More exciting news……

We recently received an email to say that this blog had been placed third in a list of UK Textile Art blogs which is very exciting. So thank you everyone at Feedspot and please go to their website at this link to see the post.


More news about DIS/rupt in Peebles coming soon but by all accounts good viewing numbers at the gallery to see the work.  This weekend Saturday 30 June, Textile Study Group member Mary Sleigh will be teaching a workshop, Stitching a Story. Booking is essential and further details can be found by contacting the Tweeddale Museum and Art Gallery at 01721 72480 or email to see if there are any places left.

On Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 June another member, Julia Triston,  will be teaching  and more information about her class Text in Textiles can be had at the same contact numbers above.

For information about the DIS/rupt project and to see photographs of the work as well as read back numbers of posts when the artists in the group were interviewed about their personal projects and themes, please check our website for information Website


And finally……..

The opening of DIS/rupt on Friday evening at the Tweeddale Museum and Art Gallery was lovely and the large group of people who came to see the work in its new temporary home were fulsome in their praise of the venue and, of course, the work. It never ceases to amaze how different a body of work can look when set up in a different gallery. The galleries in the Tweeddale Art Gallery are lovely – the main gallery has wonderful ceiling windows which create a sympathetic light atmosphere and the work has space to ‘breathe’. The lower gallery is also well lit and shows the work to great effect so the group is very pleased with this finale to the DIS/rupt Tour.

Entry to the Museum and Gallery is through an archway off Peebles High Street into a lovely historic courtyard where visitors will see one of Ruth Issett’s colourful pieces on the wall of the Gallery.

Whirl, Wind & Weather, Ruth Issett

There is parking nearby as well as on-street parking if available and Peebles itself is a lovely town set within the Scottish Border countryside with many independent shops and local attractions so well worth a visit. The team from Textile Study Group and the Gallery staff have done a wonderful job hanging the work and visitors will be met with a very interesting “thought-provoking” exhibition.

Full details for opening and access can be found at the gallery website and remember there is a series of workshops programmed for the period the exhibition is open run by Textile Study Group members.

All information about opening hours can be found at the Gallery link Tweeddale Museum & Gallery

Minerva and beyond

Already two weeks since DIS/rupt opened at the Minerva Arts Centre, Llanidloes in Wales and we have had good feedback from visitors who have been. It is always exciting to see how the work  changes as it is set up in different surroundings and becomes part of the new gallery for the duration of its stay. The lighting variations, as well as the physical space alter how visitors view the pieces which means that each new gallery keeps the experience of visiting fresh. Here are a few photographs.

Of course, it will not be long before the work is packed up again and shipped to Peebles. More information about that very soon but in the meantime if you are in the Minerva Arts Centre area, you will be made very welcome if you visit. Check their website for opening times. Minerva Arts Centre


Debbie Lyddon

One of the main tenets of the Textile Study Group  is continuing to develop our individual professional practice and therefore the twice yearly weekends when we meet up to work together, are opportunities to explore the professional practice of other practicing artists as well talk amongst ourselves. Recently the group members met and enjoyed an inspiring workshop with textile artist Debbie Lyddon. Many of you will know of Debbie and maybe follow her blog or have seen her work in exhibitions, so during a very busy few days I took the chance to speak with her and ask about her practice and inspirations.

Q     Debbie, have you always been a textile artist?

A     No! I started life as a musician, playing and teaching the flute and I trained for four years at the Royal Academy of Music.

Q2     So how did you get started in textiles – what was it that clicked?

A      It was always a question of ‘do I do music or art?’ The school I went to had a very active music department and so, at that stage, the music won. However, I have always drawn and painted and I come from a household where everyone knitted and sewed. I’ve always seen playing the flute as an activity that went alongside these ‘hand’ occupations. When I had my children and it became impossible to pursue a musical career it was a very short step to making art instead. I started with adult education classes, putting one child or other on the crèche, and the whole thing has snowballed from there.

Ground Cloth Object – Coil

Q      What are your main influences?

A       My main influences come from what interests me and the experience of those interests in my life. Music has obviously had a strong impact. When you are at music college one of the things you are trained to do is to listen. You can’t play in an orchestra without hearing and understanding what everyone else around you are doing. The concept of noticing and experiencing that is inherent in my practice stems from my learnt sensitivity to hearing everything that goes on around me.

