Autumn 2015
Welcome to my Newsletter

I could not resist the architectural majesty of the Cardoon to open the pages of my Autumnal Newsletter. While summer flora is fading, this stately plant strikes a bold decorative note in gardens; an inspiring specimen for designers and artists to draw. This striking group of Cardoons caught my eye on a recent visit to Compton Verney, to see the wonderful exhibition: 'The Arts and Crafts House, Then and Now'; these spiky leaves and amazing flower heads might have inspired William Morris or Voysey to create a wall paper designs, over a 100 years ago. See Inspired by....... which touches on the legacy of the Arts and Crafts embroiderers, such as May Morris.

The Cardoon's Latin name, Cynara cardunculus, is so regal; no wonder Queen Henrietta Maria had a whole garden devoted to them in the 17th century. I wonder if her lavish embroidered gowns also featured these flamboyant thistles stitched in silk and gold. An idea to ponder, and perhaps inspire some rich stitching in my 'Pop-up Studio' at Compton Verney this autumn; I shall be in royal company as I demonstrate in the British Portrait Gallery, under the watchful of a painting of Elizabeth 1! (See Compton Verney Textile Fair)

Remembering the pink tulips from my Spring Newsletter, I have chosen a painting of my favourite flower to illustrate the Reportage feature; this was one of the new paintings I created for the 'Open Studio' show in May. The new Study Days in June were the perfect occasion to open my closet of archive pieces; this Newsletter concludes with a nostalgic peek at a couple of my first embroideries created in the late 1970s!

This autumn see the launch of my blog, readers will be able to follow a monthly blog of my studio life; plus some of the inspirations and creations as I work on my next book!

Reportage: Open Studio Exhibition in May

Spring flora welcomed visitors into my exhibition during early May: paintings of tulips and colourful pansies hung next to panels of machine embroidered floral inspired works. The show was an interplay of textile art from the studio collection and new pieces, displayed alongside 'works in progress'.

If you missed the show here are three paintings from the exhibition: Study of Pink Tulips & Study of White Parrot Tulips; the Study of Pansies inspired a new embroidery with dazzling pansy flower faces. Tulips are enticing flowers and these paintings are now adorning two homes, purchased by clients at my show. The Pansy painting resides in the studio for now and will be a colourful welcome as I work during the winter months, a companion piece for the bold new 'Pansy' machine embroidery (the pair might make it into print next year for my new book, fingers crossed!)

Photo credit: Michael Wicks

Reportage: Study Days in June

During June the studio was opened for two special Study Days, an opportunity to have a peek into my archive collections of fashion embroidery, and see demos of a few techniques. This new event on my studio calendar is one which I plan to offer again in 2017.

Emily Gale, who studied at the Royal School of Needlework, assisted me during the 'Fashion Embroidery' day; illustrated are her photos which catch the mood of the Study Day.

Photo credits: Michael Wicks,,
Compton Verney

Compton Verney Textile Fair - November 7

11am - 5pm

This year's Textile Fair flows from the spectacular Adam Hall into the Ground Floor Galleries offering an exciting mix of textiles: vintage clothing, millinery, printed textiles, embroidery, dyed yarns & threads etc. New for this year are specialist textile demonstrations set within the collections galleries of Naples, Northern European and British Portraits.

Sue will be presenting a 'Pop-up Studio' at this year's event, showing displays of work and giving demonstrations; Alison Smith, MBE, will be showing her dressmaking, tailoring and corsetry skills; Rapture & Wright, whose beautiful textiles were admired at The Arts & Crafts House exhibition, reveal their specialist hand printing processes.

The British Portraits gallery is an inspiring setting, below the bejewelled regal paintings discover Sue stitching a sparkling metallic machine lace - fashions of the past catch the eye of a contemporary embroiderer to influence creativity.

Download the Compton Verney Fair Poster
Inspired by.................

The historic Arts & Crafts movement (late 1880s - 1900s) has always been an inspiration, especially the work of the embroiderers of that era: May Morris, daughter of William Morris; Jessie Newbery who taught embroidery at Glasgow Art School; Anne Macbeth, also of the Glasgow School, whose beautiful embroideries regularly appeared in Studio magazine. Jessie and Anne liberated embroidery in the 1900s from the eye-straining discipline of white work, raising its artistic status and giving the Glasgow School of Art Embroidery Department an international reputation.

Browsing through a large volume of The Artist, 1898, each page reflects the exciting freedom of the applied arts to decorate homes and artistic dress. Art Embroidery is mentioned frequently, creative stitching was enjoying liberation at the turn of the century. Interesting too that designs for wallpaper, jewellery, furniture, textiles, and ceramics are in the same spotlight as the famous artists of that time. When Arthur Liberty welcomed the Arts and Crafts designers into his store in the 1880s, it created a profound influence - that rich heritage of Liberty of London continues to inspire in 2015. (See: Liberty in Fashion exhibition, Fashion & Textile Museum, London

Living in the Cotswolds, close to Kelmscott Manor, the atmospheric home of William Morris and his daughter May is always a joy to visit; I have special memories of summer1991 ,when I was Artist in Residence in that unique place.

Photo: Embroidery books of 1899 & 1907 with 'Arts & Crafts' embroideries 1900s

Studio Archives

In June I opened my closet of archive embroideries for the Study Days, rolling back the studio years to the late 70s and early 80s.

So here is a peek at my embroidered textiles 35years ago, when I was working in a studio in Stow-on-the Wold; it was rather like the era of the Arts & Crafts artists in the 1890s, as there were 12 craftspeople living and working in a chilly Victorian house, all pursuing our artistic dreams!!

In 1978 I started experimenting with spray-painting/stencilling on to silks, then embellishing with quilting, applique, and delicate hand-beading. These gentle, pastel silks were styled into petite purses, waistcoats, crepe-de-chine blouses for clients and galleries around the world.

The bags illustrated were featured in a major exhibition, Quilting, Patchwork and Applique which toured the UK in the early 1980s; a few were purchased for museum collections, so I have fond memories of that creative period in Stow-on-the Wold.

Photos: Silk purses 1979/80
Fashion sketch with samples 1980

And finally...

Coming soon: Sue's blog:

In October I launch my blog, a monthly diary of studio life: new stitch projects; design inspirations; embroidery chat etc. I am planning a new book too, so lots of snippets of news in that direction too.

Should be fun and I hope it will appeal to all my Newsletter readers, more details on my Home Page next month.

© 2015 Sue Rangeley. All Rights Reserved.
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