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Christmas lunch with Ros Liddington, Archivist from Wilton House, Salisbury

The weather outside was dreadful but inside Kennet Valley Hall there was a festive atmosphere.

Dec 21 Ros Lidd 3

This was the first Christmas meeting of our new Textile Group and after a convivial lunch (despite having to bring our own) we were then introduced to the surprise speaker, Ros Liddington, Archivist at Wilton House (an English country house near Salisbury, which has been the country seat of the Earls of Pembroke for over 400 years).

Ros’s talk was entitled “Lost in the Cloud” and the premise of her talk was that we are encouraged to do everything on-line and to ditch the physical. What do you do if you have lots of things. Of stuff. Can the Cloud and your stuff co-exist.

Ros had been a history teacher for many years and working with Wilton House had collected many artefacts and costumes for use in schools, plus lots of fabrics and costumes during 20 years involvement with the Salisbury Playhouse. Coming from a family of  makers, she also inherited items from relatives (including her mother’s entire workroom) and all this “stuff” she suspects is her daughters’ worst nightmare. She admitted to having somewhere between 1500 to 2,000 sewing patterns alone.

Ros had brought some of her “stuff” to show us and it was an eclectic mix of items. We heard of how these items had come into her possession as well as the back stories of the people who had once owned them. Some were poignant, some were amusing but all were interesting.

Among these were ……a 1930’s toaster, which actually turns the bread over,  a book of lace patterns from the 1600’s, knitting patterns and books from the 1930-40’s, an item we thought were sugar tongs but turned out to be hair curling tongs. etc.

We heard of Molly Maidment who, on D Day, plugged her hairdryer into the light socket (as one did in those days) and caused a total electric outage throughout the area.

There was a pretty skirt with a hem of pulled thread work belonging to a Miss G. Flowers, a shop girl in Salisbury. Later on member Maureen Bull mentioned to Ros that her daughter in law’s Grandmother was called Gladys Flowers and lived in Salisbury so wondered of the skirt had belonged to her – something Maureen is going to research further.

Dec 21 Maureen Bull

One of the most interesting items was a tiny Japanese camera (which still contained a film) taken by her Aunt to Korea in 1954 when she was there for reasons she could not talk about due to the Official Secrets Act.

 

Ros talked about many items and the people and places connected to them. I was so interested my initial note taking was abandoned.

Ros then split us up into four Groups – Management, Fund Raisers, Tour Guides and an IT Department who were organising an Exhibition.  From a selection of gloves each Group were to choose one and give it a back story for display in the Exhibitions. Each group then relayed their story and interestingly every one was poignant rather then joyful !!

I don’t think Ros has a final conclusion about what should happen to her stuff, any more than the rest of us have !!   The question still remain and Ros suggested some of these items could become antiquities of the future. She asked whose responsibility is it to keep and maintain them for future generations to see and learn from ?

Finally, Ros told us that in 2013 the British Library formed a strategy to use digital storage but this was abandoned in 2016. Technology progresses so fast that today’s state of the art technology will be out of date and unusable in ten years’ time. She suggested that perhaps the Cheshire Salt Mine which, with its natural atmosphere creating the perfect environment, already contains miles of physical “stuff”, is the answer. She mused “what if we could all have a Family Box in the Salt Mine – what would you save in yours ?”

Our first Christmas meeting was a wonderful occasion for us all to put aside the pressures surrounding the pandemic and Christmas preparations and just enjoy being together.

 

Report thanks to Vernice C 

Photos thanks to Vernice C

For further details about Ros Liddington, Archivist at Wilton House, Salisbury:   https://www.wiltonhouse.co.uk/education/

Brilliant fun day printing with textile artist, Alison Hulme

Textile Artist, Alison Hulme first visited our group to give a talk in June 2019 and we were keen for her to return to organise a workshop but Covid arrived and one cancellation after another.

Yesterday however, fifteen members had a really fun day when Alison showed us her various techniques for printing on cloth.  I have never seen a tutor arrive with such an enormous car load of materials – blankets and material to cover each table, loads of paints, fabric to purchase, screen prints by the hundred, gelli plates, baby wipes, kitchen roll and even her own washing up bowls. 

Alison started the day by introducing the group to screen printing.  For me this was the first time I had used the technique but I must say I really enjoyed it.  

At lunchtime Alison enjoyed what she said was a 5* lunch provided by Ann but it was a quick break before we were back in action again.

We were now introduced to gelli plates, stencils, foiling and the use of several other mediums most of which are available from Art Van Go.

The utility area in the hall was alive all day for members to choose paints and to wash out the screens, scrapers, rollers etc.  It was great to see everyone mucking in as there was a lot of washing and tidying up to do.

