Tuesday, 22 December 2015

A Merry Kestrel Christmas.

A very Merry Christmas to all who read this blog from all the Brunel Broderers.

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

A new direction for the Stuart Casket?

There isn't much time for machine drawing at the moment because Christmas preparations are in full swing and I now have quite a few days to work. 

We are just back from a weekend visiting my in-laws. Whilst enjoying lovely food and company I also managed to discuss my work with my mother-in-law, Judith Perry, who is a textile artist. Whilst we both agreed that it was good reproduction of the casket, we wondered if it was enough to just be reproducing the box to explore the idea of faded splendour, damage and repair. I explained how I often thought  of the young girls who would have worked with bone needles by little more than candle light to make the beautiful boxes. Judith found this comment about how hard the boxes must have been to make and just how much time was involved, an interesting idea. What will todays generation of teenagers have to show for their spent time? Social media and gaming consumes  every spare minute of my teenagers lives. I often shout 'please do something useful with your time, there is a world out there that is passing you by and you will have nothing to show for your young years'.

Could I possibly include some images form their gaming into my design? And if I do, how could I incorporate the modern images? I do really like this idea as I love using personal arguments and issues in my work.

Here are some images of the work so far, and when the Christmas rush has settled I will begin some sketches and consider how I might move this project forward.

Completed right door

Partly completed left door 

Monday, 14 December 2015

initial ideas

this is the story so far, from initial inspiration, Carla's workshop experiments to sampling with fabrics.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015


I am drawing feathers I found at Newark Park and a swans feather from Slimbridge. These are made with silk and assorted scraps on soluble fabric. I thought I would use them as tassels on my feather books.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Last few days

Last few days to visit Centrespace Gallery in Bristol to see the latest work by Steph Wooster and Liz Hewitt. Centrespace is set in an old Chocolate factory on a medieval lane, just off Corn Street in Bristol. We are exhibiting with five other artists who specialise in ceramics, 3d collagraph structures, screen print and painting.
Steph is showing 3 knitted jumpers which she has delicately reconstructed with the most intricate Swiss darning, plus has created a lovely film to show the delicate movement of these garments. 
Liz is showing her rust prints on fabric and paper, with added stitch, plus black & white dry point etchings and monoprints. 
It's a wonderful exhibition, in a beautiful space, and you have until 5pm on weds 2nd Dec in which to visit, we hope to see you there. 

Monday, 16 November 2015

Elizabethan or Stuart Casket (Work for Newark Park)

On viewing the casket at Newark Park, it was suggested that the box was Elizabethan, but on further reading about stumpwork and considering the fashion style shown in the drawings, I think the casket might be from the Stuart period. 

According to Judith Harper (2014), Stumpwork which is currently enjoying a revival, originally had its heyday during the second half of the 17th century when it was called raised Embroidery. The term 'Stumpwork' was an early 19th century description derived from the word 'stamp work' because the picture was worked over a pre-stamped or hand drawn outline on the backing material. 

Many of the stories conveyed the religious and political divisions that occurred in England during the Civil War. The beautiful feminine art of Raised Embroidery conveyed docility, obedience and love of the home (Parker, 2010) but it also provided an art form that reflected societies opinion. 

Stumpwork panel with a central oval cartouche depicting a young lady, mid-17th century (Telegraph, 2014)

Batten (2014) suggests that stumpwork's popularity was probably aided by the pedlars who travelled around the country to wealthy families selling kits that contained many luxurious threads and patterns. On the box that I am copying, black threads can be seen and these may have been the outline threads.

Whilst wondering about the relevance of my work and why I am spending hours copying someone else's drawing or pattern from a kit, I considered starting again but telling my own contemporary story. However, if I did that would I then have to use the Stumpwork technique just as contemporary artists who make samplers use cross stitch.

Caren Garden‘There are no words to embroider that single desolating fact.’ Site responsive piece by Caren Garfen. Framed sample, hand stitched. Cotton material, silk threads

And then I thought of Cornelia Parker's 'Magna Carta, an embroidery', a hand stitched embroidered drawing of the wikipedia page made through a collaboration of many individuals as was the case for the writing of the Magna Carta. 

At our last meeting we discussed how I might continue as part of our creative review. 

There was support for continuing with the piece: a reproduction of the beautiful remains of an exceptional work of art, made by a young lady over 500 years ago. As I struggle with the tiny detail and obsess over thread changes which at times, may be for no more than two stitches, I can imagine how hard it must have been to do this by hand with candle light and a bone needle.

Batten, P. (2014) http://englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/stitching-stumpwork-and-stuarts.html

Miller, J. (2014) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/luxury/collectables/25451/a-stitch-in-time-english-stumpwork.html

Parker, R. (2010) The Subversive Stitch. Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine. I.B.Tauris and Co Ltd. London

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

West Country Quilt and Textile Show

A reminder we are at the West Country Quilt and Textile Show this Thurs 12th- Sat 14th. 10-4.30. The Exhibition Centre, University of the West of England, Filton, Bristol. BS34 8QZ. We will be stitching away- do come and say hello!

Friday, 23 October 2015

Elizabethan Embroidered Casket

I visited Newark Park again on Wednesday to gather photographs of the Tudor kitchen. My idea had been to produce site specific work by creating full scale thread drawings of Tudor cooking pots that would be suspended in the fire place.

