A trip to Rossendale in Lancashire means many things to me. It’s a place where I feel at ‘Home’. I catch up with my family and now and again I revisit aspects of the industrial heritage and it’s textiles stories that had sparked my love of textiles, many years ago. I remember family tales from the Cotton Mills – of clogs sparking on cobbles, the Mee Mawing Language of Weavers and my great-aunt explaining how she used to thread a shuttle. Helmshore Cotton Mill is one of the last remaining Mills in the Rossendale Valley where you can truly experience the full glory of original machinery in working order.
This video is from a recent visit and shows some beautiful working Carding, Roving & Spinning machines. It’s noisier than you might think!
A little bonus for you are the fabulous Fulling Machines showing how Military Wool Cloth was made.
My place had been booked for months for this ‘Embroidered Handkerchief’ workshop. I was so excited. I love Jessie’s style of work. She incorporates found objects, re-purposed and vintage textiles, story telling, printing, and plenty of hand stitching.
I had offered to be hostess for the day (involves keeping the tea flowing throughout the day and providing lunch for the tutor) which kept me rather busy, so I spent more time thinking about my sewing than actually doing much of it. Which was quite nice. I hadn’t really spent a day like this before. It offered me the opportunity to revisit the same piece of work throughout the day, audition threads, fabrics and ideas, until I was very content with my choices and started sewing (quite late in the day). I also stitched a pin onto the back of one of Jessie’s heart buttons and adding it to my apron. I love it!
Work By Jessie Chorley
Having met Jessie before, I knew that she loved vintage everything. A perfect excuse to raid my vintage linens and vintage china to make her lunch special.
By the end of the day, many of the faster stitchers had completed a tremendous amount of work. I am always stunned at the Show and Tell. Each person has been given the same guidance from Jessie and yet each has created such different pieces.
Our Show and Tell
It was a wonderful day. I haven’t been on any form of workshop for quite a few months and I really have missed doing them.
As a quilter in my previous life, I used to attend and teach a great deal of patchwork and quilting workshops. Each class (or rather the quilters) were rather driven to achieve something substantial or an objective – like a quilt top – by the end of the day (quite a lot of sewing). Since I have moved into hand embroidery, I am more content with the design elements of carefully positioned coloured threads and fabric scraps – ‘slow-stitching’ – and have enjoyed my workshops more as a result. Just giving myself ‘permission’, the time to think, has made a huge difference to my work. I now go home with my mind buzzing and several more projects developing.
I forgot to mention, Jessie gave us each a gift at the start of the day – some pieces of her new printed fabrics. They are so yummy.
She had also brought some goodies for sale. Some of her printed tea towels gave home with me.
Jessie’s new book is out 15th August 2015. More photos of it to follow in a later post. I have had a sneak preview and it’s a purchase I would definitely recommend.
I’ve been a fan of HBO’s Game of Thrones for many years and have taken a keen interest in the show’s costumes. I knew very little about the creative mind behind them until I stumbled upon an opportunity to meet London based Michele Carragher, the Embroiderer on a Game of Thrones.
Specialising in hand embroidery and surface design, her work is breath taking. She layers detail on detail, bead work, fabric painting, brocade, thread, applique and then adds textile manipulation to create exquisite pieces of art.
Michele’s embroidery is incorporated into garments, cloaks in addition to the iconic collars from Game of Thrones.
A large piece of cloth is stitched with lots of hand embroidery before being cut away and assembled into a finished collar.
Each collar has it’s own emblem. The Fish Crest from House Stark is embellished on this piece.
Michele’s work also utilises techniques and skills gained whist working in textile restoration.
The starting point for the following designs is lightweight organza and muslin fabrics. Hand drawn lines mark the way ready for the application of embroidery and bead work. The finished garment is then layered and appliqued with the cut away designs.
Patterned and pre-embellished fabrics, lace and brocades are used as a starting point for some of her pieces. Michele explained that this is sometimes taken as a shortcut for selected garments which are unlikely be seen up close on camera. Each fabric is further embellished with even more bead work and embroidery.
Each character has garments themed around their own personality. This includes the choice of colour and the type of technique used to create the design. This piece was made for Daenerys Targaryen and includes her iconic Dragon scales.
Game of Thrones and the White Walker
If you’ve enjoyed this gorgeous Stitchery and want to see more embroidery from Game of Thrones, check out Michele’s website.