In her talk to WTEG this month, Jae Maries focussed on the use of colour in textile art. This was very timely, as members had recently started to think about the Branch Challenge, ‘Take Two’, which is to make a piece of work using just two colours. Jae emphasised how personal our response to colour is, and how it reflects the mood of the maker and has an impact on the viewer.
Jae spoke about how colour can create drama in a piece, with the use of contrast, and how this can affect mood. Jae said that she sometimes highlights some quite ‘dark’ issues in her work, for example knife crime and homelessness. She questions the assumption that embroidery has to be ‘pretty’. This piece shows how Jae sometimes uses a very restricted range of colour, emphasising dark and light. This can add to the sense of closeness and distance of the subject, as does the use of cool colours to recede and warm colours to move forward.
Jae uses interesting and unusual textures in her work, derived from her painterly background. She uses calico, which she sizes, then primes white; she then paints on top of that and adds textures and more paint. Sometimes stitch is quite dense, and sometimes it is minimal. This piece shows seeding in a contrasting colour, next to areas where the stitch has been painted over to leave a trace behind in the texture. The photo below is from the same piece, based on roads and rice fields in Vietnam. It shows the impact of an individual splash of a contrasting colour: the tiny splash of pink provides a focal point for the whole piece. Jae acknowledged that many embroiderers want to create work that is figurative and restful, and based on more traditional techniques. Whilst not criticising that approach, she did encourage her audience to think about playing with colour in a different way and taking some risks. After the talk quite a few people were talking about the ‘Take Two’ branch challenge, so Jae had clearly got people thinking.
(Jae’s work is photographed and shared here with kind permission from Jae).
We had a lovely relaxing day for our August ‘Garden Meeting’. Traditionally, our August garden meeting is a chance to sit and stitch together and have a ‘show and tell’ of work that members have been getting up to. It’s good to see what a very wide range of interests and techniques we have across the group.
Pride of place went to Medusa, the branch entry into the Regional ‘Fantasy Wear’ competition, which was awarded a joint second place. Snakes were contributed by lots of different people which gave them a good variety. If you look at the close-up you will see that Medusa herself has a snakeskin face. This mysterious effect was created by Gill.
I took lots of close-up photos of individual pieces of work, but as they didn’t have name labels I couldn’t ask for permission to put them on the website, so I’ll just add some photos of the overall show. If you put something in to the show and agree to it being put in the gallery of members work, please could you drop me an email and describe which piece it is and I’ll include it in the gallery. There are so many lovely things hidden away in people’s houses, which would be good inspiration for other people to see.
What a delightful afternoon for our June meeting, listening to a talk by Lara Sparks. Judging by the numbers of questions and the throng round Lara’s display table, Lara’s talk was enjoyed very much by members.
Lara told us about a world that most of us know next to nothing about, which is the world of embroidery designers working in the fashion industry. Lara worked in various roles, for example designing and providing the prototypes of embroidery designs for high-end fashion houses making wedding dresses. She recounted one disaster when, after two weeks of stitching the embellishment on a very expensive wedding dress, the sewing machine had a hissy fit and sputtered oil onto the white silk. Oops. Then Lara had a stint of doing embroidery designs for women’s and men’s fashions, as well as designing for children’s clothing. Now she works on embroidered cushions, lampshades and home furnishings and exhibits with the Sussex Guild of Craftsmen (the next exhibition is this coming weekend, Sat 16th-Sun 17th at Parham House).
The drawing and design skills learnt during Lara’s art-college training have stood her in good stead. At one stage she was having to come up with one, sometimes two designs per day, not only drawn but also stitched.
See some of Lara’s work below here, with kind permission by Lara to include images of her work on our website. There is great enthusiasm to invite Lara to run a workshop for the branch. If a date is arranged for this, then Ann will let everyone know in the newsletter. To see more of Lara’s work, go to her website: http://www.larasparks-embroidery.co.uk/
This week we had a fascinating talk from Jennifer Hughes, who shared her knowledge and enthusiasm for the textiles of Burma. Jennifer brought a wonderful collection of textiles with her to illustrate her talk, some of which she modelled for us. Great hilarity was caused by her demonstration of how and why men and women tie the wrap-around ‘longhi’ in different ways (don’t ask!)
There were some wonderful little snippets of information. For example, every man in Burma has to be a monk for a period of time, so every family has a connection to the monastery, and religion is closely woven into the fabric of society. Another little snippet was where the term ‘white elephant’ comes from. Apparently pale-coloured elephants were prized, but a ruler could cause frustration and embarrassment by giving someone a white elephant. The elephant would take great time and expense to care for, but the recipient could never get rid of it as it was a gift from the ruler.
At our March meeting, members enjoyed a fantastic talk by Isobel Moore, who shared some of her wonderful machine-embroidered textile art with us. Her work (and her talk) were so well-liked that the forthcoming workshop on the 26th April booked up almost immediately. Don’t despair though, if you go on the waiting list then you may just squeeze in if there’s a cancellation.
Look what the Workshop Group made this month. Pam Bennett wrote: ‘Here is a photo of my finished zippy bag from our last workshop. Hope to make a couple more for Christmas presents. Thanks to Wendy for an excellent day’.
It would be good to add more photos if anyone has them.
P.S. I am trying to get my head round a different way of sending new posts to people who have subscribed via the link on the Home Page. If you receive spaghetti instead of something sensible, please let me know!
At the February meeting, we were treated to an interesting talk by member Ruth Walker, who talked us through her ‘textile journey’. Ruth brought with her a beautiful collection of her work, including machine-embroidered bowls, pictures and bags. By her own confession Ruth has quite a ‘thing’ about bags, and they are such a good vehicle for displaying a range of techniques. Ruth also showed us a wonderful range of designs based on peacocks. Some years ago she was treated to a magnificent display by a peacock who shook his tail-feathers at her and ‘strutted his stuff’, and peacocks have featured in her work ever since. Thanks to Ruth.
We had a whole-day meeting this month, so there was plenty of time to ‘sit and sew’, and to see what people are working on. Jill showed people the results of a recent embellishing course she has been on, and demonstrated how she makes background fabrics using scraps and threads (don’t forget that the branch has an embellisher that you can rent for just £5 a month). And thanks for the encouraging feedback on the website everyone. Do keep sending in the photos – we are starting to build up a good range in the ‘gallery’.
Is anyone else planning to take part in the Embroiderers Guild 100 Hearts project? The plan is for members to stitch hearts in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. The guild will exhibit them across the country in groups of 100, and I think they’ll be at Ally Pally too.
I’m planning to make one, in memory of two great-uncles who died in the First World War, one on a troopship and one in the battlefield in Flanders. If anyone else from Worthing Tuesday is doing one, it would be good to photograph them together before they go off.