Member work

Member work

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Shimmering Leaves

Jan Tillet's talk on Friday evening held everyone spellbound, and we were blown away by the sheer volume of work she has produced, as well as the vibrancy of her stitched textiles.

 Sally modelled a coat made by Jan which featured a beautiful embroidered panel, using recycled silk flowers:

We were not disappointed then, when we embarked on our own "Shimmering Leaves" panels on Saturday's workshop.  
Tutor's work
Basing them on leaf shapes stamped onto organza, and playing around with compositions, everyone had a lot of fun creating their own vibrant piece:

They are still works in progress, since there's plenty more stitching to add - as can be seen from the back of one of the tutor's panels:

Jan provided us with a great day, and a lot of guidance and inspiration.  It's bound to be one of those pieces that does get finished ...

Saturday, 1 June 2019

June Talk by Jan Tillet

My work using colour and texture
Friday 7th June, 7.15 pm

Jan Tillett is a textile designer/maker living and working in Devon. 

A lifelong addiction to textiles began to show more direction while she was studying for an HND in Spatial Design at Somerset College of Arts and Technology. Jan began designing embroidered textiles to place within interior schemes and realised that she was much more interested in the textiles than the interior design! 

Inspired by the colours and textures of the landscape, Jan uses a variety of fabrics and threads to create distinctive textiles for interior and fashion accessories using free machine embroidery techniques. As well as dyeing her own fabrics Jan uses recycled fabrics and remnants in her work. The embroidered pieces are then incorporated with leather and/or fabric to create contemporary, tactile accessories.

Jan has sold her textiles to customers from the UK and abroad and has worked on commissions for interior designers. An experienced teacher, she regularly runs machine embroidery workshops.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

JETS make mini 'Field' quilts

Our Junior Embroiderers, who range in age from 6 to 13, had a fabulous session making mini field quilts this month.

They each layered a quilt base, then cut out fabric patches, some of which they had painted previously with acrylics.  

A great time was had rummaging through the fabric pile on the floor to choose which colours would look best.

Once the patches were tacked in place, the students stitched round the edges using the sewing machines.  Ruth brought in her manual machine and they enjoyed having a go on that too.

Next month: hand stitching to make the fields come alive with flowers and, apparently, sheep ...

Three of the students went home and bought sewing machines, and one persuaded his Gran to part with hers, and has been busily sewing ever since.

Friday, 10 May 2019

Textured Landscapes

Catherine Lawes gave us a great talk on her textile life and experiences from when she started sewing at a young age in New Zealand, then in the UK - and back again.  Catherine started her career in architecture, then turned to creating textiles, which has been her main occupation ever since.

The talk was illustrated with a huge number of samples of her work - the tables were groaning under the weight of panels and quilts, not to mention her stunning silk and patterned coats.

Catherine Lawes in her Hundertwasser influenced coat
The workshop next day entirely lived up to expectations.  A kit prepared by Catherine of background fabric, wool fabric strips and textured yarns helped us to get on quickly. 

We were aiming for 'abstract landscape', and once happy with the layout (this took far longer than anyone expected), we used wool yarns to stitch the layers in place.

By the end of the session, all that's left to do is to add any finishing touches, and mount/frame our textured landscapes.


A really satisfying day!

Friday, 26 April 2019

May talk by Catherine Lawes

Our talk next Friday 3rd May, will be by textile and quilt artist, Catherine Lawes:

From here to there and back again

Originally from New Zealand, Catherine is now based in East Sussex, where she works with many textural mediums to create very intense and emotionally inspired pieces of wall art. These can be in quilt form or small textural pieces. 

Catherine's inspiration comes from the shapes of the landscape around her resonating on a deeply spiritual level. She uses her own photographs to capture the many changing moods of the day and the seasons. Satellite images showing all the amazing patterns formed by nature and man on the surface of the earth are another source of inspiration. Her recent five-year return to New Zealand renewed and deepened her connection to the land of her birth and upbringing, its history and all cultures living there. 

