The Blog of the Halifax Branch of the Embroiderers' Guild, meeting monthly on the first Friday at the Maurice Jagger Centre, Winding Road, from 6-9pm (Meeting proper starts at 7pm)
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...
Another well-attended meeting this month, and MORE new members - welcome to you all! We're happy to have you with us. Almost as good, two lots of cake from Margaret W and Anne B, which tasted good AND helped us to raise funds. Our speaker last night was Alice Fox who told us about her artistic journey. Alice works with a mixture of print and stitch on paper, linen and silk, and what you could loosely term natural dyeing - using the rust and decay from objects found in the landscape, to colour and shape fabric which she then uses to create works of art.
One of Alice's smaller pieces of work, stitch on paper
On leaving Bradford College in 2011, Alice began what is in textile art terms a meteoric rise to fame, being the joint winner of the Graduate Showcase at the Festival of Quilts and then going on to be the artist in residence at Spurn Point in 2012 which was the focus of her talk.
She explained to us how she started to get a feel for the landscape and just spent lots of time walking on the beach collecting found objects which she incorporated into small "weavings", each one telling a story of what had been lost and found and illustrating that day's walk.
She showed us some work which had been made from larger pieces of fabric which had been tied around rusty fixings attached to wave breaks and other large fixtures along the coastline surrounding the Spurn Point lighthouse. She continued to experiment with this technique, becoming braver and leaving fabric tied up outside for several days or weeks so that it took on the textures of the metal, sand and even plant-life found on the shore.
Stitch was then used to embellish the "dyed" fabric.
Alice's residency culminated in an exhibition displayed in the lighthouse, with one piece hanging down the centre of the building measuring a massive 4.7m (that's 15 and a half feet!) What's more, the whole length was hand stitched, to a greater or lesser degree - no wonder Alice was asking herself what she had taken on!
Above, you can see a detail of the long piece, which also includes collographic printing using plant forms found on the shoreline.
(Definition of Collograph - It is a simple form of printing using found materials that are arranged in a collage form - the objects are usually stuck down and then sealed and inked and used to make prints). Big thanks to Alice for such an informative talk, and good luck in her forthcoming projects. Why not check out her website and blog for more details of what she's up to.
According to the trusty online dictionary, "Inchies are one inch by one inch squares of paper (or fiber) that contain small art, collaged or hand-drawn." (I'm guessing that Dictionary is American) Well, the title is a bit of a misnomer, because ours were actually "5cm-ies" but that doesn't have the same ring, somehow! Our Chairman Wyn provided a selection of tiny packets of loveliness and we all chose one we liked the look of to produce our own miniature work of art.
Of course, our time was limited and with that in mind, the room fell silent(ish) as we all concentrated on finishing our Inchies.
By a quarter to nine, we had all managed to produce at least one Inchy and some members had produced two! Some were not quite finished...
As you can see, there were some very imaginative pieces created, some manipulated, some wired, some cut into pieces, some with lovely embroidery - we all had fun!
As you will see from the pictures below, our members worked hard to make Colin into a fine figure of a Climbing Man, and he is now adorning the tower of the ROKT Climbing Wall and Gym in the old Sugdens Flour Mill premises in the centre of Brighouse. He looks even more impressive in the flesh!
As a reminder and ready reference, here are the Competition categories for the coming year, to be judged at Regional Day in June 2013 : Challenge Cup : "YORKSHIRE HERITAGE" This work has to be presented along with background material / source of inspiration (but don't be put off, it doesn't have to be extensive). Coats-Anchor Award : "UNDERGROUND" Anything goes for this one, no background work required, but should demonstrate some machine or hand embroidery, or a combination. Maggie Judges Trophy : "A FLOWER BEGINNING WITH THE LETTER 'C'" The MJC is your choice of medium and no background work.
No speaker tonight, it was our "Summer" supper and those of us who managed to brave the "showers" enjoyed some lovely food and shared members' new work. We also had a preparatory meeting about the "Climbing Man" that the Halifax Branch are making to adorn the exterior of the old flour mill in Brighouse, which is now the home of the ROK-T climbing wall, during the August Bank Holiday Totally Locally festival and market.
As you can see, Colin the Climber, brilliantly drawn by Anne Brooke, is already pretty large - and he is only half size at the moment! We are having a day in August to put him together, using rip-stop fabric so that he will be a bit weatherproof (depending on what happens to the weather between now and then - anything possible by the looks of it) and then handing it to ROK-T for them to do the tricky bit.
Big congratulations to Halifax member Cynthia Smith, who entered several pieces into the competitions at Regional Day, and won a runner's up prize of £25 for her piece in the category "Ten", which also had to include some background work.
