7 June 2018

4th June

One of our talented members Carole, gave a workshop for members on 'Shisha Mirror Work'.  

We were given a piece of calico and had to stitch round a circle of mirror making sure it could not escape from the stitches.  

After learning how to secure our pieces if mirror we were supposed to make a Shisha brooch during the workshop but we seemed to do more talking than sewing.  Can that be possible?  Plus we had a new 2 / 3 weeks old new member come to visit so she rather took our minds off the sewing.

A selection of brooches, pincushions as inspiration.

An idea for a brooch 

A decoration on the lid of a small circular box

Some members busy sewing.  It was a lovely sunny day even though two people decided to wear a coat!

Thank you Carole,we had a lovely, enjoyable afternoon.  

31 May 2018

14th May

Elizabeth J Wall (Lizzie), a textile artist who specialises in applique and embroidery was our guest speaker at our May meeting the title of her talk ‘My Quilts and Other Animals’.    What a wonderful afternoon it was.  We were spellbound looking all the wonderful work she had brought and not only the colour of the fabrics but all the beautiful patterns and textures. 

Two of her owls

Love this hen

She has ranges when she is inspired by various animals – hens, ducks, owls, hares tress etc……. 
Lizzie has also trained as a teacher for dyslexia which she says is so good for combining her textile art with her specialist teaching work.   

The Allerton Oak

She does commissions and she showed us the banner from South Ribble National Union of Teachers which she made with the tree of knowledge in the centre.  In 2008 she made the Allerton Oak in Liverpool and she has made a set of chasubles for St Giles church in Aintree – what wonderful colours she uses. 

Two of the chasubles

The quilts are made using a simple layering technique, using bondaweb to hold down the pieces.  All the design is in place before she starts to stitch.  This is called raw edge applique. 

Lizzie will be coming back to do a day workshop with the group later in the year.  It will be a difficult job choosing which of her designs to use.

13 April 2018

9th April was a beautiful sunny day, but still cool in Higham.  

Before the speaker we had our usual friendly free time.  On display was the group bag - it was made by Kathryn but the group contributed to it by making or donating the contents and providing the embellishments.  The bag will be in the raffle at the North West Regional Day in Leyland on Saturday 21st April.  

Our Bag - we are very proud of the lovely items we made.  

During our group business we had a feedback about the meeting with Terry Murphy, CEO of the Embroiderers’ Guild when came to Preston in March. 

The main part of the day was our speaker, Carol Coleman, of Fibredance.  Carol makes a range of items using free machine embroidery. She brought an array of her pieces for us to marvel at; jewellery – pendants, bracelets, watch straps; may different boxes made from unusual kinds of stiffening embellished with free machine embroidery. There was some exotic pendants with pieces of amber encapsulated in the work – the stones seemed to glow in the light. 

A folder with some beautiful machined braid samples 

Something different - a quilt made by Carol

Some of her vibrant pendants.  

Carol showed lots of slides of her work.  Showing us what she thought were not as successful and how she had learnt from the experience.  We often learn more from our failures than the successes. 

We all had  very enjoyable day.  Thank you Carol for bringing your work.  We look forward to the workshop in June.  

26 November 2017

Monday 12th March

The meeting was a week late because of the weather but it was worth waiting for. Seventeen members had a most enjoyable afternoon hearing about Batik from one of our members - Tori Riley.  

Tori travelled to various parts of the world while growing up and became very intrigued by the batik made in Java.  She was as qualified as art and craft teacher but loved the Batik, so travelled back to Java to find out more about how it was made.
Java is one of the places where batik has been developed to a very high standard.  All the raw materials are readily available especially the dyes from plants.  The two main colours are indigo and brown. 
In central Java it has been well developed over generations.  Certain colours and designs were only worn by people of rank so it was easy to tell a person of status. 
There are two main methods of applying wax –   one is a little cup with a long spout - the wax is poured onto the fabric.  The second is using a stamping tool dipped into the wax then onto the fabric. 

Just a few of the beautiful pieces 

explaining how this beautiful piece was produced

Chairman Sue with Tori

5th February

Monday 5th February was our first meeting in 2018.  It was an early start as members wished to find out more about Devore, a workshop and talk with Dionne Swift.  

Devore is a velvet fabric with a raised pattern created by disintegrating some of the pile with chemicals.  (to devour)

Information supplied by Val who attended the workshop. 

Space was at a premium as there were nearly 25 members present.  A paper template was made, then a screen was used to apply the paste.  This needed to dry, so on returning home I had to iron till it looked burnt.  I then washed off the devoured bits.  Next it can be dyed.   

Dionne's details are:  www.dionneswift.co.uk

Report from Chairman Sue - 

Our first meeting of the New Year was very busy.  It took the format of a Practical with Textile Artist Dionne Swift showing us how to create Devore. We had 23 members taking part, each of us given a 12” x 16” piece of fabric.

She spoke of her background and years of Showing at Exhibitions (like the K&S Shows) and going out to teach her craft, with great success. Dionne demonstrated how to make an easy design on paper and we followed her example.

