We are a group of women (but men are welcome!) who have an interest in textile art and embroidery. We are of mixed abilities and there is no need for you to be able to sew to come and join us - there are no tests!
New members are always welcome - why not call in and join us as a guest for a few months?
Meeting fee for visitors is only £5.
Our meetings vary - we have talks and workshops, show and tell - we also have lots of weekend workshops and playdays. For details of what's coming up (and what's been and gone!) check out our programme below...

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

February Workshop - Print, Collage & Stitch - Anne Brooke

We are very lucky at Halifax to have such talented members, many of whom are successful textile artists in their own rights. 
One of those is Anne Brooke, who is a hard woman to pin down! As well as being a school head of department, Anne has just opened her own textile studio in her garden, as well as giving talks and workshops to other groups, and demonstrating at shows such as Art in the Pen at Skipton, so we are grateful to her for sparing the time for her fellow members! 
Here they all are, hard at work...

And here are the photographs of the (huge amount of) work done at Anne's workshop on Sunday. 

Members said how much they enjoyed the workshop and several went home and carried on working until they had finished their hangings! 

This is Janice's : 

And this is Lesley's :

Anne has a website which can be found at http://www.annebrooke.co.uk, as well as a blog, a Facebook page, and Instagram with the tag hannemadebyanne. 

February Meeting - Valerie Wartelle

The speaker at our February Meeting was the talented felt maker Valerie Wartelle. Born of French / Scottish parents, Valerie had what many of us would consider to be an idyllic childhood, living in Paris and spending the summer in the south of France at her grandparents' home, before moving to New Caledonia, a small French territory to the east of Australia. She returned to France in 1974 to attend High School. 
Valerie's first foray into the world of textiles came when she did an Art Foundation Course at Braintree College, then continued to a BSc (Hons) in Textile Design at what was then Huddersfield Polytechnic. Because this was a science degree, there was great emphasis on understanding the materials, and technical expertise, including the dyeing of fabrics, and different finishes. 
For her final piece, Valerie "rescued" a door from the yard of her student accommodation and kept it in the workshop, assiduously spraying it to keep the mossy finish it had gained from living outside. She loved the layers of peeling paint and they were the inspiration for her body of work, including this cardigan, which you can see is a different colour on the inside. 

After working for 10 years as a knitwear designer, Valerie moved away from direct involvement in textiles, returning in 2012, having been introduced to wet felting by a friend. Valerie told us that she likes responding to what the fabric is doing, rather than working towards an end point.  

As well as using wool to create shape, images and colour, Valerie uses it to trap other fibres and fabrics in an almost invisible way, using the techniques of Nuno felting to "stick" different textures to each other. She often uses pre-felt as a backing and attaches silk organza or chiffon pieces, trapping hemp or flax fibres to "draw" on the surface. She adds details to her pieces in several ways, including photo transfer and machine embroidery.

Initially she worked from her kitchen table for 3 days a week, meaning that the family had to have a lot of takeaways! In 2014 she was able to give up working for Kirklees Council to concentrate on her art, and now has studio space at Artworks, Halifax, where she is able to do more experimental work using a large printing press and screen printing. Her current body of work illustrates Valerie's interest in fossils and insects. 

These pieces have a subtlety not usually found in felted work, which comes from the work being printed and then re-felted. 
In 2015 Valerie was named "Best Emerging Textile Artist" by Embroidery magazine and awarded "Best Picture in Show" at the Great North Art Show in Ripon*. 
She is currently running workshops at Word of Mouth in Hebden Bridge, and a Artworks, Halifax. 

Valerie's talk was followed by our stupendous colour-themed raffle...

*This year's Great North Art Show is held at Ripon Cathedral from 2nd - 24th September. 

Friday, 3 February 2017

Inbetweeners - Going Round in Circles

Last month members held a Playday based on "Circles". 
Sue M has sent a photograph of her finished piece, based on images of Mandalas. 

