Trying something different…

The speaker for our January meeting on Tuesday 11th is Angie Hughes, who will be talking about ‘Creative Ice-breaking’. We will be trying a new format this month. Angie will be speaking by Zoom from her own studio, which you can join either from your own home, or by watching on the big screen at the hall. Her work will be shown on screen, so if you choose not to come to the hall then you will still see exactly the same as the people in the hall. Members will receive a Zoom link by email. Due to Covid rates, the numbers in the hall are strictly limited so that we can maintain more social distancing than usual, so please contact our Secretary to ask to book one of the places. If you are a non-member who would like to attend by Zoom, you would be welcome to attend for a small charge. Please send a request via the ‘contact’ page on this website, including your email address. We look forward to seeing as many people as possible through one route or the other. We can still all wave to each other via the screen! If you are a new member and would like to join us, please email our Secretary Sue for a link on sec.southdownscreativestitchers@gmail.com 

You can see Angie Hughes work on her website: https://www.angiehughes.com/

‘A lifetime of looking’

Parham House Gardens

We had a wonderful talk this month by one of our own members, Julia Brown. Julia specialises in exquisite landscapes which she embroiders on her trusty 1970’s Bernina sewing machine. Julia comes from a family or tailors and sewers, and has stitched since childhood. She showed us a sweet tiny needlecase that she stitched as a young child, and spoke about how important it is to share our love of stitch with children and to pass our skills on. She also spoke about the importance of tutors, and she particularly acknowledged the influence of local machine-embroidery tutor Wendy Dolan.

Julia has found her niche in machine-embroidered landscapes. It combines three key things that she loves: sewing, painting and landscapes. Sewing started in childhood, and for many years Julia has made and embroidered wedding dresses professionally. Her love of painting underlies her embroidery work (for example a knowledge of composition, colour mixing, where to put a focal point etc.). She lightly paints her fabric before stitching, leaving lots of space for stitching it afterwards.

Julia studied Geography at University, and her love of landscape is what has led her to this particular aspect of stitching. She is interested in the underlying geology, as well as the human influence of things like tracks, hedges and fields. A recent influence is the wonderful book by Robert Macfarlane: ‘The Old Ways, A Journey on Foot’. This exploration of the ancient tracks and landscapes encourages the reader to slow down and really look at the world around them. It’s a lovely book, available from most good bookshops.

Julia showed us how she builds up layers of different textures before starting to stitch, using fabrics such as crepe bandage, scrim, dish-cloth etc. She then adds even more texture and detail with stitch. Many thanks to Julia for a very interesting talk, and for showing us your lovely work. To see more of Julia’s work, go to her website or FB page: https://www.facebook.com/JuliaBrownStitched/    https://www.facebook.com/JuliaBrownStitched/

Richard Box talk

Showing Richard’s combination of painterly techniques with stitch and beading.

We had a very entertaining afternoon with Richard Box for our September meeting. Richard has inspired many hundreds of people with his combination of drawing, painting and textile art including hand and machine stitching. Richard was a funny and witty speaker, who held our interest all afternoon. As well as learning some useful tips, we also had a good day out.

More painterly techniques translated into stitch – you can see an impressionist influence in this one.

Richard told us some amusing anecdotes about his life and his art, and there was lots of laughter during his talk. His first experience of making something in fabric was a Cope for his Church of England father – but he admitted that his father ‘wouldn’t be seen dead in it’. Richard studied painting at art college, but counts himself very lucky to have been taught by Constance Howard, which really awakened his interest in textile art. His painting background can be seen in his work, for example his ability to really observe what is in front of him, and confidence in colour mixing. He spoke about doing art with children with special needs, and the spontaneity that they had to their art, and how he wants to try to help adults to have the same joy in creating things.

Rumour has it that this lovely puss was bought be a member because of the resemblance to her own cat!

Richard is well known for helping people to overcome their inhibitions about drawing and painting, and encouraging embroiderers to use their own observations and art work to make original designs (think ‘Drawing for the Terrified applied to stitch). He talked us through his own artistic process, starting either from real-life observations or from a photograph. He finds that drawing and painting the subject first is essential, as it helps him to ‘understand’ what he is looking at. Having done a painting of his subject, he then simplifies it into basic colour areas, and sketches or draws the main ‘blocks’ of colour which he then applies in pieces of fabric onto a hessian backing. More layers are added, machine stitching is added, and finally hand-stitching and sometimes beading. The photos below show his process, broken down into stages. Thank you Richard for agreeing that we could share these images on our website, and for an interesting and entertaining afternoon, and thank you Gay for organising the afternoon.

Initial bold areas of colour applied with pieces of fabric
More detail added to coloured areas with smaller pieces of fabric
More fabrics and background threads applied
First stitching on the sewing machine. Richard spoke about the importance of ‘blending’ colour from one area into another
Some initial bold hand-stitching
The finished piece, with more hand-stitching details added

Summer Meeting

Our August meeting was a very successful afternoon in the lovely environment of Findon Village Hall. We had plenty of space to socially distance, and with windows and doors open and the sun shining in we had a chance to be together once again just like old times. It feels like a very positive time in the group: longstanding members are ‘re-connecting’ and at the same time, new members are joining. We took this chance to look back at some of the work that members have been creating during lockdown, and everyone enjoyed the pop-up display of work. If you scroll down, you will see some photos of the individual work that members exhibited on the day. Apologies if I missed yours, but do feel free to send me a photo to add. If I haven’t named your work, or if you know who made one of the un-named ones, please pop a message in the ‘Comments’ box at the end of this post. And here are a few photos of people chatting and enjoying the afternoon.

Linda Hoddy

Betty Byford
Sue Parkinson

Annette Ragless?
Gay Hibbs
Brenda Forrester
Sally Mitchell

Sue Parkinson
Lea Dishott

Garden Sale

They say that buses come in threes – well today the news posts from the website will come as three. Your Webmistress is finally having a catch-up! So here are some photos from the wonderfully successful garden sale that was held Jane Baskerville’s garden. This was another opportunity to get together and chat, drink tea and eat cake – and it was also a very successful fund-raiser for the group. Members came ready to shop, and shop they did! As well as Linda’s bric-a-brac, we also had a lovely collection of textile books that was given to Jane B, donated fabrics, and the delicious print-blocks that were donated by Jamie Mason of Colouricious. We will keep a generous collection of the print blocks for members to use in workshops, but there are so many (literally hundreds!) which means we are selling some as fund-raisers (take a look at the Sales page on the website if you’re interested in the box sets of print-blocks). As well as raising £413.50 for the group during the afternoon, we also raised £37 for the NHS from the teas and coffees. Here are some photos of us all in Jane B’s beautiful garden.

Real people!

The sun shone, and we finally managed to meet up in person for our July meeting. How lovely to see ‘real’ people rather than rectangular people on a computer screen, and how lovely to see those members again who haven’t been joining us on Zoom. Our July meeting took place as an outdoor ‘socially distanced’ picnic. Many thanks to Sue P for organising the day, and for organising the wind to drop and the sun to shine! No more words, just lots of lovely photos.

Bags, Boxes and Books

At our June meeting one of our members, Sue Bush, inspired us all with her amazing collection of Bags, Boxes & Books. Sue talked us through the many techniques used in her work including beading, felting, weaving, patchwork, embroidery and canvas work. Sue is a prolific stitcher and we greatly enjoyed her talk (comments above from Sue P, thank you).
(Note from webmistress: Sue made us promise not to call her talk ‘Bag-lady’, tempting though it was!)