Tuesday, 26 January 2016

What a Wonderful Weekend we had - piccies of Stitch Retreat


This last weekend I was leading a Stitch Retreat for lovely Nichola Keeble (http://stitchretreats.co.uk/) at Wyboston Lakes in Bedfordshire (well - I think it is in Bedfordshire .. other possibilities are Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire). Whatever the county - it is a lovely spa hotel and we had a ball. Many of the group came on last years retreat (gelliping) and returned to work with the materials they had made. Then a few brave souls came in cold and hit the ground running - needless to say - they all did quite wonderful work. It was also a good social weekend - much chatting, laughing, late nights and bit of drinking ... so very perfect.
So lets get some images ..

Amazingly, all this lot went in the car ... no wonder it took a day to pack it

A few shots of the girls doing messy play an fabric, paper and in their sketchbooks

Judith caught online .. there again she was so prolific it is probably just as well

proper work now!



our lovely organiser, Nichola

and our Heather - who decorated her hoody as well as her sketchbook with a baby gelli plate

We came back for extra play each evening .. and on Saturday bought some wine with us ... I signed off teaching at 10pm and joined in the colouring .. which lasted until 2am when I really thought we should send our youngest member off to bed ... lovely evening though 

She was a little smidge head-achey, but right back to it Sunday am .. when we did REAL stitching .. a rarity on my workshops I think


Look at all those machines - I felt like a proper tutor

Everyone managed to get their collage down and held together with some good wonky stitching.Here they all are ... some stunning work ..
















So much talent. Most are now ready to take this home and work machine or hand embroidery, together with crayons and coloured pencils to finish them off. They have PROMISED to send me images when they are complete and I will share them here and on facebook.

I have opened a new facebook page just for worky stuff - like exhibitions, workshops, shop and work in progress. It's less manic than my usual page - so maybe those of you who don't really like FB might feel happier there? It is also where I will post news about the new studio I am converting at our new home in Newport, Gwent, and workshops running there. Here is a link:


I can't remember whether I have told you here about the new shop?? It is all up and running and a lot easier to use. Several new products too - so do go and have a look


I'll try and post again soon to tell you all about the new plans now we are moved
Thank you for joining me - Hilary x

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

How about a Retreat in beautiful Wales??

Good news - well I hope it is good news ... there are a few spaces on the Spring Retreat  I am running in May 2016  at the Minerva Gallery in Llanidloes, Wales. The retreat will coincide with a the exhibition 'Identity' by Art Textiles Made in Britain - and all in a stunningly beautiful area of Wales.

 The retreat is entitled 'Sanctuary' and we will be making pages which incorporate the things/places/people/objects which bring you joy, comfort and peace. You can work on individual pages, or in a book, or on khadi or watercolour paper, or canvas; you can use paper or fabric or both: you can stitch and embellish with any ephemera or found objects you may have collected. You can bind the pages, or mount them or make a hanging . or .... . the point is you don't have to make all the decisions at once .. that so often stops us doing anything. We will be printing and painting on day 1, then working up pages for the remaining two days. 

Following are some ideas of things you might try:

Some fabric pages .. using prints I have made of a crab found on the beach - a definite sanctuary place for me. Not sure how I will finish these yet .. may mount on canvas; may make some more an bind together as a book or I may make a soft wall hanging with them .. I can think about it whilst I stitch them  

some khadi paper pages - featuring found objects from nature - picked up when I am walking the dog. Again - not sure yet what these will become - I have many options as above .. but I can keep making them until I decide

These pages are made using opened out blank greetings cards

and I do have a plan for these .. when I have finished them, I shall stick them back to back in a circle like this - to make a circular standing book

I have just made these pages, using gorgeous leaves I have picked up - collecting treasure is another form of sanctuary for me - again, still to decide what I will do with them - they are on khadi - so lots of options

in this case I decided to mount them as a possible finished page - I shall probably put this on canvas after adding some stitch. I made three backgrounds so I can make a set

of course you may choose to make pages direct into a sketchbook - you can always remove them and use them elsewhere .. or you can add other pages you have made into the sketchbook ...so many options


these pages are made using leaf prints .. an activity that I find soothing and replenishing .. another form of sanctuary - I have added in some extra pages with washi tape (I would count washi tape as a treasure too!)


there again - maybe you would like to prepare a books worth of pages to work with - these are khadi paper coloured with neocolour 1 crayons and dye  .. they started as a pack of A5 in two weights. I tore the end off each and then used that to make a spine for the page. These can now be worked into and bound when you are ready


these are also made from A5 papers .. a pack with an assortment of paper types this time. I have used some of the pack to make the spines for this book, so keeping the A5 dimensions


the pages are all still loose - some spines have two or three pages in them 

I can work in to these any way I want .. with paints, dyes gelatos, crayons, collage and stitch and then put the pages together to bind


below is an example of one way you might choose to bind your pages .. I have woven them together 


this is the book - made using a pack of two different sizes of long khadi paper - still easy to work into as it opens right around into a spiral and

another little book option  with the long pieces - a homemade zigzag with pockets

and that is another thing you might like to do - make some zigzag books - these are great for keeping mementos, photos and ephemera in so you can enjoy them every day ....
this little one uses some brooke bond cards of the coast, which I have had stashed  for years ... so much nicer to have them out and enjoy  them

this taller zig zag is made from two little zigzag books stuck together - so I could use my long thin photos of my beloved gulls .. ready to stitch now

a couple more zig zag books - larger this time, both reflecting my love of the coast .. and my boys!

 at the most simple - these are just little pages that I am going to put in some lovely wooden frames I have when they are stitched

maybe you would like to alter a book - one with a resonance for you to contain some of your treasures and images of your sanctuaries

this one is a nature diary - reflecting a passion of mine .. and I have been altering  and working in it  for a couple of years now - just slowly building up images and memories for myself
....some collected twigs and a drawing of them too

beloved echinaceas and the paw print of the artist - from my beloved gelli plate

more gelli prints of leaves - all set up for colouring into

and simple drawings of favourite flowers

this is a new/old book I am altering. It is one of those colouring books that are very popular right now
 ... that spoke to me as I love colouring. I've started gesso-ing some pages and adding bits - in this case from Bettys tearooms - surely the ultimate sanctuary!! I am planning to use this one for my favourite northern haunts and visits

another option (the last for now!!) is a fabric based book. This one is again a beachy one .. the pages are all my own dyed and printed fabrics and like some of the paper books - it is not yet bound, so I can easily work into the pages

some pages are half done - this is a paper thermofax print and some free machine stitcthing

empty pages ready to go

some pages reflecting my love of the boats at the seaside

 at present it is all held together with an elastic band .. when I am ready, I can stitch it all up

The truth is, just making pages and working into my sketchbooks is a place of sanctuary for me. Add in favourite subjects and special things, and make things that keep those close to you and visible ... and you have bought sanctuary right into your home and heart


All details about the retreat can be found on Minerva website .. and booking is via them too. Here is a link: http://www.quilt.org.uk/index.php?topic=workshopdetail&id=82&year=

Hope to see some of you there - our own sanctuary for three days! xx