Thursday, 21 November 2013

Boxes of Delight

There were 34 people at November’s meeting to see Louise Burns’ Boxes of Delight. It was a friendly meeting as we all know Louise as a member of the branch and leader of the Avoncroft Young Embroiderer’s Group.

Louise explained how old etuis- boxes for small sewing supplies had inspired her to make her own themed etui style boxes. A number of years ago at Art in Action, she had seen a box made by a silversmith with pieces attached to chains inside it. She had wanted such a box and not being able to have one, she made her own in fabric and card.

Louise used box templates from Dilys Designs for her first etui.  It was a Christmas box with a miniature Nativity scene in the centre. The fabric has panels of nativity characters and these decorate the sides of the box, inside and out.

Louise is also a miniaturist and dolls’ house enthusiast.

Her next box was inspired by gardens and gardeners and has an insects made at a Heidi Jenkins workshop.

All Louises’ boxes have a surprise in the lid.

Louise incorporated machine embroidery using hot water soluble fabric. Each box takes a number of weeks to make.

The 12 Days of Christmas box has a stumpwork partridge in the lid and a machine embroidered pear tree at its heart.

The music box has embroidered musicians and conductors, whose coats were embroidered separately. It is in the shape of a metronome and has a miniature music stand, music and cello at its heart.

Royal Flush has fabric panels of cards from a pack and a white rabbit. In the centre is a group of sailors playing cards round a table on a mat made for a motif from a beer can.

It was 7 years since Louise made her last box. In preparation for her talk, Louise had made two more.

One of these was a box of drawers using Noah’s Ark fabrics to hold animals made by Joanne Woollard.

Using book fabric along with fabric with text, Louise crafted an attic containing a book press and a bookshelf of books.

Louise also showed us some of her stumpwork- a wooden box with Father Christmas and a child with toys, her ‘And So ToBed’ casket and her stumpwork cockerel in a walled garden.

Louise ended her talk with tips for making your own box.

At the end of the meeting we were all able to get a close look at the boxes on our own tables and by moving round the room.


Everyone enjoyed stroking and buying the fabric Louise had brought.

I think everyone was inspired and wanted to go away and make a box!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Reminder: Metallic Elements with Janet Rose

For everyone who is going to the Metallic Elements dayschool with Janet Rose, the requirements list is here:

The requirements list is quite long, but very informative, so please try to read it before the session!

Please be aware that if you want to use recycled metals, you will need to bring your own puree tubes and drinks cans. The cans have to be aluminium, so Diet Coke/Coke, Carlsberg and other aluminum cans will work, but Pepsi will not.

The recycled metals have to be preheated - see below for Janet's instructions. You can also do this if you have a powerful burner on your gas hob.

Metals are softened when heated (annealing) and copper and brass shim also produce lovely colours. If your metals have not been heated try the following methods before you bring them to the workshop. Always hold the metal in wooden tongs or heat proof glove etc. and have a tray/dish of cold water for emergencies but try to cool the metal down slowly if possible. Using a small blow torch move the flame across the metal shim/mesh until it begins to change colour (copper shim turns orange, followed by pink, blue/green and then darker to burnt the longer you heat it). Too long it will blacken. Start slowly and stop as soon as you have achieved some attractive colouring. A candle or nightlight will also work but more soot is created which can be washed off afterwards. A heat gun can also be used to heat and colour the metal but it takes a little longer and the heat gun needs to be 300watts or higher to be effective. Take care not to have your heat gun on for too long as it may burn out!
Note Puree tubes and drinks cans are aluminium and usually coated with a protective surface. When heating (annealing) make sure you are in a well- ventilated area and wear a mask as protection as fumes can be released. These metals do not usually change colour when heated but they all vary so give them a try. Just take sensible precautions and work slowly and carefully.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Upcoming Open Studios Winter 2013

We are fortunate to have a number of talented textiles artists in the Midlands, and there are a couple of Open Studio days coming up, which will give you the opportunity to see these textile artists in person!

First, on Saturday 30th November, Claire Muir is hosting an Open Studio above Frank Nutt's shop in Kings Heath, from 10am-5pm. Claire is a talented machine embroiderer, and will be coming to speak to the Birmingham Branch next year, so this is a great opportunity to have a sneak peak at her work.

As well as seeing Claire at work, you'll also get to chat to our very own Angela Attwood!

