Monday, 22 December 2014

Season Greetings

Merry Christmas Dear Reader from us all at Textile Maids.

Thank you for taking the time to read our blog throughout the year, we appreciate your company.

Wishing you a joyful festive season and a happy & creative New Year.

Best wishes 
Sue and The Maids

Friday, 28 November 2014

Meeting together

Hello again
We had a really lovely day on Wednesday. Seven Maids round the new table layout which meant that instead of paired tables down each side of the hall they were in a large square with the Maids looking toward each other. It worked really well and meant that during the show and tell session those that wished to could keep sewing. I liked it very much. There is not a lot of work to show yet as everyone is busy researching their chosen theme but what we are seeing looks very interesting indeed. It is great that we have been inspired in very different directions but within the overall confines of Cornwall.
I am looking forward to seeing how Chris tackles her choice of Traditional Cornish Food and Jenni's Portraits is really intriguing.
I took a photo of some of the samples being worked on. There should have been a piece of 'shrink polyester' work but Debbie had an iron malfunction so maybe next time.
Keep looking, the Maids will be blogging in from time to time and once again, Thank you for reading.
November session

Thursday, 20 November 2014



I lost my way a bit this month, my mind has been a buzz with ideas and I am guilty of starting several projects without finishing off one first.  So you can imagine my cupboards and drawers are empty and all my textile and art stuff is out on the spare bed, the table, oops even the floor.  The beige carpet got covered with bright turquoise Brusho powder.  Which took my husband days with the aquavac and gallons of water to reduce to a shadow.

I had an idea to do St Michaels Mount in the sunset.  So off we went to get some pictures. It was a miserable day but all of a sudden the sun came out, bright behind the island in a strange watery light throwing it into a silhouette even though it was daytime.  

So out went the oranges that I intended to use, and instead I painted some Water Taffeta with pale blues, pink and purples.


I added a silhouette of the island, a boat and grasses (artistic licence).


I did get to the point of lacing and framing it - but badly, so I have now to do that again because I am not pleased with it at all. 
But it seems to have been put on the back boiler because my weird fish have taken over.



Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Reporting for duty!

Dear Reader
I am sorry I have left it so long without a report but life, as they say, has got in the way- big time.
I thought long and hard about an aspect of Cornwall that would really grip me and keep me interested for the two years we have to work on it. I wanted something I didn't know a lot about so that I could have the pleasure of researching and exploring, so I chose Cornish moors and heathland. I have never been a great fan of the moors - a bit bleak or the heaths - too samey, but dear reader I was so wrong. I have borrowed several books from the library, bought some, walked on the moors, taken photos and generally immersed myself in all things moory and heathy and am amazed at how much there is to look at. From blogs to in depth archaeological studies, through suggested walks and websites, there is a wonderful world of untapped information for me to enjoy.
I started my work by preparing some good quality watercolour paper by various ways of colouring it - rag rolling, sponging and cling filming the wet paint into pooling. I will be making my own book to use as a scrapbook/ideas journal and have chosen quite a large format- almost A3 landscape. I am not sure yet how I will join them together but have plenty of time to think about it.
My first page is about some of the amazing fungi I have come across. Apparently this year is an exceptionally good one for all thing fungi and I have seen toadstools and mushrooms of all shapes and sizes. Some Beech trees at Golitha Falls (where my camera battery ran out five minutes after I got there!) were covered in beautiful orange/tan/russet fungi.
 I saw these beautiful fly agaric under some conifers last week and just had to use them in my work. I made some potato prints - not too successful, and some pizza base prints - very pleased. Here are a couple of photos of work in progress and today I will start writing on the page!

Thank you for reading the blog
Call back soon, it is our monthly meeting next week and I will encourage the Maids to leave a message here.
pip pip

Work Table

Golitha Falls.
Just on the very edge of Bodmin Moor this is the most beautiful place to visit but wear good boots!  I love the reflections in the water and can see great possibilities for textile art work here.

close up of the prints on paper and various fabric

Thursday, 30 October 2014

New Challenge...

We're back with new vigour fuelled by the success of our exhibition, so I thought it was time to up-date you on our new challenge. You will have seen from Jane's beautiful piece on her last post that we have moved forward from the monthly 12" challenges and decided to work on a two year project. This will give us the opportunity to produce an exciting and varied body of work towards our 2016 exhibition.

Our Topic will be based on 'Cornwall' and each member has chosen their theme. We will work in multiples of 3" with the artist choosing how their pieces will be displayed.
I'll leave it to each member to explain their theme, but here's a taster - Moorland, Heaths, Coast, Surfaces, China Clay, Bark, Beaches, Harbours, Portraits and Country Houses. So, as you can see, there is a wealth of inspiration to look forward too.

