Monday, 30 October 2017

MODULE SIX - completion notes

I have taken rather a long time to do this module but now it is over I have mixed feelings.  Yes I am pleased it is finished but this now marks the end of my course and I am rather sad about this.  I have learnt so much, experimented with so many ideas but now it is time to take those forward and hopefully concentrate on the things I have enjoyed most.  The girl I asked to authenticate my work is visiting next week so this will be a great opportunity to get out all my workbooks and to look through them with her.

Here are my final completion notes:

I have just spent a most enjoyable morning with my dear friend Pam who I lived opposite for nearly 40 years.  Pam has watched my progress in this City & Guilds course since I started and it was fun to explain the work of this final module, initially creating all the samples from photos, experimenting with the various techniques then choosing the topic for the final wall hanging.  It is not until you have to explain to someone your journey step by step, that you realise what an amazing amount of work you have done.  Thank you Pam for your support and interest over the years.

This is the authentication form she has signed:

Tuesday, 17 October 2017


Three Textile Artists


I met Jae several years ago when she came to speak to the Marlborough & District Embroiderers Guild. One of my main responsibilities is to write a monthly blog so I have looked back at what I said in June 2014.

Back then Jae told us that she had just stepped down as Chair of the 62 Group of Textile Artists and recently took an exhibition of their work to the Koyo Museum, Showa Women's University in Tokyo.

Jae followed a Fine Art Degree in Reading and her professor was a student of Sickert so there was a lot of life drawing but it lacked colour. She moved to the States and was introduced to needlepoint which she did not enjoy but she started using threads again so when she returned to the UK she enrolled on a Post Graduate diploma at Brighton Polytechnic. The course covered machine embroidery, printing and weaving and in time she became interested in mono printing, patching and piecing using machine and hand stitching.

Over the years Jae’s work has been influenced by her sketchbook ideas, her experiences and her travels. She did a series while her husband was working in Rome, another with a homelessness theme and a series responding to her feelings when her father was suffering from dementia. She was commissioned to create a large hanging for a school in Swindon and, with Wendy Dolan, she created one for the Ashridge Management Development Centre in Hertfordshire.

In 2014 she told us her current work was influenced by the wet weather experienced during the winter. This series was in 8 panels so it could be swapped around and packaged up easily for transportation.

I found “Poles apart” on Jae's website which was inspired by the tangle of power lines when she was visiting Vietnam. I love this piece of work.


I did not know American textile artist Barbara Lee Smith before starting this research. It was interesting to look at her work and to reading that she only uses Lutradur which she colours and then creates a landscape collage using machine embroidery working upside down.

It is amazing to learn that at the age of 79 she is still exhibiting her work and curating exhibitions. Looking at images, some of her textiles I loved and I have copied them for this research. I am keen on the idea of having multi panels displayed under the same theme and this is something I want to explore in the future.

There are two interesting articles about Barbara on, The rhythms of nature, where she tells how she started stitching kits as a child and her sister encouraged her and taught her a variety of stitches. As a young mother she got books out of the library by a designer Mariska Karasz and Constance Howard, started designing her own work and was encouraged to start teaching by a friend. She enjoyed learning and as a graduate student she was introduced to fabric printing and painting with machine embroidery. Eventually she undertook a Masters degree in Fine Arts specialising in Mixed Media at Illinois. In 1991 Barbara published her own book “Celebrating the Stitch – a contemporary embroidery of North America” in which she explores what inspires different artists' design, their use of colour and their techniques. Barbara says it is still relevant today and I have enjoyed browsing through it on the internet so much so I decided to spend the vast sum of £3.20 and treat myself to a copy! I look forward to its arrival in a few days time.

Barbara is very keen on her sketchbook when planning work. She only uses acrylic paint and silk pigments which she applies to the Lutradur with a variety of tools and materials. Once the background layers have been fused together she turns everything over and draws on the sewing machine from the back. She loves the element of surprise this technique brings, is freed from working within the lines and can use rayon in the bobbin which would not be possible if used as a top thread. It is interesting to learn what a variety of sized work Barbara has created, anything from a small square to large piece to fill a wall.