The end results after our applying our paper design on a silk screen and squee-geeing a paste on the screen and swiping a rubber wedged tool across the surface 3 ways, created the design onto the Devore. It then needed drying. Dionne had set up a drying area which members used, but on collecting their dried piece of Devore it was found some had picked up others Work, because everyone had followed Dionne’s design!! If only they have had the fore sight of initialling their piece! 

Four pictures from the workshop / talk

                                              How to apply the paste with a screen

Below is Val's finished piece

4th December

 Our Christmas Social,  was as good as usual.  We had a very busy programme for the day with so many interesting items.   Two members were caught  in a queue behind a road accident but luckily got there in time for the lunch.   

A delicious lunch 

Members sat round having a good chat.

                                 Val receiving a sewing bag from the branch members -                                                                               made by Kathryn.

Val ran a mini workshop for members -  make a Christmas decoration. 


       Glenys presenting her Bursary Award (2016) work and what she created during 2017.  Several individual Mandala embroidery frames of beautiful stitchery.  She used this opportunity  to practice stitch and is now an enthusiastic expert.     

Kathryn ran her reverse raffle, everyone loves taking part, such fun.  We had two other raffles as well.  A really good time was had by all. 

25th November 

Eight members has a most enjoyable day 'Making a Better Bag'.  This was a workshop run Kathryn, one of our talented members.  This was the second bag workshop she had run, it was just so popular with everyone. 

We all got down to work and had a friendly but industrious day.  Most of the bags were completely finished.

                                         Here are some of the completed bags.

We were all really thrilled with the results, they all looked so professional.

13 November 2017

6th November

Our speaker this month was Jacqui Smith, a talented and creative textile artist.  

She told about her earlier career after she had left university to the present day telling us about all the pitfalls of selling her work. 

The number of times she gave her work on a sale or return basis where the work was sold but no money ever came her way.  How disheartening. 

Jacqui showed lots of her pieces and explained how they were made and her thought processes.  

All the members agreed we had a most enjoyable afternoon.  

10 October 2017

At our meeting on 2nd October Sarah Rakestraw from Golden Hinde brought a wide range of their supplies as well as lots of examples of goldwork done by her mother Sue and some of their students.

Sarah and chairman Sue 

Sarah told us about her business and how it grew from just a small supplier of goldwork items into the large array of goodies she had with her.

Sarah showed us some beautiful pieces and explained the stitches and techniques used.

Goldwork is not just used for ceremonial occasions but is used in a more contemporary way, but using the traditional techniques.  

We all enjoyed looking at all the pieces Sarah had brought with her and looking at the range of beginners kits we can choose from when she comes to the group on 24th February to do a workshop with us.  I'm sure it will be a super day.

4 October 2017

First Meeting of the New Branch Year

September saw us getting together for our AGM, the first meeting of our new Branch year.  It was good to see everyone after our Summer break and there was much to discuss as I am stepping down from the post of secretary after holding this position since the Branch began in 2011.  So there will be some changes, with a new 'blogger' (Dianne) taking over from me and a new voice for the Newsletter (Val), as well as others taking on various duties.

Kathryn had finished putting together the long-awaited table fall for us to use on special occasions.  Members had made embroidered squares depicting local scenes.  It looked great and we all gave Kathryn a big thank you for her hard work.  It will be good to have it to show off members' talents at exhibitions and other occasions.

Then I was overwhelmed to be presented with not one, not two, but three gifts,   First came a magnificent orchid with four stems -

then a voucher entitling me to a study day at Gawthorpe Hall to view items from the Gawthorpe Textiles Reserve Collection.  I hope to take this gift up some time in the Spring.  My embroidery mojo has been lacking of late, so I hope this will inspire me to take up needle and thread again.  

And as if that was not enough, I was given a parcel containing a lovely scarf, covered in cats - just right for me!  Last but not least a card signed by all our members, which I shall treasure for the many lovely comments it contained.

Then it was time for me to make some personal presentation of my own.  First was to Kathryn who, when she was Chairman of the NW Region, dreamed us into being.  Since that first idea and our beginnings in the stable block at Gawthorpe she has been by our side as, firstly, Treasurer then as Programme Secretary.  We are so lucky she stayed on as a member of the Branch and I have really appreciated her support.  She is such a lively presence and has made such a generous contribution, running workshops and talks for us at more than a bargain price!

Thank you Kathryn, a present from me!
Then I had great pleasure in presenting Val with a small gift to say thank you for all her support of the Branch as our first Chairman, then our Area 2 representative and currently a Chairman of the NW Region - but mainly for the support she has given me personally, both in the Branch and as a friend.  

I think I can safely say she was delighted - coincidentally this gift set of mugs and a tray decorated with cats was something she had recently bought for a friend because she liked it so much, so she was very pleased to find she had a set of her own! 

Well, this is my last blog before I hand over to Dianne, although I expect I shall be allowed to make a guest appearance from time to time.  Thank you for supporting our website and keep reading!  J.