Workshops and Talks 2022

April 2022 TALK “Textiles- an Artistic Journey” by Beverley Saville (report by Miranda Farby)

Beverley Saville describes herself as ‘an artist and maker’ and that art is about who we are. She can’t ever remember not doing some form of art and was always in trouble with her mum for making a mess! She took us with her on her artistic journey, from her beautiful paintings to felt making and free motion machine embroidery which explore her love of landscape and nature. Beverley’s textile art was inspired firstly by her work teaching children to explore art, revealing the ‘joy of the young children’ who were exploring and doing, without worrying about what the art looked like.

Then Beverley found the ‘fire in her belly’ after a course with Emily Notman, where she found she could be more playful with fabric and paint, sharing her own exuberance and joy in making. Beverley is resourceful and uses many of her conventional painting supplies for her textile pieces and let us peek into her workspace. She encouraged us, as artists, to explore art in general as inspiration.

Her top tips were to ‘put your time into the actual work’ not learning loads of techniques, to control the colour palette to achieve impact and get ‘rhythms of colour’ into pictures to draw the eye. Finally, Beverley suggested it was critical to assess throughout the process, stand back and consider how to make the piece better, using a picture mount to help with this. Beverley’s talk certainly gave us all some impetus and fire to get going with our own pieces, especially thinking about September’s exhibition in All Hallows!

March 2022 WORKSHOP “Fabulous Pouches” with Diane Moore (report by Sarah Lowes and photographs by Diane Moore)

Many people in MEG shudder when they hear the word ‘zips’ – I’m one of them, so I thought it would be good for me to go along to this workshop run by the super-efficient Diane Moore and overcome this phobia…

You will be amazed to hear that I exited with a lovely pouch with a fully functioning zip, decorated with the ‘flip and stitch’ method! I thoroughly recommend flip and stitch because it’s a wonderful way to use up all your left-over strips of fabric. You place a strip of fabric down facing RS up. Next, you place a different one on top of it with its WS facing up. Now sew a narrow seam down the right hand side and open up – hey presto! You can keep placing on extra strips for as long as you like. Make sure to press each one open.

To decorate these panels further we used decorative machine stitches and couched threads.

Diane walked us through every step of the process of making linings and attaching the zip which seemed very complicated to me but I’m sure seemed pretty obvious to others. Everybody’s pouch worked out well, no one broke their zip and everyone went home happy.

Our tutor was very experienced, well prepared with inspiring examples of her work and her friendliness and patience gave us all the confidence we needed.

January 2022 TALK “An Embroiderer’s Tale by Tina Saunders (report by Kim Parkman)

We were treated to a talk from Tina Saunders, who currently runs Needles and Sparkles in West Kirby. The tale of her career development was certainly different, and some of the tales were very funny!

Being entirely self-taught, she applied for an apprenticeship at the Royal School of Needlework in Hampton Court, and was accepted. The variety of work undertaken looked daunting, and Tina showed examples from each part of the three-year course. Not many students would have chosen to do a model of the old Wembley Stadium as their 3-D piece, but she seemed to have an ability to give an original twist to her portfolio.

We realised that getting started in a textile career involved a lot of hard work, and some lucky breaks. In the cut-throat world of fashion, Jimmy Choo’s kindness stood out. Tina worked on embroidering shoes, and then branched out with free-lance work with various bespoke companies and stage productions.

In 2007, the call came to work for the Queen on tour outfits and evening gowns, and we had a fascinating glimpse of the work that goes on behind the scenes, getting everything ready for such important occasions. There were also special one-off commissions for the Commonwealth and Olympic Games, where even the staff were unaware of the reason behind some unusual requests.

Eventually this period came to an end, and Tina went back to freelancing, before re-locating to the Wirral and starting her own business. Her expertise will be shared when she returns to MEsG in July to teach the intricacies of tambour beading.

“From Postcard to Stitch” Members’ Challenge for Christmas. Members were given randomly postcards of classic paintings to interpret in their own way. Due to ongoing circumstances the  voting for this challenge was delayed until our January meeting.