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.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Bardfield Artists at Braintree Museum

The work above is by E.A.S.T artist, Susan Canfield, inspired by Edward Bawden, one of the Bardfield Artists and part of Threads of Time.    Now Bawden and the Bardfield Artists are the subject of a new exhibition at Braintree Museum, Essex, Life in an English Village.  

Susan and I were lucky enough to go along to the private view of this exhibition of prints and drawings.  Here I learnt how Edward Bawden RA and his friend Eric Ravilious had visited Great Bardfield as students, fell in love with the place and decided to move there.  Although the Bardfield Artists as they came to be known, along with John Aldridge RA, Kenneth Rowntree, Walter Hoyle, Sheila Robinson and Bernard Cheese, never saw themselves as a group or colony, they had a close connection which inspired ideas and techniques. 

I had really only learnt about the artists from seeing Susan's work and discussing them at our E.A.S.T meetings so it was really good to go together to see the exhibition.  Luckily as our meetings are held at Braintree Museum I will get to see the exhibition more than once - exhibitions are always more interesting when seen on several occasions.

The exhibition continues until 15 April 2017.  Braintree District Museum is in Manor Street, Braintree, CM7 3HW and open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 4pm.  Their website (www.braintreemuseum.co.uk) gives details of admission charges and events related to the exhibition.  


Friday, 20 January 2017

You never know what to Expect!

January 2017

You never know what to Expect!

In recent years I have found it easier to face the “trauma” of aging by marking my birthday with an interesting arty experience. This year four generations – my mum, daughter, grandson and myself visited the Tel Aviv Museum of Art to view  Regarding Africa – Contemporary Art and Afro - Futurism.

The term Afro – futurism refers to music that grew during the 1960s among Afro – Americans as well as to the poetry, comics, cinema and art that developed later. Today it applies to a wide range of art that reflects an African version of futurism. The initial works were created during the post – colonial period: the 1960s-70s, called Africa’s “Decade of Independence”.

Today Israel has a growing community (known as Little Africa) of immigrant workers and asylum seekers from Africa. Some of the works presented in this exhibition were created by artists from within this Tel Aviv community and expressed various aspects of the Africa – Israel connection and of the way Africa has assimilated into the Israeli imagination, fantasy and reality.

I expected that this exhibition would have political overtones but was surprised to discover the work of artist  Adjani Okpu-Egbe, born 1979 Cameroon: lives and works in London. His piece titled “The Politics of Mary Seacole” grabbed my attention not only because of the bright vivid colours- red, green and black (colours of the pan-African flag) but because of the astonishing text in the painting “Michael Gove, hands off”. It appears that Mary Seacole was born 1805 in Jamaica to a Jamaican mother and Scottish father. When the Crimean War
broke out in 1853 Mary opened an independent hotel in England to treat battlefield wounded with the secrets of herbal medicine she had learned from her mother.  

Mary was forgotten for many years but more recently she has become the object of renewed attention though some have claimed that her importance is being exaggerated in the name of political correctness. It appears that Michael Gove, as former Secretary of State for Education wanted to remove Mary Seacole from the National Curriculum. This opened a renewed debate about the place and role of a black woman in British history.

I had never heard of Mary Seacole’s story and controversy. It was so unexpected to come across art work in Tel Aviv inspired, albeit in a negative light, by recent UK politics. As is so often the case when you visit a really good and interesting exhibition, I left this one with many questions, ideas and thoughts to explore.

Melinda Berkovitz

Tuesday, 17 January 2017


In order to improve my drawing skills I have been going to watercolour classes(!) and while everyone else has battled with colour I have focused on light and shade with pencil, charcoal, pen and ink.  Some of my efforts have reached my Following a Thread sketch book whilst others, although I have kept them, really should be binned.

The skill on which I have tried to focus, is to look at how the light falls on the object.  It seems fairly obvious really but I haven't always found it easy to void areas and then work around them.  When I first began the City and Guilds course (quite a while ago) we did lots of mark making exercises using different media and I found it a lot easier when the marks didn't have to resemble anything.  Now I am expected to recreate nature's bounty in two dimensions.

As you can see from the pictures below, a rose and a shoe made it to the sketchbook as did a hollyhock and a dried poppy seed head.


                                         This close-up of an acorn has yet to find a home.