Louise Nichol – Workshop

Louise Nichol - Lino Printing on Fabric

Louise first introduced herself as a textile artist and she doesn’t class herself as a printmaker.

She talked us through the process which we would be going through on this one day workshop. Today is all about getting the fabric printed with a design that then can be embellished, appliqued, or embroidered to our own unique style to produce an item that can either be used for fashion, accessories or fine art.

She uses a singular lino  block with one colourway print or on a rare occasion a multiblock print of more than one colour combination .

When choosing a design Louise advised that not too much detail is the key to being able to add future applique, embellishments etc,  so that we are not constricted by fine detail on the fabric or which would be lost if we were to cover up inadvertently  e.g.  less area for further enhancements with thread, appliqued fabrics etc. 

We measured out a design roughly 6 inch square or similar area in a rectangle as this would be a suitable amount to carve and print in the time available. 


We then proceeded to carve out the design which was fairly successful on the softcut lino Louise provided – (softer and easier to carve than traditional lino) before making sure that any lines were not too finely carved together as when you print onto fabric sometimes the ink can be transferred to the carved out lines if not thick enough and therefore losing the detail of the print.  

Once carving was complete after lunch Louise advised about suitable fabrics to print upon. 

Closely woven fabrics would take the print well but you need to remember that it is sometimes harder to put a needle through a tightly woven fabric and the addition of printed ink on top of the fabric can make sewing harder still. So a smooth finished fabric such as linen with a looser weave would be ideal or similar cotton fabrics. 


With regards to which ink to use for printing our fabric it really depended upon whether we would be intending to wash the item after completed. Louise brought 2 different fabric block printing inks with her, a watercolour one which is light fast and suitable for fine art pieces which do not require washing (in fact if you were to wash would be ruined as the ink would be removed) or a Speedball fabric ink which was oil based, which takes longer to dry and needs fixing with an iron (and a piece of parchment paper to protect the iron) but once fixed can be safely washed so is suitable for fashion items. 


We spent the rest of the afternoon experimenting with the different inks in a variety of colour ways on a selection of fabrics. 

Louise then advised that to finish off the item , you would back the item with either a lightweight fusible interfacing or a bondaweb sheet and depending upon your use, a lightweight wadding etc before embroidering or appliqueing the item. 


Report and photos by Claire T.

Thank you Claire, Ros

Louise Nichols – March 2020

Louise Nichols’ talk this month was entitled, “From Graduation to a career as a Textile Artist”.  As a child she always enjoyed drawing and sketching so when the time came, Louise went to De Montfort University in Leicester to follow a Fashion and Textile degree specialising in surface design.  After graduating Louise went to work for an Upholstery designer, Jennifer Sanderson creating fabric and wallpaper designs.  Following that she worked for William Love who was an agent for stationery and Simon Elvin (Greetings Cards) was a client.  Louise showed us a wonderful selection of Christmas cards, wrapping papers and gift bags she had made for sale in Superdrug, Oxfam and Clinton Cards.  


Louise started making her own cards and a range of handmade wedding stationery but when she returned after a break when her children were little she found that technology had moved on giving her too much competition and so she made basic pictures and stitched gifts.  When she moved to Cornwall Louise started going to Craft Fairs and creating projects for SEW magazine.  Initially the editor would give a sewing brief and source the material but as time went on a regular production line of items was needed so it was time for a change.  Louise enrolled on a printing course run by Sophie Morden and started to use hessian backed lino to print simple basic images on fabric.  As she kept the copyright for the projects she was able to start her own workshops and now has kits and items for sale in 17 galleries around the UK.  

Thank you Louise for a most enjoyable talk and if you would like to purchase one of her kits or to find out more about her workshops visit her website at : https://louisenichol.com/

Report by Ros


Anne Hellyer – “Set the Town Alight” workshop – November 2019


A few years ago I saw Anne Hellyer’s work displayed at the West of England Quilting and Textile Show at the UWE (University of the West of England) in Bristol so when I had the opportunity to go on a two day workshop I was keen to put my name down.  