The day went amazingly quickly and we all went away with a great selection of samples, some of which you see on this blog.

Thank you Alison, you  were a very generous and incredibly well organised tutor and did not stop all day!   We look forward to a return visit.

Report and photos by Ros

Alison’s website: https://alisonhulmetextiles.com/

Alison’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Alison-Hulme-Textiles-1475530686059890/

Magic Christmas Workshop

RL Xmas workshop AL

A very big “thank you” to Ann, Lindsay and Nikki for organising a truly brilliant Christmas workshop.  We spent one and a half hours on each project, learnt a lot, enjoyed delicious home made cakes served by Vernice and left with a lovely variety of ideas for Christmas.

 

Ann’s Workshop – Printed Christmas Cards

Using acrylic paints and a variety of tools we prepared two large sheets of mark making papers.  Ann showed us how to choose interesting areas to cut up and how to display them on a card.

Lindsay’s workshop – Christmas Angels

Lindsay showed us how to make angels to hang on a tree and decorative parcels for Christmas treats.  We used pipe cleaners and sheers for the angels and glitzy fabric and tinsel for the packages. 

Nikki’s workshop – Christmas adornments

In Nikki’s workshop she showed us how to make Christmas adornments. The example we were shown was a poinsettia flower.   We layered various sheers, needle felted some wool tops for the centre of the flower and were then shown how to create and embellish the flower.  This could be done by hand using a hoop or by free machine embroidery.  

Members contributed home make cakes for sale during the day and Vernice kindly served them and prepared drinks.

RL Xmas workshop VC 1

Report by Ros

Photos by Ros & Vernice

Drawing the Line – Bobby Britnell workshop

The day after her talk, Bobby lead a workshop on Zoom.  Twelve of us had been sent a materials list and asked to prepare some card frames to use for our work.  Bobby spoke to us directly and supported her instructions using PowerPoint.

The course was entitled Drawing the line but we started off using our frames to create various squares in our sketchbook to show different tones using a graphite stick and we used paper resists to extend the exercise.  Having established the basics Bobby then asked us to use a thin line to create the tones instead of the graphite stick.  We then introduced a textured background of gesso and tissue paper and Bobby talked about how these designs can be transferred to textile projects.

During the day Bobby introduced us to a wonderful variety of artists who use tone in one way or another in their work. 

Thank you Bobby for an inspiring workshop.  You were very generous with your techniques and suggestions and I know we all left wanting to take your ideas further.

Below is a selection of members work.

Thank you to everyone who contributed.

Ros

For further information about Bobby’s courses and workshops at Moor Hall Studio:  https://www.bobbybritnell.co.uk/courses

Textile artist and author, Bobby Britnell from Moor Hall Studio

Bobby B 2

Bobby Britnell was the speaker for our November meeting on Zoom.  She started her talk, My Creative Journey by telling us that she was desperate to leave school and her first jobs were making glamorous theatre costumes and she mentioned buying fabrics from Borvick Fabrics in Berwick Street, London.  After a few years in industry, Bobby decided to go to the Battersea College of Education and then went on to teach at a secondary school in Guildford for 12 years.  While working she took a City & Guilds course to expand her knowledge. 

In 1986 she moved to South Shropshire, taught City & Guilds Design courses, got involved with school and community projects and the Julia Caprara  School of Art.

Bobby then went on to talk about the Moor Hall Studio where she offers a great variety of textile and art related courses (see link below).  Music and dance are important to her and she showed us a pieced quilt entitled Morning Star with musical notes on it, another was inspired by the moves of a Morris dance and a third showed a scarecrow wearing a tattered jacket inspired by a traditional story. 

Bobby is a long standing member of the Textile Study Group (see link below) and talked about a challenge entitled “Not what it Seams” in which she constructed a 3D 8” high curved vessel and then took it further by constructing a large version sitting on a plinth which she could get inside.

An important period of Bobby’s life started when her son suggested she go to Uganda and she set up the Kisaabwa Project, which they registered as a charity.  The aim was for it to be sustainable and eventually independent.  A local teacher gave up his job to head the project which included basketry, making brooms, mats and making bark cloth.  

I found it fascinating to learn how the bark on the tall straight Mutuba tree is cut at the top and bottom, peeled off and the trunk is then carefully wrapped with fresh banana leaves to encourage regrowth.  To find out more look on Bobby’s website (see link below). Bobby has used the bark cloth for a lot of her work and one major project was inspired by the traditional omweso game.  The registered charity was shut down 4 years ago and the project is now self-sufficient.

