Spring 2017
Welcome to my Newsletter

Spring sunshine boosts the spirits; splashes of yellow emerge in the garden: pale primrose and striking dandelion yellows.

Love it or hate it, yellow does bring warmth and energy and invigorates the creative mind after winter.

A box of yellow threads in the studio suggests a spectrum of soft primrose and buttercup tints, which I used in a 60s inspired machine lace (see image detail in Book News). Thinking 60s retro and brighter citrus shades, I recall the only yellow garment I have ever worn was in 1967, a Mary Quant PVC mac, a real yellow dazzler for drizzly, damp days! Golden shades of yellow are filtering into a new metallic machine embroidered lace, ‘work in progress’ in the studio; echoes of antiquity, brocades and ancient pigments of Naples yellow and Indian yellow enrich the stitches.

A bleached palette of Victorian white work and ‘broderie anglaise’ is also influencing design directions. All inspired by a 19thc draper’s archive and a collection of antique textiles I have curated for Charlbury museum’s new exhibition. The ‘Victoriana’ samples will be displayed in a ‘Pop-up Studio’, ‘Vintage Twist’, (see Victoriana Inspires & Pop-up Studios) For Vintage Favourites, still in Victorian mode, I have chosen an antique sewing machine, still in use! An homage to the Victorians who invented these machines; creative machine embroidery owes a lot to these 19th century wizards of the sewing machine world.

Corsage Commissions

Creating corsages has always been part of my embroidery repertoire; from the petite to the flamboyant pizazz of the flowing tendril designs.

In January I received a commission to make six for an American client in Santa Fe, New Mexico; she specializes in Wearable Art pieces and has sold work by English designers Margo Selby and Carole Waller. An exciting start to 2017, now I feel inspired to design another corsage collection to sell on-line, so watch this space!

The photo shows two of the commissions, a variation of the popular ‘Glade’ tendril design with sparkling Swarovski crystals stitched to cord spiral set on radiating machine embroidered tendrils; the second is a cluster of marigold flower heads, densely stitched with rayon and machine lace leaves.

Victoriana Inspires

My imagination has been caught by the decorative excesses of Victoriana as I delved into a trunk of 19th century documents from a draper’s shop, donated to the Charlbury Museum.

Historical research is a second passion next to textile art, which naturally ranks as numero uno. Away from studio work, archive research in museum collections can inspire new design directions; the two intertwine, fashion history is always weaving its way into creative stitch.

The old bill heads from London merchants tossed me into a world of Victorian and Edwardian fabrics, fashions and trimmings. The fascinating, yet often unfamiliar, language of 19th century dress materials and techniques sent me into the pages of ‘The Dictionary of Needlework’, circa 1881; I knew that collection of magazines would earn their keep eventually! How could one resist exploring: ‘feather ruche’, ‘frillings & flounces’, ‘gadroons & galloons’, or the fancy world of passementerie; even the names of fabrics seduce and inspire: ‘Sicilienne’ , ‘Matelassé’, ‘Zephyr cloth’ , etc.

Back to spring 2017, alas no time-machine to take me back into Henry Allen’s Drapery, Charlbury circa 1887 for a yard of frilling! But in the studio, I am inspired by a Victorian child’s dress with pin-tucked details and hand-stitched broderie anglaise on fine white lawn; a needlework technique to inspire contemporary cutwork design.

An air of Victoriana appears to be influencing spring/summer fashions this year, with broderie anglaise adding accents to dress. I spotted a collection of beautiful blouses in Liberty’s London shop recently, the sleeves accented with layers of cutwork and lace.

I am musing on Victorian and Edwardian inspired themes, ready to show at my summer ‘Pop-up Studio’ entitled ‘Vintage Twist’ (see below)

‘Pop-up Studios’ ~ Summer 2017

This summer I shall be demonstrating and presenting ‘Pop-up Studios’ at two locations:

June 4
South East West Embroiderers’ Guild Regional Day

This event is hosted by Basingstoke E.G. and will take place in Basingstoke.

The ‘Pop-up Studio’ will offer embroiderers’ a peak into my textile world and a chance to glimpse original samples.

Click here to download the poster.

July 1 – 2
Charlbury Museum presents a ‘Sewing Bee’ Weekend

Inspired by the current exhibition: ‘Bonnets & Bloomers, Braces & Bowlers’, I am organising a small ‘Sewing Bee’. This community event will involve Charlbury W1 and local craftspeople showing demos of crochet, patchwork, weaving, embroidery, dressmaking etc. My own ‘Pop-up Studio’: ‘Vintage Twist’ will be a fusion of display and demos inspired by the museum’s exhibition, which I helped curate.

If you are in Oxfordshire or the Cotswolds this summer, enjoy a visit to the museum and ‘Sewing Bee’. Entry fee only £3 (for Charlbury Museum, includes museum entry), children free.

The Corner House (Morris Room), Market Street, Charlbury. Saturday: 11am – 4pm, Sunday 1pm – 4.30pm (+W.I. teas & cakes). Contact Sue for details:

Book News…………….

Springtime sees the studio with a busy schedule as I aim to finish three major new pieces of work for the next book and complete the text by the end of the summer, fingers crossed!

I am looking forward to putting the wrap on another publication, but a few stitch projects await first.

As soon as I have a publication date I shall put the details on my website.

Still some signed copies of ‘Embroidered Originals’ available via Sue’s website, or direct via email for cheque* orders (free postage* for UK customers).

All books come with a set of postcards.

Vintage Favourites

An early Willcox & Gibbs treadle sewing machine is definitely a vintage favourite; a petite machine on a decorative cast iron base, it still stitches a perfect chain stitch (see photo).

This W & G ‘Automatic Silent Machine’ has a pedigree and patent going back to 1857; the model I have states ‘Patent Jan 25 1870 New York’, nearly 150 years old and in full working order. Beautiful to look at, with Art Nouveau scrolls and curlicues on the cast iron frame and foot plate.

Willcox & Gibbs adapted the ‘Silent Machine’ for industrial use; this model could stitch flour and corn bags! The company invented machines for stitching straw hats and overlocking hosiery or knitted underwear. By the 1900s W & G machines could be powered by steam, electricity, or gas for factory use.

The chain stitch is stitched with a single thread, no bobbin, and can be adjusted to different stitch lengths. I have stitched using fine metallic threads and thicker No 15 metallic threads on silk organza and tussah silks. The photo shows a detail of painted silk organza with a meandering chain stitch, later ruched and sequinned to a base fabric. Perhaps it is time for this machine to get stitching again, with Victoriana inspiring this seasons studio embroidery samples.

And finally...

I look forward to meeting some of you at this summer’s ‘Pop–up Studio’ days, or at the autumn lectures for the South East Embroiderers’ Guild AGM, and the Embroiderers’ Guild Newcastle upon Tyne.

© 2017 Sue Rangeley. All Rights Reserved.
If you wish to unsubscribe from this newsletter, please click here.