Monday, 30 September 2013

Kay Dennis Stumpwork

Our September speaker were the fabulous Kay and Michael Dennis, who shared their love of stumpwork and needlelace.

Kay shared lots of pictures of historical stumpwork with us, highlighting aspects of their design and creation. She also shared her beautiful stumpwork creations with us, bringing the subject to life with her humourous anecdotes.

Michael has recently become Chairman of the Guild of Needle Laces, and introduced this related art, with examples of his own work.

In 2009, Kay worked with the National Trust to complete some work based on mirror frames in Lytes Carey Manor House in Somerton. Kay did 6 panels like the Caterpilar one, below, showing members of the public how the stumpwork motifs were created.

Kay Dennis Stumpwork

Kay also brought along examples of her own fabulous stumpwork, including this beautiful dragonfly:

Kay Dennis Stumpwork

All in all, it was a brilliant talk; if you get an opportunity to see Kay's work, do take it!

She will be leading a dayschool with us next Spring, if you would like to take part, please see Margaret at a branch meeting

Friday, 20 September 2013

Reminder: Requirements List for Crazy Mary Dayschool

Just a reminder that the requirements list for the Crazy Mary dayschool on the 28th of September is here:

Exhibition: Genesis in 42 Panels

There is also an exhibition running from the 8th of October to the 5th of November at the Ecumenical Centre in Redditch, by Sue Symons who made the Bath Diptychs and is based on her interpretation of Genesis in 42 panels.

Details can be obtained from Rev. Stephen Levett on 01527 65952 or Creation - A Celebration - Redditch

The exhibition is free but you need to let the centre know how many people intend to go and when. They will send you a form to complete if you don't have one already.

Sunday at Westhope

Sunday dawned, and with the weather clear, several people hoped to go for a walk, as we had really enjoyed the walk up to the ridge the day before, and the beautiful views from the top over the hills. These hopes were dashed when the heavens opened during breakfast, so instead people took the time to get stuck in to some early sewing.

Dorothy showed us some more projects, including her jacket, where she had used discharge paste to great effect. She also showed us more techniques for machine wrapped cords and braids.

We all set to work using knowledge gained over the past day and a bit, and were so engrossed that we didn't notice the coffee being brewed!

Some people worked on bags, while others created fabulous jewellery and panels.

Here are some photos of things we made over the weekend:

Here is a long shot of everything we made:

And here are the 9 of us, happy after a productive weekend:

We had a wonderful time, thank you to Dorothy Symonds for generously sharing her knowledge and expertise, and to all the staff at Westhope, especially Alison and Liz for really making us feel at home.

We are already looking to the future, and planning our next weekend at Westhope in a couple of years time. I have a feeling that that won't come soon enough! If you're interested in having your own weekend (or day!) away from it all making some beautiful crafts, take a look at their website -

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Patchwork Meadow Project - Closing Date Extended

You might be aware of the Patchwork Meadow Project, which aims to celebrate the art, culture and history of wild plants in the places where they grow, among the communities who maintain them.

They are asking people to contribute a square to the meadow, and have extended the deadline to January 2014 for UK contributions.

Corncockle & Pheasant's Eye by Seona Anderson, from Patchwork Meadow
For more information, see here:

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Westhope House and Gardens

If the lovely food and the prospect of all this fabulous sewing isn't tempting you to join us at Westhope next time, here are some photos of the beautiful house and garden.

The whole house is full of beautiful artwork made by Anne Dyer, tutors and students through the time the college has been opened. Every bedroom contains a different set of unique pieces, and the main areas of the house are teeming with inspirational items.

The coffee corner:

The dining room:

The sitting room:

The halls and landing:

And finally, there are some of Anne's lovely sketchbooks in the bedrooms:

We're just about ready to start again, so check back later for another update.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Late night sewing!

Still sewing!

Saturday at Westhope

We have had a lovely day here at Westhope, with Dorothy Symonds, experimenting with heating, embossing and stitching with metals, ranging from drinks cans and tomato purée tubes to posh copper sheeting.

Dorothy brought lots of samples to inspire us:

We spent the morning playing and making samples to use for brooches:

Janet W's brooches:

Dorothy brought her Big Shot embossing machine to texture the metal:

We also experimented with free machining, like Anne's sample with velvet:

Bernadette's beautiful landscape with tree, in progress:

All in all we had loads of fun:


Friday night at Westhope

Everyone arrived safely, and bags and sewing machines were unloaded in the rain, then we all sat down to a cuppa and a slice of cake, with lots of chatting.

There's beautiful things all over the house, including this pile of Seamus Heaney poems, topped with a cone of yarn, which I thought was especially apt, with his recent passing.

At 6.30, the lovely Alison officially welcomed us to Westhope, and went through some of the useful things to know, and then we had a sherry before dinner:

Dinner was amazing, lamb with a redcurrant sauce, potatoes, vegetables and ratatouille, all local produce cooked fresh for us:

It tasted fab too! Chatting continued over dinner...

And dessert, which was a walnut and orange roulade, lovely!

Eventually, at about 10pm, people started heading off to bed, in anticipation of a full day tomorrow.

Friday, 13 September 2013

We've arrived at Westhope!

Eight members and one friend of Birmingham Embroiderers' Guild are spending the weekend being 'Mad About Metal', with Dorothy Symonds, at the wonderful Westhope Craft College.

Anne, Janet, Anna and Heather have arrived, and the college is amazing. To entice you into joining us next time, here are some photos of the lovely, recently refurbished bedrooms:

The whole building is full of beautiful artwork, here are a few examples:

And the garden looks amazing. It's raining rather heavily at the moment, so we haven't ventured outside, but this is the view from the windows:

And here is the work room, where we will be spending two fabulous days:

I will hopefully be blogging over the weekend, so keep an eye on here for future updates.