13 December 2011

Christmas Cards

Christmas cards!!  As always the exchange of cards is an absolute delight; we love the anticipation, the excitement and element of surprise.  Every year is different, every card is different but that is the beauty of being part of a creative group!  Happy Christmas!!

3 December 2011

Looking Back Over 2011

2011 has been an eventful year for Cheshire Textiles.  We have had two very successful exhibitions, one at Jobling Gowler in Macclesfield and the second at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery.  Not only have we made sales but we have received some very positive and encouraging comments and in both cases have been invited back!
On a different note we were sorry to hear Jenny Legge wanted to move on from the Group and pursue other interests.  After 23 years of being an active member it was a difficult decision for her to make but we will keep in touch and she is included in our Christmas celebrations!  Maureen and Jenny, almost original members have very much helped shape the Group, they will be missed!

We welcome two new members, Sue Dunbar and Shirley Coleman; they  have been with us a little while and are making an excellent contribution to the Group. We are looking forward to our Christmas party and 2012!!

18 November 2011

Maureen Galbraith

Earlier this year we were all very shocked and saddened to hear of the death of one of our 'treasured' members, Maureen Galbraith.   Maureen, a skilled feltmaker played an important role within Cheshire Textiles for many years and she is dearly missed.  The images included here are a reminder of her work and love of felt.  Click on the image to open the page.

2 November 2011

The Sound of Water; a Fun Workshop


How often do you try and draw what you hear; isolating sound from its' usual  function of reinforcing what is seen? To further our own personal experience and knowledge of 'Water', the chosen theme for our next exhibition, we took on the challenge!  Simply, it was a mark making exercise, an immediate response to a series of sounds generated by agitating water and listening to music inspired by the sea.  It was a fun session and as can be seen from the images, we accumulated quite a pile of expressive marks!

Bridget organised an on going collaborative piece where we added collage to change a surface.  Over the next few weeks we will continue adding and working into it; the aim is to enjoy the process and not produce a finished piece!

We are almost into the last week of our exhibition 'Mark in Stitch' at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery.    Buxton is a Spa Town set in the beautiful Peak District, visiting the exhibition would make a lovely day out!

                                         Mark in Stitch ends Saturday 12th November 2011

19 October 2011

Come and meet some of Cheshire Textiles!

Thursday, 27th October, 2-4pm
Buxton Museum and Art Gallery
An opportunity to meet and talk to some of the members of Cheshire Textiles.  

The exhibition continues until November 12th

6 October 2011

The Creative Mind

'Am amazed at what the creative mind can come up with'  !!

This was one of the many lovely comments written in our visitors book at BUXTON MUSEUM and ART GALLERY, in response to our current exhibition, 'Mark in Stitch'.  The exhibition is upstairs in the main gallery - there is a stair lift - and there are cards for sale in the shop downstairs.

As textile artists we all have a passion for stitch. This has been the starting point for many of us but as the exhibition shows we have extended our interests, incorporating different media and techniques well beyond the traditions of embroidery.  Surfaces are painted and manipulated, photographs worked like fabric, hand made paper stacked and laminated, found objects made precious and who would have believed the domestic printer could print on fabric and beyond the normal A4!!  Many, many inspirational ideas, just call in and see!!

The exhibition closes on November 12th but you can meet some of us on
THURSDAY, 27th OCTOBER, 2-4pm when we are having another Meet the Artist Day.  

5 October 2011

Royal Society of Arts

We are all delighted to hear Hilary has recently been honoured with a very special award, Life Membership of the Royal Society of Arts!!  Her link with the society came about when she worked for a bursary during her degree course, Contemporary Crafts at MMU.  During this time Hilary was able to research Japanese traditions and techniques used in both textiles and metalwork.

Yesterday Hilary gave us a very interesting talk about her work and showed us some of her lovely examples (photography by Elizabeth).  With references to hidden thoughts and camouflage, her beautiful tactile pieces show a clever combination of materials and an in depth knowledge of Japanese crafts.

Must add that the exquisite tray cloth under her pieces was worked by Hilary's mother when she was at the Royal School of Needlework.

