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Autumn 2023

Delphinium study 2023. Private Collection

Welcome to my newsletter.

A flash of beautiful blues captured in my painting of a delphinium are a reminder of summer days in the studio. The watercolour and ink study was created for the ‘Open Studio’ show as part of the Oxfordshire Artweeks in May.

Shades of blue sing out from the Commissions page of my website too, read about the ‘Midnight flora’ embroidered choker, which featured in the last Newsletter.

Artwork and embroidery have always intertwined in my studio world. The free-style approach to creating an image on paper can enrich the flow of ideas for embroidery works. Or simply be a catalyst for a colour story of fabric, threads and beads, like the ‘Midnight flora’ commission.

As winter approaches so begins a challenging project to keep me busy in the studio until the spring: cataloguing my textile archive of sketches, samples and finished works, next year marks 50 years since I was inspired to start stitching professionally in 1974! Perhaps this plunge into the archives might influence another publication or an exhibition; I hope to show some pieces in my ‘Open Studio’ event in 2024.

Enjoy a backward glance with a few images chosen from past decades (see below).

Spray painted silks

A collection of fashion sketches express the free spirit of the airbrushed silks which were conjured into ethereal fashions, enhanced with my signature applique motifs. The use of textile paints sprayed onto silk evokes a watercolour palette, liberating the embellishment details of intricate machine applique and hand beading.

I developed this technique in the late 1970s; it became my signature style for the next decade. For more examples go to archive pages at

For tips on airbrushing see Studio Techniques in Embroidered Originals (2010).

Left: Cover of Crafts magazine 1978. Right: Fashion sketch 1980

Pretty Purses

Petite and pretty, the embroidered spray-painted silk purses of the late ‘70s and ‘80s caught the romantic mood of the era.

Exhibited in galleries, museums and fashion boutiques around the world, I treasure the few from this time that remain in my archive. Around 200 painted purses were made, perhaps you have one?

Inspired by the exquisite Elizabethan purses, I enjoyed creating these bijoux pieces using stencils, airbrushing, applique, with rouleaux forming straps and ties.

Technical info: the colours of the spray paints were hand mixed using Helizarin fabric pigments.

Left: Quilted silk bags 1979. Right: Studio 1979: Sue creating a silk bag. Photo: Dudley Moss.

Sketchbook diaries

Sketchbook ideas are a vital stepping stone in creating a textile work, whether for fashion or interior.

In my textile archive are boxes of all the sketches I have ever done either for commissions or studio research, sometimes just a simple doodle on the back of an envelope!

Alongside the sketches are notes indicating techniques, colour palettes, even sometimes a mention of a piece of music I was listening to at the time.

Perhaps I will bring these sketchbook pages to life by creating a display wall of them for my ‘Open Studio’ in 2024. Click on each page to enlarge

And finally…………….

Farewell to the Blue Tit embroidery, this whimsical three-dimensional embroidery was purchased by a client at my studio exhibition in the summer.

A work which inspired the two embroidered terrariums in ‘Embroidery Atelier’ on pages 51, 58-59.

Image: Blue Tit terrarium 2019
Hand-felted bird, machine lace flora and foliage, wired and stitched stems.
The embroidery sits on a painted wood base with a glass dome cover (not in photo).

Events in 2024

Details of ‘Open Studio’ events and talks will be announced on my website in January 2024.

And thank you if you have bought a copy of ‘Embroidery Atelier’.

I have been pleased to be sending my new book around the world since it was published in 2022.

Signed copies are still available if you wish to purchase one.

With best wishes


Oxfordshire, U.K.

© 2023 Sue Rangeley. All Rights Reserved.