Barbara's latest entry on the internet relates to an exhibition this year in Venice this year entitled “Viva Arte Viva” which she visited and reviewed for This is an international exhibition with 120 invited artists exhibiting and 103 of these are participating for the first time.  


I first noticed Carol Naylor's work when I visited Art in Action at Waterperry House a few years ago. What a crying shame this event has now come to an end because it had become one of my favourite outings when you could see really exciting work from such a wonderful variety of artists.

The second time I came across Carol was when she came to visit Marlborough and District Embroiderers Guild in 2015 and I was responsible for writing the blog for our website. I am therefore looking up my notes which are below:

Carol Naylor applied for an arts course at Goldsmiths but was rejected. She was then offered a place on a new textile art course and Constance Howard was one of her tutors. Carol persevered with the course although it was not her first choice and went on to gain a BA and Postgraduate Diploma in Textile Art specialising in embroidery. Her first job was as a lecturer at Chichester and thanks to a student exchange scheme she was able to visit Portugal.

In the early days Carol exhibited her work at West Dean College and undertook large commissions for hospitals. Thanks to family support she was eventually able to give up her job and go freelance and she undertook an important commission at Petworth House. Carol has worked with Alice Kettle. Both have a similar technique of free machining from the reverse with heavy weight threads in the bobbin.

During a project called Fusion Carol was paired with a jeweller and she had to interpret a piece of jewellery in stitch.

Nowadays Carol gets the inspiration for her embroideries from landscapes recorded during her travels to France, Spain, Ireland and New Zealand. She undertakes commissions, gives talks and workshops and exhibits her work extensively.

Carol's work is very distinctive – the theme of the countryside and the colours and I seem to remember that she does not stretch her work so the result is very undulating, like the hillside! She uses some of my favourite colours and I love the varying shapes of the fields and the flow of the hills. Several of them remind me of the colours Van Gogh used in his paintings of Provence so I wonder if that is where she got her inspiration from.  Something slightly different below but interesting nevertheless.

Saturday, 7 October 2017


Wall hanging - completion

When I posted my hanging a few weeks ago I was pleased with my work but there was something missing - I really did not like the white zigzags.  I read Sian's feedback and chatted to friends and family and then, after returning from holiday, I had a brilliant idea.  Back in March we had an indigo dyeing workshop at the Guild but the vat did not work and the tutor agreed to return at the end of September.  I took along my original resist samples and I decided to take the white zigzag pieces I had prepared for my hanging and put them in the vat too.  It worked a treat and was just what I wanted.

Completed hanging

Presentation of supporting work

Rather than display the samples on one sheet I decided to use four hinged A3 boards so the presentation could be folded up.

Indigo workshop

I have really enjoyed this project - the preparation, the design and the creation.  I am pleased with my choice of colours and my choice of techniques.  Yes, I have changed a few things along the way but most of my original ideas have stayed.  I decided not to create three cords for the hanging as one, well covered, was fine.  When using the coloured papers I was enthusiastic about the white zigzags and the green squares but when I got to the stage of adding them to the hanging they just did not work.  It was a stroke of luck to have the indigo workshop two weeks ago and I was so pleased I had the brain wave of taking the white zigzags along.  

Saturday, 2 September 2017


Making your wall hanging

Below is the paper image of my chosen design followed by a variety of photos of the different stages of the construction of my wall hanging.

 11.1 Background


11.6 water soluble work added to background

 11.8 cutback pieces added to background

11.9 white zigzags pinned.  I really do not like this so I am cutting back the white to make it narrower.
11.10 background folded forward to add an edging.  No additions

11.11 green focus squares added

11.12 all white zigzags cut back to show just the silk and dark green squares

11.13 current situation.  All the various sections have been stitched to the background including the white zigzag.  The paler green squares are to be stitched into position, edges to be stitched and backing with sleeve to be stitched into position.  I am leaving this until the last job in case I need to add or alter anything.

11.14  I am still concerned that the white zigzags are too dominant so I have experimented by weaving some interesting threads through the running stitches on my sample.  Quite like this as it tones the white down - could use the brown/green threads and possibly some blue against the rain section (water soluble)

I have spent a number of very enjoyable hours on this wall hanging and I am pleased with the result so far.  There is still some work to do but I feel it is coming together well.