18 September 2011

Trebah Garden

Trebah Garden, near Falmouth, Cornwall is the source of inspiration for Rowena Ardern's latest exhibition 'Natural Interioers'.  Working from her many drawings and photos Rowena has produced a series of lively and colourful designs for use on fabrics, furniture and ceramics.  Her collection can be seen at the Visitors Centre in Trebah Garden until 2nd October 2011. http://www.trebahgarden.co.uk/

Bit too far for me to travel to see Rowena's exhibition at the moment but I have seen some of the work during the making and it is indeed like a breath of fresh air.  She has a sensitive approach to drawing which is beautifully translated with stitch and colour showing a natural empathy with plant life.  Please leave a comment if you manage to see the exhibition.        Jen

To see further work by Rowena Ardern please follow the link to her website http://www.rowenaardern/.com

14 September 2011

New Exhibition!

Saturday was the opening of our latest exhibition 'Mark in Stitch' at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery.
Always an exciting occasion when we see the work displayed on the walls for the first time;  Martha and her team at Buxton have done well!

The gallery is a nice open space with good spotlighting ensuring that every piece can be seen properly; a necessity for textile enthusiasts who like to consider the materials and techniques each artist has used!  For variety of wall hung pieces, this exhibition will not disappoint.

 The image above gives a little taster of what is on view.  Sylvia's brightly coloured canvas worked with alpaca fleece describes the wonderful colours and experiences she enjoyed when visiting her daughter in New Zealand earlier this year.  From the left it leads onto Hilary's beautifully hand embroidered natural history images collected from around the world.  Next is Bridget's sensitive response in paper and stitch to loss and the relevance of objects when dealing with loss.  The space surrounding her manipulated paper hangings is an integral part of this piece offering quiet contemplation and reflection. On a lighter note Val's garments always bring a smile, full of anecdotes and images from the 1950's and 1960's; things we remember ourselves or from the stories we have heard.

There is much more to see, seven more artists work as well as more of both Sylvia's and Val's; it is well worth the visit and Buxton has plenty of coffee shops!!

Please follow the link for Buxton opening times, the exhibition is on until 12th November and we are having another Meet the Artist Day, Thursday 27th October 2-4pm.   Jen

7 September 2011

Preparing for 'Mark in Stitch'

September has arrived bringing strong winds and rain, whatever happened to summer?  Despite the lack of sunshine, yesterday was a pleasant journey across the Cat and Fiddle road over to Buxton, where our next exhibition begins on Saturday.  At this time of the year the purply heathers enhance the wonderful autumnal colours of the moorland.

Three cars were needed to transport the work and we were very grateful for the assistance Buxton gave us in unloading and taking it up the stairs into the gallery.  Members of Cheshire Textiles are brilliant at packaging with specially made calico bags and ingenious boxes for the unframed pieces.  As always it is exciting to reveal the finished work because in many cases we might share initial ideas and thoughts but much of the work is done in our own work place.

After delivering and unpacking, Buxton now has unenviable task of displaying it!  With their expertise I am sure they will do a lovely job.  We have included sketch books for the cabinets and artists books full of samples and text for the visitors to enjoy and understand a little of how we arrive at the finished pieces!

Please do visit the exhibition Mark in Stitch at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery.  It starts Saturday 10th September when some of Cheshire Textiles will be available for a chat between 2 and 4pm. 
Exhibition continues until Novemebr 12th.  Jen

12 August 2011

Next Exhibition

What a lovely invitation!  It is all thanks to Grazyna who has created this special invitation for our next exhibition coming up soon! 

20 July 2011

Art in Action - first visit!

Getting quite excited, only one day left until my very first visit to Art in Action.  I know lots of people who have been before and it comes highly recommended!

Established in 1977, (I was only 11 years old then!) the four day event continues to grow in success.  Hosted by Waterpenny House, near Oxford, I hear it is very well run, well attended and has an amazing atmosphere.
This year it starts Thursday 21st July and continues until Sunday 24th July.

The programme looks stunning with over 170 artists from various disciplines, demonstrating their skills and over 100 artists/designers/makers selling their work in the market.  Then there is the house and gardens, a variety of live music and dance performances, story telling etc........  I know one day will not be long enough!!

I'm particulalry looking forward to seeing textile artists Dionne Swift, Roanna Wells and Pat Hodson as well as the installation by Rebecca Glover, glass by Rachel Welford and Paperworks/books by Sarah Morpeth.
Oh and not forgetting the artist who gave me my very first job - David Firmstone!

My mouth is watering with the thought of so much creativity in one place!

