Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Miniatures in Bloom

A final selection is shown here, this time of small works by Carolyn Sibbald (the first two) and Carla Mines (the third), before our exhibition at The Arts Centre at The Meeting House in Ilminster, Somerset, closes on Saturday.


If you live locally and have not yet been, general opening times for the gallery are given on the Art Centre website via link above or by clicking on the poster in the side bar of this blog. 

Please note: Closing time for the Gallery this coming Saturday (31 October) will be at 12 noon because our exhibition is ending and our work has to be taken down ready for the next exhibition. 

Margaret Robbie

Saturday, 17 October 2020

A glimpse of Bloom In Ilminster

We've recieved a small selection of images of our exhibition from the Ilminster gallery. These give a taster to whet the appetite!

I will be visiting sometime next week and will go armed with my camera so I can take a full record of our work. I will post more images following that visit. 

Bloom can be viewed from now until Saturday 31st October. Further details are given in the poster in the side bar of this blog or on the gallery website. 

Owing to the Covid restrictions, the opening hours are a little reduced and liable to change as events unfold. It would be wise to check on the gallery website before visiting. 

Margaret Robbie

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Symbolism in the gardens of Chenonceau

Our exhibition in The Arts Centre at the Meeting House in Ilminster is now open to view. You will find a warm welcome in the gallery and in the café which is open during the centre's opening hours.

Much of the work I am showing this time is a continuation of work begun last year following a visit to the Chateau at Chenonceau in France in July 2019. The series explores the history of the Chateau and its famous occupants through the life of Catherine de Medici (wife of Henry II of France) who lived there in the mid 1500s.

This time, there are several new pieces. I have extended my thoughts with a fresh look at the use of colour to suggest further the dark history of Catherine's life - of dark deeds and perhaps blood spilt. 

This theme of evil deeds contrasts strongly in my memory with the formal beauty and apparent peace of the gardens as I saw them and I hope to suggest this contrast in my work. I have also explored the shapes (both positive and negative) generated by the overlapping of images. 

Throughout, I developed my response in Adobe Photoshop Elements from the photographs I took during my visit. The imagery which resulted was discussed at length (here and here). 

Covid restrictions notwithstanding, the exhibition runs in the gallery until Saturday 31 October. In view of current restrictions, it would be wise to consult the Art Centre's website before visiting to check the opening times of the gallery.

Margaret Robbie 

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Small stitched gems

Carolyn is showing a variety of work in our exhibition entitled Bloom, in Ilminster from next week. It is always delicate, precise and, mostly, small in scale. This is just a taster of her many pieces. 

There is a series of tiny hand embroidered houses, barely three inches tall, each with its own garden. 

Then there are groups of small books, often displayed as collections on a backing. Some are bound in paper with intricately-worked spines and others are leather bound.  

By contrast, there is a sculptural book more than two feet long which can be twisted over on itself, snake-like. It has a multitude of pages, and a cynotype cover in bright blue. 

Details of the exhibition can be found either by clicking on the link above or refering to the poster in the side bar of this blog. Clicking on the poster image will also open up a link to the website giving futher information. 

Carolyn Sibbald

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Corinne's Pot Plants

In our exhibition at the Arts Centre and Meeting house in Ilminster which opens next week, Corinne is showing a series of small turned edge appliqués exploring the relationship we have with the plants we bring into our homes. 

She explores pattern, colour and form in this varied and colourful series of pieces. 

Our work can be seen at the gallery from Tuesday 13 to Saturday 31 October. Further details can be found in the side bar of this blog and by clicking on the link above. 

Corinne Renow-Clarke

Friday, 2 October 2020

Carla's Bloom

As always, we have interpreted the theme for our exhibition at the Arts Centre at the Meeting House in Ilminster in our own individual ways. 

Carla frequently explores the effects of man on the natural world in her work. Her pieces this time are no exception. She considers the effects of pollution, taking the word bloom as it applies to the minute creatures that live in water and which produce 'blooms' when growth accelerates suddenly. 

