|Welcome to March 2022! Could Spring be just around the corner? We’ve endured everything just recently, with the storms, wind, rain, mild sleet and snowfall and even some wonderful sunshine. The birds and squirrels have been busy in my garden and have moved all my crocus and cyclamen bulbs, which are now sprouting in the lawn and pathways – everywhere except the flowerbeds! While isolating in October, when my husband got Covid, I potted up lots of tulips and I’m starting to see the fruits of my labours and the promise of colour to come. Tiny buds appearing on tree branches, shrubs starting to fill out, it is such an exciting time, just looking out of the window.|
Hopefully the first stirrings of Spring will start to stir some creativity as well. I gave my first talk to a group (Lutterworth Quilters) in over two years and it was wonderful to see so many people all enjoying themselves over textile stuff. It was our first Quilters Guild regional day this last weekend and, again, brilliant to be surrounded by so many like-minded people all starting to feel inspired and excited at the prospect of returning to ‘normal’. Although many workshops will continue to be online, I can’t wait to be back in classrooms and community halls partaking in real ‘in the flesh’ workshops, with the chatter and communal enjoyment such occasions bring.
There are a number of events taking place this Spring:
For a lucky few, myself included, Arena travel have organised a trip to the Sitges Quilt Show in Spain, and a side trip to Barcelona and Girona. I’m looking forward to some lovely Spanish sunshine and plenty of quilts and embroideries, plus workshops from Janet Clare. Arena Travel do some fabulous UK knitting and stitching trips round the UK too, for those that don’t want to travel too far!
For knitters, felters, weavers, etc, there is the Spring Into Wool Festival at The Grammar School, Leeds, on 9th & 10th April, with lots of traders, demonstrations, workshops and galleries. https://www.springintowool.co.uk/visiting.htm
17th – 20th March sees the NEC, Birmingham, host three big shows in one – ‘Sewing for Pleasure’, the ‘Creative Craft Show’ and ‘Fashion & Embroidery’. The NEC website announces: If you have a passion for sewing, knitting, patchwork or stitching then Sewing for Pleasure is the place for you! Join us for the latest stitching supplies and plenty of ideas to inspire. Find must have fabrics, fabulous yarns, gorgeous patterns and threads – it’s an event not to be missed!
Tickets to the Sewing for Pleasure show will also allow you access to the sister shows, Fashion & Embroidery and The Creative Craft Show. Visit the show’s website to see all the galleries, workshops, traders and stitching celebrities who will be there. https://www.sewingshow.co.uk/feature
Closer to home, the East Midlands Contemporary Textiles group (of which I am a member) are having their first exhibition at the Artists Gallery, Friar Lane, Nottingham NG1 6DH, just below Nottingham Castle. Only for one week, so be sure to put it in your diary 22 – 27th March. Plenty of lovely bars and cafes nearby too!
Living Threads Exhibition: “Gardens”
We are getting very excited for our forthcoming Living Threads Exhibition at Trent College, 30th March to Friday 8th April. Here’s a piece by Janet Humphreys in anticipation:
Behind the scenes
We have all known it was going to happen at some point but the Exhibition is fast approaching. The hall is booked. Van, display boards, technicians and helpers are ready to go. Publicity is ongoing with flyers handed out at every opportunity and good old Facebook is spreading the word. The stewarding rota has been inked in along with demonstrations so no backing out now.
Plans for other things we hadn’t thought about are coming along nicely. Catering, the most important aspect has been booked so there will be tea and cake to refresh our lovely visitors.
For some, (I’m not saying who) work will be finished off during midnight hours the night before “handing in day”. Frantic labelling, firmly attached please, with the correct name and title then phew, you can pass your pieces over to the hanging team and relax.
Countdown, just a few days before the big day. Paint the boards, hang the exhibits, it all seems so simple doesn’t it? There is a lot of debate. Does it look ok there? Higher up, lower down, get the hammer, put the nail in and commit. The mannequins are strategically placed. It’s a good job they can’t speak, being moved from one dark corner then into the light.
Stock the shop with treasures and hoover the floor. Step back and take a look. Yes it all looks amazing. At last ………. we can open the doors!
Details of the Exhibition are available online at https://livingthreadstextileartists.com/gardens-exhibition-2022/
To add a bit of colour and inspiration, here’s an online exhibition. Bisa Butler is a textile artist who makes life-size quilted portraits of black Americans, full of colour, verve and attitude. https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2019/02/colorful-quilts-by-bisa-butler/ In this profile from CBS Evening News, Bisa is interviewed about just what makes her quilts so special: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvtqYv7UaPI
Have any of you watched The Marvellous Mrs Maisel on the Prime TV streaming service? It is just starting it’s fourth series and has won endless awards, but for most of us textile lovers, it is not the humour, but the clothes that we watch it for. Set in early 60s New York, it tells the tale of a Jewish housewife and mother who goes into stand-up comedy. The costumes are amazing, so colourful, detailed and well researched. The outfits first series was inspired by Audrey Hepburn, the second by Grace Kelly and the third moved into the Beatnik times. This fourth series features some amazing hats!
There are lots of YouTube videos about the costumes and followers who try to recreate them. Have a look at ‘Making Mrs Maisel’s Red Dress’ – Morgan Donner reconstructs the famous dress, showing how to analyse the form and drape.
If you have a moment, look at the work of Amanda Cobbett, a British contemporary textile artist making exquisite free-machine embroidered sculpture inspired by nature. They are so lifelike it would be hard to tell from the real thing!
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or email me directly at email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Meanwhile enjoy the first glimpses of Spring
Gilli Theokritoff, Newsletter Editor