If you are going too .......ENJOY !!                Bridget

16 July 2011

Bees in Manchester

The flowers in my garden have been beautiful this year, probably all down to the warm spring.  Unfortunately many have been battered this weekend with the heavy showers but it was good to look back over my photographs and remember the tall fox gloves and the heavy headed pink poppies that spread like weeds but create a wonderful splash of colour.  Great plants for attracting the bees.

I discovered yesterday that simple gold coloured linear images of bees are scattered around Manchester and are apparently a symbol of the city that was adopted during the Industrial Revolution.  It was during a guided walk that I had joined to look at the magnificent architecture, when I kept coming across the symbol on small black posts used to direct and protect pedestrians.

The bee denotes Mancunians hard work during the Industrial Revolution and how Manchester was a 'hive' of activity during this period! 
How many times do we walk with a purpose, head down, on a mission and miss so much?  The walk was part of  Manchester's Festival and it certainly helped open my eyes to what is above my head!  Jen

25 June 2011

MMU degree show

 Some seven years after completing my degree at Manchester Metropolitan University, I still get a pang of excitement when I enter the Cavendish Building.  I loved the whole experience, the journey, with all its' challenges and rewards. The journey was hard work and at times stressful, trying to meet deadlines and juggle family life too but it helped steer what was a life long passion into a something more worthwhile.  Stitch for me is no longer just about the technique, it has become a tool for expressing my thoughts and ideas. Paper has become my 'fabric'.

The 2011 Embroidery degree show has just finished and as always did not fail to delight.  Probably less stitch and less of the decorative than I have seen in past shows but non the worse for that.  When I was in my final year, we spent nine months working towards the final outcome and no it doesn't always come together in time!  The final show is only a snippet of what has gone before and hopefully the spring board for further creativity. I wish all the students well for the future.   Jen

19 June 2011


I've just had a few days in London catching up with family and of course taking in some of the major exhibitions but it isn't these I want to talk about.  It was one I stumbled across by accident when I was at the British Museum, 'Baskets and belonging: Indigenous Australian histories' which is on until early September and well worth a visit.  The museum is celebrating an Australian season and as well as baskets, there are Australian plants and lanscape in the forecourt and a selection of drawings and prints by Australian artists.

I love baskets, the careful selection and manipulation of fibres worked with great skill and dexterity to create a form that can be both functional and beautiful.  The ones displayed are all from the museum's collection, supported with text explaining something about their history.  Sadly no photography but I have included one of my own images from a beginners workshop I did last year in Alsager with Christine Redstone at the Redstone Centre.  Mine is on the right, the one looking like a bad hair day!  It was a fun weekend but I concluded to do it properly I would need a large studio with plenty of storage space for materials!!   Jen

12 June 2011

Moving On

It took three of us, an hour yesterday morning to take down the exhibition at Jobling-Gowlers and pack it all up.  Not that we didn't have many pieces to pack but it was more attributable to the system we use in Cheshire Textiles!  The wall pieces go into bubble wrap packaging or simple cotton bags and then into more substantial padded bags which all must be labelled with the artists name and name of the piece.  It is a bit nit picky but it is a system that works and it avoids being left with a tiny bit of bubble wrap far too small for the last bit of wrapping.  Our packaging is always greatly admired, wonder if it could be part of an exhibition one day!!

It has been a lovely exhibition in Macclesfield and as mentioned before it has received some fabulous coments which is always a boost.  We even had some sales!!  Replacing us is Jobling-Gowlers open competition 'Plains and Peaks' which begins next Friday at the start of Barnaby, Macclesfield's festival.

Next stop is Buxton Museum and Art Gallery 'Mark in Stitch' which begins 10th September and runs until 12th November.  We are producing some new work, watch this space and I will keep you updated with our progress.   Jen

1 June 2011

last opportunity!!

Our exhibition, 'Threads Together' currently at Jobling-Gowler in Macclesfield - follow the link for full address and details - is on its' final stretch!  The exhibition closes on June 10th.

I've included another image, this time of one of the cabinets which shows mainly Grazyna's vessels and Jenny's figures.  The vessels are fabric, some adorned with intricate pen and ink detail but at first glance it is easy to mistake them for ceramics.  Jenny's quirky figures make me smile, the ones shown here are brightly coloured and as always a lot of thought goes into choosing an appropriate and humorous title!