Following on from Bobby’s work with bark cloth she then went on to talk about Jose Hendo who is a fashion designer who uses bark cloth for her work.  There is an interesting interview with Jose and the Costume Society together with photographs (see link below)

Another project which I remember well, was when Bobby worked with Janet Middleton  to challenge people to create children’s slippers using bark cloth.  These slippers were displayed at various exhibitions around the country and then auctioned to raise funds for the charity.

In between teaching, designing and creating her own work, Bobby has still found time to write a book entitled “Stitched Textiles:  Flowers” which is readily available from booksellers or on the internet.

This was an amazing story involving many different people, countries, materials and techniques and we thank Bobby for sharing her experiences with us.

Bobby’s website: https://www.bobbybritnell.co.uk/

To subscribe to Bobby’s newsletter either use Contact on her website or email bobby@bobbybritnell.co.uk

Bobby’s courses at Moor Hall Studio:  https://www.bobbybritnell.co.uk/courses

Bark cloth details on Bobby’s website: https://www.bobbybritnell.co.uk/about/bark-cloth/how-is-bark-cloth-made

Textile Study Group: https://textilestudygroup.co.uk/

Jose Hendo interview:  https://costumesociety.org.uk/blog/post/an-interview-with-jose-hendo-part-1

 

 

Report by Ros

Photos taken from Bobby’s presentation with her permission.

Memorable Textile Holiday around England – September 2021 – Ann Kingdon

Earlier this year we decided that we would have a holiday in September (Covid rules permitting) in our camper van. As this was to be a holiday for me, hubby asked me to write a list of the places I’d like to go, which I did (hubby has had a couple of underwater photography holidays this year).  One aim of our holiday was to visit his family in Northumberland for a couple of days and I wanted to visit a cousin in Cumbria who had lost her husband earlier this year.  Other than that, my list included textile related places on both the east and west of England.  The holiday was a real success and I thought you may be interested in some of the places we visited, related to textiles.  Hence this piece for our blog!

Our first stop was to be Lincoln and it just so happened that Hardwick Hall was on our route.  Having just heard Dr M A Katrizky talk about Bess of Hardwick and her Elizabethan needlework wall hangings, it was quite fortuitous that we could stop on our way to see them.  The house itself is stunning, both inside and out.  There are beautiful tapestries hanging on most of the walls in the Hall and Bess’ needlework panels are quite stunning.  Sadly, the National Trust booklet only devotes a couple of pages to them and I neglected to take any photos!  However, I would recommend a visit to Hardwick Hall if you’re ever in the area.

You may like to take a look at some images on the National Trust website.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hardwick/features/textile-collection-the-gideon-tapestries

Our first overnight stop was Lincoln.  I walked up Steep Hill (it’s very steep!) to the Cathedral, which is quite beautiful and contains some gorgeous needlework on the various alter frontals.  I have no idea who is responsible for this needlework but maybe a member of T&S might have some information?  I did take some photos for you to see. 

Ann K. Lincoln Cathedral 1

Next stop was Leeds.  On my list was an Arts & Craft centre that I’d read about but it was a bit of a disappointment.  However, next door is the main Leeds library which contains the Leeds Tapestry 2000.  I’d never heard of this Community project, started in 1992 and completed in 2002.  Professional textile artists led the project, but involved many people in the community, some of whom had never held a needle and thread before.  What a delight these 16 panels are, depicting various aspects of Leeds life in fabric and thread.  The Leeds Tapestry Trust has produced a lovely book describing each panel and acknowledging everyone who made a piece of embroidery.  There’s no website but I’ll place the book in our library for anyone to have a look at.

After a day in York we moved on to Ripon to visit Barnyarns.  I was made most welcome and allowed to wander around their shop/warehouse.  I filled a smallish (!) basket with a variety of items to purchase, as you do!  It was a joy to be able to wander, unhindered, and look at everything that Barnyarns sells and make mental notes for future purchases!

https://www.barnyarns.co.uk/

We then spent the next few days visiting family in Northumberland and Cumbria before travelling through Lancashire to visit Gawthorpe Hall.  We went via Colne, intending to visit Empress Mills, only to discover that they’d had a fire and were closed to the public! 

https://www.empressmills.co.uk/

However, another place on my list was Farfield Mill, near Sedburgh.  What a fantastic place!  It’s an old weaving mill, which has been refurbished as an exhibition and craft centre, with crafts people working from studios within the mill building, exhibitions and workshops.  They have some original mechanical weaving looms operating from time to time, but not on the day we visited!  It’s a fascinating place to visit and see the crafts that are being kept alive by individuals who make their living from them.  Have a look at the website www.farfieldmill.org and if you’re ever in this area I can recommend it for a visit.  They have a craft orientated second hand bookshop, where I found several books to buy.

