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...

Saturday, 7 March 2015

March Meeting and Workshop - Angie Hughes, Icons and Illuminated Letters

At our March meeting, we were lucky enough to have a visit from renowned textile artist Angie Hughes, who travelled from her home in Herefordshire to give us a talk, and stayed overnight for a workshop on the following day. (Not so lucky for Angie, whose car radiator decided that a trip to Halifax was just too much to ask). 
Angie told us about her early work at a pottery, where she learnt screen printing which led by a circuitous route to her printing on fabric and ultimately taking her City and Guilds. Textile art became her career when she realised that she had a talent for talking and teaching. She brought many samples of her work, all of which she generously passed round and allowed us to handle and photograph. These included some of the work we were going to be attempting to emulate at the following day's workshop.

A talented machine embroiderer, Angie also loves hand embroidery and uses both to great effect in her work, which features lots of velvet, felt, bonding and burning. She takes inspiration from artists including Klimt and Hundertwasser.

She is the author of a book which you may own - Stitch, Cloth, Paper and Paint - still available to buy and a valuable source of inspiration, with step-by-step instructions for the mixed media artist. 

Our Saturday Workshop was split into two groups - the "icon girls" and the "letter girls". Angie ran through what we both needed to do to start our pieces of work, and then after that she called us to the front for intermittent demonstrations of the next step to creating our respective pieces of art. 

Here is Angie starting us off, 
and then ably demonstrating how to wind thread onto a bobbin...
(this is a reference to Angie's book, where the photographer insisted on 
taking a shot of Angie threading a needle...)

This is what the icon girls were working towards : 

And this is what the letter girls were aiming for :

Both techniques involved lots of tricky remembering of which bits of foil you had to Bondaweb and iron or not iron before or after stitching but as you will see, our members did a brilliant job. 

The icon girls stitched round a photocopy of an icon which was attached to the back of a piece of black velvet, which had foil, organza and stitch applied to the front before being distressed with a (rather fierce) heat gun (paint stripper - don't try this at home!)  
Here is Abi trying not to burn herself to a frazzle.

And here are the rather brilliant results of their hard work!

Natalie managed to achieve a great distressed look and some expressive facial features where the organza had burnt back

We all loved Margaret's Saint's Tunnock's Teacakes turban 
(I know, it's a halo, but the alliteration just wasn't the same).

Abi has also got some great facial features and is still in one un-singed piece

Janice has machine embroidered lots of detail onto her iconic image

Carol is working on an image of Mary and Jesus, 
this is prior to the burning back of the organza. 

And here are the letters, which are also all "works in progress" : 

This is Sue's lovely background in pink and gold, 
with some lovely machined cable stitch borders

Wyn is working on the cover for a Peacock-themed book 
so chose beautiful blues and greens for her work

Sandra chose to do an unusual diamond background 
which she has started to embellish with hand-stitching

Net time we do a workshop I am going to tie one hand behind Jo's back. 
Here is her lovely almost-finished letter J

This is Mandy's background and the start of her letter A (for Amanda)
which will be attached once all the embellishment is finished. 

These are Alexis' lovely neat circles

This is Helen's background and letter, she has started to attach square sequins and beads to the background for a very luxurious look

This is Liz's piece, which is incredibly neat. She has couched thread around the border and has embellished the felt with french knots. 

Jane used green foil on a dark background which was very striking. 
She has started to machine stitch around the foil. 

Here are some of the pieces together at the end of the workshop. 
Huge thanks to Angie for an inspiring day. 

With any luck, some of these pieces will soon be finished so that you can see how they turned out! 


Please go on to have a look at the post from last month's Hearts Playday - lots of new photographs have been added. 


  1. You are a lucky lot. Angie is a lovely person and lives only about 7 miles from me. Look forward to seeing some of the finished results on your blog in the future. Best of luck.

  2. Fabulous designs!! Thanks for these photographs. I wish I could have also attended this meeting! Actually I was quite busy in setting up a conference room for one of my clients that day. Anyways, this was a great article.

  3. Lovely designs, thanks for showing us.