About E.A.S.T

East Anglian Stitch Textiles (E.A.S.T) was formed in 1995 in response to a demand for a self-supporting framework for textile artists in East Anglia, UK.


The membership of this group commenced with ten artists and now has fifteen.


Since it's inception E.A.S.T has had a close relationship with Braintree District Museum where it meets monthly and held the first E.A.S.T exhibition in 1997.The group continues to be mentored by Anthea Godfrey, Artistic Director of the Embroiderer's Guild.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Rainbow Squares

A couple of years ago I joined the newly re-formed branch of the Suffolk West Embroiderers’ Guild.  During this year (2017-18) the branch is running a project where each member embroiders a square in a specified colour - “Rainbow Squares”.  The colours progress in the same sequence as the rainbow so the first square was red.

I wasn’t very excited by the prospect of decorating a square with red stitches but I soon realised that I could make an eight square centimetre, four page booklet and attach that to an appropriately coloured square.  


I made the cover from torn scraps of fabric bonded to some felt, then integrated them with machine embroidery.  I covered this with a piece of muslin which I had coloured several years ago when EAST had a weekend with Ruth Issett.  I folded the cover in half, then added four pages inside which had a love poem, “Echo” by Carol Ann Duffy, embroidered on them.







The next square, for November, was to be orange.  I made a list of orange things - a colour, a drink, a fruit, a principality, a butterfly etc. - and embroidered these onto scraps of orange silk which I applied to a zig-zag book.  This I put inside a cover which had been made as before except with scraps of orange fabric.




 


The December square was yellow.  I didn’t realise until I began to sew what a difficult colour yellow is to work with and how few fabrics and threads I owned in that colour.  Nevertheless, I had decided that the book was to have images of shells inside so I raided my supplies.






The square to make for January is green so, hopefully, I will have more items to play with and the book will probably contain leaves - unless I get any better ideas.

I wish you all a very happy, healthy and productive 2018.

Susan




Friday, 8 December 2017

In May I posted pictures on our trip to Morocco and samples and ideas for a textile piece based on the wonderful Islamic tiles there. I was experimenting with natural pigments that can be found in the souks in Marrakesh.
So after 6 months I have finally finished two pieces of work block printed with natural pigments and then stitched in places... I wanted to suggest a gradual disintegrating of these ancient patterns.  The top piece is almost twice the size of the second.


This one is a detail.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

A WW1 Christmas - 4th Dec 2017 to 6 January 2018

Producing work for an EAST exhibition is not just about research, trials and samples, making the item and putting it on display.  Sometimes the work can have a life after the last exhibition is packed away.  I find it particularly gratifying to hear that something EAST created has become the inspiration for someone else.  For the work made for Between the Lines it is particularly pleasing to hear that the research itself continues to be useful.



This has been the case with regard to the information sheet I produced on the Lady Smith-Dorrien's Hospital Bag Fund.  I had used this to make my work, shown above when the exhibition visited Landmark Arts Centre, Teddington.  Now the research is going to be part of a museum display.

From 4th December this year, and for six weeks only, Bath Medical Museum will be recreating a WWI war hospital - looking at how the inpatients (soldiers) were 'entertained' over the Christmas period.  Instead of focusing on the grimmer aspects of war the exhibition will use anecdotal stories on the themes of food, entertainment, gifts, decorations, celebrations, etc.  They will look at how local people provided plum puddings, knitted goods and filling crackers.

In addition, on the opening day (6.12.17) there will be a lecture by Dr Roger Rolls on the history of the Bath Mineral Hospital during the war.  The exhibition continues until 6 January 2018.

For more information visit the Bath Hospital Museum website.  Please note that the museum, which is run entirely by volunteers is open Mondays to Wednesdays (2pm to 4pm) and Fridays (10am to 12 noon).

More information about Lady Smith-Dorrien's Hospital Bag Fund can be found by following the link from my page - HERE.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Another View posted by Lorna Rand

At the end of October I went to London to see the Prism exhibition ‘Another View’ this was first shown at the RSBA in Birmingham then in London at Hoxton Arches.

This was a very interesting exhibition as usual, many members of Prism took part exploring "different ways of looking, seeing and understanding; a chance to visualise the complexities and possibilities of people, places, events and the world we live in".  It was very interesting to see how members had interpreted their ideas from the title into textile.

I thought Jo Coombes' work was really outstanding exploring human motives, both for individuals and nation states when values diverge and beliefs become irreconcilable.  I was also drawn to Dee Thomas’s ‘Underfoot, showing the many small items on a beach which are trampled underfoot when out walking.  Paulene Cattle’s work which showed, in black and red felt pieces, her impression of an unused and dilapidated post box.  Dorothy Tucker’s mixed media landscapes showed a lovely mix of digital printing, paint and stitch while Jackie Langfeld’s decorated teaspoons were a delight.


