Autumn 2013
Welcome to my Newsletter

As the last days of August herald the autumn season, the summer flora of my embroidered choker evokes memories of a glorious summer of sunshine and my exhibition during June and July at The Silk Museum in Macclesfield.

This Newsletter gives a glimpse of the show and a look at the 'Studio Inspirations' which have influenced my textile creations. Curating an exhibition is also a creative journey which sparks ideas for display designs; 'Fashioned with Stitch' reflected the intimate working practice of my studio alongside finished works.

On the 9th November, I shall be attending the Textile Fair at Compton Verney, in Warwickshire. Stitching in my studio has just commenced, I am creating a new collection of 'Curious Flora' corsages for this show. Full details are included in this Newsletter.

I always enjoy selecting a theme for 'Vintage Favourites', this time my choice is a double treat: a Chinese embroidery from The Silk Museum, Macclesfield and a silk dress from my vintage clothing closet!

Finally, here are a few words on the embroidered choker. The inspiration references the heady days of 'flower power' and the era of the Woodstock Festival in USA. Research took me back to my vintage Vogues and an iconic image of Jean Shrimpton wearing a choker by Pablo & Delia.

The very first embroidered choker that I made was in 1977 for the designer Bill Gibb, it accessorized an evening ensemble; a choker formed of a quilted band of silk embellished with applique leaves in burnt orange. The machine embroidered choker (above right) features a delicate whimsical fringe falling from a cluster of beaded stitched flowers and leaves.

This piece was created especially for the 'Fashioned with Stitch' exhibition; the embroidery suspended in a transparent box frame evokes a 1960s summer of sunshine, hence the title: 'Summer of Love'.

'Just Fab'..............

A nostalgic note swirls around a sequence of embroidered lace works inspired by a collection of 1960s ephemera.

In my Spring Newsletter ,'Studio Inspirations' selected memorabilia of the Swinging Sixties; it was diverse mix of buttons, badges, vintage paper patterns and magazines that evolved as stitched textiles for the 'Fashioned with Stitch' exhibition.

The design board (see photo above) suggests directions for a thread palette and machine stitchery fashions an Art Nouveau swirl of curlicues and script, punctuated with flower motifs. The photo of 'work in progress' for the lace dress panel, 'Just Fab', explores a colour story of greys, silvers, charcoal, accented with primrose and lemons.

Floral lace patterns catch the spirit of the playful print patterns of 1960s fashions; the flower shapes are explored in a variety of machine-embroidered textures, flickers of silver and metallic thread and beadwork add a delicate sparkle to the surface stitchery.

Studio Inspirations

Painting and drawing continues to be a natural stepping stone, nurturing design ideas into stitched textiles.

The sketches and samples illustrated here were created for the 'Fantasia' Collection of embroideries, which I started last autumn (see Newsletter Autumn 2012).

A fascination with the more graphic markings of auriculas and pansies suggested possibilities for lively, colourful patterns of embroidery for fashion. It is the water colour study of pansies and violas that inspires a richer thread palette of mauves, purples, magentas, violets, blues, spiked with spots of lime and lemon.

Samples and sketches were an integral part of the 'Fashioned with Stitch' exhibition, visitors could explore my creative journey via the displays of design boards.

In the hoop is an embroidered pansy, a thread painting using a rayon, machine stitched on a water-soluble material.

'Fashioned with Stitch'- exhibition news

The heritage setting of The Silk Museum in Macclesfield was the venue for my solo show this summer.

The museum offered an inspiring gallery space to display textile work; the historic building was originally the Macclesfield Art School, so artistic pursuits have wafted around its walls for almost 100 years, before it became a museum. Now the museum's collection and archives offer a rich resource for textile artists.

In designing and curating my exhibition I wanted to reflect the very essence of my creative world from sketchbook to finished embroideries. Visitors could enjoy displays of 'inspiration material', paintings, drawings, fashion pieces and my embroidered lace panels suspended in acrylic cases. The splendid exhibition cases provided by Annabel Wills (curator of The Silk Museum) were perfect for observing either collections of 'source material', the lace embroideries,or an ethereal group of silk organza capes.

Browsing through the visitors book, with its beautiful cover of Macclesfield silk (of course!), the exhibition comes alive again as I read visitors' comments and know that they have come away inspired, just as I was inspired to create this show.

The exhibition attracted lots of visitors from different regions of the UK, plus some overseas visitors on holiday from Australia, Vancouver, and Norway. Now perhaps I need to plan another venue for those who could not make this show!

As the workshop on July 20th was fully booked, I added an extra day of demos. The Study Day and class in July was popular; students enjoyed a peek into the museum archives to see examples of machine embroidered lace and sample books, a great treat which Annabel organised. Water soluble techniques were the focus of the practical class, Madeira UK kindly provided water soluble materials for the class.

