Welcome to the New Year, but yet another round of dire COVID warnings. Fingers crossed that the vaccinations and boosters will save us from another year like the last one. Meanwhile the warmer temperatures of the last few days are giving way to freezing blasts of icy wind and becoming more like the winters we expect. The Christmas tree needles have dropped, the baubles have lost their allure and all those new resolutions are being tested already!
The New Year, however, is a chance to set some good habits and plan for the future. To that end I have been looking at classes, both online and in person, to awaken our creative energies.
I’ve mentioned hand embroiderer Anne Brooke before but it is always worth having a look at her challenges and workshops. She is based in Brighouse, West Yorkshire and runs in person and online classes, as well as issuing 365 day projects and challenges. Last year it was embroidered tags/labels and previously a long scroll. Check out Instagram to see what people did @sew4thesoul. You can find details about Anne here: https://www.annebrooke.co.uk/workshops
Ann Bruntlett reminds me about Alice Fox – a favourite with us all. Have a look at https://www.alicefox.co.uk/ Alice is known for her rust and natural dyeing, slow stitching and use of nature. She also lives in West Yorkshire and runs in person workshops and online. There are some fabulous things to do with her.
Slightly closer to home, with in person workshops at her fabulous studio beside the Harley Gallery outside Worksop, is Hope and Elvis. Louise invites some of the very best textile tutors to her studios for all kinds of fascinating workshops. A fabulous lunch is provided too! Workshop tutors include: Mandy Patullo, Alice Fox, Cas Holmes. Macrame, collage, vintage textiles, collagraphs, wire work, all kinds of stitching.
Don’t forget to check out Crafty Monkies www.craftymonkies.com. Rachel runs lots of online textile workshops from top textile tutors. I’m booked on one in February with Nicholas Ball, but they aren’t just quilting – bag making, free machining, creative sketchbooks, etc.
Domestika run a huge range of online workshops, from photography, calligraphy and rug making to all things stitchy. www.domestika.org. Try a new skill and see if it sparks your creativity!
When I do finally get out and about I plan a visit to the Ropewalk, in Barton upon Humber, North Lincolnshire DN18 5JT. The Ropewalk is a regionally acclaimed centre for the arts housing galleries, Sculpture Garden, Coffee Shop, and Ropery Hall – a venue for live music, theatre and cinema within a Grade II listed former rope factory. Other facilities include: a printmaking workshop; artists’ studios and meeting rooms available for outside lets. I know it is slightly outside our region, but the workshops on offer are delightful. I intend to book on one to make willow chickens and I’m really tempted by a mosaic workshop too. Others include nuno felting, jewellery design and upholstery! https://www.the-ropewalk.co.uk/
The great news is that you don’t have to restrict yourself to local or UK courses these days. One of my favourite artists, Brenda Gael Smith, teaches fantastic 3hr Zoom workshops from Australia! If you do an evening workshop with her, you can watch the sun rise through her studio window! She is a quilter, working on colour, abstraction and improvisation, but any stitcher can do a class with her and learn so much, whatever your textile interest. https://serendipitypatchwork.com.au/workshops
I’m booked to start a Photoshop Elements course with https://www.pixeladies.com/ who run digital courses online from the USA. It’s not live, so no Zooming at 4am, but you get a series of instructional videos, forum chat, email guidance and projects to complete. I’m finally taking the plunge on courses 1 (beginner) & 2 (next steps). Plenty of further digital manipulation classes available. These ladies are textile artists first and foremost, so they know what will be useful to learn!
Rather than workshops, maybe you would like the gentle creative nudges available by subscribing to the (free) Textileartist.org newsletter? Run by Sam and Joe, sons of the well-known textile artist Sue Stone, they seek to inspire creativity amongst stitchers. They also offer some creative courses but this January they will be offering a free creative project to all email subscribers, so I encourage you to join the community. www.textileartist.org
The Harley Open competition
Feeling challenged? Why not consider entering the biennial art competition run by The Harley Gallery. The Harley Open invites artists – whether professional or amateur – to submit their work for the chance to be included in this much-loved exhibition which will run from 6th August to 23rd October 2022. The Harley Open 2020 showed 124 pieces of art made by 102 different artists, all living and working within 100 miles of the gallery.
Entry details are as follows: “We are looking for 2D or 3D wall-based works, in any style or medium. Entries are accepted by artists aged 18 and over, from within 100 miles of the gallery (as the crow flies), and made within the last 2 years. You can enter up to two works, and entries cost £10 per work.”
Fabric at a bargain price?
Deborah Rees runs her own fabric shop from home, located in Selston, just off M1 Junction 27. She has a current offer of 20% off her ranges in January, with a special 3-day sale on 23rd, 24th and 25th of January when there will be at least 100 bolts of fabric at £7 per metre, plus bundles of Mettler thread offers. Deb sells quality ranges, by Moda, Makower, etc as well as Aurifil threads, wadding and dressmaking fabrics and notions. She specialises in Moda Grunge fabric, a pure cotton with tonal variations – over 200 shades! Well worth a visit.She also runs workshops at a local venue and will be running a Tuffet-making workshop in May, so make enquiries soon!
Are dolls your ‘thing’? Not mine particularly, but I have been fascinated by the DeMuse dolls designed by Nigel Chia. They are 16” tall and intricately put together by hand in incredible detail. Definitely not designed for children to play with. Watch the videos. You will re-think Barbie costumes! You can find him on Instagram @nigelchiaofficial
https://youtu.be/iCDSCc1Sacs New Year Doll
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xcs18HhmIWs Christmas Doll
Lastly, I’d just like to take a moment for us to remember Brenda Aldridge, a Living Threads Founder Member, who passed away at the end of last year. Here are some words from her daughter Jacqui:
Born 10th October 1932
Died 10th December 2021 aged 89 years
Leaves 2 twin daughters Jacqueline Yeomans and Alison Alldridge and 2 granddaughters Amelia and Heather Yeomans
In the late 1960s Brenda took a diploma course in dressmaking and tailoring at Ilkeston College. Once she completed her training she began tutoring dressmaking and tailoring for adult education at Parklands in Long Eaton and Friesland School in Sandiacre. Whilst working at Parklands Brenda made a number of friends, especially Dorothy Griffin & Jo Hebblethwaite. Dorothy and Brenda taught many workshops, as Brenda developed her skills into samplers and machine embroidery. Brenda became a founder member of Living Threads. She exhibited numerous works at Elvaston Castle, including an embroidery seaweed collar, waistcoats and the dresses she made for her daughter Jacqueline’s wedding. Not to waste anything, Brenda also made a christening robe from the spare wedding dress fabric.
Date for your diary:
Living Threads Exhibition, Trent College, Wednesday 30th March – Friday 8th April 2022. Start spreading the news…!
Check our website at: www.livingthreadstextileartists.com or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or check us out on Facebook.
Please send any ideas, suggestions, reviews or contributions for the February newsletter to me via the Living Threads email address: email@example.com or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org