Saturday, 27 June 2015

Amazing and inspirational Advanced Level Textiles from Robert Smyth Academy

Last week our Embroiderers' Guild hosted the Advanced Level students from Robert Smyth Academy and their teacher, Andria Pott. Each year we raise money to make textile awards to AS Level and A2 students, with a special emphasis on stitch. We wanted to find ways to encourage textile work in Schools and we're delighted that the Acedemy were keen to take part.
One way we do this throughout the year is to send our "spare" fabrics and threads up to the school to add to the range and choice of materials available for students to work with. Even if you don't have any formal links with schools in your area you could find out if their textiles departments could make good use of donated fabrics and threads!
The students brought their three project sketchbooks and the practical realisation pieces to display and, following their teacher's introduction to the course and details of Advanced Level expectations, students spoke about their work. their inspiration, the research and experimentation and issues that they encountered in the process. Their confidence, in presentation and with the work was impressive and it was so good to see their willingness to approach technique without fear and with "what if..." As as key part of the process. 
I was particularly impressed with their sketchbooks, stunning artworks in their own right, they demonstrated the degree of research and experimentation that underpinned every piece of work on display. Earlier in the year the students had joined us for a monthly meeting when Ruth Singer was our speaker and it was fascinating to see how they had used that, and her workshop with them in their work. They were a breath of fresh air because they had not yet been told or persuaded that "you can't do that....."
Many of us were very envious of these student's access to a course like this as most of us had had a dressmaking focus to any needlework classes as school.
Here are some images of the evening.

And finally, the talented students and their teacher!

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Catherine Nicholls at The Bramble Patch

The "Strawberries and Cream" exhibition this year featured a small collection of work by Catherine Nicholls and Edwina MacKinnon. 
I was very drawn to the muted colours and architectural details that underpinned the pieces on show. I have twice wanted to take a course with Catherine and failed because of diary classes so reinforced my interest in finding a suitable chance to follow through.

The following pieces by Catherine and Edwina were inspired by the same place, giving a fascinating snapshot of the way different people respond to the same imagery.

Catherine 's piece

Edwina's piece.

The strong colours and line in the next piece reminded me that complexity of construction and or stitchery is not necessary when the image is so dominant.

Finally I was intrigued by the piece inspired by rock dwellings. Here is what Catherine wrote about them:

Here is the piece.

I was luck to see all of this with two fellow quilters and enjoy discussion about the work as well as bumping into others I know. I love the sociability of quilters!