Tuesday, September 10, 2013

September Speaker

What a great way to start again after our amazingly warm and sunny summer break!

Last night our speaker was Lizzie Wall. She gave us a truly inspiring talk about her work and was very amusing.

She talked about how her work has changed over a period of time from the ‘Harry Potter Owls’ that she created for a window display in a bookshop in Southport to the awe inspiring chasubles that she has created more recently. Her background in art, design and embroidery really shines through her work.

The stories attached to each of the pieces that she brought and passed round for us to inspect closely were very interesting and very well researched. I really strongly recommend that you take a look at her work and if you are not too far away from Southport that you ask her to come and give her talk to you branch. You will not be disappointed.   Lizzie’s website.

Last night Seonaid presented the prize winners of the visitors choice at our exhibition in August on the North Pier. Our member Marion Miller won 3rd prize with her superb felt teapot. Congratulations Marion – well deserved.

Lizzie’s work  (thanks to Lizzie for giving us permission to use some of her images).
allerton-oakhope-treenut-bannertails in orchid gardenthe sower-chasuble

Marion’s Teapot


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Our Joint Exhibition ‘More Tea Vicar’!

The exhibition is up and going very well on the North Pier, Blackpool.  The visitor numbers are good and we are receiving lots of very nice comments about our work and a number of people have shown an interest in coming to some of meetings in the near future.

There is a great atmosphere on the Pier, lots of hustle and bustle, lots of people about really enjoying themselves.

The Mayor of Blackpool, Councillor Eddie Collett and his wife Heather opened our exhibition yesterday afternoon. Following their visit this report was placed on the ‘Visit Fylde Coast’ website. Our thanks to those involved in reporting our exhibition.


And now for some images of the exhibits.



Friday, July 26, 2013


Our joint exhibition with Lytham St Annes Branch, in the North Pier Theatre, North Pier Blackpool is almost upon us.  Lets hope we get a great many visitors to see our work over the weekend of the 9th/ 10th & 11th of August.


July–Strawberry Tea

“Our annual Strawberry Tea was held on the 8th July. Around twenty members attended and, in between strawberries, cream, scones and Kathryn’s Vanilla Mouse, we had a preview of some of the items which will be on show at the Exhibition in August. (If you want to see what they looked like come along in August!) These had been brought in to “dress” the set as the Gazette sent their photographer to take some pictures for the Eve article which appeared on the 16th. A great way to publicise both the Branch and the exhibition with Lytham St Annes.

We also took the opportunity to say thank you to Marion Miller who has recently resigned from her role as catering supremo by presenting her with a gift token. Marion will be a hard act to follow but we will do our best to maintain her high standards. “

June–Speaker–Chris Cannon

Our speaker this month was Chris Cannon who talked to us about her ‘Passion with Plants’. As well as a PowerPoint presentation this was a very hands-on evening.

Chris explained about her passion for plants and showed us a wide variety of plants that represented different features of interest for interpretation into stitch.

She gave us all a selection of photographs and got us to focus on looking at marks and recreating them in pen or pencil on a range of papers, making sure that we did not fall into the trap of trying to do a representational drawing of the plant itself.

Chris is a member of Preston Threads, a Lancashire based group of textile artists. Her plant based, hand stitched pieces , with this group have recently been exhibited at the NEC and the Voirrey. (Two members of Blackpool Branch are also members of this group).

Below you can see some of the approaches that Chris uses in her own work, hand stitched pieces and sketchbook work and how we all got on with the tasks that she set us on the night.  

After we had made some marks on paper we then thought about how we could use to stitch to represent the marks. There are some really interesting results. It was a really fun evening.











Sunday, June 23, 2013

June - Stitch Night

The first meeting this month was a practical evening.  These are nice relaxing evenings and give members a chance to share what they are doing with each other, seek out advice when needed and spend time getting to know everyone.

We are now rapidly approaching our Summer exhibition at the North Pier Theatre in Blackpool and it is great to be able to see what work is being produced. Much of it is work in progress but it already looks like we will have a lot of superb pieces on display under our theme of ‘Time for Tea’



May began with a very successful workshop run by Liliane Taylor.

Liliane came to talk to us last year and it was evident that members very keen for her to do a workshop for us. This year we will be holding a joint exhibition with Lytham St Annes Branch at The North Pier Theatre, Blackpool and our branch theme is ‘Time for Tea’.