Many pieces showed a wonderful interpretation of ideas, others were beautifully worked, so in all a great exhibition that was well worth the trek up to London.


Above image is of Jo Coombs' piece


Above image is of Dee Thomas' piece


Above image is of Paulene Cattle's pieces

Ten 2 One - 25 Nov 2017 to 3 Feb 2018


EASTie, Tricia North is part of this exhibition which will be on display at the Beecroft Art Gallery, Victoria Avenue, Southend on Sea, SS2 6EX from November this year until February next.  

TOMA stands for "The Other MA" and is an alternative education method at the level of a masters' degree.  It was devised by Emma Edmonson, working in partnership with Metal Art School at Southend on Sea.  Artists from a variety of disciplines will be displaying their work -a mixture of sculpture, ceramics, photography and paint; a result of their twelve months' of study.   It is sure to be an interesting and thought provoking exhibition.


Friday, 20 October 2017

Jenny's experiments with fermentation dyeing.
 I think this must be the slowest form of dyeing as it is done cold. I started with weld which wasn't very successful, but red cabbage has been very exciting.
I chopped up a quarter of a red cabbage very small and put it in a clean plastic milk bottle with the lid on. I shook it 3 times a day and let out the gasses, it was kept in the dark and after 4 days this was the result.
I know that red cabbage is very sensitive to the PH, so I tried painting the silk with washing soda, that is an alkaline ph.
This was quite a startling colour, and so far after a month it hasn't changed. so then I tried lemon juice, this goes a very pretty pink, but it did tend to rinse out.
Iron water made from [ferrous sulphate] turn the silk blue and does seem colour fast at the moment.
finally I did a black berry leaf print, not such a good result.
I shall have to see how the colour lasts, red cabbage is notoriously good at fading, the idea is that the fermentation will help the colour to stay.
  Now I have started 2 more one with buckthorn bark, I have kept the PH high by adding slaked lime, this took much longer about 3 weeks but I am pleased with the red colour.
I now have a birch bark vat going, it is supposed to make pink, but after nearly 3 weeks I am not sure yet.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Brushing Up on Colour

At the beginning of September I went on a Jo Budd workshop in Eastbourne, although Jo comes from Bungay in Norfolk.  Jo is a trained artist but works in textiles and has a method of working with Procyon dyes whereby she uses them like paints, mixing her colours in a palette using the thickener Manutex.

Every artist seems to have their own method of working with Procyon dyes and I find it useful, every now and again, to brush up on technique and ideas.

Jo makes up the basic dye powders with water and makes up the Manutex with chemical water.  She then takes what she required from the dye pots to mix up the required secondary and tertiary colours and it is at this stage she uses the Manutex.  She will also apply chemical water to her fabrics if she wishes to use them wet but quite often she applies the dyes to dry fabric - obviously you get different effects.  She does not add chemical water direct when making up her basic dye colours as the “clock starts ticking” the minute you add the chemical water to the dye.  So when she mixes a secondary or tertiary colour she uses the Manutex which contains the chemical water and then can create effects by applying, for example, the colour to a plastic surface to create a mono print or apply the dye direct to fabric using various brushes, sprays and mark making tools. 

When I first did a workshop with Jo, besides adding soda ash as a fix for the dyes, she was also using a bullet steamer to fix the dyes.  With limited space and facilities in Eastbourne Jo had simply bought a large electric water heater in which she has stood a trivet in the bottom so that the fabrics (wrapped around a cardboard tube) did not come into direct contact with the water.  The fabrics were stood on the trivet and the water brought up to temperature and the fabrics steamed for three minutes before the fabrics were then rinsed.  Alternatively you could steam iron the fabrics on both sides for three minutes before rinsing.  Jo follows this method to ensure colour and light fastness.

The fabrics could be overdyed with unthickened dyes as required.

I composed the two landscapes below with the fabrics I'd dyed - think they have possibilities.


Monday, 11 September 2017

Poppies : Wave - posted by Julie Toppesfield

Southend has said goodbye to a sculpture commemorating the First World War - Poppies: Wave moved onto the next stop on a national tour.  Poppies: Wave, by Paul Cummins (artist) and Tom Piper (designer), was installed at Barge Pier, in Gunners Park, part of the old ranges which has a long military history, and was a perfect setting for this art work.  Most poignant was the playing of the last post every evening at sunset, well worth seeing if you should get the chance.

“Poppies: Wave, a sweeping arch of bright red poppy heads suspended on towering stalks, was originally seen at the Tower of London as part of the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red. “

It can currently be seen at the CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial until the 19th November, 2017.






Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Fabric Fields and French Knots - Celebrating East Anglia in Stitch

What a fabulous day out at the Museum of East Anglian Life today -  Carol, Lorna and ex EAST member June Carroll and myself went for a day out to see the exhibition Fabric Fields and French Knots.  This exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of the Museum of East Anglian Life. To celebrate they have teamed up with members of local Embroiderers' Guild groups in Suffolk and Essex to create new works inspired by the museum collections.

Among the artists exhibiting is our own Carol Dixon, along with such familiar names as Jan Lovell, Susan Cranwell, Malelaine Nightingale, Vendulka and Olivier Battais, Mary McIntosh to name just a few. 

The exhibits are housed in various buildings on the site as well as in the Abbot's Hall Gardens. You definitely need the little guide to find all 68 pieces and even after three hours we still did not get round it all, so make sure you allow plenty of time when you visit.  For more details go to www.eastanglianlife.org.uk

The photographs below show a selection of the exhibits which hopefully will give a taster and make you want to go along to have a look.

The first exhibit below is to be found in the conservatory in the main Abbot's Hall and is a joint effort.


Below if a detail from the tree above.


 Winter Hedgerow by Carol Dixon



Winter Hedges by Madelaine Nightingale



Gypsy Caravan by Vendulka and Olivier Battais




Country Faces by Madelaine Nightingale


Steam Power byJan Lovell



Footplate Jan Lovell




Cedric - Suffolk Sheep by Susan Cranwell
Businessman




Frieda - Suffolk Sheep by Susan Cranwell
Felted Lady




Allan - Suffolk Sheep Lamb by Susan Cranwell




Edges by Madelaine Nightingale




Celebration Stitch by Gay Macbeth


Monday, 21 August 2017

Sculpture Exhibition

Since the end of July up to 10th September there is a sculpture exhibition at Marks Hall Gardens and Arboretum in Coggeshall (postcode for satnav CO6 1TG) and so far I have been four times.  There are over 250 sculptures in the gardens which are made from all sorts of materials from Portuguese and Carrara marble, Zimbabwean springstone, bronze, bronze resin, marine grade stainless steel, galvanised forged steel and blown glass, Welsh slate, aluminium gauze, wood and willow to name a few and many incorporate movement whether by floating or wind power.  They are all amazing but the few I have selected to show here are chosen on the basis of material, one of which is my favourite, the fact that the subject of one had his tercentenary last year (and the Embroiderers Guild did a project inspired by his work), one in particular made me smile and the last one I chose is very impressive. 



















The two photos above show pieces by Carole Andrews from Kent and the materials she has used are an aluminium gauze with copper or steel support.  The aluminium gauze has been manipulated and pleated and trap in the gauze is some sort of resin or plaster.  Detail pictures below.  






The sculpture shown in the photos below is by Pam Foley from Northamptonshire and made from iron resin.  However, it looks like the figure has been wrapped in some sort of scrim like material and, in fact, this piece is titled Wrapped.  I think it has the look of a Giacometti figure and is my favourite sculpture in the exhibition.















The figure below is of Lancelot 'Capability' Brown by Laury Dizengremel and is described as being made of  "resin for bronze".  Lancelot 'Capability' Brown was the inspiration for Embroiderers Guild exhibitions across the country last year which was his tercentenary. 


The two sculpture below were chosen for humour and scale.  The photo on the left shows Fork in Pollen by Mark Reed from Norfolk and is made from cold cast pewter and fibre glass.  We wondered if he suffers from hay fever - say the title quickly.  The sculpture on the right is titled "Close" by Paul Vanstone and are made from Portuguese marble on Italian marble bases.





















Tuesday, 15 August 2017

TSG Summer School with Kay Greenlees

I also attended the TSG Summer School this year, returning after a few years.


The rather splendid venue was Stoke Rochford Hall, near Grantham, Lincs. Very imposing on our arrival and even more impressive at nightime, all lit up.




The Overall theme this year was 'Beyond the Line - Seeing and Stitching'
And Kay's working theme was 'Seeing Through Stitch'


We were asked to bring a small collection of natural objects to work from either 
shells/coral/barnacles or seeds/pods/cones, mine are pictured above.

The first evening was spent with loosening up drawing exersizes, working big and with the 
wrong, in my case, left hand. making interesting marks from our chosen objects.
 
                             

                                    We then went on to some relaxing stitching, working with our 'favourite' stitch and trying to                  exagerate  it's qualities - open/closed, stretched, thick/thin, big/small, high/low.
                                                      
The following day we made large drawings from the marks on our subject matter
 

We then went on to make similar marks on the long rolls of emulsion painted fabric that  Kay had prepared for us

We continued to stitch on the fabric using the stitches we had familiarised ourselves with earlier. Both the marks and the stitches are an expressive interpretation of the source material.