Just a quick note to let everyone know, that our planned speaker for our December meeting on Saturday 6th December has had to cancel at short notice. However due to the efforts of Carole our chairwoman we have managed to secure a new speaker. We will be welcoming Claire Buckley a textile artist and author who will give us a talk entitled “Red”. An apt title as this is both our Christmas meeting and will also take place in our Ruby anniversary year.
Our July meeting this year was a trip down to Lewes to the castle to have a look at the Lewes tapestry.
A group of ladies in Lewes decided to commemorate the 750th anniversary of the Battle of Lewis in 1264, when Simon de Montfort defeated and deposed Henry 111. He sent a clear message to monarchs of the future that they did not have an absolute right to rule as the pleased but must govern by consent.
The tapestry has taken a dedicated team of more than 60 embroiderers over three years to plan and stitch. It is 3 metres wide and 80 cm high, divided into five panels. The wools used were dyed using natural dyes available from plants in the 13th century. It represents events which took place either within or just outside the town and brings to life a medieval landscape including its buildings, people, horses and wildlife, all set against the rolling downs.
It is a remarkable piece of work and Lewes and the people responsible for creating it can be justly proud of the legacy they have created.
On June 15th several branch member took a short trip down to the Stitch Barn at the Hawkhurst Fish farm – the home of Shelley Cox’s workroom. As a branch we have used Shelley many times to run workshops for us, on this occasion we were going to learn the basics of Cewelwork.
We had earlier been given the choice of two designs to work, but on the day we all opted to work the same design although some of us chose to stitch the design in our own colour schemes.
As usual after a day stitching with Shelley we left having had a fun day learning a new technique as well as a few tips that we would be able to apply to our other stitching.
We left at the end of the afternoon with work still to do on our pieces, but having learnt all the necessary stitches we would need. Many of us also purchased the materials needed to complete the second design –more homework to add to the stitching pile we all have!!
On June 7th Di gave us an inspiring talk showing us many things that she has made over the years. She is a felter who has used many different fleeces, and gave us much information about the pros and cons of these fleeces, although merino wool with its long silky fibres gave the best results for much of her work. She often used natural dyes which gave gentle, soft colours to her works. She makes bags, hats, shawls, wall-hangings and rugs.
As she lives by the sea much of her work was influence by that fact and may of the wall-hangings and pictures incorporated shells, bits of driftwood and anything interesting found on the beach. Lace was also used in the felt to create wave-like effects.
Di spent a lot of time at the end of the meeting answering the many questions from our members on the different techniques she used to create the different shapes and textures as well as allowing us the opportunity to closely examine all her work. (www.finefelts.com)
The afternoon of our May meeting started with our President awarding the prizes for our annual President’s challenge which had been set to the members back in October. This year’s challenge was to make a piece of jewellery.
The first prize was awarded Carole.
With the second prize being given to Christine.
A few of the other entries are shown below.
At our meeting on May 5th, Art Van Go a company that sells a wide range of products gave a very interesting demonstration of various ways to add texture to fabric surfaces.
This included Acrylic Lumiere which is a metallic and pearl coloured paint which can be thickened using gels and then used for painting, printing and stencilling etc on to fabric.
Angelina fibre – which looks like candy floss! – has many uses. These include embossing, layering, blending different colours, than apply heat when adding to fabric.
FuseFX – a very fine web of heat-fusible fibre which can be used to bond chiffon to fabric or paper. It can be dyed, added as surface decoration on masks or to create negative areas.
A fascinating afternoon was enjoyed by our members and visitors who were also give the opportunity to purchase many of the products demonstrated as well as others stocked by Art Van Go. (www.artvango.co.uk) We even finished the afternoon making purchases from their van in the car park having overrun our allocated time in the hall.
On the 12th April several Guild members and friends attended a workshop by Arthur Ridley on how to construct a Venetian Mask.
In the morning, using an A5 size piece of felt we first drew some designs. We were shown how to use a pair of spectacles to find the correct place for the eyes. We then applied decorative fabrics to our designs using Bondaweb and stitching
After a break for lunch several layers were applied to the back of the mask to help stiffen it and also to enable us to later mould the masks in shape. These layers included Aquafilm, Bondaweb and very stiff fusible Vilene. All these layers were fastened together with heat followed by lots more machine embroidery.
At the end of the afternoon we were shown how the masks can be dampened and then moulded to fit a frame. We were also shown how to construct a felt stand, using many of the techniques used to make the mask, on which we would be able to display our finished masks.
It has been brought to our attention that there was an error on the date for our May meeting on the calendar.
We are meeting on Saturday 3rd of May, not as originally (incorrectly!!) stated on the Calendar page. We’re sorry for this confusion over the date.
The meeting will start at 2:00pm at our usual venue of St James’ Church Hall, Ferndale, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 3RL. The nearest parking is the car park at the Royal Victoria Centre.
Art Van Go will be bringing their mobile shop and also demonstrating products such as Angelina ﬁbres, FuseFX, non-woven synthetics, bondable materials and foils. Entry will be £5.00 to all non-members of the branch. This should give us all a chance to learn how to use those products we have heard about on many occasions but don’t know what to do with, as well as add to our ever-expanding stashes.
The talk this month was entitled “Inspirational Afghan Embroideries” by Meike Laurenson.
This was a project sponsored by Madeira Threads to support women in Afghanistan, giving them a small source of income and to keep alive traditional sewing skills.
A piece of white sheeting, with 24 4 inch squares drawn on it was given to each woman, who then had three months to embroider the squares.
Using various stitches – long and short stitch, herringbone etc they would complete the designs – floral and traditional, or animals such as sheep donkeys and goats. Some of the pieces showed images that had a definite western influence to them. Thinking of these women stitching away in their mud huts, with no electricity, but producing these delightful squares was very moving.
The project reached into Europe, where the various participating countries were each give a “theme” that linked that country with Afghanistan for example England was teapots, Austria was Landscapes and Holland had tulips. The small squares were then embroidered using that theme before being passed back to designers in the relevant European country to be incorporated into a design of a specific size.
The results of this project were fascinating. Many of them had been shown in exhibitions around Europe.
Most of the people at the meeting bought at least one square to develop into a personal project.
The afternoon lived up to the title of the talk in that it was truly inspirational!
(Thanks to Meike for sending us the photographs of two of the completed pieces)
The branch enjoyed a stimulating talk by Arthur Ridley. After leaving school at 15, Arthur became a toolmaker/fitter. He took the opportunity to attend Adult Education classes to obtain further qualifications including Art. After several years he had the opportunity to attend University to study a degree, followed by a Masters Degree in Fashion and Textiles 25 years ago. His training always focused on Dyes, textiles and Yarns, experimenting with anything new on the market. He procured grants and sponsorship to enable him to do this.
We were bombarded with his experiments and ways of using these materials. These included sticky-backed felt, heat machines and Texture Magic and Aquafilm.
He showed us showed us a large range of his work produced over the years including hats and fascinators, fabric pictures using wire, dyed fabrics, machine stitching and embellishing. Apart from commissions he enjoys teaching children of all ages – he had examples of some of the work he teaches the children – and having fun!!
Altogether we had an inspiring afternoon packed with ideas to try later.