We haven't done touring exhibitions for some time but maybe Cheshire Textiles should consider this for the future.  A lot of work goes into each exhibition, pieces are carefully selected and it is a shame we can't share it with more people.          Jen

31 May 2011

Cloud Nylon: The Jewellery of Nora Fok

Several members have been over to Ruthin Craft Centre to see this fabulous exhibition showing the intricate work of Nora Fok.  Her wearable, sculptural pieces have all been handcrafted from nylon microfilament using techniques like knitting, weaving, knotting, tying and plaiting.  The exhibition is beautifully presented and backed up with samples and details of how the work is created.  It also gives an insight into Nora's early life, showing what can be achieved with perserverance and determination.

Sadly I can't include any images but it is worth checking out Nora's website or Geraldine Curtis's images on Flikr.com.  As a Harley Gallery touring exhibition it will soon be moving on from Ruthin - closes 4th June but it is back in the northwest later in the year at the Touchstone Gallery.  Well worth a visit!   Jen

24 May 2011

Inspiration in Cornwall

On the theme of ideas I've just returned from a few days in the Penwith district of Cornwall.  I had hoped to find a few beachcombings to add to my store of 'found objects' but all accessible beaches seem to be kept very clean and tidy!   However, there is inspiration everywhere as my two images of Newlyn junkyard show!

The current exhibitions at the Tate St Ives didn't appeal but we found a wonderful Open Art Exhibition at the St Ives Society of Artists Gallery; http://www.stisa.co.uk/ including a textile piece by Sue Dove.  I spent a happy weekend at Sue's doll making workshop at the Jinney Ring Centre in 2001.  Now back to work, refreshed!!



21 May 2011


In response to our current exhibition at Jobling Gowler's in Macclesfield, a friend asked where do you all get your ideas from?   Good question, where do creative people find inspiration and how is the inspiration then turned into a piece of work?

 In 2003 I was lucky enough to hear Alexander McQueen talk about his work at the British Museum and this was one of the questions put to him.  His reply was that inspiration is all around us and ideas can come from something as simple as an image or as complex as an event but they must be allowed to evolve. He actually likened it to a 'cake mixture' when ingredients are gathered together and as one idea fuels another, the cake rises!  McQueen is very much in the news again with Kate Middleton's wedding dress and his retrospective 'Savage Beauty' at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, which has received amazing reviews.  Hope it will travel across the water, it would be an exhibition not to be missed!!

Rocks, coastlines and erosion are my source of inspiration at the moment and where better to be inspired but our own country!    A camera is a useful tool when time is limited - these two images were taken in Llandudno.    Jen

14 May 2011


Went over to Macclesfield yesterday to see how our exhibition at Jobling Gowler's is getting on and to pick up any useful feedback.  Some lovely comments in the visitors book, the exhibition is obviously bringing a lot of pleasure to those who see it.  Usually we exhibit in fairly large gallery spaces but Joblings is a working office with a big reception area and several small consulting rooms which creates a more intimate environment.  This setting enables the viewer to look more closely at the work and imagine it in their own home, as the above image of Jean's machined embroidered piece shows. 

The exhibition closes on June 10th so please go along and be inspired or just enjoy but don't forget to sign the visitors book!

4 May 2011

Business Meeting

A very busy couple of weeks with Easter, Bank Holidays, The Royal Wedding and of course the lovely sunshine. So many enjoyable distractions but our business meeting soon brought us back into 'work mode'!

It made us proud to discuss the reaction we have received towards our exhibition 'Threads Together' at Jobling-Gowler in Macclesfield but as Jenny concluded 'No time to rest on our laurels'! And we certainly haven't. Our next exhibition is coming up fast. It is in Buxton at the Museum and Art Gallery, 10th September - 12th November 2011.

September seems like months away, the end of the summer but as with all exhibitions full details of what will be included in the exhibiton has to be handed to the gallery well in advance. In fact the image for the exhibition publicity was selected at the end of January. I have included Grazyna's image, part of which was chosen to go into the 'What's On' brochure. Follow the link and see the image in situ.

26 April 2011

'Threads Together'

Cheshire Textiles Exhibition at Jobling-Gowler in Macclesfield has received good reviews, some of which I will post later.
Exhibition is open from 11th April - 10th June 2011
Monday - Friday 9.00am - 4.30pm

17 April 2011

Exhibition 'Threads Together'

Cheshire Textiles have a fabulous exhibition on at the moment in Macclesfield.  It is at Jobling-Gowler, 250 Park Lane, SK11 8AD For details see www.art@250parklane or follow the link