Our next visit was to Gawthorpe Hall (National Trust) that I’d wanted to visit for some time.  Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth whose family owned Gawthorpe Hall, made it her life’s work to research, record and collect textiles.  She used many of these collected pieces to teach young women the various techniques so they would not be lost forever.  There is an excellent display, over several rooms, of a variety of textiles.  Rachel died in 1967 but the National Trust continues to grow the collection, which according to their brochure, now consists of more than 30,000 pieces!  The Hall is Elizabethan (like Hardwick Hall) and is an extremely interesting building in itself and the whole visit was well worthwhile. 

The website is https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/gawthorpe-hall.  

We had intended to visit the new RHS Bridgwater garden at Salford next but the weather forecast was so appalling that we gave that a miss.  I’m so pleased we did because we found another National Trust House near Stockport, called Lyme Park https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lyme that was a real gem and contained many textiles too!  Again, there are Elizabethan origins to this house (there’s a theme emerging here!) although it has been added to and rearranged over the years.  

The highlight of this visit was a bedspread and bed hangings that had been embroidered by a daughter of the Legh family for her marriage bed.  However, the poor lady died before her wedding took place and the textiles were boxed up for almost 300 years until found and displayed on a bed of the period.  The embroidery is beautiful and the colours of the silks used are as bright as the day it was finished.  Lyme also has a rare harp, the Lyme Missal and the finest clock collection you could wish to see.  Something for everyone – hubby wasn’t the least bit bored!

We then finished our holiday at Buxton, where the poor weather finally caught up with us.  However, the journey home was a clear day and we could see the big skies and huge areas of moorland that Derbyshire is famous for.  Lots of inspiration for future embroidery work!

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief Textile Tour around England and that it’s maybe given you some food for thought for your next holiday.  Who needs to go abroad!

 

Article and photos thanks to Ann Kingdon – October 2021

 

Thank you so much Ann for sharing your holiday with us.  Ros

Therapy Puppets

DO YOU REMEMBER THESE DELIGHTFUL PEOPLE?

Just prior to the start of the Pandemic I was due to collect the last of these Puppets, but the meeting was cancelled.

I now have all 21 Puppets we have made and will be sending them off to the Organisation who distribute them to Therapists all over the Country.

These Puppets are used in Therapy with children, giving them “safe distance” as they may be unwilling to speak directly to the Therapist but will tell their problems or worries to a Puppet.

Thank you to the following members who joined me in making these Puppets:

BARBARA BARR – HAZEL PARTRIDGE – ROBINA ORCHARD – JULIE BURCHETT AND “One Other” who did not give me her name but left her Puppet on the workshop table.

To find out more take a look at the website:  https://www.knitfornowt.org/

 

Report and photo thanks to Vernice C

Therapy puppets

Sue Hobson – What is a Quilt?

What is a Quilt?

Sue Hobson introduced her talk, What is a Quilt? by explaining that she came from a family of sewers but had followed a career in science.  She explained that pre Covid she had been a judge for quilts in the US and UK. 

SH Sue Hobson

 Sue went on to explain the different types of quilts, how they are constructed and their history.  I did not realise they were worn as protection under armour and the oldest dated back to 1718 in the UK.  The oldest quilts in the US dated back to 1740s and it was the  Welsh and North Counties settlers who brought their skills from the UK and there is a very strong link that the Amish learnt/copied from them. Whilst in Europe the Amish did not use quilts, they only used quilts once they had moved to the USA.

Sue handed round a cotton flour bag from the 1930s which had been produced to encourage ladies to buy the flour for cooking and then cut up the bag to make a quilt with the colours and designs changing regularly.

Sue then went on to show us a wonderful selection of quilts from the American Museum near Bath, the Festival of Quilts at the NEC, Birmingham and the Quilt Festival at Houston, Texas.

The final images were of the 2021 Best of Show at the Festival of Quilts at the NEC and the Best of Show at the Quilt Festival which will take place in Houston in late October 2021.

Louise Nichols – Lino Printing on Fabric

Louise Nichols was our tutor on Tuesday and she showed us how to cut lino and print our design on fabric.  It was the first time we had got together for a workshop for nearly 18 months and fortunately the weather was kind to us so we could have the back and front doors open and sit outside at lunchtime although we wore masks when walking around the hal

Louise introduced the day by explaining the various steps she planned, talked about inspiration and the options open to us.  In her work Louise mixes lino printing with applique and stitch and suggested we might like to do the same which is why the images of members’ work do not show a completed project as we didn’t have time to add any stitch.

