Thursday, 28 February 2013

New Flickr Gallery Uploaded

180ish photos of student work have been uploaded to Flickr today - these are samples from work that came into the SST office since November of last year.  Many thanks to Marj for her hard work in collating them all!

It's wonderful to see so many - thought we'd been working hard!! Of course, we also know that our students and prospective students like to view them too.  As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.  Very, very true of such a visual subject as textiles.  To be able to see what others have produced and how they have interpreted their course materials is so valuable.  Hope you all enjoy the resource, not just the ones which have gone up today at, but also the hundreds that are already up there at

Here's one from one of my students, Rebecca W, that I really enjoyed - I love monochromatic schemes.

Monday, 25 February 2013

10+ Textiles at Ordsall Hall

A new exhibition at a favourite venue for the group, in Salford's haunted Tudor mansion, Ordsall Hall. Based in the North West, Ten Plus Textiles is a group of 17 fully qualified textile artists who have recently celebrated 20 years of working with fibres and fabric to create contemporary textile art from a wide range of techniques. Using fine hand and machine embroidery, patchwork, quilting and beadwork, weaving, collage and mixed media, their work includes framed pieces and hangings, 3-D items, fashion accessories and jewelry, all of which will be featured at Ordsall Hall.  For more information Ten Plus' website is

Opens 10th March until 9th June
'Meet the Artist' 17th March,
1pm to 3pm 

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The Nations Buttonmakers roll up their Sleeves for The Button Project

A stunning exhibition of contemporary handmade buttons will go on show alongside the silk costume collection at Macclesfield’s Heritage Centre this June.  Running from June 14 – August 8 the exhibition will be launched at Barnaby, the town’s summer festival of art and fun, and will showcase work by artists and makers from across the UK, and even beyond.

The Heritage Centre – one of Macclesfield Museum’s four venues in the town - features fine examples of the local Macclesfield silk button as well as a nationally important collection of silk clothing, fashion and accessories from throughout the town’s silk-making history.  It is an ideal setting to complement top-notch buttons by contemporary makers. And at the nearby Silk Museum – formerly the School of Art where textile designers were trained – there will be more buttons on show in a companion display, creating a button bonanza that spans the town.

Well over 100 makers have put themselves forward for The Button Project, with more on their way. Whether in silver, gold, enamel, glass, wool or silk, these buttons will be tiny works of art, and beware! they can be highly addictive. The artists have many different approaches and techniques, and include those who are just starting out as well as the internationally renowned, plus many who create simply as a labour of love. 

Among the many artists who have committed to the project is Gina Barrett, a talented maker with extensive experience of providing reconstructions of traditional costume accessories for theatre, film and museums as well as supplying today’s designers and artists with modern trimmings; Nancy Sutcliffe is a world-class glass artist who specialises in delicate figurative diamond-point engraving and has work in many collections including Broadfield House Glass Museum. She muses “It's an opportunity to do something new, to experiment, who knows, I might not even use glass or my drill at all!”

Alexandra Abraham makes luscious paintings and jewellery using found and vintage items, often from the Thames foreshore near where she lives. For the show Alexandra has created a button that includes fragments of glass buttons made by Lionel Nichols, England’s last couture button maker (his clients included Norman Hartnell and Hardy Amies). Sue Brown is recognised for her printmaking, but has recently been combining this practice with enamels. She has made a delicate moth-button that seems to flutter off the surface on which it sits – very apt considering Macclesfield’s silk-making past.  Sabine Krump is a self-confessed button obsessive, who is utterly dedicated to the gloriously named ‘Austrian Twist Knob’, and she has sent one of her finest examples of the form.

Buttons have a fascinating history, it is no wonder they attract so many people. Going back a couple of thousand years at least, they have a practical use in fastening clothing, but they are much more than that, and have been used as items of jewellery, decoration, status, and even currency.

For Macclesfield, silk buttons are where it all began.  This cottage-based business flourished into major industry and shaped the town into what it is today. Macclesfield Museums, which recently have been designated the official western end of the Silk Road by the United Nations World Tourist Organisation Silk Road Project, present all aspects of silk use and production. The museum curator, Annabel Wills, says “The great thing about The Button Project is the way that it brings together the historical collections with contemporary artists. The town has its beginnings in the button trade, and Macclesfield silk buttons were all handmade. Today’s makers help to keep that heritage very much alive.”

The Button Project is the first of its kind for the town. The show has been organised by Victoria Scholes, an exhibition organiser with some experience in putting together this kind of collective show, and also a well-respected glass artist in her own right. “I’ve been blown away by the response so far, and by the ingenuity and passion of the artists” says Victoria “New technologies mean that the skills of the hand are dwindling – only a handful of people know how to make a Macclesfield button today – and these makers are a real cause for celebration of what we have”.

If you’d like to submit a button, there’s still time to take part. The deadline for expressions of interest is March 4, and finished buttons can be accepted until 4 May. All details about submitting can be found at

Button shown by Alexandra Abraham made from recycled materials (including fragments of glass buttons by England’s last couture button maker, Lionel Nichols) and 23 carat gold leaf.

For more information or high resolution images, please contact or call 01625 425049

Monday, 18 February 2013

City & Guilds Bursary accompanied by a little light moaning!

Gosh, but its been a while since I last blogged - my apologies. As some of you will already know, we're having building work done at home, which seems to be lasting longer than we had hoped or anticipated!  Also, my father has spent nearly 3 weeks in hospital since the end of January and although he is out now, it was a difficult time for the whole family.  I hope and pray all will eventually get back to normal.........

Anyhow, enough of my moaning - I wondered if all who needed to know had realized that City & Guilds are offering their bursaries again with the closing date being the 1st May 2013 for the latest round. Sadly it is only open to UK residents, so apologies to those of you hailing from elsewhere. I've spoken to a number of prospective applicants over the last week or so and reminded them to makes sure they include the C&G registration fee when calculating their costings, as well as the inclusion of a reasonable amount for any materials or equipment they may need to purchase.

For the registration form and further info, go to

Friday, 1 February 2013

Janome Machine for new course

We're taking delivery of a new Janome machine in the next few days - a DXL603 to be exact - to use for the video parts of our new Sewing Machine Skills course.

Janome say that it gives you computerised sewing with 60 pre-programmed stitches, including 7 different fully automatic buttonholes. The LCD display makes it easy to see which stitch you’ve chosen as well as the stitch width and length, which are fully adjustable. A jam-proof, magnetic, top-loading, full rotary hook system eliminates the need for a removable bobbin case. The hook cover plate opens at the touch of a button, and the extra needle penetration power of the DXL603 lets you sew across heavier fabrics & multiple layers. Adjustable foot pressure means you can fine tune the feeding to suit your fabric. The extension table also detaches for free-arm sewing. This machine also features a seven piece feed mechanism, a drop feed facility, automatic needle threader, a slide speed control and comes complete with a hard cover.

At an average price of £399, its a mid range machine which won't break the bank. It comes with an additional quilting pack which includes most of the well know and usable feet.  Great news for those who are only using their machine for patchwork and quilting.  I personally love the fact that you can choose a needle up or down position, which is ideal for machine embroiderers.  As soon as it arrives, I'll have a fiddle and let you know more. Meanwhile, have a great weekend