About 28 years ago I left art college and set up as a ceramicist, having done a degree in art and design specialising in ceramics. At about the same time I started to go to the local branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild, to see the visiting speakers and to be involved with the textile world even though I had very little time for stitching as the clay was too demanding. I had intended to study textiles but the clay took me over. I have no regrets about this, as I have met many great people over the years through my involvement in this world and through a lot of teaching.
It was always such a pleasurable outing, and although I did enjoy working in ceramics I did eventually begin to fantasize about being a textile artist. Nine years ago or so this happened, apparently without any sort of planning. Quite simply I think I had made so much ceramic work from pots to sculptures and porcelain jewellery over 19 years that I had probably burnt out. A brief break from the clay allowed textiles to stroll in and they stayed.
I am very grateful to the Birmingham Branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild for introducing me to and keeping me informed of the textile world through all those years, and enabling me to slip so happily into that world. They offered me my first talks a few years ago, which really set me off, so that today I can trace almost every opportunity I have had in the textile world back to my involvement with that group; if not in a direct way, certainly through the existence of such groups to bring together enthusiastic individuals, and in my case, to help me into a new phase of my creative life.
I taught a workshop there yesterday, Experiments With Pattern, and it was most enjoyable to be with a mix of old friends and new members, so many thanks to all of you who came, and many thanks to the Birmingham Branch. Anyone who loves textiles and stitch but who feels a little lonely, seek out such a group if you possibly can, it will be worth it.
Here are some images of their work. All of the pieces are works in progress.