After we had chosen our design, done a sketch, drawn it onto tracing paper and then transferred it onto the lino Louise talked about the various tools and inks.  The hall was incredibly quiet as everyone beavered away to create their block.

The fun part came after lunch when Louise showed us how to prepare the inks and add them to the roller before printing them onto fabric.

What a great day and to think we took away a selection of prints together with the block so we can use it again in the future.

Thank you Louise – I learnt a lot!

This is a link to Louise’s website: https://louisenichols.com/

Report and photos by Ros

M A Katritzky – The Needlework Collaboration of Mary Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwick

We welcomed M A Katritzky, Senior Research Fellow in the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences at The Open University, as the first speaker for our new group., Textiles & Stitch Around Marlborough.

Dr M A Katritzky set the scene by introducing us to these two talented ladies, their difficult relationship, how they had learnt their skills and how they had established a collection of 16C embroideries and textiles which are now over 600 years old.

Today these embroideries and textiles can be seen at Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire, Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Royal Collection at Holyrood House in Edinburgh.

Dr M A Katrizky talked in detail about the five 12ft high hangings depicting Virtuous women to be found at Hardwick Hall. 

Virtuous women, 5 large-scale appliqué hangings:
              Penelope between Patience and Perseverance
              Zenobia between Magnanimity and Prudence,
              Artemisia between Constancy and Piety
              *Cleopatra between Fortitude and Justice (*LOST)
              Lucretia between Generosity and Chastity

Details and image of Lucretia hanging can be seen on the National Trust website: http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk/object/1129593.2

Conservation of Lucretia and Penelope hangings from the National Trust Textile Conservation Studio in Norfolk

https://nttextileconservationstudio.wordpress.com/projects/

These hangings were patchworked from old velvet and silk ecclesiastical and court vestments and it is known that Bess always had at least one embroiderer on her payroll. There were also a large number of non-religious embroideries.

At Oxburgh Hall three composite hangings can be found, the Marian, the Cavendish and the Shrewsbury. There is a wide selection of animals, birds, insects and an ape placed on a bench holding a mirror.

Victoria & Albert Museum’s images of the Oxburgh Hall collection

https://collections.vam.ac.uk/search/?q=Oxburgh%20Hall%20textiles

During her talk Dr M A Katritzky asked us to consider if thoughts had been expressed through textiles, why the specific women had been chosen for the Virtuous women hangings and if Mary and Bess’ relationships had had any influence on their work.

We are very grateful to Dr M A Katritzky for sharing her in depth knowledge of Elizabethan embroideries and hangings with us and for helping to get our new group off to an exciting start.

 

M A Katritzky’s recommended further reading:

Michael Bath, Emblems for a Queen, the Needlework of Mary Queen of Scots. London 2008.

Susan Frye, Pens and Needles: Women’s textualities in early Modern England, Philadelphia 2010.

M A Katritzky, “Virtuous needleworkers, vicious apes: the embroideries of Mary Queen of Scots and Bess of Hardwick”. In: Birgit Münch et al, eds. Künstlerinnen: neue Perspektiven auf ein Forschungsfeld der Vormoderne. Petersberg 2017, pp. 48–61.

Santina Levy, The Embroideries of Hardwick Hall, a catalogue. London 2007.

Santina Levy, An Elizabethan inheritance: the Hardwick Hall textiles. London 1998.

Margaret Swain, The needlework of Mary Queen of Scots, Marlborough 2013 (1st edition: 1973).

 

Due to copyright I have not been able to show any of the images M A Katritzky shared with us in her talk but hopefully you will use the links provided.

 

 

 

 

The images above are from Wikipedia

 

 

Everyone was very excited to meet up for the first time in 18 months   What wonderful weather so we were able to have all the doors open and enjoy each other’s company.  After the speaker I took a few photos which have now been circulated in a Press Release to announce the new group.

IMG 2263

Members were asked to bring along a piece of work which they had done during lockdown and these photos were all included in the Press Release.

Diane Ann
Diane & Ann

Clare has decided to stand down from the Committee and her position of joint Chair with Ann.  We are all extremely grateful for everything you have done for the group especially in this last year when you have been deeply involved with the setting up of the new group.  What would we have done without you when it came to researching GPDR and all those other challenging topics?  We will miss you but will look forward to seeing you at meetings and seeing all the wonderful projects you are planning.  I understand that you are now going to be in charge of the tea rota so watch out everyone , you have been warned!

Clare Ann 1 1
Ann Clare 1
I had to include this photo of Ann & Clare !

Report and photos by Ros and Lindsay