Workshops & Talks 2021

February 2021 ZOOM TALK with Hilary Naghashi “Persian Delights” (report by Mal Ralston)

February’s talk was by Hilary Naghashi who showed us photographs of the Iranian landscape and gave us an insight into Persian textiles. The landscape was wild and beautiful and mainly unchanged for years and, in the current circumstances, it was lovely to see something other than Liverpool! Hilary and her family travelled around in a beaten up car where she had to hold onto the handle to keep the door shut! Family connections gave her greater access to some of the nomadic people,although sometimes she was unable to take photographs.

Some of the people lived in yurts, well insulated with fleeces and decorated with textiles hanging from the roof. They are still able to weave textiles and dye wool with basic equipment out in the countryside. The rug weaving is mainly done by the men, and they have achieved great speed. The quality of the textile can be determined by the number of knots at the back.The motifs on the rugs or textiles are naive and sometimes the number of legs on an animal depend on the available space! The camels are distinctive and all motifs charming. The colours are bright and inviting, though not always light fast. Many textiles are cut from a large roll so any size can be purchased. The vendors seem to be arranged by trade into the streets, for example a street of traders selling tools, followed by a textile street, then perhaps a street of food vendors.

We were also shown photos of recycled textile hangings. These were made from pieces of used tunics sewn together in a patchwork arrangement. Nothing goes to waste.

The buildings were also of interest. Local customs meant restrictions on talk between men and women. Some mothers in law wore scarves across their faces and their sons in law had never heard them speak in many years of living together. Many properties had a double door with a different knocker on each side, one for females to use, the other for males. The different sounds meant that whoever was inside would know whether it was a man or woman at the door and send the appropriate person to answer.

The camels were well decorated with colourful woven bands decorated with metal tassels. Many of these tassels found their way into the markets where they were sold as earrings.

We were shown some slides of the Ali Qapu palace with many fine decorative arches inside. These provided the inspiration for some textile pieces that Hilary had made, and it could be seen that both the architecture and the naive motifs could be used as a starting point for our own work. The textiles were bright and colourful and Hilary’s talk gave us a good insight into Iranian life and was very well received.

January 2021 ZOOM WORKSHOP by Jenny O’Leary “Laminated Tissue” (write-up by Olive Halsall)

 Jenny O’Leary’s Zoom workshop was a great success with many attendees and some from other guilds attending. The session started at 10.00am with a break for lunch then continued 2pm till 4pm.

In the period for lunch we were able to chat with each other- during this lockdown period a bonus. We could either take part in the workshop or watch the carefully planned session.

Tissue paper was the main medium used and Jenny had an array of uses designs  which were inspirational. She showed step by step the method she used to dye dilute,tear, and design using stamps etc and how each reacted to different methods. At the end work was shown and each person had a different aspect of the methods used. 

Jenny then showed more ways in which we might experiment going on to use this technique and was open to more questions on the workshop .

Thank you Jenny for a lovely day.

Here are some photos from people who attended this workshop. If you would like your photographs to be included here please send them to

Pat attended the Zoom workshop. She says –

My granddaughter and I made a 3D butterfly out of the papers. Not what I had in mind but she needed a 3D insect for a school project!

Barbara attended the Zoom workshop. She says-

Sorry I’m a bit late with this- I was so busy yesterday.
The first two are the layered tissues. I polished them up a bit with Liquiblend wax that’s not the same as Acrylic Wax but had to do. The dotty pattern on the first one was a carpet rubbing with sennelier oil stick, inside the sandwich. It showed up more opaque than the oil pastels.
The second two photos are single sheets that I also stencilled with Milton and painted with procion dyes and the red one was rollered with a pattern wheel that I’d dipped into wax then sprayed with Milton and also painted. For me, the single sheets are more useful. I do painting in oils with cold wax as well as stitching work, so I can use bits for a last thin collage layer, and use bits backed with Misty fuse for machine stitch work.
I really enjoyed the day. Thanks for organising and spreading it out to other groups. I’m in the Birkenhead group that meet at the Williamson museum and gallery – sadly under threat of closure again.

Sue attended the Zoom workshop. She says-

I really appreciated the invite to the Jenny O’Leary workshop thank you and thoroughly enjoyed the session. I thought it worked extremely well and hope to join in on more of the same if possible. I have included some of my results and hope to use them in sketchbooks and textile work. I am a lapsed member of Preston EG and now I intend to rejoin, so thanks again.