​Anne’s distinctive “Painting the Town” designs incorporate hand painted textiles and free machine embroidery.
We started the day by choosing a design, winter townscape, snowy townscape or an individual choice.   The hand painted fabric is ironed onto a background and then starts the fun of adding the doors, windows, plants and trees.  Finally a backing is added and ribbons to enable you stand your finished work up with a night light in the centre.   
Anne was extremely generous sharing her ideas and techniques and the two days of stitch, stitch, stitching went so quickly.   The end results were so individual with each person choosing different coloured fabrics and adding their own special ideas including Rosemary’s super black cat. 
Thank you Anne for a great workshop.

Anne’s kits can be bought on her website:   http://www.paintingthetown.org.uk/
Please note – all the designs are Anne’s copyright

Report and photos by Ros

Liz Brooke Ward – November 2019

Liz Brooke Ward was the speaker for our November meeting.  I first saw Liz’s work many years ago at Art In Action so I was interested to meet the artist herself, to hear her story and to see a wonderful selection of her work.
​Liz explained that many years ago she chose rocks and stones as her topic for a City and Guilds course.  During this time she also became interested in lichens and, although she has diversified considerably, Liz is well known for her circle in square designs using lichens as inspiration.  Liz handed round a wonderful selection of her work and it was interesting to see her lichen design created using different techniques and materials.  They included applique and reverse applique, free machine embroidery, hand stitched French knots, hand dyed fabrics, varying colour combinations  and multi media.  
Liz enjoys poetry and regularly includes text in her work.  She loves experimenting with fonts and her son has created a font for her in the shape of a leaf.

In 2006 Liz was awarded the Charles Henry Foyle award for Stitched Textiles.  Her work was entitled “On to the Eastward” and was her interpretation of a maelstrom.  
​Liz gives talks, has had articles printed in various publications, has been an artist in residence at Nature in Art and has exhibited her work at the Festival of Quilts and around the country. She is a member of the Contemporary Quilters Guild and showed us examples of a monthly challenge to create a journal quilt.
Thank you Liz for a wonderfully enthusiastic talk and for generously sharing your techniques.

Report and photos by Ros

Nikki Vesey Williams – October 2019

Nikki is a talented artist in so many disciplines and the Guild is fortunate to have her as a member.  We could not be anything but inspired by the breadth of her passions and skills, she in turn is inspired by artists such as Van Gogh, Klimt, Monet, Gaudi, Lautrec, the pre Raphaelites, and nature, history, birds and colour.  Nikki showed us an amazing array of her work of embroidery, enamelling, silver-smithing, stained glass, furniture painting, upholstery and needle felting. 

​In amongst all this Nikki’s uses recycled materials to dazzling effect in her multi media works such as her crown made for this year’s entry to the Madeira Competition.  Last year she was competition winner with her beautifully imagined ‘Mary Poppins’ carpet bag.  She is rightly proud of her ability to recycle and reuse.
​Nikki seems to be able to turn her artistic talent to almost anything as well as doing her bit to save the planet.  Thank you from the members of the Guild for giving us a glimpse into the amazing world of Nikki Vesey Williams.
Thank you Amanda R for your report and the photos. 

​I was so very sorry to have missed your talk Nikki, another time!  Ros

Victoria Riley – July 2019


​Victoria’s father worked in the oil industry and she was brought up in Houston and Jakata where she discovered her love of batik.  She followed a course to learn the various techniques and showed us examples of her work.


​Victoria explained that batik is a traditional dye resist technique popular in Indonesia using wax.  The wax can be applied in a number of different ways, a metal or wooden stamp or tumblock, usually done by men due to the weight of the stamp or the tulis method which uses a canting containing liquid wax to draw the image on the material.  To remove the wax the material is soaked in boiling water.