The standard of entries was, as usual, very high, so well done to Cynthia for continuing in our Branch's success in Regional Competitions.
Entries will be on display at the REGIONAL EXHIBITION at RIPLEY on 14th - 15th JULY
Jackie took us through her journey of "interested in textiles to City & Guilds to the much respected textile artist that she is today". She was humorous, informative and very generous with her knowledge. You could see a "thread" of expert machine embroidery from the very start of her work - which put us all to shame with its abundance and quality. I don't think I would share my early City and Guilds pieces with anybody! She just kept on magically producing piece after piece, which got better and better. You could tell from the looks on our members faces that they were delighting in her pieces. I recognised some work from articles in Cloth, Paper, Scissors and Quilting Arts magazines and it was lovely to see them "in the flesh".
For me, the absolutely best bit was looking at her most recent pieces of dyed velvet and felt. She dyes her own velvet, makes the felt and then like a fine artist, "draws" the most exquisite patterns with her sewing machine. I would love to watch her in action. We were thoroughly spoilt.
Jackie is talented and very approachable. (Any other Guilds reading this - book her now. You won't be sorry). All in all, we at Halifax can't wait for a workshop with you. Final thought - before you disappear behind a sea of hearts and leaves Jackie - have you thought about producing a video in the future? Make that near future!
(Kindly written by Wyn as I was on holiday - photos taken from Jackie's Facebook Page - well worth a visit to see further samples of her lovely work https://www.facebook.com/jackiecardytextiles)
Despite the fact that our meeting was on Good Friday, we had a good turn out for our Show and Tell meeting, with lots to look at and talk about.
Polly brought us a piece of weaving she has been working on for a while and has finally completed - a fabulous piece based on a weather-worn headstone, depicting the tree of life, and covered in lichen. She captured the colours brilliantly and we were amazed to find that she had woven a large part of it from newspaper pages - she found that the property pages of the Yorkshire Post were ideal to give the green tones she needed, as none of the paper has been coloured by Val but is all hot off the press! The newspaper had been difficult to work with because of its fragility, and she had given the back a coating of PVA "just in case" before cutting the piece free from the frame, but we all agreed that it was stunning and couldn't believe the lovely soft texture of the piece.
Christine, who produces a prodigious amount of beautifully neat cross-stitch and canvas work, brought a beautiful bell-pull which she has now got hanging in her home - unfortunately it does not summon a team of servants though...
Helen showed us a piece of needle-felt which she had recently completed and mounted. It was embellished with hand stitching and depicted bluebell woods The colours were lovely and the subtle highlights of pink and white really brought out the blue in the drifts of bluebells, against the green of the foliage.
(Come back to the blog after you've taken a stroll through these woods!)
Next was Lesley, who produces more lovely stitching in a week than most of us manage in a year! She showed us some of her new works in progress, based on her recent travels to India, and they really captured the vibrancy of that country, bringing a new twist to traditional emblems and designs. We were all envious to hear that she will now be producing even more in her new work-room...
Lesley's next piece is the new header for the Halifax EG Facebook Page - if you are on Facebook, feel free to contribute! You can link your own photographs to the page and add text to tell others about what you are doing, where you've been and what other websites you recommend.
Jan showed us a beautiful white needlecase she had made which was embellished with tiny butterfly beads.
Jan also showed us some fabulous fabric wallets that she had been making ready for the Embroiderers' Guild Stall at the next Totally Locally Market in Brighouse on 28th April - don't forget to go along, take your pennies, and if you can spare an hour to man the stall, all the better - you can take some of your own things to sell, too! Alexis brought her work in progress from the Maggie Smith workshop - see below for the photo of her piece, and Helen's too. Anne (with an e - the posh way...) brought two lovely pieces of bird-themed work. The first was inspired by a workshop she had done with Jenny Pepper, who has a studio in Scarborough and also does some workshops at the Dutch House Art Studio in York - hard luck though girls, unsurprisingly all of her own workshops are fully booked for the whole of 2012 - you may be lucky with the Dutch House though (you're behind me in the queue though, I've already sent my e-mail!) Anne's piece incorporated vintage lace which was added at the pre-felt stage, so that it became part of the fabric. It was then embellished with hand-stitching and some beads.
She also showed us a piece she had made to sell on her Folksy page - why not check out Anne's "H-anne Made" page and while you're there have a look at all the other beautiful work for sale on Folksy and Etsy - maybe it will inspire you to have a go at making your own work pay its way!
Thank you to all the members who came and shared their work, for giving permission to have it photographed for this page.