In particular, she machine stitched the outlines of dozens of tiny plankton that live in their billions in our seas and oceans using gold and silver thread on disolvable fabric to produce a beautiful series of pieces. 

She comments also on the effects of the plastics that we throw away and which inevitably end up in water courses around the globe causing incalculable damage to the environment. 

Carla Mines

Monday, 28 September 2020

Flowers from Linda

Moroccan flower images inspired Linda's work for Ilminster 

Linda Babb

Thought and words


You talk when you cease to be at peace with your thoughts.

When you can no longer dwell in the solitude of your heart, you live in your lips and sound is a diversion and a pastime. And in much of your talking, thinking is half murdered.
For thought is a bird of space that in a cage of words may indeed unfold its wings but cannot fly.
Kahlil Gibran, philosopher and poet
‘The Prophet', 1923

Carla Mines

Saturday, 19 September 2020

Going to Ilminster

 I have some new work for the Ilminster exhibition of "Bloom".

I have had an interest in historical English embroidery for many years. I have been looking at imagery of English medieval gardens and at the way plant forms are used in English embroidery especially from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Two hand stitched pieces on show will be "Curious Trees" based on the out of scale tree shapes found in embroidery and in illustrated pattern books popular with seventeenth century embroiderers.


They are worked on layers of re-used dyed cotton organdie which allows the strong colours to glow.

There are also three pieces made on the same organdie fabric using a combination of hand and machine stitch using images of flower forms found in medieval manuscripts.

Each of these pieces is presented behind two layers of glass in a zinc frame which allows the light to shine through the organdie surface.

Liz Harding

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Bloom in Ilminster

 As was suggested in our last post, Brunel Broderers are showing work further afield this year. We will be exhibiting in Ilminster, Somerset, from Tuesday 13th to Saturday 31st October 2020. The Ilminster Arts Centre at the Meeting House is a new venue for us and we are very much looking forward to seeing our work in this setting. 

We will be exhibiting with the theme of Bloom. There will be a mixture of new work and some shown in Cheltenham in September 2019 so if you were unable to come to our exhibition last year this will offer a second chance to see a selection of the work shown then. 

**A word of warning: because of the inevitable impact of Covid 19, this gallery is operating curtailed opening hours - 10 am till 2 pm and will only be open from Tuesday to Saturday. The café will be open for teas / coffees and a limited selection of sandwiches and cakes during Gallery opening hours. 

Margaret Robbie

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Meeting in strange times

We've been meeting as best as we could during the Corona virus outbreak and it's been good to know that we could get together in one way or another.

Initially, we held weekly meetings over Zoom, after mastering the technology (just about!). We discussed our work and talked to one another from our kitchen tables, sitting rooms and studios, and even in the lovely weather in May, from our gardens. We showed our work and discussed up-coming exhibitions. All this helped us to keep focused and working. 

Since it's been possible, we've met twice in members' gardens, socially distanced and observing guidelines. Thank goodness for great weather!

There's nothing like meeting face to face together with coffee and cake to oil the brain ...

or a good supply of chocolate biscuits ...

or a picnic lunch on a warm summer's day.

As winter approaches, we realise we may be back to Zoom, if government regulations about meeting indoors in England remain unchanged. Still, we'll be glad to be a meeting at all. 

Before then, we have an exhibition of our work in the Art Centre at the Meeting House in Ilminster from Tuesday 13 October, of which more later. 

Margaret Robbie

Saturday, 11 July 2020

Hexagons in the Brain

The spatiotemperal patterns in the brain are not circular but hexagonal.

Calvin 1996 talks about the ephemeral hexagonal mosaic, which suggests a way that subconscious thoughts could meander and occasionally ‘pop’ some relevant fact from the past into your stream of consciousness.

Like a patchwork quilt, creatively, it can be made from humble beginnings into something of quality.

Carla Mines

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Lock down visitors

We get visitors every day and they are very demanding!

Linda Babb

Wednesday, 20 May 2020


Beautiful flowers from my son cheering my lockdown.