Liliane’s work lends itself perfectly to our theme and she named it ‘Everything Stops for Tea’. Sadly I missed the workshop as I was in Scotland on holiday. It was a very enjoyable and successful day. Several of our newer members who has never done anything like the techniques taught on the day were delighted with the workshop and the what they had produced.


These are two pieces produced at the workshop. There are more but as yet I haven’t managed to photograph them.



The Barrett Counterpane

At the end of the month (Bank Holiday Monday) we had Julian Abraham come to talk to us about the Barrett Counterpane. This is housed at the Quaker Tapestry Museum in Kendal. Julian is a researcher, writer and freelance curator. He has been associated with the Tapestry Centre for some years.

His talk was very interesting and illuminating into the history of the individual and and embroidered squares that make up the counterpane. He is currently writing a book about the counterpane. Most interesting were the clues and evidence that Julian has researched and explained about each embroidered square. The background to some is still ‘work in progress’.

Unfortunately not many members were present at the meeting, probably because it was  Spring Bank Holiday. They really missed a treat!


Nikki Parmenter came to talk to us this month.  She brought some astonishing work with her.   She is an artist and teachers and uses a wide variety of mixed media techniques to produce vibrant and intensely details pieces.

She uses symbolism and methodology of ancient and modern cultures as her sources of inspiration. Her most recent themes being Mandalas and The Same Sky.

She passed pieces of work round for close inspection and amazed us all by the amount and the enormity of some pieces that she had created as well as being a full time teacher and running a family.





This month we held our biennial Spring Clean. This was a very successful evening.  Everyone attending brought wrapped goodies to sell and items that they no longer needed.

One of the features of our Spring Clean is that any items not sold by the end of the evening must be retrieved by the person who donated them and taken home again. Suffice it say there was not much that had to be re-claimed by the end of the evening.

It always feels good to have opportunity to clear out unwanted items that could be very useful to someone else. The downside is that you each go home with as much if not more than you came with!! Hey Ho! 

Our speaker this month was Alice Colson. 
Unfortunately I missed this very interesting talk.  Alice designs fabrics and trimmings for interiors. Alice’s work was spotted at her BA (Hons) degree show at Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University.  An interesting feature of her work was the use of a Kay’s Practical Embroiderer.  These are very difficult to get hold of now but she has developed a very modern method of using them. 

Quite co-incidentally one of our members had one of these and discovered that the lady who created them had lived in a house just around the corner from the studio where our branch meets.

Alice’s work is well worth a look at. http://www.alicecolson.com/

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Our speaker at the end of February was Christine Driver from Empress Mills. I had already heard Christine’s talk at Padiham’s branch meeting and enjoyed it even more the second time around.

Empress Mills is a family run firm and has been in existence for over 80 years producing yarns and threads. They are in Colne, Lancashire.  http://www.empressmills.co.uk/

Christine had all laughing throughout the talk. She comes to the talk ably support by her son Charles and nephew William. They do all the heavy work bringing in an amazing range of threads and fabrics for us to look at closely. These are explained in great detail and passed round for close inspection.  It is a great treat to have a shop for the night at our meeting especially on a cold, dark winter’s day. A bit of retail therapy – did us all the world of good!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Our first meeting in February was a practical evening. A night when members bring along whatever they are currently working on. It is also an opportunity for one of our members to demonstrate a technique or explain how a particular effect has been created.

Marge very kindly showed us how to make our own paintbrushes from mainly recycled materials. This followed on very nicely from some of our meetings before Christmas on sketchbooks and printing techniques.  Marge also gave some very useful tips on how to create sketchbooks suitable for taking when travelling and really good ideas on pack to artists’ and stitching tools and materials in a very compact space.

mq1       mq2mq3

This was followed by a Saturday workshop on Blackwork with Liz Almond.
Liz is an excellent tutor and very generous with her materials and techniques. It was a very good day enjoyed by all.  It was a also a very quiet day due to the long spells of concentration!!! 
Work in Progress

bw1     bw2bw3  bw9bw7

Our final meeting in Marge was a talk given by Christine Driver from Empress Mills.  Christine knows how to make everyone laugh and a great time was had by all listening to Christine’s words about history of Empress Mills and explaining about the qualities and uses of the threads that they produce and sell in their shop today.   Christine with her very helpful assistants, Charles and William brought a wonderful selection of threads and materials for us to look closely at and they were kept very busy as everyone descended on them to make their purchases. 

Everyone was reminded to look through their unwanted stitch and embroidery items at home ready for our Spring Fair in March.!