Claire says: "Mulled wine, mulled cranberry juice and mince pies await you along with more delightful Christmas decorations by Angela as well as her newly launched Dandelion Field Project Packs which make perfect presents. Claire’s cards, angels and brooches will also be available along with scarves
by Drop Dead Gorgeous.

Come and have a look around the studio where Claire’s workshops take place and see some machine embroidery techniques being demonstrated. Entrance to the studio is through the red front door to the right of the shop at 5 Poplar Road, Kings Heath, Birmingham B14 7AA"

The second day is being hosted by Ineke Berlyn on Saturday 7th of December, at her Studios at Littleheath Barn in Bromsgrove.

Ineke says: "We're having a bit of a Christmas sale on the 7th December from 10 - 5. There will be a wide variety of items on sale, not just from me but also from creative friends who have pots, pictures, paintings, handmade decorations, kits, bags, iPad and Kindle covers and more.......

Hope you can make it and bring along some friends too!"

Directions to Littleheath Barn:
From M42 Junction 1 roundabout take the turning just before the Harvester towards Burcot, take the third turning left, right at a mini roundabout, past the Littleheath Garden Centre on your left. Continue for another mile or so and we are on your left, past a For Sale sign - before you go under a bridge."


Saturday, 2 November 2013

Lots of Fun at the Library!

We had a lovely time at our inaugural Come Stitch With Us session today at the library. We saw lots of lovely stitching, and took the opportunity to chat and get to know each other better.

Thank you to everyone who came down, it was great to see you.

We'll be back at the Library on the 7th of December (first Saturday of the month), which also happens to be when the German Christmas Market is in town, so it's a great excuse to pop in for some stitching and do a bit of festive shopping at the same time. We hope to see you there!

November Session: Boxes of Delight with Louise Burn

We have many very talented members of the Birmingham Branch of the Embroiderers' Guild, and our November session is another excellent opportunity to enjoy the work of one of these members.

Louise Burn will be known to many members as a fabulous embroiderer, with her Stumpwork garden and chicken winning the first prize at this year's regional day. For our November session, Louise will be bringing her beautiful handmade boxes to share with us. Louise has asked for everyone to be sat around tables so that we can look closely at the boxes, so it will be a great opportunity to see her fabulous stitching.

Louise will also be bringing some of her lovely fabrics to sell, so it would be worth bringing your pocket money!

The session is on the 11th of November, at 7 for 7:30pm at the Friends Meeting House, Cotteridge. Visitors are welcome; the visitors fee is £4 which includes refreshments.

December Competition: Winter Wonders

As is our usual tradition, we will once again be having a Members' Competition at the December meeting. This year the theme is 'Winter Wonders', so we would like to see your embroideries on this theme.

The pieces don't need to be stitched especially for this, so you can look through any work you have completed previously, though there is still time to pick up a needle and thread and stitch up something!

There's no size restriction, so anything from the very little to very large is great. The winner will be decided by members votes, and the prize is a cup to keep for the year.

Looking forward, our 2014 competition themes will be "Happy Days" for July, and "Holidays" for next December, so you could also start thinking up ideas.

We look forward to seeing all your beautiful stitching.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Reminder: Come Stitch With Us at the Library of Birmingham tomorrow

Tomorrow morning, members of the Birmingham Branch of the Embroiderers' Guild are inviting branch members, friends, and any interested members of the public to join us in the first of our regular monthly 'Come Stitch With Us' events at the Library.

We will be on the Mezzanine floor above the library cafe from 11am until about 1pm, and we would love for you to join us. Feel free to bring any stitching projects you are working on, and we will have felt, binca and other activities for both adults and children.

 For more details on how to get to the library, please see their Visitor Guide.

To get to the mezzanine floor, just go through the main doors, turn right past the cafe counter, and then up the stairs in front of you. Alternatively, you can use the lifts to get to the Mezzanine floor; simply come in the main entrance and turn right after the cafe to get to the lift lobby.

See you tomorrow!

Examples of Embroidery Needed

Hi All,

The Committee are looking to take some photos of interesting embroidery made by branch members, to use in promotional projects. Therefore we would be grateful if members could bring an item they have stitched along to the November branch meeting for Heather to borrow and photograph, then return at the December meeting.

We would like a range of items, both 2D and 3D, and hand and machine techniques, to enable us to showcase the wealth of stitching done by branch members.

Could you please bring your item to the November meeting securely wrapped and packaged, and labelled with your name, the piece's title and the technique used, as well as whether you created it at a branch workshop.

Thank you!