Although we are in the very early stages of our 'Cornwall' challenge, when we met yesterday there were already beautiful sketch books and samples to drool over. We may not have as many finished pieces to share with you at first, but hopefully you will enjoy the process as each member develops their own theme. So, please pop back often and watch our journey.

I'll be back soon to share my theme with you, bye for now.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014


Thought I would share my new piece with you.  Its based on the Tall Ships Regatta in Falmouth this year.
I went - together with my husband, dog and hundreds of other people to the point to watch the ships sailing away.
I can hardly describe the atmosphere of the moment the sails started to unfold in any other way but breathtaking.

I started by hand painting some silk, which I sprinkled with dishwasher salt and some table salt. Which was very successful.

I then nearly had to go out to buy a wig, as I was tearing my hair out trying to deal with the tiny foundation pieced mariners compass that I had challenged myself to do.  
It is under 3" diameter and has 32 points.

Next came the sails.  After what I had been through these were the easy part.

So all the elements were ready so it was time to put it together.  I layered it up and I did some machine quilting.
I then wrote some of the lyrics from a Rod Stewart song on the sails.  Some metal fixings and a bit of bling on the compass.

Finished !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and I am really pleased with the result.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Presenting our 'STITCHED ART' Exhibition...

Our challenges were set by each of us putting a selection of words into a tin, every month a new challenge was chosen.

After the Rain

Architectural Structures





Favourite Book







 We also had two outings and used them as our challenges...

Trebah Gardens

Truro Museum

Hope you enjoyed seeing our exhibition pieces. If you would like to leave a comment, we'd love to know what you think.

Bye for now

Saturday, 27 September 2014

The Show is Over...

...but by the response we received I don't think it will be forgotten very quickly. I'm overwhelmed that we had over 500 visitors, considering Heartlands doesn't have any passing trade it's warming to know that number came to see us, from patchworkers to embroiderers to artists travelling from far and wide.

Our visitors book is full of wonderful comments such as inspiring, a high standard of work and the innovative execution of each challenge. Thanks to everyone that came and for the donations to our sewing machine charity.

Please pop back soon when we'll have photos of the exhibition to share.


Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Exhibition love....

Well, it's been a while since I have posted as a Maid (moving out of the area can do that).  But it has been fantastic to see all out work up at our exhibition this week.

What's even better, is hearing and seeing how other people have responded to our work.... And that's exactly what this post is about.  Stephanie over at CraftsandThreads has written a lovely post all about our exhibition, check it out here...

I hope you have all enjoyed the exhibition too, we'd love to know what you think so why not let us know with a comment!?!

- Rebecca 

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Day Two

Dear Reader
I took some photographs of  some of the lovely people who came to our exhibition today and would like to share them with you.
Kim and Christine

Sylvia and Sigrid

Lillian and Barbara

If you can make it, do go to see the work 'in the flesh' we are open all week Monday to Friday 10-4.

Thank you for reading


Friday, 19 September 2014

Installation Day...

I know I'm an old softy and I make no apologises for it. After having the initial thoughts with Carolyn two years ago to start a Textile Art group, I found it quite emotional today seeing our first exhibition come to fruition.
A group is only as good as the people in it and we have been fortunate to have been joined by an amazing group of ladies who have done us proud. Each challenge has been explored with vigour to produce varied and interesting pieces to a high standard. Thank you Maids for your support and making Textile Maids a success, I think our exhibition is looking wonderful.

I don't want to spoil it for anyone coming to the exhibition so this is just a small selection, we have about 120 pieces on show, but we'll put more photos up as the week goes on.

'Stitched Art' Exhibition

'Stitched Art' Exhibition

I must mention the two husbands than came to hang our work today, both called Chris, who worked tirelessly all day, thank you so much you have done an excellent job for us.

There will be two Maids stewarding each day, some of us will have our sketch books for you to browse, so if you are planning on visiting please make yourself known and stop for a chat.

Hopefully tomorrow we will be rushed off our feet, so it's an early night tonight.

Thanks for reading, back soon

Thursday, 7 August 2014



September 20th - 26th at Heartlands, Pool, Redruth

We will be exhibiting over one hundred pieces of Textile Art.
Stewarded daily by two of the artists.

Friday, 27 June 2014

'Doorway' Challenge...

This challenge was inspired by the artists Sans Robinson & Glenn Massey. The aspect of their work which I enjoy is the technique of embedding corrugated cardboard, words and newsprint. I wanted to try incorporating these materials into my textiles and stitch.

I started looking at keys and ornate door fixings...

sketch book work
After working on a mind map my thought lead to dreams and discovery, keys to a doorway that can be unlocked allowing us to be creative.

sketch book mind map
I then sampled a page of mixed media materials, embedding them with PVA, then a covering of gesso and paint.

sketch book sample page
This was completely out of my comfort zone, but that's the point of belonging to this group, to explore, push ourselves, try new techniques and it was great fun, also I like to use things I can recycle.