​Traditional dyes are used, barks and indigo as well as chemical dyes. Different types of salt are used to produce different shades and colours. Various types of wax are used including paraffin wax and gum from trees and this wax must be the right temperature otherwise it will not adhere to the cloth.
It was interesting to discover that designs and colours differed depending on where they were made, the market they were targeting or sometimes the Sultan would decide.  Muslim designs tended to be subdued whereas Hindus’ designs were more free.  The Garuda, which is a mythical bird in Hindu, Buddhist and Jain religions, has always been a very popular design and small dots are a seen on most Indonesian batik.  The designs are passed down from one generation to the next and it was very encouraging to hear that the technique is very much alive.
Report and photos by Ros

Jenny Adin-Christie – Workshop June 2019


Our day started with a demonstration from Jenny on how working herringbone stitch on the back of white organza could produce some wonderful effects. The group had a choice of three designs which had been drawn on the organza by Jenny prior to the workshop. The choices were a rose, a violet or a monogram. 

Once everyone was happy with their Shadow Work technique on flowers and monograms Jenny showed the group the first embellishment to their work. This was how to create and sew eyelets. Every design had possibilities for eyelets. Then some people started to do the stems of their flowers. 
The group then learnt how to attach a wide ribbon with a feather design. They were reminded by Jenny’s demonstrations how to attach using feather stitch, pin stitch and thorn stitch. Then it was time for lunch.

In the afternoon Jenny demonstrated further embellishments like how to attach a bobbin paper, sequins and stamps. The group were shown every process that they would need and the beautifully illustrated instruction books will be very useful. It was a wonderful day! 

Here is the link to Jenny’s website:  www.jennyadin-christieembroidery.co.uk

Report and photos Jane S
​Thank you Jane, Ros

Alison Hulme – June 2019

Alison Hulme discovered stitch after a challenging event in her life.  She first tried cross stitch and then silk ribbon embroidery and stump work.  Alison joined the Salisbury Embroiderers Guild and went on to take City & Guilds at Fareham College.  She worked as a volunteer at Eastleigh College and then she was encouraged to take a Degree Course in Stitched Textiles.  Alison choose feet as her design topic and showed us examples of her work.

​Alison now prints her own fabrics and makes them into aprons and bags.  She gives talks and workshops to share her printing techniques.
Last year Alison exhibited at the Knitting and Stitch Show and she has tutored in France at a craft retreat.

We hope you will return sometime Alison as we would love to learn to make these wonderful fabrics.

Report and photos by Ros

Silk Papers Workshop – Val Toombes – May 2019


We started the day with Val Toombes explaining the 4 undyed silks in our packs – mulberry which was white, tussah not as white as mulberry, gum silk, and throw silk which was curly, soft, and shiny.  We made silk sheets by thinly placing the 4 silk layers between 2 layers of bridal net, then wetted with water and after that textile medium.  This was put to dry.


W​e then used a variety of dyed silks placed again between 2 layers of bridal net, wetted as above the put to dry.  Some very interesting and colourful designs were achieved!

In the afternoon we blew up a balloon and after coating it with textile medium we made bowls by placing silks in layers across and around it resembling bad hair day wigs!  We then took these home to dry and pop.
An enjoyable day for everyone!

Report by Diana K and photos by Jackie B

Thank you both for sharing your day with everyone.

Val Toombes – May 2019


Our speaker this month was Val Toombes.  She enjoyed drawing and needlework classes as a teenager and made her own clothes at the age of 12. 

In the early days whilst working aboard, Val’s husband bought her a knitting machine and she went on to design patterns.  In 1992 she did a machine embroidery course at Farnham College where she became a Bernina fan.  She then graduated on to the City & Guilds course at Godalming.

Val’s main interest is silk and she uses it to make paper, scarves, dresses, jackets as well as 3D vessels.  She explained that she learnt to dye 10 different colourways for use in her work and loves strong vibrant colours. 

Val brought along a selection of her work on display mannequins and passed smaller items around the room for members to look at. 
Val enjoys exhibiting her work enters competitions regularly all over the world.  She talked about a recent exciting occasion when her work was chosen to be shown in the World of Wearable Art in Wellington, New Zealand.  Val also mentioned exhibiting at Ramster Hall near Chiddingfold in Surrey.

A group of members will attend a workshop given by Val so watch out for the posting.

Report and photos by Ros