Spring 2013
Welcome to my Newsletter

As I observe my winter wonderland garden dormant under an icy layer of snow in mid February, creativity could be tempted towards a palette of winter cool.

Instead, my eyes are being dazzled by the flower faces of Springtime: pansies, primroses, and primulas. The fanciful patterns of auriculas are inspiring a 'flower power' mood of sparkling stitch for new embroideries; petite violas and primroses are being fashioned into choker designs. This flower frenzy looks to the free spirit of the Swinging Sixties to influence directions for design, nostalgic notes swirl around my sketchbook.

The studio is buzzing with embroidery activity, as I prepare for a solo show at the Macclesfield Silk Museum in June. Studio Inspirations reveals some of my exhibition ideas, a taster of what is to come! In March, I shall be demonstrating at Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch, visitors can catch a glimpse of the latest studio designs and samples.

Looking at the past has always enriched my creative work, museums collections continue to offer diverse inspiration. On December 1st 2012, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford hosted The Big Stitch, in partnership with the Embroiderers' Guild. My talk, 'Inspired', celebrated some of the treasures in this museum, exploring influences on my work; an inspiring occasion for me too in front of an audience of 150!

In 2013, I shall be at three more historic settings with my textiles: Buckinghamshire Museum (April); Macclesfield Silk Museum (June & July); Gawthorpe Hall (June).
Read about these events in Past & Present below.

A recent art review, declared 'old' is the 'new, new'. Words to muse on ,as I plan an exhibition in a museum context and reflect on my decades of stitching. So fingers crossed, the summer show will have an aura of 'new, new'!

Meet me in March

Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch at the N.E.C. Birmingham, 21-24 March.

A fascinating showcase of the UK's finest textile arts. This year's event includes a special exhibit from The International Centre of Lace and Fashion in Calais. Sue will be demonstrating and displaying samples and designs of current work, a chance to have a peek at what is in the air for the Macclesfield show.

Photo - Michael Wicks

Solo show at the Macclesfield Silk Museum

'Fashioned with Stitch' opens in the heritage setting of the Macclesfield Silk Museum this summer. Some of the exhibition works touch on this unique context, with its fascinating collections on the silk industry.

One such theme adopts a Chinoiserie style in a palette of ivories, pearl greys and blues, with research exploring the ancient silk routes to China.

First samples for the panel (see images) explore patterns on fragments of Chinese and early English blue and white china; the final design is evolving as a map of flowing stitched lacey patterns. Other inspirations include works from the 'Fantasia' collection e.g.' Pavonina' lace (see last Newsletter); themes inspired by Art Deco e.g. 'Hidcote' lace and 'Collar for Clarice'; the 'Woodland' collection, plus numerous new pieces created for the show.

The exhibition will be a fusion of art and embroidery: framed drawings and paintings; cases of source material, sketchbooks and samples; embroideries with a fashion reference; framed textiles.

Visitors will be able to explore my artistic journey from first sketches to finished works. Some exhibits will be for sale. I plan to show works on my website ,for those who cannot visit the exhibition.

June 1 - July 20 Monday - Saturday 10 - 4
Museum charge: £3.50 (£3 concession) includes Sue's exhibition

Exhibition events:
'Meet the artist' on June 1st, 2 - 4
Sue will be in the gallery to talk to visitors.

'Sketch to Stitch' on July 20th, 10 - 4
Study day/workshop with Sue.
12 places £45 for class, now booking.

Full details:
Email: info@macclesfield.silkmuseum
Telephone: 01625 612045/613210

Past & Present

The interplay of contemporary arts and crafts within heritage contexts is always an exciting experience.

I have always enjoyed curating and exhibiting in museums, historic houses, and gardens, mingling the past with the present. In 2012, my work appeared in these heritage settings: Hidcote Manor Garden (National Trust), Compton Verney, Ashmolean Museum.

This Spring & Summer I shall be at these locations:

April 25, 5.30 - 7.30
The Buckinghamshire County Museum.
'Inspired Originals' - the embroidered art of Sue Rangeley.
Illustrated talk & displays embroideries (booking details below). The talk is one of the events celebrating embroidered textiles.

The museum is hosting a major exhibition: Splendid Stitches, 9 March - 6 July
Displays of: Indian textiles, antique hangings & covers, gorgeous garments, contemporary textile art.
£10 includes private view of Splendid Stitches, wine, and talk.
Booking email: or tel: 01296 331441.

June 1 - July 20
The Macclesfield Silk Museum, Cheshire
'Fashioned with Stitch'
Please see previous information on the exhibition and the Study Day.

