Friday, 1 July 2016

Tanbury & Daphne

The exhibition, A Group Gathering @ Unit Twelve is now open to the public. The exhibition showcases the finished project work of twenty UK artists who have taken part in A Group Gathering's textile challenges, the Shirt Collar Project and Daphne's Glove. We have a piece of work from each project included in this show.  
Above you see a detail from the piece we made for Daphne's Glove called, 'Tanbury Phenda Dreams of Flight'. As with the other artists' project pieces, the progress and development of this work has been charted on A Group Gathering's website. You can read more about the frustrations and techniques used to make the Tanbury piece HERE , HERE and HERE 
To celebrate the opening of the exhibition we thought you might like to know the story of how Tanbury Phenda became trapped in her tower. This is an original story by Kathleen Murphy (as are all of the tales which emerge from the Applewood / Murgatroyd & Bean) to accompany the Daphne's Glove piece. It is part of a larger story which will one day be published. 

If you are sitting comfortably, we'll begin...  Tanbury Phenda Dreams of Flight

    "Tanbry, Queen doe of the Phenda tribe, gazes far, far across the top of sharp, dark firs to the heather spotted moors where her tribe wander free. Tanbry’s imprisonment is a result of her kindness. Taking pity on the twist-spirited Elvog whose leg was caught in a crag, Tanbry pulled the witch to safety and bravely, for none of the Phenda ventured there, carried her into the caliginous deep of the forest where the hag lived. Once inside the forest the witch's pain and spite rewarded Tanbry with a curse - to be trapped inside a tall, windowless tower for forever and a day. Tanbury’s freedom to roam the moors cruelly taken.

    The curse proves too strong to break, though over the years many have tried. Some respite came in the form of a passing west wind, who, on hearing of Tanbry’s plight, blew through the bricks of the tower creating a window and turned the surrounding thorn bushes into verdant vines. Offering hope that one day Tanbry may be rescued. Each Spring the vines sprout small gloves, a symbol of Tanbry’s helping hand and a thorn in the deep buried conscience of Elvog reminding her of her wicked deed.

    For now, Tanbury continues to gaze from her window watching the Merlins and Short-Eared Owls pass by, wishing for wings so that she may fly to her freedom and feel mossy bog, soft beneath her hooves once more." 

copyright. Kathleen Murphy

Monday, 27 June 2016

The Marquee of Making 2016

 We have one place left on next month's Sewcial workshop which will take place during Blue Ginger Gallery's creative festival, The Marquee of Making. 
Places cost £50 each and this includes tea, coffee and all materials required for the surprise challenge! If you'd like to take part do get in touch as soon as possible.
Please note, as the title suggests this workshop will take place in a large tent outdoors so you need to come prepared for idiosyncrasies of the British weather!   

Friday, 10 June 2016

Final Weekend

A little reminder that this is the last weekend for the Six exhibition at The Weavers Gallery in Ledbury, Herefordshire. This is a mixed medium show which includes glassware, pottery, silversmithing, watercolour painting and treen wood. Oh yes, and the SP's!  
Open 10am-5pm Saturday 11th June
10am-4.30pm Sunday 12th June

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Six 2016

You see what looks like smoke rising from the roof of the Applewood workshop? Well it's not smoke, it's steam! It's the steam which is coming from the busy hands of Murgatroyd & Bean as they finish off pieces of work for their next exhibition in a few short weeks. We can't linger here for long we're afraid, so here's what you need to know...
'Six' is a group exhibition which will include glass work by Elaine Mason, paintings by Fee Pringle, pottery by Fleen Doran, jewellery by Megan Arnold, hand carved burr wood pieces by Ben Homer and a selection of handstitched curiosities by us.

Celebration evening on Friday 3rd June 6-9pm

Monday, 9 May 2016

A Workshop for Wyedean

Henry V looks over aviation pioneer Charles Rolls outside Monmouth's Shire Hall
Last Saturday we were invited to run a handstitch workshop for the Wyedean Embroiderers on the topic of textile portraits. 
This talented bunch of stitchers meet once a month in the rather grand setting of the Shire Hall in the Welsh market town of Monmouth. If you have ever visited the Shire Hall you will be aware of the 9ft embroidery locally known as 'Henry' - depicting Henry V addressing his troops at Agincourt. Several members of the Wydedean Embroiderers were instrumental in creating this textile piece which took thousands of hours to complete!

