February 2022 Newsletter

Welcome to February 2022!  We are approaching the real depths of winter, just before Spring, and we can expect snow, biting winds and storms, just as those first tender shoots of Spring flowers are peeping out of the ground.

However, January proved to be less violent than usual this year. I’m keeping a keen eye on the temperature charts – but more about that later. I hate to see Magnolia trees tricked into blooming early and then see frozen buds drop, unfulfilled. The roads look their worst, with no greenery, black muck by the roadsides and bare earth. It has had me looking at holiday brochures as I see tanned people returning from Cape Verde and Lanzarote, not to mention the Maldives…

I have booked a holiday though! I am going on a quilting trip with Stitchtopia in March, to Sitges, Barcelona and Girona. It is my fourth attempt to get away on a quilting retreat and it looks like it will finally happen! Naturally the timing is all wrong as it falls right in the middle of two textile exhibitions I am exhibiting in. Stitchtopia are the craft wing of Arena Travel and do a range of special interest tours, including embroidery, cross stitch, knitting and crochet, both in the UK, Europe and some long hauls to Uzbekistan, Vietnam, etc. Sightseeing, relaxing and stitching, what could be better?

If you fancy a trip to London, why not visit The Stitch Show (previously the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show) at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London, 3rd – 6th March.  Lots of stalls, galleries and events…
https://www.immediatelive.com/live-events/the-stitch-festival/   Tony Toon tells me that Roberts Coaches will be running a coach down to the show on Saturday 5th March, with the pickup in Leicester at 8am, returning 7.30pm. Should be a great day out!

SOCK GALLERY  13th January to 26th February 2022
Currently running in Loughborough Town Hall is a textile exhibition at the Sock Gallery. Thanks to Janet Humphries for drawing my attention to it. What a lovely little venue! Apparently there are some lovely coffee shops nearby…
Website:    traversetextileart.uk
Facebook:  facebook.com/traversete..
Instagram:  https://instagram.com/t..

A Group Exhibition by Traverse 
Traverse is a group of five textile artists, based in a studio at The Old Print Works in Birmingham, who came together while studying Experimental Textiles in 2016 and began exhibiting the following year.
The name ‘Traverse’ came from a sense of moving across, looking or stepping sideways, trying to find different perspectives as we approach a theme – we may not all move in the same direction or use the same mode of travel. Within mixed media and textile art, we each have our favourites, including working with paper, metal, hand-dyed fabric, felt, 3D and fashion, using heat, print, paint, and stitch.”

Their work has been inspired by themes including ‘Destinations’ – special places and the beauty of the natural world and ‘Revealed’ – exploring hidden layers in both the physical world and their work itself. Their current exhibition work on ‘Senses’ reflects their individual approaches to the sensory world, including exploring sensory loss, optical illusion and how sensory experiences can evoke memories of place and time.
An important part of our ethos is to celebrate our diversity, share our various strengths and to grow together, working side by side. However, having recently lived through strange times in our world and working apart for over a year, we are celebrating coming together again to present this retrospective, which reflects not only work on our themes but also work produced alone, exploring loss, personal viewpoints and our emotional landscapes – together and apart.”
 #traversetextileart #debdaysewingroom (at The Old Print Works)

Meet the Artist and Demonstration Days  
January 15th and February 19th 11am – 2pm

Join members of Traverse in the gallery to talk to them about their exhibition and see them demonstrating how they work.

Not textiles, but maybe they will inspire you? Hodsock Priory is closed this year for winter viewings, but there are fantastic displays of snowdrops and cyclamens to be explore at Hardwick Hall, in the beautiful grounds. The Hall itself is closed until 12th February, but the grounds are accessible all year round.