June 15
Gawthorpe Hall, Lancashire
'Enchanted' - the romance of lace inspires contemporary stitch.
Demonstration & study session/workshop with Sue
12 - 4.30.

Gawthorpe Hall is a National Trust property which houses the famous Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth Textile Collection. The new displays, opening March 2013, have received funding from The Arts Council. Sue is one of the selected four contemporary artists whose lace embroidery will feature in the new displays. The contemporary exhibition is Inspired, 15 June - 3 Nov.

To book Sue's class or find out more about Gawthorpe Hall: Tel: 01282 773 963

Gawthorpe Hall

Photo - Michael Wicks

Photo - Michael Wicks

Studio Inspirations - 'Monochrome Memories'

Echoes of 1963 catch my imagination for design inspiration.

My nostalgic indulgence looks to an assortment of memorabilia of the Swinging Sixties: badges and buttons: Beatles music sheets and records; 1960s fashions; magazines, newspapers of that era. Into this diverse mix, I add vintage buttons and simple spots of Spring flora for accents of colour and petal pattern.

A mood board is a vital stage of my creative process, the 60s one (photos above) has directed influenced a new palette of greys, silvers, noir, creams, lemons.

Following hours of design drawing, the 'Monochrome Memories' collection for the Macclesfield show, moves into the stitch stage. The tracings, paper patterns, sketches are now evolving as fragments of lace, in shapes influenced by my fashion memory of 50 years ago!

All of the intriguing facets of this theme will feature in the exhibition, alongside the final embroideries.

Detail of 'Millefleurs' sample.

Studio Inspirations - 'Floral Fancies

Floral affairs are a natural element of my embroidery creations, a continuing theme which explores an array of techniques.

I enjoy planting, picking, painting, and stitching the flowers in my garden, perhaps I have the 'flower eyes' that Gertrude Jekyll, the famous Edwardian garden designer, wrote about in 1907.

My 'flower eyes' have certainly inspired a recent embroidered choker, a rather free spirited piece in the 'flower power' mode. This fancy accessory embellished with a choker collar of machine embroidered floral motifs, and a flowing trail of stitched cords completes the Hippy reference.

Flora is styled into accessories, artistic expressions evolve as wearable art.

Vintage Favourites

Selections from my archive drawer to inspire and enjoy:

Collecting buttons
Recently I delved into my button drawer, selecting a collection of vintage mother-of-pearl, glass, plastic, metal and diamante examples to inspire a stitch pattern, the 60s memorabilia theme (see photo, & Studio Inspirations).
My first button memory goes back to a summer frock, circa 1957, fastened with five tiny French enamel buttons decorated with flowers and insects. I still have those precious buttons!

The pressed-glass Czech buttons (see photo), three 1950s modernist designs, and a pair of Art Deco, accented with silver lustre, are also favourites. Many of the glass buttons in my collection are from the 20s, 30s, and 40s, made in Czechoslovakia or Austria. Others are bold plastic Art Deco styles, or incised metals with Art Nouveau patterns.

Diversity of materials has always appealed to button makers, some of the earliest English buttons were made in Macclesfield in the 17th century, simple wooden moulds covered with hair, linen or silk. In the 20th century, the couturier, Elsa Schiaparelli's imagination went wild on buttons, her fastenings could be starfish, masks, pompoms, acrobats, circus horses. The Paris studio of Jean Clement created unique buttons for Elsa's fashions in the 30s and 40s.

Some buttons intrigue, like the French 18thc 'rebus' buttons, decorated with codes, mottos and messages of courtship. I am looking forward to seeing a French man's waistcoat, embellished with these, in the Splendid Stitches exhibition (see Past & Present).

Perhaps these historic buttons might inspire my next stitch creations?

Pressed-glass Czech buttons

Diary date

May 14, 1 - 3pm
Chastleton costume collection- care and conservation
Talk on the rare collection of historic costumes, not normally on display.
(I have just booked in!)
An event organized by the National Trust, it might be of interest, open to members and non members. Chastleton House, Oxford shire.
Booking: £20 includes refreshments Tel.: 01608 674981

And finally...

Springtime in U.K is coming, the first primroses are opening, and soon bees will be buzzing….., so I could not resist including this final image of an enamel bee button!

This little gem is a Bill Gibb button, I was given it in 1975 by Bill at our first meeting in his Bond Street showroom; it brings back wonderful memories of the embroideries I created for his collections. The bumblebee motif became his trademark after Ernestine Carter once proclaimed, 'Bee for Bill Gibb!'

© 2013 Sue Rangeley. All Rights Reserved.
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