Monday, April 8, 2024

Our April Meeting

There was lots to see and do at our April meeting.  One of the morning stitch clubs was Wessex stitching with Angela.  Everyone had enjoyed learning this colourful technique, particularly stitchers who enjoy the precision and logic of counted thread work.

Nadine's Wessex stitching sampler

The second stitch club group were learning stumpwork.  This three dimensional technique is done with very fine threads and very small pieces.  All of the pieces being worked on were less than 10cm in diameter so people with good eyesight and/or good magnifying lights were at an advantage!  Annie and Josie were on hand to give guidance and encouragement.  
Annie's completed pin holder with tufted thistles, raised leaves and a tiny bee

Marina's satin stitched oak leaves ready for acorns to be applied

Annie's stumpwork picture with delicate needlelace 

Chris is experienced with the stumpwork technique and was working on the wired wings of a butterfly that could be cut out and applied to a box.

The Travelling Book

YES has a book which individual members take home and contribute something to.  The outcome is a sketchbook that features a wide range of styles and interests.  The most recent pages were 'Using the unusual'. 
Sally had repurposed coffee pods to create a striking applique piece

Unpacking the Equipment Store

York Embroiderers and Stitchers have some unusual pieces of equipment that members can borrow.  Just ask if you would like to have a go using them to dye, braid, pleat or embellish!

Spring Competition

Eileen was the winner of the Spring Competition for a piece of work from a commercial  pattern, book or kit.  She had attended a workshop with Liz Cooksey who had guided her through the process of attaching metal forms to wires and embellishing them with delicate crochet using fine hooks and hand dyed threads. The resulting piece was very lovely.

Other work submitted to the competition was also beautifully made and we appreciated every piece.  It was nice to see completed items framed or mounted.   We are starting to think about our next public exhibition so hopefully these will be shown to a wider audience in due course.  

Competition entries showcasing a wide range of techniques

An afternoon of Broderie Perse

Chris had arranged for members to have a go at Broderie Perse in the afternoon session.  In this technique elements such as flowers, birds and butterfies are cut from fabric and applied onto a background to make a scene or central design.  It was particularly popular in the 17th Century when Chintz fabrics became available.  We were able to choose fabric motifs, cut them out and start to arrange/apply them to the background.  Traditionally the motifs would be needle turned and applied by hand but most people were opting for raw edge applique, machining the pieces on (at home!) or bonding them using glue or fusible fabric sheets.  We were encouraged to finish them at home and bring them along to our next session. 

Chris had made some lovely samples of Broderie Perse for inspiration

Cate and Gill had made an excellent start on their Broderie Perse pieces

 Next Time ...

Our next session is on 4th May.  Visitors are always welcome to join us in Haxby Memorial Hall from 10.30am.  

Monday, March 4, 2024

Our March Meeting

Spring was in the  air for our March meeting.  Members enjoyed continuing their own projects, sharing skills and ideas and catching up with friends.  So many inspirational traditional and modern techniques!

Two morning stitch clubs ran, firstly stumpwork with Annie where participants satin stitched small flowers and learned to wire leaves.  Josie demonstrated how to use a special tool to create a raised surface and make a needle-woven mushroom cap which was amazingly lifelike.  

Diane making steady progress with a stumpwork pomegranate - getting ready to attach tiny beads to the fruit to recreate the look of seeds

The second stitch group was Wessex Stitchery where participants made progress with this colourful counted thread technique.  

Dawn found Wessex stitchery (a new technique to her) pretty and addictive. 

Having learned the stitches (practice piece above) Dawn was moving on to design a piece worked on a smaller scale.

There were many lovely projects being worked on in the room.  Helen's stitching caught my eye this month.  Helen had cut small pieces of Shibori fabric (approximately 6"x 4"), stitched a backing to it and was appliqueing coloured fabric pieces to enhance the shapes.  On closer inspection she had also added metal fastenings and beads for texture.  She didn't have a plan for the pieces (a fabric book maybe?) but was enjoying the creative process. 

