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

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

More marks

Inspired by Margaret's post I went back to a mark making sketchbook from 2015. It includes drawings and stitch samples as well as notes from my reading.

pencil marks on paper and stitched marks on tracing paper

In' Machine Stitch Perspectives' by Alice Kettle and Jane McKeating Nigel Hurlstone writes about a statement of the philosopher Maurice Merlau-Ponty who points to drawing as a process that slows down and expands the act of seeing.. Hurlstone says: "Far from drawing being the supposedly 'spontaneous' act  and embroidery being the time consuming mediated process, both perhaps echo Merlau-Ponty's phrase 'the labour of vision'"
Elsewhere I have images of the artist Cy Twombly

Cy Twombly from a dry print on cardboard 1954

In notes about Twombly I have written::
 from - scratchy loquaciousness
to - whispering delicacy 
Always the gathered notes and images are a source for thought and a constant source  of inspiration. Time perhaps for more drawing and freer stitching!

machined lines on gessoed organdie with Biro markings.  

Liz Harding

Sunday, 5 April 2020


I found this card in my stash the other day when I was searching for intriguing images by other artists to include in my current sketchbook. As I'm not sure where I bought it and am not organised enough to anotate my cards when I buy them, it doesn't carry memories for me like some of my cards do, but it did fascinate.

It is called The Quilt, which seemed appropriate, and is an original wood engraving by Fiona Hope.

It has a decidedly textile feel to it and I was attracted by the range of marks and set about recreating them with a black Uniball Signo roller ballpen on white paper (thereby inverting the image). I dotted, cross hatched and created thick and thin vertical and diagonal lines and arcs within a hand-drawn grid.

It was an excellent, if idle, occupation for a rather chilly afternoon in Coronavirus lockdown.

Margaret Robbie

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Family memories

Sorting through boxes that have been stored in my garage for several years, I came across some from my childhood home, a farm in the Mendips in the West of England.

In these boxes, amongst old linens and embroideries, was a farm smock. Several of the pieces of  embroidery were embroidered by my maternal grandmother but I don’t know about this smock.

I have no idea how long my family were tenant farmers there although I understand that my father, who had two older sisters, was born on the farm.

In the box, there were also the details of the sale of the Mells Estate in 1923, owned by the Horner Family, of the rhyme “Little Jack Horner sat in the corner”. Being a late child I never knew my grandparents but I know that at this time, my grandfather bought the farm where he had been the tenant farmer.

My family lived in the farm at Lot 13. I had 4 older brothers and I grew up there before leaving home to go to college.

There are other interesting documents and photograph albums for me to explore and looking into my family history is part of the research I want to do.  

Here I think lies the basics of my research for our next exhibition ‘Inhabit’.

Carolyn Sibbald