Press coverage included 'Embroidery', 'Stitch', 'Selvedge' and Cheshire Life.

Demonstrating for visitors on June 22nd.

David Rutley M.P. with Annabel Wills, Curator of The Silk Museum, standing in front of the 'Wild Flower' lace dress panel, with just a glimpse of the 'Summer of Love' choker.

'A beautiful and inspiring exhibition. Thank you for supporting Macclesfield'
David Rutley, M.P. House of Commons

Isabelle observing the 'Monochrome Memories' case (see 'Just Fab' in Newsletter). In the background is the 'Wild Wood' room set, and to the right a glimpse of 'Hidcote' lace dress panel.

Autumnal Textures

An intricate tangle of embellished rouleaux explores the textures of an autumnal hedgerow.

The twists and turns of the wired rouleaux and stitched cords form a theatrical basque structure; the techniques reference the 'Hedera' belt design featured in my book, 'Embroidered Originals' (pages 46 - 47) and the original sketch for the basque appears on page 44.

The complex rhythms of the padded rouleaux are decorated with machine-embroidered seed head motifs ; other embellishments include wired ruffles of silk organza and rich textures of hand beadwork.

Natures untamed spirit roams this fantasy piece, which was created especially for the 'Woodland' display, within the exhibition 'Fashioned with Stitch'.

Compton Verney Country Textile Fair
Saturday 9th November 2013
11am - 5pm

The Textile Fair features specialist textiles by local artists, vintage clothes and unique handmade gifts, 15 - 20 exhibitors will be attending.

Sue will show her latest collection of 'Curious Flora' corsages, fashion embellishments and textile art.

The event is set in the spectacular Adam Hall, of Compton Verney (see photo right), the historic house is surrounded by beautiful parkland.

Visitors can also see the collections of art, plus the current exhibition, 'Curious Beasts' - Animal Prints from the British Museum.

For more information on this award winning art gallery in Warwickshire, and details of this event please call 01926 645500.

Vintage Favourites

Archive treasures and silken pleasures, a double treat for the Autumn Newsletter.

1960s Silk Cocktail Dress

For 'Vintage Favourites' this time I have opened my 'dressing-up' closet of vintage fashions and chosen a stylish cocktail dress. Fashion references have always shaped my creative embroidery and I have love wearing the occasional vintage outfit too!

This choice is also inspired by the beauty of silk, my thoughts have been wrapped in that sensuous material this summer, and as I browsed the archives in the Macclesfield Silk Museums (see Silken Stitches from China below).

This silk chiffon dress, designed by Robert Dorland, belonged to my mother and I always loved its beautiful splashy, painterly fabric, styled into a fitted cocktail dress with a floaty back panel. The only embellishments are a satin bow at the neckline, and two tiny rouleau bows at the waistline (see photo detail). Maybe that is where I spotted my first rouleau trim!

But I am also putting the spotlight on this dress, as recently, its twin was worn by Helena Bonham Carter, playing Elizabeth Taylor, in the BBC 4 drama 'Burton and Taylor'! Susannah Buxton was the costume designer, well known for her 'Downton Abbey' costumes.

Hand-painted, stencilled and air-brushed chiffon were techniques I used in the 80s and 90s, creating flimsy, ethereal fashions in chiffon accented with embroidered applique. I am uncertain of the exact fabric painting or silk printing method of this Robert Dorland dress, or how many models of this design were made.

Vintage Favourites

Silken Stitches from China

The archives of The Silk Museum in Macclesfield are full of textile treasures, and we were fortunate to spend time looking at embroideries and lace during the Study Day on July 20th. So naturally I wanted to select a 'Vintage Favourite' from the museum's collection.

This early 20th Chinese embroidery was possibly created for the tourist market, hence its depiction of a classic Chinese scene. The silk panel could have been part of a screen, or wall-hanging decorating a European interior in the Chinoiserie style. Although this hand embroidered silk is more commercially produced than some of the antique Chinese embroideries in the collection, the oriental charms of the flora and costume might inspire a design direction for a contemporary fashion accessory.

Macclesfield's connections with silk go back to the 16th century; the collections reflect that long history. The diversity of the archives and exhibits are an inspiration: silk buttons; jacquard weaving; printed silks; 20th century machine-embroidered lace; wartime escape maps; arts & crafts embroidery; silk pattern books etc.

Visitors are welcome to study the special archive collections by appointment with the curator. The Silk Museum and Heritage Centre are open to the public.

For information: 01625 612045 or 01625 613210.

And finally...

One last image showing a detail of a machine embroidered floral accessory. The photo was taken by Emily Gale, an embroidery student from the Royal School of Needlework, who did a work placement with me in early May.

© 2013 Sue Rangeley. All Rights Reserved.
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