, Guisborough, TS14 6BA

Every Fourth Thursday of the Month


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


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:

2 January 2016


Sunnyfield House, Westgate, Guisborough., TS14 6BA Monthly meeting starts at 1.45pm. This meeting will be Well Travelled Books and Folios.

Monthly meeting starts at 1:45pm. Guest speaker: Maggie Smith – Still Life as an Inspiration for Stitch Visitors are welcome whether nonstitchers, beginners or more experienced stitchers. We will be very pleased to see you. For more information please call: 01642 314860

11-14 March 2016


Minerva Space, Mechanics Institute, 117 Sturt Street, Ballarat, Victoria Embroidery and Patchwork Exhibition: ‘Stitches in Flight’ A stunning display of traditional, contemporary and creative embroidery. Special features include members challenge, junior group and display of members’ first embroideries. Opening Hours: 10am to 4:30pm Entry price: Adults $5.00 – Under 16’s free Handmade goods for sale Contact details: 0413 270412 or email:

9 April 2016


The Pavilion Centre, Royal Cornwall Showground, Wadebridge, Cornwall,

To submit your event go to 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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PL27 7JE South West Regional Festival Day 2016 Our speakers for the day are Amanda Clayton and Vivien Prideaux plus lots of traders including Art Van Go, GJ Beads, Mulberry Silks, Sara’s Texture Crafts, Jan Tillett, Stef Francis and Janice Williams. The competition is “A Postcard from the Seaside.” Open 9am - 4pm. Tickets: £25 - includes lunch and refreshments. For more information, contact: 01326 618080

19 April – 2 May 2016


Peterborough Cathedral, Minster Precincts, Peterborough, PE1 1XS Fantastitch Exhibition The exhibition will be situated in the “new” part of Peterborough cathedral, often referred to as “heaven”. This area of the cathedral has a fine example of fan vaulting so it is very appropriate for the title of the exhibition. The exhibition will include pieces set around the title of Fantastitch and selections of textile art where members have used the cathedral as the main source of inspiration. Members will also be exhibiting pieces from their sources of inspiration and ideas. The Cathedral is open 9:30 to 17:30. There will be guild representatives manning the event from 10am to 4pm. For more information, contact: 01778 344297

23 April 2016


The Auditorium, First site, Lewis Gardens, High Street, Colchester, Essex, CO1 1JH Spring talk: Gina Ferrari - “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” Women’s stories (historical, mythical or from literature) reflected in corsets and bodices! Tickets: £10 / £5 (students). Contact tel: 07958379302 E-mail:

Quilters’ Guild of The British Isles AND Quilt Groups NOTICEBOARD 14 January 2016


Quilters Haven, Wickham Market, Suffolk Bring some handwork and an item for show and tell if you have one, exchange inspiration or just chat and enjoy the good company of other enthusiasts. 10:30am - 1pm. Cost: £2.50. Contact Helen Vivian on 01621 784950 or email:

22 - 24 January 2016


Norfolk Pavillion, Ardingly, Haywards Heath, Sussex, RH17 6TL Wonderful displays of quilts upstairs, while downstairs we have all your favourite patchwork and quilting suppliers. You can also meet the experts to ‘show you how’. Good facilities including restaurant, disabled facilities, easy and instant access, free parking. Open 10am - 4:30pm. (4pm Sunday). Tickets: Adults £7 or £6 in advance. Senior Citizens £6 or £5 in advance.


Museum and Art Gallery, Llangollen, North Wales, LL20 8SW For all latest information, please refer to the website:

10 - 21 February 2016


12 March 2016

19 - 21 February 2016

Feering Community Centre, Coggeshall Road, Feering, CO5 9QB

Cambourne Village College, Sheepfold Lane, Cambourne, Cambridgeshire, CB23 6FR


3 - 6 March 2016

30 April - 2 May 2016

SECC, Glasgow, G3 8YW


Blackthorpe Barns, Ipswich Rd, Rougham, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, IP30 9LZ The venue is much larger than Layer Marney and well suited to displaying large quilts in addition to the items exhibited at Layer Marney. There will also be displays by Young Quilters and other invited groups. 10am - 4pm. Contact Helen Vivian on 01621 784950 or email:

Events Nationwide 4 - 6 February 2016

The largest creative crafting show in the north west. Opening Times: 10am - 4pm, (5pm Saturday). Adults: £8, Seniors: £7

Westpoint Arena, Clyst St Mary, Exeter, EX5 1DJ

Admission £3, light refreshments available. For all latest information, please refer to the website:

The award winning show which brings together crafting celebrities from both TV and print, and the young and old alike! Open 10am - 5pm (4pm Sunday)

17 - 20 March 2016


The NEC, Birmingham, B40 1NT A Fascinating Showcase of the UK’s Finest Textile Arts. Be Inspired at Fashion Embroidery & Stitch! With displays showcasing work from the UK’s top textile talents and a vast range of fabric and embellishment supplies, there’s everything you need to spark your imagination. Open 9:30am - 5:30pm (5pm Sunday). Adults: £12, Seniors: £11.