I sampled this next piece using mixed media as before but this time onto a backing of calico and wadding with a layer of tissue paper applied with gesso, adding machine and hand stitching and 'your dream' cut from a magazine.

At our next meeting it was suggested that I apply this sample onto one of my sketch book pages to create the background, which I've done with foam pads to raise it off the surface and added my cut-out keys to unlock my doorway.

Here's my finished piece mounted onto a painted stretch canvas...


This has been another great challenge that has inspired me to try something completely different and something I want to do more of in the future.

Thanks for reading

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Flaming June

Hello once again Dear Reader
It has been quite a while since I put a piece of my work on the blog but I am very pleased to present my interpretation of the challenge 'Doorway'.
I had already done an old door some time ago for the Revival challenge so thinking of a door but avoiding my preference of an old garden door with planting beyond I immediately thought of the doorway to Hell from Dante's Inferno. You all know the quote - "All hope abandon-ye who enter here".
Dante wrote about several circles of Hell and I have chosen to depict the fiery furnace.
I started with a layer of pre- felt in pink and laid down a full cover of post box red merino tops. the second layer of wool tops were laid crosswise on that base and I used several colours to give the impression of moving flame including yellow, orange, burnt orange, plum, dark brown and black. In amongst the wool tops I put some chiffon -green and red, some threads, some gold threads, bamboo tops and some coloured scrim. After felting I put it through the washing machine spin cycle to tighten it up a bit and behold the piece is ready for embellishing.

Incidentally if you are following our blog you will know that we are collecting money for sewing machines for Africa - well guess what - we have enough for two and a half machines already!  
Thank you to all Maids who bring unwanted items for the sales tables and the Maids who buy them.
Thanks for reading
Toodle pip

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Skin/Coverings Challenge...

I've previously mentioned that I wanted to re-visit my sketch book for our new challenges, to expand my ideas resulting in a different outcome.
So for this next challenge I dipped into my Pompeii sketch book. My starting point was the covering of Ash that fell over the entire city and suffocated all its inhabitants.

But what to put under the Ash?

I had already done a sample of free machining onto painted vanishing muslin and fabric, depicting the elaborate mosaic design from The House of the Large Fountain.

sketch book sample
This was a beautiful site and amazing that it stood there for us to admire after the terrible disaster that took place in 79AD.

The House of the Large Fountain Mosaic
I liked the above sample but decided to use my hand dyed colourful fabrics for the background to show the richness of their décor, layered with painted vanishing muslin for texture.

To represent the Ash I chose mono printed fabric and grey fabric, which was a piece I had rusted but thought the rust marks would represent the lava falling onto the city, this is beginning to sound very grim but hopefully that's not how you will view the finished work.
However, after the background mosaic design was stitched and zapped with a heat gun, the Ash fabrics and hand dyed scrim was layered with wadding and free machine quilted onto the mosaic background, revealing what was...

'Under the Cover of Ash'
Thanks for reading

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

A Merry Meeting in May

Here we are again, Dear Reader with an update on the on-going saga of the 'Preparation for the Exhibition'.
Not quite so many Maids at this month's meeting but we had a great time and once again some really awesome work has been produced. 


We have a stunning peacock inspired one. a beautiful, blue fishy one. a super dressing up with a lovely 3D dress one ( I think it was a Great British Sewing Bee moment Sue), an amazing volcanic visitation one and a creepy dinosaur/lizard/crocodile one.
Chris once again spent most of the day taking photographs - she is tireless! Thank you Chris.
Our sales table this month took on a particularly green hue with several plants for sale. Maids left the meeting clutching their Cosmos, Verbena, Borage, Amberboa, Echium, Ipomoea and Runner Bean plants.
You may remember that we are collecting money to buy one or more sewing machines to send to Africa and our little sales table each month is slowly getting us there. There will be an opportunity to donate to this very worthwhile cause at our exhibition and I hope people with help us to help communities struggling against the odds. It will be great to think that while we are using our machines in Fraddon someone half a world away will be  using a machine we have provided them so that they can provide for their family.
No more challenges now, just completing those unfinished ones and re-doing those that are not quite the business. It really is an exciting time.
If you have been following us on our (sorry Debbie) journey, you may think you have seen it all and don't need to come to Heartlands in September but, Dear Reader you would be wrong.
 So, check the dates in your diary - September 20th -26th Heartlands, Pool, Redruth, and remember - you ain't seen nothing yet!
Thanks for reading

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

My trip to Malvern

Dear all,

As you may know I went to the Malvern quilt show two weeks ago for my first time. There was some interesting work and I took a few photos of the ones I liked...
Hope you enjoy seeing them, Chris