Thursday, November 12, 2009

November 11 - Janet Phillips, "Designing woven fabrics"

The thing with weaving is that you can only do stripes and checks.

That's what Janet Phillips told us before showing us how versatile and varied stripes and checks can be.

Janet's interest in weaving was sparked during a family outing to tweed mills where the threads and colours made a lasting impression on her. The memories of that visit lead her to study Industrial textile Design at the Scottish College of Textiles.

Janet confessed that she does not do any embroidery and although some of our Branch members have also done weaving, must of use had not, but as Janet remarked, a shared passion for fibres and colour gave us a lot of common ground.

Some technical weaving terms inevitably cropped up but Janet explained these as she went along so that the non-weavers among us where not totally lost. The focus of the talk was on the use of colour, texture and pattern and Janet had brought with her a selection of her beautiful hand woven scarves to illustrate what she was talking about.

We were told how, by its very nature, weaving tends to 'dull' colours but where shown how use of other shades can enhance and enrich a colour. The same shade of pink is used in both of these scarves in the picture below, but different shades of blue alter its appearance.

All pictures courtesy of Janet Phillips

This scarf demonstrates the same principle. On the left the colours of the rainbow are 'dulled' by the adjacent black threads but on the right the same colours are enriched by using other threads of a similar shade.

We were also shown how pattern could also greatly alter the appearance. In this photograph, the same two weave patterns are used on both scarves but there position is transposed.

Not so easy to show in a photograph, but obvious when allowed to feel the samples, is how the weave alters the drape and handle of the fabric just as much as the threads used to create it.

Also on display was a multiple section sample blanket woven by Janet in blue and white to sample some of the many different weave patters that can be achieved from the same basic weave, in this case twill. The blanket, woven in one piece, is divided into 10 by 50 sections and no two sections have exactly the same weave design. Starting in the bottom right-hand corner with basic 2 and 2 twill, the sections move through different variations of herringbone, zigzags, wavy lines, and a variety of textures. This blanket is a working reference that Janet uses when creating new designs.

At the end of her talk Janet reminded us that everything we had seen was either a stripe or check.

Monday, November 2, 2009

September 25-27 - Frances Pickering, Weekend Workshop

Nine beautiful handmade books were the collective outcome of a fun and creative weekend with Frances. I had no idea what to expect as I arrived at the village hall on Friday evening, but we were soon put to work on designing the covers. The theme for the weekend was 'Elizabethan Splendour' and this gave us a starting point for our designs, patterns and colours. Using Gesso, wax and a wide range of lovely colour and thread products brought by Frances we turned a strip of calico into a rich, leather and jewel encrusted, book cover. Each of the nine books were so different and individual. Frances also brought many of her own books to give us inspiration.

Creating the inner pages and content were as much fun. The good pace, the mix of mess and meticulous work and the constant entertainment from Frances’s husband who was on hand to help with technical matters, made the weekend most enjoyable. The shared meals eaten outside in the beautiful September sunshine added to the enjoyment. I have come away with a lot to work on and lots more ideas to develop in the future. It really was a stimulating, fun and entertaining weekend. Thank you Frances and all who made it happen.

by Polly Woolstone

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Artistically Based - Opens Today

Artistically Based – a textile exhibition by members of the Oxford Embroiderers’ Guild from Tuesday 20 October to Saturday 31 October 2009 at the Vale and Downland Museum, Church Street, Wantage OX12 8BL.

This is the latest exhibition by members of the Oxford Branch of the national Embroiderers' Guild. Started back in the 1980s the branch has a lively membership of around 55 people who meet on a monthly basis to hear speakers from the world of textiles, swop ideas and socialise.

They all have a common interest in fabrics, thread and mixed media art and whilst a few of them have studied textiles through colleges (some up to degree level) most like to stitch purely as a creative pastime. Many of them also take part in other creative subjects such as life drawing and members can often be found actively supporting creative ventures throughout Oxfordshire. Although not all of them are active stitchers, their interests and skills include machine embroidery and traditional hand stitching through to quilting, weaving, felt and paper making, dyeing, lacemaking and beadwork. Many of the members exhibit successfully in their own right as well as with the branch.

The branch also hosts a successful and active group of 'Young Embroiderers' aged between 7 and 14. The group meets regularly throughout the year when they spend their Saturday being introduced to creative ideas and producing innovative and colourful pieces. They will also be displaying their work as part of this exhibition.

The branch has exhibited in previous years at Said Business School, Abingdon Museum and at other venues around the county. This latest exhibition displays a broad range of work and 'Artistically Based' is not only the title, but also the theme. Other art forms such as painting, sculpture, books, or their own photographs have been freely interpreted into textile and stitch.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

14 October - AGM and Jo Dixon, "Working with mixed media"

We aren't talking ...
... said the laptop to the projector ... And that was that!!