If other members have finished pieces, send them to me and I'll add them to the post.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

January Meeting - Jo Sykes - Fifty Shades of Grey

That wasn't exactly the title of Jo Sykes' talk to us at our January meeting, but it seemed appropriate! 
Jo, one of our members, told us that as a seamstress, she wanted to learn to dye as a means of changing the colour of a fabric without changing the texture, in the way that using acrylics or bonding does.She also wanted the choice of colour range that is not available commercially, so she set about finding a quick and easy way of dyeing fabric herself. 
The first piece she showed us was one she made not long after joining the Guild three years ago, and came about as a result of the Chairman's "Stitch-a-Month" Challenge. The idea was to put the 12 stitch samples into a book, however Jo decided that she would make them into a hanging. 
She dyed the pieces of fabric that she was stitching onto, as well as the background fabric, which you can see is made of many strips of different fabric stitched together.
Jo got the rusty effect on her fabric by tying it round a scaffolding pole - not, as someone said to me later, by walking twenty miles to a rocky outcrop to find a horse-shoe nail sticking out of an ancient gatepost, which is fine, but not that practical when you have other things going on in your life, as Jo did while she was making this piece. 
Jo told us that she had chosen red and purple as her background colours because she needed to get strength from them as she was going through a difficult time. 

As Jo said, she wanted to find an easy way of dyeing, with a big colour range, so she chose to use...Dylon dyes! 
She buys them from the cheapest place she can find (usually Boyes - there's one in Brighouse) and decants them into cheap secure containers. She can then use as little or as much as she wants, saving what is left for future use. 
Jo prepares the fabric for dyeing by washing it, in case any stiffening has been added in the manufacturing process. She then puts it in a bowl of hot salty water. Hot water opens the fibres and lets in the salt, which is a fixing agent. 
She puts the dye into about 100ml of salt water which is just off the boil, adds the fabric and agitates it, then leaving it in a bowl or plastic freezer bag (let the water cool first!) for between 2 hours and overnight, agitating them occasionally. To finish the process, Jo rinses the fabric, washes it, and then rinses it again. It is quite colourfast but she wouldn't offer us any guarantees!

She demonstrated that different fabrics take in more or less dye depending on their natural fibre content, with cottons taking dye in more successfully than fabrics rich in polyester, as can be seen in the picture below. 
The result of this is that one dye bath of different fabrics can give a wide range of colours in the same family, which will give a harmonious finish to a piece. 
Jo also brought samples of other fabrics she had dyed, using two colours and making several dye baths with different quantities of the two colours in them. 
This technique had been used in a stitched collage of a moorland scene using some manipulated fabric. 
This sample shows the different effects that can be used by random application of dye.
We all went away re-enthused about dyeing our own fabrics without having to faff about with microwaves, face-masks and urea...

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

December Meeting - Festive Fun!

Lots going on at our December Meeting! 
First of all there was the brilliant secret gift exchange! Wyn (our chair) found some plastic baubles - the kind that come apart so that you can fill them with something. All the members who wanted to participate took a bauble home and then filled it with something, or decorated it, and brought it to the meeting in an anonymous brown bag or envelope. There was then a draw for members to come and choose a bag to keep, with no idea of what they contained! 

Pictured below are the contents of the bags


Then there was the fabulous buffet, provided by members with enough festive goodies to feed ten Embroiderers Guild meetings!

And then the Christmas Raffle! (The theme, if you can't guess, was STARS)

All topped off with a Christmas Quiz by Robina! 
Festive Fun was had by all! 

November Playday - Christmas Stuff!

Members got together in December for some festive fun and fabricating. Here are the photos of their endeavours, and some brief instructions. 

The (battery operated!!) tea-light surrounds are made from 
fabric which has been attached to pelmet vilene with bondaweb 
(or to vilene which has adhesive on one side). 
It can either be pre-printed like this one, or a "village" of your own design.
It is then sewn into a circle.

The "Christmas Trees" are made from pre-formed polystyrene cones, 
with fabric circles (hand-cut or on a Big Shot or similar) attached to the shape. 
The one above has used sequins and fancy pins. 
The one below has used buttons for decoration, 
which were stitched to the circles before glueing them to the form.  

The gift boxes are made from a template which is similar to this one : 
It can easily be found on the internet, or Pinterest. 
Cut two pieces of the fabric of your choice, and one piece of pelmet vilene. 
Attach the fabric to the vilene with Bondaweb, 
and then neaten the outside edge with zig-zag stitch. Ta da! 

And finally, a cute wine bottle waistcoat! 
(Again, lots of ideas for different covers can be found on the internet)