I’m starting a temperature quilt as a record of this coming year. It’s a new trend that seems to have caught textile enthusiasts over the last couple of years. You check out the highs and lows of your area’s temperature over recent years, to give you an idea of the temperature range. There are plenty of websites that do this, but I use www.worldweatheronline.com, full Nottinghamshire records at:
https://www.worldweatheronline.com/nottingham-weather-history/nottinghamshire/gb.aspx. I use this to confirm the current day’s readings as well, to confirm my smartphone’s weather app. Perhaps you may have a barometer or outdoor thermometer and take your own readings? My husband loves this task but it usually descends into a “where did I put my glasses?” scenario!

As a quilter, I am making a quilt – well, two quilts actually. However, you can find knitted blankets, crocheted shawls, mosaics, cross stitches, embroideries and plenty of other variations. Try Pinterest to see what is out there. Being wary of copyright laws I am directing you to look for yourself, rather than publish unattributed photographs.

Depending where you live, and the colour variations you choose, the finished item can be very varied. Australian versions start hot and have the cooler temperature in the middle, whereas we are the opposite. Temperate climates have more subtle variations.https://joavery.co.uk/2021/10/finished-weather-bubble-temperature-quilt.html Above is a quilt by Jo Avery and you can read her blog about it at the address above. She lives in Scotland and made hers as a distraction from Lockdowns and Covid. She has used the background as the cooler evening temperatures and the warmer applique circles reflect the daytime temperatures.

Mine will be done as a square in a square block, 3”, which should give me a quilt about 50“ x 60”, when I’ve done 365 blocks! I’m using greys and whites as my cooler colours, working to pinks and purples for the hotter ones, which will be the smaller square in the centre. To add further work, I’m making a second version with the hotter colours on the outside and cooler in the centre, so I have a different effect. I spent a whole day choosing my colours and fabrics and then cutting lots of fabric into 1.5” strips and bagging them up into their different temperature degrees. Now it is quite quick and easy to run up a couple of small blocks every day or two. And fun! Look how warm it was on 1st January! Do Google temperature quilts or blankets, but beware, there are lots of heated underblankets falling under that heading!

Natural Dyeing
After talking about Alice Fox in last month’s newsletter I dragged out some rust and other samples I made at a workshop with her. I was reminded of some printing I had done with the East Midlands Contemporary Textiles group, using natural plants and leaves. This led me to thinking about Natural dyeing. I then found Angela Daymond’s small book on Natural Dyeing and it is now on my to-do list. Angela lives in Lincolnshire and has recently moved to a new studio. She offers talks on natural dyeing, woad, kantha, etc and online workshops via Zoom. Her in-person workshops are on hold during the COVID situation. www.angeladaymond.com

Living Threads Exhibition:  “Gardens”
We are getting very excited for our forthcoming Living Threads Exhibition at Trent College, 30th March to Friday 8th April. We had a full members’ meeting recently, where all the finer details were discussed and all the entries for one of our collective group pieces were revealed. I can promise you a great show, judging by the gorgeous work we saw. The theme is “Gardens” and Spring should be in full swing by then, so it will be a great taste of the floral delights to come! Our Facebook site will have lots of teaser images in the run-up to the exhibition. https://www.facebook.com/The-Living-Threads-Group-256151208153317/

If you have any newsletter contributions, book or exhibition reviews, puzzles, recommendations, suggestions for topics, etc, do please send them to me via the Living Threads email address: livingthreadsgroup@gmail.com  or email me directly at gillitheokritoff@gmail.com

It’s a hopeful time of year and but we still need some tips and interesting  or amusing snippets! Meanwhile, don’t forget to check our website at: www.livingthreadstextileartists.com  or email us at: livingthreadsgroup@gmail.com  or check us out on Facebook.

We wish you all a speedy recovery if you or family have been unwell or had Covid-19, and that the booster keeps us all safe from Omicron too. Everyone please try to enjoy the tail end of winter (snowdrops, hellebores) and keep creating.
Until March (daffodils, narcissi, tulips!)


Gilli Theokritoff, Newsletter Editor
Copyright © 2022 The Living Threads Group, All rights reserved.

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