Unsurprisingly, the group took to Saturday's workshop task with ease. We began by using a technique to create an appliqued base of jigsaw-d fabric pieces, whereby choice of patterned material and colour was key. Once secured in place, embroidered detail is added to 'flavour' and bring the portrait to life. The choice of images which the Embroiderer's chose to use was as individual as each of them. Here's a look at how they got on.
A lovely use of pattern and yarn choice to give an impression of texture
Portrait inspiration came from artists as diverse as Andy Warhol to a painting by Edouard Manet
Some approaches were figurative, others modern - both making good use of pattern
Sumptuous fabrics, carefully positioned used to good effect on this famous pair: Frida Kahlo & Elizabeth I
A colourful, patterned response to this black & white photograph
When finished, the Wyedean Embroiderers have plans to exhibit these pieces in the display case at the Shire Hall later this year. We'll bring you further details when they go on display - can't wait to see the final results! In the meantime, you can see examples of other work by the group currently on display in the entrance to the Hall. 
If you'd like to know more about the Wyedean Embroiderers or how to become a member of this friendly group please contact for further details.  

Thursday, 28 April 2016


 A glimpse at a work in progress. 
We have two exhibitions coming up in quick succession this Summer, the first of which opens at the end of next month, so we're beavering away on a new tribe of Silva Populi. This particular Populi, a Cerfia who has horns on her headdress, has caught some fallen words on her clothing. Her clothing, mask and headdress are almost complete. The next stage in the making process is to sculpt her habitat which includes the need to quilt some leaves...

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Miss Chave's Glove

Last Friday's Sewcial at Herefordshire's Archive & Records Centre (HARC) was a rather special one. It took place as part of the Daphne's Glove exhibition currently on show at HARC and was the first of our longer length Sewcial workshops. 
When participants arrived they were given a parcel wrapped in cream tissue paper and string. Inside contained a white, hollow tube, two pieces of vintage linen and a single pale glove - the base materials of their challenge and a nod towards both the venue and the Daphne's Glove project. 

With more time to play with, we enlisted the help of Head of Archives & Collections at HARC, Elizabeth Semper, to assist in setting the scene by telling the Sewcial about the history of two local Hereford sisters, Mabel and Florence Chave. The story of their place in Hereford society in the late 1800's provided the inspiration for the day's task - to create a keepsake inspired by the Chave artefacts held in HARC's archives.  

The Sewcial participants were allowed to see inside the archive strong rooms for themselves. Spacious, temperature controlled rooms filled with ordered shelves, manila boxes, acid free paper and protective calico coverings like shrouds - inspiring in their own right. It is here that we collected a carefully wrapped bundle of dance cards, valentines, lace envelopes and book marks once belonging to the Chaves which we were allowed to pour over. 
Here's how the group got on with the information and materials presented to them. 
Turkey Red was a colour included in many of the Daphne's Glove pieces so boxes of red threads were available for the participants to make use of. 
Participants had access to other materials including burnt parchment and archival tape from HARC

Inspired by a tiny motif on a greetings card, this glove was cut open, appliqued and stitched into
A sewing notions case was created using bits of glove to stuff a pincushion, a glove finger scissors sheath and a needlecase using an embroidered piece of thumb!
Clever use of glove finger tips to make a hat
Layers of history are trapped within sheer fabrics and reverse applique techniques
A book of fabric memories from imagined party dresses and special events. With hand made tassels and a protective glove cover 
This piece was inspired by an acerbic comment made on a judges tag regarding Florence Chave's 1950's guild competition entry. For some reason Florence decided to keep it. 
"This has spoilt the character of the design"
By the end of the day we had a diverse and great set of results from the same starting point. 
If this has whet your appetite to try your hand at a Sewcial the next will take place on Friday 8th July 2016 at Blue Ginger Gallery near Malvern. Further details can be found by following the link HERE.

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