Visitors are welcome.
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There are still a couple of places left on the follow-on workshop on Saturday 4th May:

Textured Landscapes - with Catherine Lawes

This is intended to be a fun and freeing class using many textured fabrics and yarns. Paint a warm, impressionistic landscape or abstract piece where the layers of fabric and yarn and cross stitching or couching build the final finished picture. The technique is particularly suitable for mountain, water and hill scenes.


A kit will be available: price payable on the day £10 pp.

If you are interested in taking up a place, please contact Dayschool Secretary: for more details and requirement list.

Monday, 8 April 2019

"All buttoned up"

Beautiful vintage buttons from a member's collection

Shown below is just a small part of the extensive and imaginative display put together by Gill and Lucy to set the scene for our April Members' Day:
Gaye got the day off to a good start by giving us an overview of the history of Dorset buttons, which in the 19th century were a real cottage industry.  They were then usually made using rings cut from sheep horn, covered with linen cloth and thread, and there were many variations in the patterns created.  After Gaye's very clear demonstration we had a go at making our own: 


The interesting thing to realise is that Dorset buttons don't have to be made in small sizes suitable for clothing - in fact, there is no limit to size at all.  We tried using curtain pole rings and bangles, but you can use a ring of any size, as can be seen in the 'spider's web' example in the display below:

After lunch we diversified into making covered buttons, including printing up some fabric using buttons stuck onto corks to make stamps:

Thanks to the creativity of our two programme secretaries, we had a thoroughly enjoyable and useful day.  Our thanks also to Gaye for sharing her knowledge and expertise.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

De Denne competition win for Leamington peacock

We received the thrilling news this week that our JETS group won second prize in the Guild's annual De Denne competition.  The theme was 'Life's Repeating Pattern', and they received a lovely letter from Alex Messenger (Embroiderers' Guild Trustee for Younger Stitchers) setting out what the judges liked about their entry.

"We thought the idea of the peacock was a clever way to make their individual contribution.  It was lovely to see hand stitching using different threads and ideas and the stitches used gave a good suggestion of feathers.  The lace and sequins were used to good effect to suggest the peacock's body.  We particularly liked the colourful wrapped feet!"

Congratulations to our young stitchers!  

We are also proud of our JETS leaders and helpers who give so much of their time and energy to inspire and encourage the students to enjoy their creativity.

Friday, 5 April 2019

April: Buttons and Bunting

Our Members' Day tomorrow, Saturday 6th April, will focus on buttons - items made with buttons and making our own buttons.  We meet at St Mary's Hall at 10.00 am, and enjoy a lovely day's stitching and chatting, as well as a bring-and-share lunch.


Our JETS group meet at the same time, but they will be making not buttons but needle cases - what a useful item for a budding stitcher!

This follows a busy session in March, when they were making bunting ready to use on our Art in the Park stand in August. They each made a piece of double-sided bunting and decorated it with stitch and pretty things. One of the leaders took it home to sew it into the length that is growing steadily.

Leader Lucy was presented with a surprise birthday card with motifs all stitched by the JETS. She says it was a lovely treat and she will treasure her very special card.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

"Telling Tales" at Ilminster

Branch member, Janet Rose, has sent us this poster for a textile show that promises to be well worth a visit.

Janet will be exhibiting her family history panels and will be at the 'Meet the artists' event on 13th April, should anyone happen to be in that part of the world.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Butterflies all around ...

Heather Everitt's talk provided a fascinating look into her life as a textile artist/maker with all its highs - such as getting her work accepted by Liberty's store in London - and lows - the very long hours that go into creating a body of work for exhibitions.

So, we were delighted that Heather agreed to make the long journey from Devon to Leamington to give us the benefit of her expertise in a workshop to create a stitched butterfly panel.

These are some from Heather's collection - which are even more stunning in the 'flesh'!  

Thankfully, we were provided with a template and very clear instructions by Heather on how to approach the layering and appliqué techniques used to make our butterflies.  Choice of fabrics and colours - as always involving much deliberation - meant that each butterfly was a very individual creation.  


 Then machine stitching personalised them still further.
This is Heather with Heidi, her stalwart vintage Bernina
It was a really well organised and enjoyable day, and both newcomers and more experienced embroiderers felt we had spent a very worthwhile few hours learning a technique that will surely prove to be very useful and adaptable.