Q       The landscape is obviously a huge influence on your work. Can you give us a flavour of what it is about the Norfolk landscape that inspires you?

A      The Norfolk landscape has a huge bearing on almost everything I do. It’s an environment where I have spent a lot of time and the place has got into my bones. I think the contours, the light and the atmosphere of the landscape would come out in my work even if I didn’t try. It’s primarily a place of change. The enormous open skies, the muddy creeks and waterways of the marshes and the sand and dunes on the beaches are forever in flux. They move almost day by day and if I’ve been away for a period of time the differences are immediately noticeable. It is this variation that brings me back again and again as there is always something new to see or to hear or to touch.

Ground Cloth – Chalk

Q      What are your materials of choice?

A      Cloth is at the centre of almost everything I do and I take inspiration from the way it is used in this coastal environment. Sails, tarpaulins and other protective cloths are my primary inspiration. I use mostly canvas or linen, the traditional material for sails, and the sewing techniques use reference sail-making techniques. I have researched how these ‘coastal’ cloths would have been preserved and waterproofed and use the relevant materials: wax, linseed oil, bitumen and paint. Recently I have been using materials gathered from the environment to colour cloth and to make paint: chalk from Hunstanton and West Runton, red clay from Cley beach, yellow ochre from West Runton and seacoal from Wells beach. I love the fact that I am using materials from the landscape to evoke the landscape itself.

Q      Your sketchbooks are wonderful, are they your primary source of ‘note-taking’?

A      Yes and no! I often take my sketchbook and very basic drawing materials out with me. I like to sit and to look and to listen, and drawing or writing down my observations are an occupation that makes me be still and to actively notice. However, I don’t always have a sketchbook with me and I often use the memory of experiences that I acquire whilst out walking in my practice. I find that on a walk there are some memories that are stronger and more intense than others. These stick in my mind and often can become the germ of an idea.  

Ground Cloth Fragment – Chalk

Q       Your enthusiasm has been evident this weekend, do you enjoy teaching?

A      I do enjoy teaching. I like to meet people and to share my interests and it is very rewarding when everyone is enthusiastic back.

Q       Who have been the main inspirations or influences in your textile career?

A      Surprisingly enough, not that many textile artists: all the St. Ives artists for their connection to place. Gillian Lowndes for her innovative use of materials and Joan Livingstone for her large, abstract forms and use of utilitarian stitch.

Q       What do the next few months have in store for you and your textiles?

A      I have several exhibitions coming up later in 2018. I am delighted to have been selected to take part in the 62 Group exhibition CTRL/Shift at the MAC Birmingham from 21 July – 9 Sept, where I’ll be showing three large cloths that have been coloured with materials gathered from the landscape. I also have a long watercolour drawing/book in CLEY18, an exhibition of new work by Norfolk artists. Also locally, I am in the process of making a large piece of work for the Wells Maltings Trust Art Trail, People of the Sea and Shore. It is a 3m x 1.20 pulled thread work coated in bitumen that will be placed outside on the site of a past shipwright’s and will make a connection between the former shipbuilding industry in Wells and the landscape.

Q    What one piece of advice would you give someone starting to develop their own textile practice?

A      Make work that is personal and is about you and your interests.

Thank you very much Debbie, for an inspiring weekend but also for giving of your time to talk with me. What you say will be of enormous interest to our readers and we can but wish you well with the projects you have lined up for 2018.

If you would like to see more of Debbie’s work then find her website here Debbie Lyddon. Her blog can be found here Debbie’s blog and have a look at the links Debbie has added for information about the exhibitions and visit if able.


Thank you again Debbie.

DIS/rupt in Oldham – posting from the Gallery

DIS/rupt is now in its final few weeks at Gallery Oldham – it closes on 24th February – and you will have to travel to the Minerva Art Centre, Llanidloes in lovely mid Wales to see the work. More information about that in a future post.

However before it leaves Gallery Oldham I thought it would be interesting to hear what it has been like to have the TSG exhibition in the gallery from the people in whose care it has been since before it opened at the beginning of December and I have received this from the Gallery’s point of view.

There are nearly 2 weeks left to see the DIS/rupt exhibition at Gallery Oldham. It’s been on display for nearly 3 months and will be touring the UK, its next stop will be Minerva Arts Centre, Wales. Here Visitor Experience Assistant Rachel Ford gives us an insight in to what’s been involved from Gallery Oldham’s side of the project.