Today we had our AGM and once Guild business was out of the way members were going to be treated to an illustrated talk by Jo Dixon, a local mixed media artist. Sadly the aforementioned paraphernalia of the 21st Century worked but were not communicating with each other so, and I take my hat off to Jo, she proceeded to tell us a little about herself, her artistic journey and where she was going, without them or any other visual aids. Trained in Textiles she took her inspiration from travels to a variety of countries, of which India seemed to have been the biggest inspiration that was still influencing her today. The zinging pinks, oranges, yellows and other bright colours had left a lasting impression, and we later saw that they were still present in her current work based on studies of allotments. Not may people are able to see heat in an English spring or summer setting and then translate this into vibrant images. Morocco was another source for shapes and colour, as it had been for Paul Klee.

"Valley Path" courtesy of Jo Dixon

We later were able to admire some of her work on a rather small scale on the laptop though this obviously could not do justice to the size of the original, the hot and vibrant colours and the texture. She had already mentioned that she uses a variety of different papers, brown packing paper and tissue paper being her favourites. She layers different papers with smaller shapes and muslin, painting and inking them, and sometimes adding stitches.

"Peacock" courtesy of Jo Dixon

One of Jo's favourite quotes is by Braque: "The most important thing about art is the thing you can't explain!" I was surprised that tonight I had been moved by her words, her descriptions ... the most important thing about art is the imagination!

by Ulrike Hutchins
who has just stepped down as the newsletter editor but now finds herself writing for the blog ;o)

Note: Click on the pictures for a larger view.


Our apologies to Jo and to the members for the technical difficulties last night, we hope that it did not spoil your enjoyment of the evening.

Jo will be running a mixed media day course at Sunningwell School of Arton Thursday, 3rd December. 10.00 - 4.00.
Booking Contact: 01865 730442

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Artistically Based

Textile exhibition
by members of the
Oxford Embroiderers Guild

Tuesday 20 October -
Saturday 31 October 2009

Vale and Downland Museum
Church Street
Wantage Oxfordshire

Monday-Saturday 10.00am - 4.00pm
Free admission

Come along and view the exhibition
and enjoy tea and cake
in the museum café

Thursday, September 10, 2009

September 9 - Kath Danswan, "Bowled Over"

Our first speaker from the 2009/2010 program was Kath Danswan.

Kath gave us a brief description of how she learnt needlework from her mother and grandmother then told us the story of how she came to enrol for City and Guilds Embroidery Part I instead of an A level course in Literature that she had been considering. We heard how the bowls, for which Kath is best known, came about and developed during her City and Guilds Parts I and II, and HNC in textiles. The numerous bowls that Kath had brought with her illustrated the talk beautifully.

While her love of embroidery comes from her mother, from her father Kath inherited a love of nature. This and her travels have clearly influenced her work. The colours in the silk cap used to produce her very first bowl reminded Kath of her trip on the Skyrail at Cairns in Australia and inspired her to make a series of bowls representing the rainforest, complete with bugs. A trip to the Great Barrier Reef during the same holiday was the inspiration for a fish bowl. More evidence of her travels can be seen in Venice I and II, and nearly all of the bowls are covered with flora and fauna.

We also saw a selection of bowls created for her book 'Beautiful Bowls and Colourful Creatures'. These included a set of bowls inspired by the four sessions, a bridal bowl and a series of Africa bowls created to satisfy the editor's request for "something orange".

"Africa Bowl" courtesy of Kath Danswan

To finish, Kath introduced us to some of her larger bugs and her newest creations, brooches.

"Bug Brooches" courtesy of Kath Danswan

Note: Click on the pictures for a larger view.

Monday, September 7, 2009

2009 - 2010 Programme

9 September 2009
Kath Danswan - "Bowled Over"

25-27 September 2009 Weekend Workshop
Frances Pickering - "Elizabethan Splendour"

14 October 2009
AGM and Jo Dixon - "Working with mixed media"

11 November 2009
Janet Phillips - "Designing woven fabrics"

9 December 2009
Christmas Social

13 January 2010
Alex and Karen - "Our life with Cherrilyn"

10 February 2010
Vikki Lafford - "Enchanting Embroidery"

13 February 2010 Satuday Workshop
Kath Danswan - "Beautiful Silk Bowls"

10 March 2010
Jane Mollison - "Textiles and Painting from Peru to China"

13-14 March 2010 Weekend Workshop
Ruth Issett - "Colour on Cloth"

14 April 2010
Joanna O’Neill - "Books, Batting and Beeswax"

24 April 2010 Saturday Workshop
Maggie Grey - to be confirmed

12 May 2010
Judith Lovatt - "What if ...?"

5 June 2010 Saturday Workshop
Judith Lovatt - "Compose and Distort"

9 June 2010
Linda Rudkin - "Colours from Nature"

14 July 2010 - Summer Social

August 2010 - no meeting

8 September 2010
Jennifer Hughes - "China - Protected Heads and Bound Feet"

18 September 2010 Satuday Workshop
Linda Rudkin - "Flower Pounding"

13 October 2010
AGM (and entertainment to be decided)

10 November 2010
Anne Sillifant - "An obsession with trees"

8 December 2010
Christmas Social