Helen's improvised embellished fabric pieces

Serena Partridge "Collaborate"

The afternoon speaker was Serena Partridge who gave us a slide show which showcased her many talents.  She also displayed examples of her work and some of the projects she has worked on as an Artist in Residence.  Serena studied Design Crafts at Hereford College of Arts and currently has studio space in the Art Happens Here Studio Collective in Malton.  Her early work featured exquisite mixed media miniature gloves and shoes.  She continues to create small-scale accessories and ornaments inspired by historical costume and story telling as well as larger scale installations. 

Examples of Serena's miniature wonders!

However the focus of Serena's talk was the varied collaborative projects that she has been involved with over the years.  She has been artist in residence in a number of places in England, Scotland and Newfoundland, responding to the local landscapes, working with children in schools, young people in youth groups and adults in an integrated way to produce thoughtful art.  

Fabric pieces designed by children but stitched by adults 

Serena showed images of a major project that she undertook as artist in residence at a National Trust property, Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire  This is home to a wonderful collection of intricate lace, embroidery and needlework amassed by the house's Victorian inhabitant, Miss Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth who was herself a collector, maker and teacher.  In work titled 'Luminary' Serena created work on a larger scale, making a series of embroidered interventions in rooms around Gawthorpe Hall.  These used vintage materials with embroidered and reflective threads.  These can be seen in situ on the Arts & Heritage website (search for Serena Partridge or Gawthorpe Textiles Collection) 

Cyanotype print of lace from the Gawthorpe Textiles Collection - Serena Partridge

Embroidered 'place' mats - made for the Luminary commission - Dining room mixed media, hand stitched - Serena Partridge

Piano keys and textile tools - celebrating the life of Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth at Gawthorpe Hall, Lancashire 

More recently Serena had worked in Selby abbey as part of the Selby Stories cultural activities and events.  She showed photographs of a number of her miniature embroidered pieces that had been placed in small nooks and crannies in the abbey.  These celebrated animals and people relevant to the story of the abbey and are still there. I certainly felt inspired to go down and look for them.

Serena Partridge in Selby Abbey with one of her miniature embroidery pieces

Monday, February 5, 2024

Our February Meeting

It was lovely to see a large turnout for our February meeting.  There was a lot of colourful work being done in the room in defiance of the grey weather outside!  There were two 'stitch club' options running, the first being Stumpwork flower pinwheels with Annie.  Stumpwork is  a dimensional embroidery technique that originated in the mid-1600s in England.

Annie's beautiful examples were certainly inspiring but the process seemed quite daunting because the scale was so small (the pinwheels being only 3 1/2" or a little over 8cm).  Some elements are worked flat whilst others are made on 'scrap' fabric before being applied.  Raised elements can be stuffed or wired as well as embroidered. Eventually everyone in the group chose the design they liked, instructions were given by Annie and preparation, wiring and sewing started.  Josie (who has a wealth of experience with Stumpwork) was on hand to offer advice and encouragement.

Annie's stumpwork flower pinwheels and needle cases

Instructions for making a pomegranate stumpwork piece 

Sally made a start on wiring an acorn leaf 

Dilys outlined some thistle heads ready for embroidery

The other 'stitch club' option was Wessex stitchery with Angela.  This group got started in January and everyone had made good progress and were enjoying the counted thread work.  The motifs were built using (relatively) simple stitches like back stitch, fly stitch, long tailed chain stitch and Algerian eye stitch.  As with all grid based counted work it needed precision and care.

Jane's colourful stitch sampler on pink aida using two strands of embroidery thread.  

Gill's stitch sampler on evenweave using a tonal colour palette

As usual there was a lot of lovely independent work going on in the hall.  This 'retro' piece caught my eye this month although the photograph doesn't capture the subtlety of the colouring very well. 
Laura's cushion front - a Studio Flax kit with linen threads worked on linen fabric.

Jessica Kinnersley "My Journey in Textiles"

In the afternoon Jessica Kinnersley came down from Northumberland to talk to the group about her work and career in textiles.  She brought many examples of her early and more recent work for us to pass around and enjoy.  Jessica initially trained as a surface designer and worked as a freelancer producing embroidered and appliqued samples for the textile industry.  The commercial process required her to work to design briefs based on mood boards/forecast trends/colour palettes provided by her agent who then sold them on her behalf to London buyers who could use some (or all) of the design elements in domestic textiles such as curtains, upholstery fabric or bed linen.    After around ten years Jessica moved into teaching art/textiles at a school and found that she really enjoyed working with young people.   She worked with groups making art accessible in the community as well as continuing her commercial work with a book publisher.  Over time she was able to take on a studio space at The Hearth Arts Centre in Horsley, Northumberland and concentrate on developing an individual style using vintage linens, papers and found objects.  It was fascinating to see how her practice had changed over time and how varied her journey has been so far - clearly she has a great future ahead of her and we look forward to seeing what she does in the next 20 years!  