After months of planning, the gallery team had 1 week to prepare the gallery for the DIS/rupt exhibition. This included moving walls and painting them. Rebecca the Exhibitions and Collections Coordinator (Art) worked with Sarah Burgess from the Textile Study Group on the challenging tasks of laying out all 23 artists’ artwork, giving thought to the design layout and allowing each piece of artwork to have its own identity. The collection of artworks although fragile were quite easy to hang and the natural light from Gallery 2 complemented the artists chosen colours.   

Just before the grand opening on 2nd December 2017 the artist Sarah Burgess gave the front of house team a prep talk on each piece of artwork. This talk with Sarah gave us the opportunity ask questions and explore the exhibition. I was very interested in the research involved to obtain statistics relating to rising sea levels across the world for Sarah Burgess Artwork Drowning By Numbers: 2 Degrees and 4 Degrees. Sarah explained that various studies had taken place by university groups and the studies showed that if the temperatures rise globally by 2 or 4 degrees it is likely to have a devastating impact on at least ten cities worldwide, this would then have a knock-on effect destroying crops, homes and industry. The Textile Study Group are a group of nationally and internationally recognised textile artists and tutors based throughout the UK. The group are well known for innovative and challenging approaches to art practice and contemporary teaching.

The exhibition explores the concept of disruption in its widest sense. Through extensive research the group decided to explore several themes, including global conflict, concomitant problems of migration and the refugee crisis; climate change and ecological disruption; conflict within domestic relationships; and disruption within traditional fabric making processes.

My favourite piece in the exhibition has been Sian Martin’s, Dispatched With A Kiss. I found the story and the beautiful array of colours very moving. Inspired by a true story, the piece of artwork represents a timeline about a boy named Ahmed. Ahmed lived in Afghanistan when aged 15, ISIS came to his village and stole his two sisters and killed his father. His mother told him to run away and gave him a kiss on his cheek.

Fragments, detail Sian Martin

The piece itself is about 4 meters long. It begins with bright colours that represents Ahmed peaceful life. The colours then fade and bright orange fabric is threaded onto the steel, this represents Ahmed’s journey as he travels to France and Britain. Towards the end the fabric becomes much less. A pair of lost shoes represent the journey that many other refugees will continue to take.

The exhibition has been very popular, with visitors travelling from all over. The workshop with Artist Sarah Burgess sold out within the first few weeks upon opening and The Textile Study Group catalogue has been selling like hot cakes.

But before it leaves Gallery Oldham on Saturday 24th February, come and take a look at this amazing talent.

Catalogues for sale at £10 each

Thank you Rachel. It is always good to hear other view points of artists’ work and having your account from the perspective of the Gallery will be of enormous interest to readers.

Remember, the exhibition ends 24th February and our next post will give more information about its move to the Minerva Arts Centre. Catalogues can also be purchased through a link on the group’s website.

TSG website



Studio Postings…

In just over three weeks DIS/rupt will open at Gallery Oldham. It’s time therefore to have another posting from a TSG member’s studio to find out about the work visitors will see in Oldham. Shelley Rhodes will be well known to many of you through her membership of TSG but also through her teaching. Always interested to hear where ideas come from, as before, I asked Shelley what area of the DIS/rupt project she had been exploring. The piece is titled ‘Only Five Percent’ so I was keen to know what lay behind the title:

My work explores climate change specifically in relation to warming sea temperatures which are affecting the world’s coral reefs.

I am a great beachcomber and on some of my travels I had collected a few tiny coral fragments from the beach. They were beautiful, mainly bleached white with interesting marks, pattern and detail.

I had already begun to draw and use these as a source of mark making. So it was a natural progression for me to develop this interest.

Can you tell us something about the piece you are working on for DIS/rupt

I focused my research on coral bleaching, which is thought to occur when water temperatures rise for a sustained period of time. Coral is a living creature and the most obvious sign that coral is sick is coral bleaching. This happens when the algae on the coral surface dies or leaves the coral. The algae give coral its colour, so without it the coral has no colour and the white of the limestone shell shines through the transparent coral bodies.    

Whilst researching the project I came across a lot of statistics, mostly relating to percentages linked to the amount of bleaching on reefs around the world. One shocking statistics that I came across was ‘only five percent of the worlds coral reefs are in pristine condition’. Another stated that ‘fifty percent of the world’s reefs are damaged through bleaching’. I wanted to portray these statistics, so I decided to create one hundred small components with each representing one percent of the world’s coral. Half of the units are shades of white which represent the bleached coral. Five of the units are very brightly coloured, with the rest somewhere in between.

