Autumn 2018
Welcome to my Newsletter

The ‘mood-board’ (right) strikes a commemorative note and a new embroidery design delves into the era of women’s suffrage movement, over 100 years ago. An eclectic mix of fashion, politics and suffrage memorabilia inspires embroidery to pursue a different path; echoes of the past influence my latest stitched creation, feminine style touched with historic resonance.

Visitors to the Compton Verney Textile Fair on November 17 (details below) will see examples of these latest embroideries, a new collection for the pages of my next book.

Over a century ago the art of the needle embraced the women’s suffrage cause; applique, hand embroidered words and slogans, crewel work flora emblazoned hundreds of suffragette banners. The Women’s Library (London School of Economics) holds an important collection; the stained glass artist Mary Lowndes designed many for the Procession of Great Women in 1908, inspiring women across Britain to march for ‘Votes for Women’.

While current studio work engages with these themes, earlier in the year I was demonstrating within the prestigious setting of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London for a Members event on April 26. (See: Reportage: Fashioned from Nature –Artists’ Open House)

During April and June my studio was busy with visitors, first a tour party from the U.S.A. (see Spring 2018 Newsletter); then the Crafts Council’s Keeper of Collections, Christina McGregor and Fei Tse, Documentation Officer, came to record an interview and collect the long quilted waistcoat (1981/2) which is now in the Crafts Council Collection. (See: Crafts Council Collection)

As I glanced back through a decade of my studio archives (1975 -85) in preparation for the Crafts Council visit, I felt inspired to include a few examples in this Newsletter. (See Vintage Favourites) I cannot believe it is 43 years since I commenced a career in embroidery!

Looking forward to 2019, I plan to have a few ‘Open Studio’ events in Oxfordshire for visitors to see current work and archive pieces, details will be in the Spring 2019 Newsletter.

Compton Verney Textile Fair

Saturday 17 November 10.30am – 5pm

The stunning setting of Compton Verney Art Gallery in Warwickshire never fails to inspire, visitors can enjoy a walk through beautiful parkland en route to the annual Textile Fair.

Now in its eighth year, the fair showcases independent artists and local textile guilds; this year textile artist Anne Kelly is launching her book ‘Textile Folk Art’, which references the wonderful folk art collection at Compton Verney.

Compton Verney is also sparking my own explorations with stitch and design, with research following a trail of maps, archive newspapers, splashed with flora of the wayside. This melange of imagery finds expression in a rather quirky fashion accessory which I am currently finishing in my studio ready for my ‘Pop-up Studio’ display at the Textile Fair. The mood board swatches (shown here) catch the essence of this new theme before it is fashioned into an embroidered work.

Visit Home Page of my website to see Textile Fair posters.

Reportage: Fashioned from Nature: Artists’ Open House

Victoria & Albert Museum, April 26

The Victoria & Albert Museum has always been a vital part of my creative world, a wonderful treasure house to step into and let one’s imagination be sparked by beautiful, historic artefacts and contemporary design.

On the evening of April 26, I arrived with a suitcase full of my embroideries, excited to be one of four artists invited to participate in the ‘Fashioned from Nature: Artists’ Open House, a special V&A Membership event, linked to the current exhibition: ‘Fashioned from Nature’. The new Members’ Room was restyled with pop-up studio displays by Rebecca Jewell, printed feather art (I could not resist buying a petite feather owl in a frame!); Zoe Burt, specialist in natural dyeing and cyanotype; Emma Sibley of London Terrariums and my creative embroidery designs. It seemed the perfect combination as visitors could browse the work by nature-inspired artists while sipping cocktails!

The spontaneous interaction with visitors seeing my work and giving demonstrations is always stimulating; during the evening I shared the magical process of making water-soluble lace and the craft of creating the fashion lace pieces to over 70 guests.

‘Fashioned from Nature’ continues until 27 January 2019, the exhibition explores the fascinating relationship between fashion and nature from 1600 to the present day. The curator, Edwina Ehrman, has edited a fabulous book to accompany the exhibition, for those unable to visit the V&A; this publication is an inspiring reference.

Crafts Council Collection

The Crafts Council was a great support during the first years of my studio practice, my embroideries featured in: Index of Makers; Chelsea Craft Fair; Crafts magazine (see image: Crafts July/August 1978); ‘Meet the Craftsmen: Textile Tour’ in Yorkshire ,May 1979; C.C. shop at Victoria & Albert Museum; numerous exhibitions, including: ‘Quilting, Patchwork and Applique 1700 – 1982, Sewing as a Woman’s Art, the final tour venue was at the Crafts Council in February 1983.

It was via the Crafts Council’s First Decade project (1972 -1982) that I reconnected with the Council. In June Christina McGregor, Keeper of Collections and Fei Tse, Documentation Officer, visited my studio to collect a spray-painted, quilted long tunic/waistcoat made in1981/82 (see image) for the permanent collection of the Crafts Council. I have also given some of the original paper designs/samples for the garment (see image), plus a few extras for the Handling Collection. During the day Christina interviewed me about the textile work; these oral history recordings are a key part of The First Decade Project, which comprises an online digital archive and next year my information/images should be accessible:

The spray-painted, machine quilted silk long waistcoat references a quilt that I created for the ‘Quilting, Patchwork and Applique’ exhibition; the bold geometric quilting juxtaposed with oriental peony flora, moves around the garment form. This was an experimental work, a ‘one-off, where wearable art intermingles with quilt art.

After 37 years in my studio archive, I am delighted that is now within the Crafts Council Collection.

Vintage Favourites

Inspired by delving into my studio archives for the Crafts Council visit, here are three sketches from 1980/81, the word ‘vintage’ seems appropriate! These illustrate some of the quilted and painted embroidered fashions I was making for clients and exhibitions, and reference the long quilted waistcoat in the Crafts Council Collection.

I hope to show more from this archive collection next summer, when I shall have a programme of special ‘Study Days’ in my studio /home, for small groups. Details will be announced in spring 2019, if you are interested please get in touch.

Last Word!

Inspirations for 2019!

In November 2017 when my cousin sent me fabulous images from the Christian Dior exhibition, in Paris, I was tempted to jump on Eurostar and go and see the show!

So I am thrilled to read that Christian Dior – Designer of Dreams will open at the Victoria & Albert Museum, in London on February 2nd 2019, what a treat for the New Year. Here is a photo from that Paris show.

© 2018 Sue Rangeley. All Rights Reserved.