EventCity, Manchester, M17 8AS

Open daily, 10am – 4pm. Free admission and parking.




4 - 6 February 2016

Royal Internation Pavilion, Llangollen, North Wales, LL20 8SW

A 3-day celebration of all things textiles three exhibiting groups, suppliers stands, demonstrations, workshops and a lecture on Saturday. Open 10am - 5pm Friday/Saturday, 10am 4pm Sunday, Entry £6. For more information, visit:

Speakers: DeAnne Hartwell Jones and Sally Stott, Guild Heritage Officer 9:30am - 3:30pm Traders, sales table and raffle. Tickets in advance. QG Members: £10, Non-Members: £12. On the door QG Members: £12 Non-Members: £18 Further details: Jane Rogers 01284 767312 or email:

Royal Internation Pavilion, Llangollen, North Wales, LL20 8SW

14 February 2016



One of the largest Hobby Craft, Textiles, Stitching & Sewing Exhibitions in the South West! Featuring a mass of crafting delights, it includes textile displays, demonstrations, lectures, workshops and over 140 national and local craft businesses selling crafting supplies. Open: 10am - 5pm.

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

I Be Creative with WORKBOX 81


Helen Cowans tell us how blogging has affected her textile life and work over the past ten years In 2016, I’ll celebrate my 10th anniversary of blogging. It started when a group of internet friends decided it was the perfect way to share photographs of their textile work, travels and family. At that time blogging was, to us at least, fairly new. Ten years on, it’s simply a way of life a tool to document life, an online diary. Choosing a name for the blog was easy; at the time I was reading and researching prehistoric figurines and translating ideas into textile wall hangings and 3D figures. So, “Textile Goddess” www. was born. It was only afterwards I realized (with faint


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horror) that people might think I thought I was a textile goddess! I’m good, but not that good. I use the blog as my diary, not just about my textile work but also family life and the garden, my teaching, holidays and Northumberland. These activities and areas are intrinsically linked to my textile work. I live in a fairly remote and unpopulated area 50 miles north of Newcastle and 65 miles south of Edinburgh, in a small hamlet. I’m at the edge of the Northumberland National Park, with the hills only 5 minutes away by car and Bamburgh Beach 20 minutes in the opposite direction. The blog


has been a way to reach and communicate with other like-minded individuals across the UK and the world. Through the blog I’ve made numerous new friends and met up with many at events such as the Festival of Quilts. I’ve made contact with textile people around the world – did you know there is also a fiber goddess and a yarn goddess? Northumberland is a wild and beautiful county and an area of real contrasts - from coasts with castles on the beaches to moorland where battles were fought. So many layers of history from prehistoric carved rocks to Border warfare. My very recent work is mostly informed by Northumberland and the evocative landscape I see every day. It’s got into my blood and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Looking back over the blog posts, I can see my work has changed over the last year or two. I used to be all magenta and purple but now my colour schemes can be more muted as I look to the views around me for inspiration. I love going for walks with the camera and sketchbook, usually after reading about the history of a place - and I try to imagine what it would have been like back then. A recurring theme in my work is the marks carved during prehistoric times, into rocks, often high up on the moors. Northumberland has a welldocumented range of carvings and I often use these symbols, sometimes machine stitched, sometimes marking the cloth using batik methods, sometimes drawing and painting directly onto the cloth. These were often tied in with the ‘goddess’

Clockwise from left: 3 Goddesses; Jumping Hares Mixed Media; Alberts and Stryer Cytoskeleton; Woman; Sleeping Hare close up; Labrynth; Ingram2; Blaewearie Dress; Bamburgh and seaweed

images and many of my goddesses have these symbols embroidered onto them. The blog can be a great tool for introducing new work; you can gauge people’s reactions and see if anyone else likes it too! Often, if someone likes a piece of work, they will leave a comment for me to read; my most recent work has combined both my photography and mixed media art with my textile work and I’ve had lots of positive feedback. I had my photographs of old, ruined homesteads printed onto cotton and I’ve used free motion embroidery to place an emphasis on the structure of the walls, doors and windows. Then sections were machined in red thread - to indicate the blood that has seeped into this land from the many battles that have taken place here. I’ve expanded this idea to smaller painted pieces. Exploring the history of women in late medieval times and the effects of these battles and the harsh environment is a new avenue for research and one I intend to focus upon for a while; it ties in well with my love of hares, nature and ancient pagan rituals following the wheel of the year. Through the blog, I know these works appeal to other people too. Last year I spent 48/52 weeks creating a mixed media work - each and every week via online tuition. I learnt that I can’t paint well with a brush - but can with my fingers! I used the blog to document the journey into mixed media (again it was well received by readers of the blog, a great encouragement to carry on and explore new ideas and techniques) and now I’m working on applying this to my textile art.

At the end of every year I get the blog entries printed into a real hard backed book. They sit on the bookshelf as my diaries did as a child and if blogging ever ceases to exist, my words and pictures are safe. You can find me on the web at these places… please come and take a look. Main textile blog; Facebook; History of Embroidery blog; Photography; Photography website; You can email me at helen.cowans@, drop me a line and say hello.

I Be Creative with WORKBOX 83

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