Tudor Kitchen, Newark Park

Whilst I love the sense of history, stillness and life lived, I couldn't help but wonder if my work would become small and and not seen in the space shown. Also, the work would only be seen during kitchen tours due to the very worn steps leading from the house that require escorted guides for health and safety reasons.

Once back in the house I mentioned to the very helpful staff that I was also interested in the fabulous Elizabethan stumpwork casket. To my surprise, they allowed me to have the box uncovered, moved into the light and gave me plenty of time to take a series of close up photos. The box was then measured and carefully placed back under its viewing case. 

Elizabethan Casket, Newark Park

Close up of casket with worn areas

Close up of casket with worn areas

These caskets were often produced by young girls and involved stump work - a technique that involves padded appliqué, and fine needle work using three dimensional elements. The detailed work often told contemporary stories.

My idea: could I reproduce an image of the casket in 3D? The new image would copy the worn and damaged areas as well as the better preserved parts. Damage and repair would be happening but on this occasion, the damage I am starting with is already beautiful.

The work will take many hours and require obsessive attention to detail; the beauty of the very fragile Elizabethan casket will hopefully continue but the form will be new.

Thursday, 22 October 2015


An inspirational day at Newark Park, investigating the grounds and working with found objects to gain a sense of place. I love the combination of textures between the mushroom, feathers, leaves and wire. Working with my initial interests of the people and animals (hunted and eaten) that have passed through the house I feel I can start to capture their fleeting presence. Steph

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

West Country Quilt Show

Brunel Broderers have got a fantastic opportunity to take part in this years West Country Quilt Show.
The show opens on Thursday 12th November - Saturday 14th November 10.00 - 4.30
Come and visit us on the stand where we will be demonstrating.
West Country Quilt Show, University West of England, Filton Road, Bristol BS34 8QZ

More fun at Newark Park

We had a great fun day at Newark Park - lots of discussions whilst making !! A very creative time.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

BBs at lunch at Newark Park

Lunch at Newark Park. Refueling before more work and investigating continues. Everyone seeking ideas and stories for the exhibition next June.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Newark Park workshop.

BB workshop yesterday at Newark Park. Making things with our found objects. See BB blog on sidebar.
I really enjoyed this!

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Newark Park

Here's the results of our day spent at Newark Park, exploring the garden and estate. Carla sent us out into the gardens to collect 6 objects, on our return we spent time looking at our collections, before selecting  3 with which to make a 2 or 3D object. Then we threw a dice to select the next process. 

Leaves stitched and wrapped, mounted on a stone, moss attached to a twig.......
A beautiful sculptural piece of fungus, stuffed with feathers & leaves, before wrapping with thread.
A bottle found in the undergrowth stuffed with leaves etc, with a woven fence of wire and thread. 
A wonderful creative day spent in the Clutterbrook room of the house, immersing ourselves in the history and nature on Newark Park. 
All of us left with our heads full of ideas to develop further for our exhibition next June.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

SIT Select Showcase

This is the sampler and needle cases I am making for my 2 hour workshop at Cheltenham Town Hall Friday 23rd Oct. The needle cases will be made up ready for you to add stitches to. There is a pocket inside for your spotty scissors that come with the kit. Book your place now at www.sitselect.org/showcase/showcaseworkshops.html

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Tate St Ives Rivane Neuenschwander

This is an installation at Tate St Ives by Rivane Neuenschwander called I wish your wish. It is a room full of ribbons with wishes printed on them. The wishes- 60 in all came from the people in St Ives. The idea is for visitors to take a ribbon and tie it to their wrists, when the ribbon falls off the wish is granted. When you take a ribbon you replace it with your own wish and so it is self feeding (as she describes it). We  had a tour of the Tate and enjoyed it more with better insight and background to the work. It closes now until next summer as they are building an extension deep in the bedrock.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Newark Park

A view of the summerhouse at Newark Park from the opposite side of the lake. Looking for inspiration for our next exhibition there in June.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Alison's butterfly piece casting shadows on the wall

Nature in Art

Seagulls in the sunshine casting shadows on the gallery wall.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

missing picture

After a very successful exhibition at Nature in Art, it was very sad that while packing away, someone stole a beautiful picture of Linda Babbs from the back of  the
car in the car park.  This is the picture.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

films of Art in Nature

Liz Harding's landscapes being blown gently in the breeze.

Corinne's Hung up to Dry, billowing in the breeze of the garden at Nature in art.
Only one more day to see our exhibition in the gallery and explore the gardens to find our outdoor pieces hidden within the gardens, as the exhibition closes on bank holiday monday at 5pm.


Susi's prayer flags blowing gently in the breeze outside the gallery at Nature in Art, spreading her messages of peace and hope.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

More inside out.. outside in...

Inside prayer flag with its language of stitches and backing frame of beeswax

Outside flags on withies dancing in the breeze! 

These dresses were worn by Susi's nieces as part of some filming Alison worked on outside

This beauty was found inside and carefully looked at by children coming out of Carla and Alison's wonderful workshops

Another visitor.

Another visitor on Kay's work outside. Only 3 days left to go- the exhibition finishes on Monday at 5.00!

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

nature in art

 Corinne's washing lines inside................
 and outside. Yesterday it got wet and then dried and got wet and then dried...........
 Liz Hardings trees in a hedgerow inside.......
Carlas shaggy ink caps outside. The grass grows up around them making them harder to find but the children love the challenge.....
Lindas trail- the story of a journey inside.