Monday, 13 July 2009


Margo's talk on talk and slides on the use of embroidery throughout history led her into an interesting account of her work within the field of textiles. For many years she has been in education where she has encouraged her students to push the boundaries of textiles. Her role in the Textile Society has in the past meant she has had the huge role of orgnaising the Antique Fair in Manchester and for anyone who has attended this event will know what a feat that must have been.

This velvet scarf has been wrapped aound a pole before dyeing resulting in this distinctive design. This Arashi technique is common in Japan.

Margo has been involved in two published books, with Mary Syrou on 'Textile Arts - Multicultural Traditions' and more recently as sole author on 'Silk and Velvet'. It was this area that she expanded on during the latter part of her talk.

This is a sample of foiled velvet, a technique that Margo favours in her work.

Printed and stamped velvet that has been made into a bag.

Again foiled velvet that has been made into a handbag which has been machine embroidered over the top.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009


Diane Bates – what a character! Wearing her signature black hat and exhibiting her ‘Babes in Beads’ installations, she entertained our April meeting with stories of her childhood and education.

Then she described how her corsets, costumes and panels are created in intricate 3-dimensional machine embroidery, encrusted with beads and sequins. Often Diane incorporates unlikely materials such as plastic snowflakes and combines them with quality Madeira threads to create her special effects.

None of Diane’s work is ever sold and she does not take commissions as she believes they would be too restricting. Much of her inspiration comes from the natural world and she stressed the importance of revisiting old artwork and embroidery to combine previous ideas with new techniques.

At the website there is information about Diane’s 34-year career in teaching at Bradford School of Art, her qualifications gained at Goldsmith College and Birmingham and her international exhibitions.

Some of Diane’s exquisite drawings and embroidery samples

Photos and examples from Diane’s costume creations

Friday, 20 February 2009

February Meeting

Woven Textures

Weaver Stacey Harvey-Brown brought her ‘Textural Canvas’ to our February meeting. Heaping samples of wool, silk, cotton and synthetic weavings onto her demonstration table, she enthusiastically talked us through her experiments.

Texture and surface pattern are created using special weaving techniques, the natural properties of yarns, plus the services of a washing machine and tumble dryer or in other words differential shrinkage! Stacey then dyes and paints some of her fabrics to create stunning landscape pictures and seascapes. On her website ( she explains that she combines multi-shaft or jacquard weaving, wrapping, dyeing, painting and surface embellishments.

The rich colours and textures of the fabrics are amazing.

Stacey uses the natural colours and textures of yarns as well as dyes to achieve stunning effects.

As soon as Stacey finished speaking, members crowded round to touch and feel the fabric samples.

January Meeting

Travels in Turkey

Our speaker at the January meeting was branch member Carole Biggs, whose skilled photography and entertaining talks have taken us to many exotic places over the years. Carole’s ‘Travels in Turkey’ took her on a round trip starting and ending in Istanbul that was packed with history and interest. Her slides showed us mosques, minarets, bazaars and palaces, a vast salt lake, volcanic tuff, 9th Century rock churches and dwellings, Roman remains and temples. Such inspiration for embroideries and textiles!

Needless to say, Carole couldn’t resist bringing home some goodies. They included pictures, a length of silk, leather bags, onyx beads, a pendant, hats made from hand-made felt and a minutely embroidered boy’s cap.

Carole modelling a Turkish stole and pendant.

Forthcoming textile events

Richard de Peyer, director of The Silk Museum, Macclesfield, attended our January meeting to bring us up-to-date with textile events in the town and surrounding areas:

- The Three Shires Textile Festival – backed by tourist organisations and councils across Cheshire, Derbyshire and Shropshire – promises a whole range of textile-related events between 4 and 19 July. More information is available on the website.

- ‘The Embroiderer’s Eye’ exhibition (11 April to 4 July at The Silk Museum) and accompanying book will feature items from artist and designer Diana Springall’s collection.

- ‘Dye, Print, Stitch’ an exhibition of textiles by Thomas and Elizabeth Wardle follows (11 July to 31 October).

- ‘Colour and Texture in Needlework’ is a day school to be held at the Heritage Centre, Macclesfield on Saturday 4 July. High profile speakers include Diana Springall, Kaffe Fassett, Alistair MacLeod and Edwina Ehrmann. Bookings are already being taken (phone 01625 612045) and the £34 ticket includes buffet lunch and entrance to the Diana Springall exhibition.

- ‘Textile and the Arts and Crafts Movement’, also at the Heritage Centre, takes place on Friday 17 July. Tickets are £19 and include tea, admission to Dye, Print and Stitch, plus presentations by authors Barrie and Wendy Armstrong, Standen National Trust steward Caroline Soles and Brenda King, author and scholar.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Christmas Event 2008

Well done to this table of members as they won the quiz and each received a selection of new DMC threads. The pic shows Hilary handing over the winnings. Each winner was also given a small rose plant as part of their prize. WELL DONE LADIES.

Past chair Margaret juggling with two cups of tea!!!

After a very enjoyable meal members finish off with a cup of tea or coffee and good chat before the quiz.