Jessica's slow stitched textiles and paper collages exploring nostalgia and narrative

Jessica's sketchbooks and  mixed media work

Jessica's work in progress of a bowl Spring bulbs using vintage textiles, applique and hand embroidery  

Jessica Kinnersley Textiles, Paddock Studio, The Hearth Arts Centre, Main Road, Horsley, Northumberland, NE15 0NT   Workshops, sales and open studio visits.

Our next meeting will be on Saturday 2nd March.  Visitors are always warmly welcomed so if you have an interest in stitching, textiles and embroidery do come along.  

Sunday, January 7, 2024

January Meeting

In January YES members got together to enjoy some stitching and to catch up with friends.  
In the morning Angela started a group off with Wessex stitchery. Designed by Mrs Margaret Foster in the 19th century, Wessex stitchery is a counted thread technique based on a set of simple stitches that can be combined to make diverse patterns.  

Angela's sample piece for stitch club

A piece of Angela's Wessex stitchery sampler

Many members worked on their own projects during the morning session.  Pauline's work caught my eye.  She was continuing with a lovely 'memory' textile.  It had been started some time ago in a workshop with Jessie Chorley who specialises in contemporary illustrative embroidery.  Pauline wanted to celebrate the life of her mother by incorporating textile pieces (including netting from a hat, fabric from a dance dress and items from her inherited sewing box).  It was being created with a lot of love.  

A section of Pauline's textile piece

As we were talking about this piece Celia brought over some small pieces she had been working on.  After clearing out her mother's house she had kept a lot of photographic negatives and was wondering what to do with them.  Noticing the holes on the sides she thought she could stitch into them - very innovative! 

One of Celia's pieces using old photographic negatives and sewing box items attached to a painted calico background

"Belles in Bloomers" - Meredith Towne
In the afternoon we gathered round to listen to a guest speaker.  Meredith Towne is a dress historian and Costume maker and her focus in this session was the cycling craze of the 1880's/1890's.  Drawing on contemporary sources (books, magazines and newspapers) she vividly described how women's lives in particular were influenced at that time.  Although predominantly a middle class hobby, cycling permeated much of society and allowed people to travel more widely and independently.  What women could wear whilst cycling was subject to societal pressures and over the course of her talk Meredith transformed herself from a modern, lycra-clad athlete into a stylish cyclist of a bygone era!  We enjoyed hearing about liberty bodices, woollen stockings, corsets, leg-o-muffin sleeves, brogues and hats.  Using a pattern from the 1890's Meredith had recreated a fabulous costume (bloomers and jacket) fit for a "New Woman" of the era who could be a fashionable yet respectable intellectual, worker, suffragist and cyclist. 

Meredith in her cycling costume and straw boater hat

Items from Meredith's collection of historial cycling artifacts

Our next meeting will be on Saturday 3rd February.  Visitors and new members are very welcome.  

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Our December meeting

 Well, this was the last meeting of 2023, and it was an excellent end to the year.

We all had the chance to make Christmas cards, following examples shown by Nicky.

Her cards were a mixture of block printing and embroidery, and a wonderful collection of bits and pieces was provided.

Diane made several card fronts using a variety of techniques

Some members were following their own ideas, but carrying on with the Christmas theme.

We had a Christmas competition for any item of embroidery with a Christmas theme, providing it wasn't a card. We had lots of entries including wall hangings, a quilt and baubles, but the winner (as voted for by the members) was this:

Next month we will be starting new stitch classes - available in the mornings - though of course, members can just continue with their own work and enjoy the conversations! This is an example of the raised work that will be taught by Annie

Of course, with all this activity we needed fortifying. The committee had made a fantastic collection of cakes (both Christmas and Victoria) and mince pies to go with our tea and coffee. The only drawback being that we were too busy enjoying it to take a photo!!

We meet again in January on the 6th. Happy Christmas and New Year.