What are the materials and processes that you are working with?

I made marks made by printing, scorching and stitching. The marks were inspired by marks and patterns found on coral. I used a variety of lightweight and transparent fabrics which I fragmented, manipulated, shredded and layered.

Some of the pieces are very distressed as I tried to portray the skeletal qualities and fragility of the damaged coral. I also discharged colour to emulate the bleaching.

I wanted to refer to the many written statistics that I discovered during my investigations. So I included text relating to my research. I did this using image transfer methods and digital printing directly onto fabric. I also had some mini thermofax screens made, so that I could print the text easily throughout the piece.

 Are you able to give us an idea of the scale of your piece?

The one hundred units are displayed in a block 4 deep x 25 wide. The overall size is 1metre in depth x 3.75m wide

Is the finished piece to be free standing or wall mounted?

It is wall mounted. Each individual piece is hung separately so there is space between each component. The individual pieces are for sale. The pieces that were sold in Stroud have been replaced with a ‘ghost’ image of the original piece printed onto tracing paper. I like the way that this represents the fact that some of the world’s coral species are slowly disappearing. These ‘ghost’ images may increase if sales are made at each venue!

What message do you hope the viewers of your work will take away from the exhibition?

I hope they will become aware of the catastrophic bleaching events that are taking place on the world’s coral reefs.

Thank you Shelley. I think people seeing your work in the gallery will be struck by how you have visually represented global warming and how the warming oceans are effecting coral reefs, such a fragile environment. If you want to see more of Shelley’s work in DIS/rupt then remember the dates.

Hope to see you there.

Studio Postings

The countdown to Oldham is in full swing, labels and packaging being checked and in just over three weeks DIS/rupt will open to the public in Gallery Oldham. Fine time therefore to find out from some more members about their work. I recently managed to chat with Janet Edmonds, author of several very popular books, about the work she will be submitting in Oldham.

First of all I asked Janet about the specific area of the DIS/rupt project she was investigating or exploring?

I have chosen to explore the global warming category and investigating extreme weather around the coast in particular. I began by looking into the Dawlish railway collapse as I use that line down to the West country fairly regularly so have a personal interest in what happened there in February 2014

Can you tell us something about the piece you are working on for DIS/rupt

I did some drawings to explore the idea of huge waves hitting the coastline but had great difficulty in trying to workout how this could be made. Over a period of time I began to consider the wider issue of the power of the sea as it makes landfall. Originally, I wanted to create a piece that would appear to burst through a wall which would mean making two pieces, one for either side. Due to life’s complications, I have had to modify my ideas and make something that I could do in the time I have available.

What are the materials and processes that you are working with?

Finding the right material to support my ideas took some time but eventually I made a breakthrough to the problem I had in supporting the fabric. I discovered Varaform, a material that can be moulded and shaped using heat or spraying with water. It becomes sticky so enables fabric to be fixed to it and retains its shape when cooled or dried. It also remains possible to hand stitch through it. I intend to make some fabric by machine to add to the piece and I am knitting with clear monofilament, again, to add to the hand stitched waves.

That sounds really interesting Janet, are you able to give us an idea of the scale of your piece?

The piece is not as large as I would like but is a metre wide and should be almost as high although I have not yet reached that stage. It will extend outwards from the wall.

Is the finished piece to be free standing or wall mounted?

The piece will be dimensional but wall hung and may be lit from within if the work goes according to plan.

What message do you hope the viewers of your work will take away from the exhibition?

Recent world news has brought us many horrific images of the damage and destruction that the sea can wreak when it reaches landfall. The energy within the waves heightened by adverse weather conditions is terrifying, even more so at close quarters. I hope that viewers will get a sense of the power of the sea and reflect on how small and insignificant we are against its might.

Thank you Janet, it will be of great interest to visitors to see the finished piece. If you would like to see Janet’s piece and all the other work in DIS/rupt when it opens on Saturday 2nd December then remember the dates for Gallery Oldham and the other venues and check earlier blog posts for dates and information about the workshops and artist talks on offer. Full information, about Gallery Oldham can be found here Gallery Oldham and the gallery can also be found on Twitter @GalleryOldham.