Friday 21 September 2012

Background to Patchwork shoes

At the recent Thames Valley Contemporary Textiles meeting in September, we were lucky to have a demonstration of cyanotype (blueprint) by Barbara Gunter-Jones. Very appropriately, I can now share the work in progress images of Sheila Dunscombe's patchwork shoes which very effectively used this technique. This piece and the rest will be on show to the public again from Wednesday 19 September to Friday 26 October 2012 at the National Needlework Archive in Newbury.

This is the Slough Museum Handling collection box which inspired Sheila. It is a box of Victorian Dolls Clothes, including dresses, a corset and shoes. This was the most popular inspiration from the Handling Collection as it inspired Sheila, Sandy Snowden and Chris Day. A close up of the shoes is below.
These immediately gave Sheila a focus on shoes, as she remembered her great-grandmother's hand-sewn doll's shoes

Sheila also decided to use her Great Grandmother's patchwork coverlet and doilies, in the work. (above)
Digital negatives were made of a family group photo and Sheila's photo of the coverlet, here placed on treated fabric for making a cyanotype/'sun-print'.

 This is the preferred print with doilies, though rather dark

To highlight Alice and Sheila's grandfather she added a cut-out from what she originally thought was a poor print, but which is in fact exposed much better for the image.

Sheila notes that: "Incidentally - the reason I thought the 'cutout' print poor was because its left-hand third was very pale, due to an uneven treatment of the fabric. So I used the 'good' bit! A similar but lesser fault can actually be seen down left side of the dark/doily print used (later disguised with long fabric strip of bow). I do think it's strange how the two left figures only show up clearly in flash photos, not 'in the flesh'!"

The pattern for the 3-dimensional part of the design was based on Sheila's daughters first shoe. I love the way the connections in this piece go through five generations of her family from Sheila's Great Grandmother down to her daughter. It was made using patchwork cyanotype, polyester sateen-backed 'suede', and knitted copper-wire tubing.

A pin cushion was made to go inside the shoe. It was stuffed with gathered sheep's wool.

 Finally here is Sheila stitching the piece on to a canvas panel, and the finished work. A small bow is now on insole/heel, with embroidered initials "A H" (Alice Hanks). The "A" on pincushion echoes old pin-messages, using applique pins.


Thank you Sheila for sharing these photographs!

Thursday 3 May 2012

Lots going on ...

A selection of work is currently on display to 1000+ pupils at Langley Academy. The Academy has a special focus of Museum Learning and has links with Slough Museum which meant they were very excited to be able to show some of the Whatever floats your boat ... work in their gallery space. The Academy also has students that are studying textile art and Suzie Parr said that these students will be particularly interested to see the work of our artists.

Then we will be working towards a bigger and better show of work at the National Needlework Archive in September. We are keen to encourage people who haven't already participated to think about creating something for the exhibition, and encourage those who have to develop their work in some way and create companion pieces that further explore the inspirations or techniques used already.

Friday 27 January 2012

Inspire Mark extended!

With the good news that the exhibition will be touring to the National Needlework Archive in Newbury in the autumn, I'm pleased to say that our 'Inspire Mark' award has been extended to the end of 2012. So pat yourselves on the back - we are well and truly part of the Cultural Olympiad of 2012.
The project will also continue to inspire young people because a selection of work will be going to Langley Academy for use as inspiration for art and art textiles students.

Thursday 1 December 2011

Quick photos of the work on view in Bracknell

Because most of the time the exhibition will be 'view through window only' we tried to put small things in the window so they had as much chance to be seen as the larger wall pieces. Already whilst hanging it we had people asking when it would open, and stopping to look closely at the small works.

Sunday 27 November 2011

We are now showing at Gallery@49, Bracknell

See a selection of pieces at the recently opened Gallery@49, on the corner of Crossway and Broadway in Bracknell town centre. View at any time through the big windows, or come in and chat to one of us during 'doors open' on every Friday and Saturday between 2nd and 17th December, from 11am to 3pm. For more information see: (organisers of Gallery@49)

Thursday 22 September 2011


A couple weeks ago I got a cryptic email from Jane which prompted me to open my issue of the Quilter straight away instead of saving it for during lunchtime.
A great review by Lois Bellew of the Exhibition at the Slough Museum. Very special comments.
That was a lovely surprise.

Also, the dates for one of the next outings for the exhibition is at the end of the article.
It will be at the National Needlework Archive, Old Textile Centre, Newbury, Berkshire 19 September to 26 October, 2012.

We have also been asked for some of the pieces to go to Langley Academy which has connections with the Museum. The chosen pieces will go on display alongside the Museum Artefact which inspired it.

AND...the newly opened Bracknell Gallery has asked us to show some of the work in their gallery space. We are in the process of working it out, but it will probably be 3 weeks from the last week in November this year - 2011.
So, it goes on with a life of it's own!

Friday 5 August 2011

Positive feedback ...

Shortly after the exhibition came down, Annie Hamilton gave me her thoughts about the exhibition:
"... how very apt her [Heather Brand's] work was in the middle of the window at Slough museum - as a Slough resident I thought her piece [Follow the Sun] captured the essence of the place beautifully and I recognised the design straight away as I walk over the original each week! Also, to Mary [Parry], her quilt [Trading Estate] was much admired by myself and other residents with artistic bents as an excellent portrait of our trading eatate! Loved all the work in the show actually and am proud to be part of TVCQ."

Then I was delighted to receive a thank you letter from Councillor Mrs. Gill Birch, Bracknell Town Mayor, who attended our Private View: "I was delighted to meet you and see the lovely textile work your group has achieved, congratulations on being granted the Inspire Mark and I hope this brings more recognition to your group in future projects."