Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Centenary spying!

Tina Francis Tapestry - copyright

Well the year is flying by I've had a great year so far organising open studios in Birmingham and setting up stitch groups at Spring Hill Library alongside mentoring others.  It seems that my own work has taken a back seat but with the Autumn fast approaching it's time for me to start thinking about the upcoming shows.

I love a celebration and so I am really pleased to have been invited to speak at the WI Fair in Harrogate and also to a run a workshop there.  I am there on Sunday 6th September but before then I will be sure to visit many of the stands that will be setting up at this fair to celebrate 100 years of the WI.  It is a wide ranging show and reflects the fact that members have many interests, I think everyone will be catered for!  AS well as seeing what the fair has to offer I will be visiting some old friends who will be there on stands. 
First off I will be feasting my eyes on the ceramics of Margaret Glackin on stand B111, all her glazes have a story to tell as well as the pieces themselves.  Her ever popular yarn bowls will be making an appearance and I am looking forward to seeing some examples of her new body of work which investigates the politics of womens aging. 
After a catch up I will be heading to see some fantastic faux taxidermy by Louise Walker of Sincerely Louise stand number A139.  I first met Louise at The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace, alongside her knitting patterns for dinosaurs (!) I will be spying her new range of animal scarf patterns they sound like fun! Over on stand A191 I will be catching up with the African Fabric Shop. Much more than fabric this stand is wealth of information about traditional African crafts and I expect to see many a person swinging along with one of their baskets before the day is out!
Still with textiles from around the globe I will be visiting Ananuca on Stand B83 to bring back fond memories of holidays a few years ago in Chile.  Like African Fabric Shop they work directly with the artisans who create their fabrics and spin their yearns.I cherish my Chilean weave fabric and so hope to see a lot more of it on this stand.
Whilst still in the throes of wanderlust I will take myself to the Bradt Travel Guides stand (C41) to look at their fantastic guide books.  The UK's only independently owned guide book publishers I love their well written style and fantastic images.  I am approaching the busiest time for year for me and so a coupke of their guide books will have to quench my travel bug for the next few months as Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace is calling I will be launching my Tartan patterns (after many, many requests!).

I am really looking forward to being part of this show and hope to see some of you there on the Brooch making Workshop or in the audience for my talk on how I got into this business in the first place and how we can use stitch to create heirlooms.
Thinking of how I got here and the help I have had along the way I would like to dedicate this blog to Gilda Baron who died recently. She was an inspiration, a fantastic embroiderer, a supplier of biscuits and a beautiful person on the inside and out - I will miss you Gilda.

image courtesy http://www.ahandmadecottage.com/

Happy Stitching!

Friday, 7 August 2015

Learning together!

Over the past few months I have been running a stitching group in Spring Hill Library in Birmingham.  It is my local library and a real centre of community and learning.  Many of the people who have learned to stitch have found it to have been quite therapeutic but at the same time challenging.  Trying something new has really been great for us all and I am looking forward to what we do next. Here is some of the work that has been completed so far using secondhand wool and my Use Your Stash patterns.

So far it has been an adult only group but on 6th August as part of this summers "Summer Reading Challenge" activities I ran a workshop at the library where we all learnt how to thread a needle and stitch to our hearts content.  There were 12 kids of various ages from 4 up to 12 and the results as you will have seen at the top of this blog were great! Here are some more. 

I think you will agree they are fantastic.  Hopefully I will be doing more stitching for younger people in the future at the library so I will keep you up to date.

Thinking about learning has reminded me as usual about my good friend and tutor Kim Thittichai who as you will know got me into this world in the first place.  She is currently at the NEC here in Birmingham for Festival of Quilts, this is a great show and is well worth a visit even if quilts are not your thing!  There is always so much inspiration to be found at a show like this from the colours to the textures.  So many quilts are on display it really does take your breath away. 

Having been an art school student with Cannon Hill Art School it feels like this summer has been all about learning for me too!  My work is on display at The Mac in Birmingham along with 68 other students it was a great project to be involved with and I will be stitching at the MAC all day 20th August so if you want come along and learn just drop in!

My next large show is the WI Fair in Harrogate in September which celebrates 100 years of the WI in which time a whole lot of learning and passing on of skills will have happened.  I will be running a brooch making workshop and also talking about my work and how to use your stash. More about this next time.

Happy Stitching!