Friday, 24 June 2011


Lesley writes....

While out promoting our own exhibition around the town, I came across "Stitch and Threads" in the Hidden Kiosk at Colchester's bus station. They are selling vintage as well as locally-made, hand-printed cushions, bags, t-shirts and jewellery, amongst other things. All made in an environmentally conscious way and using recycled materials. Good to see what other textile artists are doing. I believe they are there until 9 July or look them up at

Blanket workshop

Joan Landon (in the red cardigan) ran a blanket workshop on Tuesday 7th June 2011. Great fun was had by all 'like playschool for grown ups' as well as learning a really useful new technique.

Some of the finished results of our workshop are shown below:

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Field of the Cloth of Gold

The requirements list was deceptively simple – so why did I fill the boot of my car as usual?  In fact it turned out to be even more simple because Jean Littlejohn provided us with nearly everything we needed.

The title of the course was intriguing, and when we saw Jean’s finished piece all was revealed.  We were to make a piece that dazzled and shone: not too large and able to be taken home finished.  Bliss.

Jean gave us a piece of green, soft wool suiting to work on and we chose thick wools to sew with.  Jean is very fond of using just one stitch – it lessens the choice and you can get started straight away.  We were to work in detached chain and we should have a plan.  Our design could be a field – corn, flowers – small at the top, larger going down or a medieval design. 

First a piece of bondaweb to anchor rich gold foil.  Then stitch.  More bondaweb. More gold foil.  Secure with a piece of chiffon, add more stitching in gold thread and here is a piece of work fit for Henry VIII.  The effect was amazingly rich and so simple.  Jean has been exploring the embellisher for some time, and we were shown how she achieves such subtle effects with scrim and sheers and given the opportunity to have a go ourselves.  The suitcase of work she brought was varied and exciting.  

We saw her sketch books, heard about her inspirations, travels and the new little person in her life.  We shared our experiences, were given permission to open our Mulberry Silks and had loads of laughs.  All this and she was off to New York in the morning.  What a privilege to work with a person so generous with her time and expertise.
By Sally Stapleton

Thursday, 16 June 2011


As I sit here in a room darkened by the rain pouring relentlessly outside, I am drawing an uplifting, positive vibe from the inspiring hand embroidery work of Jessica Coote.

Jessica has kindly given permission for me to include an image of her work on our blog.

Poppies and Camomile, Ditchling

Click the image to view more of Jessica's beautiful embroidery work.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Ellen Devall : “Exquisite Poverty, Fragments: Song of the Shirt”

Ellen Devall : “Exquisite Poverty, Fragments: Song of the Shirt”  in the Garden Room at the Minories, Colchester.
 7 May – 18 June 2011

This is a “must see “ exhibition. Ellen uses textile fragments, jewellery and  found objects  either to create new clothes of past times, each with a history that we might imagine, or to juxtapose textiles with objects that make us reflect on the nature of past lives and their connections to ourselves and the present.  It is as if the Garden Room has become a time capsule and we are eavesdropping on earlier inhabitants – a paradox of harsh lives reflected with much beauty.