Carolyn Sibbald

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

but it will pass

My "lockdown" hanging is finished for the moment and hanging in the garden where it will stay to brighten a dark corner and see what is happening to the cloth. I may add to it or perhaps line it and make it more "finished", who knows. Its been a bit of a trip down memory lane using bits of old embroideries and scraps of dyed and painted cloth.. It is called "but it will pass" a phrase taken from an article about lockdown by  Marcel Theroux in the Guardian newspaper.

Liz Harding

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Keep drawing and stitching

When a piece of work, a theme or an idea is completed or a new direction is needed  I draw.
For the last week I have been drawing some of my small collection of succulents. The drawings may provide ideas for new work or simply be for practice and enjoyment.


I also like to have some small scale  hand stitching to do so that I can observe and think about the relationship of colours and their effect.So I look back through my sketchbooks 
for ideas. So will these small investigations of blue and gold lead to anything? Does it matter?

          Liz Harding 

Wednesday, 29 April 2020


Researching my mother’s side of the family I have found this portrait of my great great grandparents, Thomas and Elizabeth, showing them with their 13 children.

Dated to around the 1850’s.

The figures were created as silhouettes with what I think must be drawn white details. Thomas and Elizabeth are at either end and children in age from centre out. I just loved the detail and the costume.

Carolyn Sibbald

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Room to play

I am reading a book called ‘How Brains Think’ by William H Calvin and I came across a German word that I didn’t understand ‘Spielraum’. This word means ‘room to play’. Which gave me a good excuse to play; so I tried to eco-dye some petals and leaves from the garden.

There is a trace of colour on the paper and the silk, but the metal I used gave a wonderful impression of bundles of wire. This in turn made me think of the porcelain white matter of the brain. Which are bundles of insulated wires going in all directions.
( Myelin is the proper word for the fatty insulation)

Carla Mines

Monday, 20 April 2020

Family History

I’m finding myself fascinated by the research of my family history.

The farm of my childhood in the Mendips in Western England

On my father’s side, the Vinings, there are some chains going back to the 1500’s, but I have only names and dates. I would love to know what these people did with their lives but from the little I have done there are hours, days and years of research here.

My mother’s side, the Candys, is proving much more difficult. My grandparents both had the name Candy, as it appears did their parents. Trying to indentify who is who, when May seems at times to be Maud and of course the families were very large, is difficult.

I have decided to keep my ‘Inhabit’ project related to the farm where I grew up and to the members of the family who lived there as this is where the smock mentioned here came from.

One ancestor, who therefore is not related to this project is Elizabeth Vining, my father’s great great grandmother. It was noted in the census of 1871 that she was a farmer of 20 acres and in the 1881 census the family lived at 2 Vining’s Lane.

Maybe this will find its way into a future project.

Carolyn Sibbald

Friday, 17 April 2020


A challenge on by Cas Holmes to make a textile piece based on an object with meaning & using materials at hand led me to create this. It’s a handstitched fabric collage inspired by a little jug that I have which was made by Annie Hewett.

At the moment I’m thinking I might do another couple of versions of the same jug. I always did like still life! 

Note This is one of five activites in the Community Stitch Challenge currently running weekly on the website. Each workshop is free and supported by a different textile artist. Each time, there is a short video to inspire and a handstitch task to complete at home over the next few days. 

Corinne Renow-Clarke

Monday, 13 April 2020

Circles and seeding

Here is shown, a pieced and seamed stitch sample with wrapped running stitch circles surrounded by seeding stitches to enclose and draw attention to negative space.

I'm exploring the use of seeding and the way placement of individual stitches affects the shape produced, the way it gives a sense of flow and movement, and how stitching across joins unifies and connects work.

And in the second sample (still work in progress), I've used rough-edged fabric pieces placed more randomly. There are also variably sized running stitches and tiny seeding stitches to see how small they can become.

(Left clicking on one of the images will enlarge and allow the stitches to be seen more clearly)

Margaret Robbie

Friday, 10 April 2020


 I feel so blessed to live where I do in these troubled times. Our daily walk is in this beautiful countryside where spring is bountiful. The sounds of birds, baby lambs and a vociferous cockerel, not another soul in sight.

Carolyn Sibbald