Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Few Dates for Your Diary

Its coming around to that time of year again - when the textile events start happening around the country, so here are a few suggestions to start you off - ones I know about from personal experience.

Sewing for Pleasure/Fashion & Embroidery
  • 24 - 27 March 2011
  • Hall 12 
ICHF Ltd  - for information and booking online tickets link
Car Parking
Ticket Hotline
+44 (0)1425 277988
Opening Times:
09.30 - 17.30 (Sun 17.00)

Your ticket to Sewing for Pleasure/Fashion Embroidery & Stitch gives you free entrance to the Hobbycrafts show at the same time, at the same venue.
Above and Below the Waves knitting project measuring 9 x 6 metres - which visitors can walk through!
FREE Catwalk Shows hosted each day at 11.00, 13.00, 15.00. Programme of Workshops & Talks. Full details 2 weeks before the show at
Dressmakers Workshops, Media Hub, Customization Station, Pattern Bar & Junior Stitch Club
Summer in the Park – Display from the Quilters Guild of the British Isles.
The Undoing of the Corset – the history of women’s underwear.
Afghanistan Inspiration Embroidery Display
Guilds, Associations & College Displays

I went along to the very first one of these events during the 80s! This was long before Art School and I was very into patchwork and quilting at the time - also my mother in law lived within a bus ride of the NEC, so I took a couple of days off each year and stayed with her. She was not really into sewing crafts at all, but often came with me, bless her, because she loved to go for the fashion show! She worked in watercolours herself, so still appreciated all the colours, the textures and the design ideas. Although it is heavily orientated towards patchwork and working with kits (which I would not be snobbish about at all) there are lots of stalls selling materials that nowadays are hard to find elsewhere. Also the extra add-on exhibitions as indicated above are growing each year and worth a visit.

The great thing about this and the other shows at the NEC (the annual quilt show in Aug is fantastic) is that the railway station and show halls are all interconnected, so you can go from one to the other without going outside and braving the rain or wind! Also lots of refreshment places (rather like an airport) if rather pricey. Take your own sarnies if you're watching the pennies, there are places to eat these "picnic areas" within the hall.

International Textile Festival, Stroud, Gloucs

30 April – 22 May 2011 for information and tickets

Now in its sixth year, the International Textile Festival has established itself as the UK’s principal festival that celebrates textiles, from traditional through to contemporary textile art, linked to related applied arts. Presented by Stroud International Textiles who are based in the glorious Stroud Valleys in the Cotswolds, this festival highlights the truly global language of textiles.
The 2011 International Textile Festival promises an exciting and stimulating programme of exhibitions, talks, workshops, events, performance and opportunities for debate and discussion. This small market town is host to the UK’s only textile festival that broadens out to welcome performance art, theatre, and the applied arts with textiles at its heart.

The festival has a reputation for excellence and innovation while celebrating contemporary and traditional work from leading international artists and emerging artists, ensuring that it remains fresh and vibrant.
‘’The festival promises to showcase new work alongside well known international names. Always stimulating, innovative and diverse, the festival will bring world class speakers and artists to the Cotswolds. It is radical, inspiring and we hope fun’’   
Director Lizzi Walton

Among the many artists and speakers appearing are: Tilleke Schwarz, Debbie Smyth, Jessica Turrell. Sue Hiley Harris, Lizzie Farey, Lesley Millar, Simon Packard, Malcolm Martin & Gaynor Dowling, Corinne Gradis & Elodie Watanabe, Ptolemy Mann, Lauren Steeper, Matthew Harris.
Showing at New Brewery Arts will be work from selected artists who are exhibiting in the festival. This will include collaborative work from Alice Kettle and CJ O’Neill – ‘Pairings’  30 April – 15 May
Laura Thomas will chair the ‘Off the Loom’ a 1 day seminar exploring radical new woven textiles and creative practices. The day will be hosted by Laura Thomas and speakers are Ptolemy Mann, Melissa French, Kirsty McDougall, Ascha Peta Thompson.

I love this event, as it has a really lively mix and is a bit more off the wall than some of the larger, more commercial events. Its on for about 3 weeks each year during May, so you can just go for a weekend, or a couple of days/a day in the week and see quite a lot. The programme changes at the weekends, so if you want to book for a particular talk or workshop get the events booklet in advance or look online and book up asap, they book up fast. The main events, including talks, take place in the Museum within the Victorian park - a fantastic location in itself. The rest of the event is scattered throughout the town, lots of seperate exhibitions in the town hall, within small galleries, even within the day to day shops around Stroud. It is a bit of a walk, although very doable if you're OK on your legs, from the park to the town centre, but I believe bus's go between the two sites. Worth booking up a stay if you can run to it, either by yourself or with a friend, but book accomodation early. Try or other sites (I get no commission!) - there is a Primier Inn on the edge of the park which is where I've booked for this year, its not luxury accommodation but OK for the price and a very convenient location. The park is close to Stroud railway station and lots of b and b's in the area too.

Have a look at the website of Dionne Swift, if you don't know her work, she is often at textile events around the country (we often have a chat) and used to be an OCA tutor-

You can see some of her work, book up workshops (she is a devore expert) and buy supplies from her website, there is often useful information about dyes etc too.

Joanna Kinnersly-Taylor

Also worth mentioning - is the new website of fellow OCA tutor and artist Joanna Kinnersly-Taylor, which is at

She is a lovely lady, who I have "chatted" to online and on the phone, although strangely as with the OCA, never actually met in the flesh. She runs textile printing courses in Glasgow as well as producing one off pieces for architectural spaces.