A spectacular Collection of Fashionable Clothes from 1700-present at Chertsey Museum – by Vernice

Last weekend I visited the Chertsey Museum where they hold the Olive Matthews Collection of Dress and Textiles. This collection is described as “A spectacular collection featuring many items of national significance. It contains over 4,000 men’s, women’s and children’s fashionable clothes dating from c.1700 to the present”. As a result they often have exhibitions relating to clothing and textiles.

The exhibition I went to see was a small part of The Regency Wardrobe Collection from a Fashion House/Fine Art Studio called The House of Embroidered Paper. This establishment was formed in 2017 by an artist called Stephanie Smart who creates life sized garments and footwear using only paper and thread. She has developed the use of paper as a medium for garment construction with embroidered and applied decoration.

The full Regency Wardrobe Collection consist of 11 life sized outfits, 12 accessories, four wall hangings and an item of furniture.

The small selection on display at the Chertsey Museum were mostly pieces inspired by items from the Olive Matthews collection held in the museum.

If you are interested in reading more about Stephanie’s work, go to stephaniesmart.net. For information about the Regency Wardrobe specifically go to the Home page, choose Collections then Regency Wardrobe where you can click on any piece from the collection.

Quilling cap
Vernice Feb 3

Early 19th Century male frockcoat in the French style.

Materials: Quilling paper strips, FSC accredited paper tablecloth, tissue paper, greaseproof paper, Japanese rice paper, sewing thread and embroidery thread.

Vernice Feb 6

Women’s Pelisse with Skirt.

Materials: Accredited paper tablecloth, tissue paper, rice paper and embroidery thread

Vernice Feb 10

Woman’s Pelisse

Materials: Accredited paper tablecloth, Japanese rice paper.

Vernice Feb 13

Woman’s day dress

Materials: Accredited paper tablecloth, tissue paper, quilling paper strips, rice paper, crepe paper, embroidery thread, Watermark Koume white paper.

Vernice Feb 17

Shape inspired by 1720 woman’s shoe and the Indian Blue Peacock.

Materials: Cartridge paper, Quilling paper strips, embroidery thread, tissue paper, card, Aqua Bronze powder and lacquer.

Vernice Feb 20

Inspired by the pointed toes and low flared heel of late 18th Century shoes; in particular the Killerton House collection. Inside there is a hand drawn design to reflect the beautiful paper labels of the makers of shoes from this era which often contained a dedication, as per the shoe in Killerton House dedicated to the Duchess of Cumberland.

Materials: Quilling paper strips, wrapping paper, card, embroidery thread, gold card, lacquer, tissue paper and pencil.

Vernice Feb 24

Shoe inspired by square toed, flat style of shoe fashionable during 1830-40’s and the Bird of Paradise which was particularly popular with collectors and designers during this period.

Materials: Accredited paper tablecloth, tissue paper, cartridge paper, embroidery thread, card, pencil and coloured pencil.

Report and photos by Vernice C.

Thank you so much for sharing your visit with us Vernice.  Ros

Chertsey Museum:  https://chertseymuseum.org/

Memorable Textile Artist – Jo Gallant

There have been some positive things about the last couple of years and some negative.  One of the positive has been the use of Zoom to enable us to link with speakers who live a long way away.  For our February meeting, Textile Artist – Jo Gallant spoke to us from her studio in Scotland. 

Jo started her talk by explaining that she did a BA in Fashion & Textiles specialising in woven textiles at Birmingham Polytechnic. Starting out by using found fabrics from jumble sales to make appliqued cushions and other items, she then moved to Balnakeil Craft Village in the far north of Scotland and set up her workshop there.  It was so interesting to hear and see where Jo got her inspiration from.  Dry stone walls, open hill side, flying crows looking like black plastic bags in the wind and even her cats were all used in hangings made from dyed natural fabrics. 

In 1992 Jo moved south to Kirkcudbright and again in 2014 to Galloway where it was more wooded and she would sketch ideas as she drove round the countryside.  Recently Jo’s work has become more abstract and she-  has used varying proportions of sky and grass in one of her designs.  

Jo found she had collected a number of coloured zips over the years and they became an important in the creation of cushions with zips as features – beaks, twigs, horizons etc .  She has a wonderful variety for sale on her website (see link below).

Over the years Jo has been commissioned by different organisations and private clients to make various hangings and she showed us images of a bicycle ride, a letter box, individual awards for the Arts & Business organisation, a church window in Norfolk and a hospital stairway.  These three hangings represented the sea, land and air and were displayed on different floors but had similar items to link them.  Jo created abstract hangings inspired by light and water, being the necessities of life, for a multi faith chapel and this showed a rainbow effect of the water looking through the light.

Jo talked about a 22ft wide local community project she led with 6 different patchwork and embroidery groups and a 2 day project in a school where pupils created a 9ft tall hanging.  In the last couple of years, as she has not been able to hold courses, Jo has been moving her sewing machine around  her house and creating 8” squares to show the view through the windows.   During her talk Jo generously answered several questions about the use of the dyes she uses and her techniques and showed us images of her sketchbooks.

We all really enjoyed hearing Jo’s story and seeing the exciting, inspirational and vibrant colours used in her hangings and cushions.  

Thank you Jo!


Report by Ros

Photos thanks to Jo Gallant, Vernice C and Ros

If you would like to find out more about Jo, look on her website where she has lots more photos of her work and the opportunity of buying one of those wonderful cushions!  There is also details of an online landscape dyeing course.  http://www.jogallant.co.uk/

Jenny Adin-Christie workshops

We had accepted places on the Jenny Adin-Christie workshop before Christmas so were looking forward to having to sit down and have a good reason for not dashing around anymore. Jenny had sent each of us a pack of material and threads needed for our buttons with a folder of the stitches. Several of us were doing Roses, one a heart and a couple of others. We were to have 2 x 3 hrs workshops.

The morning came and we sat quietly at home surrounded by all the equipment needed. The zoom started and Jenny began by showing us some wonderful samples of whitework that she had. Then business.  Fortunately, Jenny used an overhead camera so we could easily follow the tiny stitches she used in each of the different buttons. The 3 hours passed quickly learning the techniques for whitework, we were a mix of beginners and able embroiderers. All of us were given homework, to complete part of our buttons as we had been shown. And we all did as requested for the following week, the second zoom workshop! This one followed on, finishing the different techniques.

Jenny showed us some textiles from her collection of Whitework, some vintage. One, an Ayrshire panel was very decorative, and the centre showed 2 men sitting and chatting, one holding a tankard of beer.

When finished the buttons can be framed or worn as a broach. It was certainly a different type of workshop for me, and I enjoyed the challenge.

Report by Rosemary C.  Thank you so much, Rosemary.  Ros

Photos – Jenny Adin Christie & Vernice C.  Thank you both

If you would like to find out more, visit Jenny’s website where you will find more about her work and a useful shop.  https://jennyadin-christieembroidery.com/