Autumn 2019
Welcome to my Newsletter

After a quiet interlude in my studio life at the beginning of 2019, my sewing machine is humming again as I prepare for the annual Compton Verney Textile fair, just two weeks to go! See: Textile Fair at Compton Verney

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.

Artistic inspirations are on cloud nine after a wonderful visit to Venice a few weeks ago, enriched by seeing the textiles of Mario Fortuny (see: Fabulous Fortuny) The photo right shows one of Fortuny’s iconic ‘Delphos’ dresses of pleated silk.
A Viva l’Italia mood pervades this newsletter, which I hope you enjoy!

Autumn commenced with a busy deadline to write an article for an American textile magazine, and to make a series of embroidered lace samples (to be published in 2020, more info in next Newsletter). Creating machine lace is always a magical experience but the Museum of Lace on Burano took me back to past centuries and the exquisite art of Venetian and Burano lace (see: Textile Archives: ‘Punto in Aria’)

Earlier in the year I visited the Christian Dior exhibition at the Victoria & Albert museum and was mesmerized by the sheer beauty and stunning embroidery of the fashion works. In Dreaming with Dior I share a few images from the show which caught my imagination.

Finally, many of you have been in touch to ask ‘When will your next book be published?’ The embroidered works for the book are almost complete ready for the next photo session. As I took time out from studio work during the year, my timetable for publication is now into 2020, thank you for your patience.

As an extra in this Newsletter, I have added Studio Techniques into some of the sections. This feature was popular in my last book ‘Embroidered Originals’, so once again I offer some inspirational ideas for creative stitch.

Enjoy my Newsletter and I look forward to meeting some of you at the Textile Fair in November.

Textile Fair at Compton Verney

Sat. 16 – Sun. 17 November 11am – 5pm

A firm favourite in the Compton Verney calendar, this year the fair will run for two days and feature 28 exhibitors, embroidery demos and other exhibits.

I shall be displaying my work in the Naples room and presenting a selection of framed works: archive sketches with stitched samples, plus a small collection of embroidered fashion and art pieces.

Entrance charge (see poster) includes the permanent collection galleries and the current exhibition: Magnum Manifesto – 70 years of photography Compton Verney, art gallery and park is located in Warwickshire.  |  T: 01926 645500

Download the Poster

Fabulous Fortuny

Stepping into Palazzo Fortuny in Venice a few weeks ago certainly was a dream come true as I have always loved his sensuous silks and rich printed velvets.

The enchanting interior of the palazzo sweeps one back into Venice in the early 1900s when Mariano Fortuny’s clients were clamouring for his famous ‘Delphos’ silk dresses. Called the ‘Magician of Venice’ by his contemporaries, Fortuny’s creative genius touched stage design, photography, painting, engraving and his world famous textiles. Palazzo Fortuny is a museum of treasures showing beautiful gowns against an inspirational backdrop of the rich antiques; while the upper atelier rooms give an intimate glimpse of his craft and techniques showing original designs and printing blocks (see photos).

Mariano Fortuny’s dyed silks and block printed velvets shimmer with echoes of past centuries: Marco Polo’s travels along the Silk Route to China; the exotic patterns of Venetian woven silks worn by the Doges; the fluid pleats of the Delphos dresses pay homage to Grecian dress; I wonder, could their rippling surfaces also be inspired from the water patterns of the Venetian lagoons.

Studio Technique: Metallic stencilling

Mariano Fortuny’s printed silks and velvets were inspired by the ancient glories of Venetian textiles; though his printing process was unique and modern in 1910: a patented rotary stencil machine which pressed the metallic pigments onto the silks. Fortuny’s first stencil prints, influenced by Japanese stencils, used pochoirs (metal plate stencils). Metallic prints were also stamped onto velvets using wooden carved blocks (see photo) resulting in rough, crushed textures which were enhanced with brushed pigments.

Metallic stencilling is a technique familiar to my own studio practice. Using hand-cut stencils, metallic paints (e.g.Lumiere by Jacquard) can be stippled through the stencils onto silks. Dramatic effects can be achieved on black and dark shades of silk.

Photo: Embellished/quilted purse, Collection 1996. Black dupion silk, hand-stencilled with silver/pale gold metallic textile paint.

Dreaming with Dior

The exhibition Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (February – September 2019) was a stunning show , imaginatively staged, enticing visitors into Dior’s dream world of beautiful couture.

On display were sketches, cabinets of inspiration material; amazing mirrored walls of white toiles; perfect miniature mannequins, stylish Dior perfume bottles in accessory cabinets; cascades of laser-cut paper flowers falling above floral fashions - each twist and turn of the exhibition was a spell-binding treat! No more reportage but a few images from the House of Dior where the art of embroidery makes a statement.

Photo 1: Coat dress by John Galliano for Christian Dior 2005. Embellished with gilt thread, feathers and Swarovski crystals

Photo 2: Detail of dyed feathers

Photo 3: Evening dress by Maria Grazia Chiuri for Dior 2017. Embellished with dyed feathers onto tulle (see central image)

Textile Archives: Punto in Aria

The language of Italian needle point lace or Punto in aria captures the romance of the lace maker’s craft : threads, needles, bobbins conjuring floral ornaments in fine linen or metallic threads, literally ‘points in air’.

Although my embroidered lace creations evolve via the speed of the modern sewing machine, the fame of Venetian lace making lured me to the Museo de Merletto on the island of Burano, while in Venice. Historic examples of lace, such as Point de Venise and Point de Burano can be studied in this fascinating museum. Point de Venise or Venetian Rose Point was the most celebrated lace of the 17th century; the famous Venetian rose stitch enhanced the laces with relief textures.

The lace industry of Burano is no longer flourishing as in the past, but one can still glimpse an elderly lady lacemaking, carefully following a parchment pattern and creating Punto in Aria.

Studio Technique: Machine Lace

A fascination with machine embroidered lace began while creating samples for my book ‘Embroidered Originals’, in 2009. Unlike the hand crafted needle point lace of Burano, the technique of machine made lace offers embroiderers a variety of approaches using water-soluble stabilizers and the swift stitching of free-motion embroidery.

Machine lace textures can enhance silk corsages; add fine lace details to embroidery, strike bolder notes with thicker machine threads instead of fine rayon or metallic threads, create lace edging for scarves.

A network of straight stitch machining outlines shapes on a stabiliser; filling patterns can criss-cross a shape, for added support attach sheers.

Photo: Creating a machine lace using water soluble voile

The Hot Water Soluble fabric is available in UK from product name CMIS126 (dissolvable A4126). It dissolves at 65 degrees c.

Last Word!

A Viva l’Italia note concludes this Newsletter with an image of a 17th c Venetian woven velvet dyed with precious crimson pigments; a colour to inspire a palette of embroidered riches to keep one busy during the chilly winter months!

Fast forward to spring 2020 and I am looking forward to visiting Northern Ireland for a lecture and ‘Pop-up Studio’ presentation. More news of my ‘Open Studio’ days in the next Newsletter, plans are taking shape……….

© 2019 Sue Rangeley. All Rights Reserved.