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Bath Textile Summer School 2016

I’ve been having a WONDERFUL time here in Bath this week at the Bath Textile Summer School. So much fun, in fact, that I’m already checking out the classes for next year’s Summer School.

Registration will open on August 22, 2015 (that’s Saturday!!) so if you’re interested in a specific class, I would highly recommend you get registered as soon as possible. The classes fill up very quickly.

Here’s a preview of what will be offered next year. To book a place, click on this link and follow the menu link to the How To Book page.

Jenny Adin-Christie: Raised Embroidery FULL as of registration Saturday morning at 8:07 which is when I registered but I have received an email telling me the class was full by then. Wow!

Holburne Museum
5 days
Sunday 14th, Monday 15th, Tuesday 16th, Thursday 18th and Friday 19th

jenny-adin-christie-owl-pussycat150Enjoy a fabulous week immersed in the absorbing art of raised embroidery/stumpwork, inspired by the intricate work of the 17th century, excellent examples of which are housed at the Holburne Museum. A range of Jenny’s designs will be available for you to select from, with options suitable for all levels of ability. Either use the week to take on a larger project, or perhaps to explore a smaller piece, at your own pace and with the luxury of time. All materials required can be purchased in the form of a project pack with very comprehensive working instruction manuals.

Nikki Delport Wepener: Classic Corsets

Holburne Museum
2 days
Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th

nikki-delport-wepener-corsets150This is a very exciting project. We will offer three classic little corsets; ochre & ecru fine silk, claret velvet & silk and corded calico & lace. A styled shot showing notions, a threequarter shot with perfume bottle and the close-up will be shown… the students will be excited by the anticipation of what an imaginary journey into designing antique miniature under garments has in store. Develop the creative spirit! The corsets can be worked on a background such as black velvet or dupion silk or made in the round and displayed on a perspex stand or in a box.


Nikki Delport Wepener: Circles of Inspiration

Holburne Museum
2 days
Thursday 18th and Friday 19th

nikki-delport-wepener-circles150Learn how to design and choose the fabric, textures and threads to interpret this inspirational concept. Techniques and stitches will be appropriate to the themes of the circles; flowers, butterflies, insects, alphabet, goldwork, lace filigree, geometric designs, blue ceramics and a bird. This design can be a jewellery or sewing box lid, an album cover, a picture or even a cushion.


Becky Adams: Concertina Fabric Books

2 days
Monday 15th and Tuesday 16th

becky-adams-fabric-books150Join artist Becky Adams and create your own keepsake book that promises to charm and delight! Fill your little book with a special memory or recollection, embellishing it with stitch, collage and fabric.




Janet Bolton

2 days
Thursday 18th and Friday 19th

janet-bolton-airballoon150We are so pleased that Janet will be returning in 2016 to run a two day workshop.




Cas Holmes: From the Land

2 days
Thursday 18th and Friday 19th

cas-holmes-flowers150This workshop looks at the use of found materials and the generation of ideas from within our ‘footfall’, using paper, textile, print, dye and stitch to create pieces based on the land and landscape. The environment as both source and subject. A ‘green’ focus to stimulate creativity – not just by recycling old fabric and paper, but by completely altering it through a variety of surface design techniques, wet and dry markmaking, painting and printing.


Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn: Hidden Depths

2 days
Thursday 18th and Friday 19th

beaney-littlejohn-purple-field150This course will celebrate the endless possibilities of layering and texturing stitch to develop complex and intriguing surfaces. The focus will be on hand stitches although machining, bonding or even an embellishing machine may feature.



Sue Hawkins: Biscornu Scissor Keeper or Key Tassel

2 days
Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th * new dates *

sue-hawkins-dorset-buttons150Make a very clever looking little scissor keeper trimmed with a handmade Dorset button and tiny bells on each point. Worked mainly in space dyed threads, the lovely colour changes appear as you stitch. You will have a choice of three colourways. You will start the day with the canvaswork pieces and learn all sorts of ways to improve your stitching and pick up lots of hints and tips. Later Sue will show you how to stitch the pieces together adding the bells and then making a twisted cord and the Dorset button.


Anna Scott: Snow Berries – Introduction to Crewel Embroidery

2 days
Thursday 18th and Friday 19th

anna-scott-snow-berries150Traditional Jacobean crewel embroidery commonly depicts scrolling stems, fanciful flowers and exotic foliage. During this two-day workshop you will learn and practise a variety of common crewel embroidery stitches including laid fillings which are unique to this style of embroidery. You will explore how different line and filling stitches can be used effectively to create interest and variations in texture to bring a design to life.This project is ideal as an introduction to crewel embroidery, or if you are new to embroidery in general.

Bath Textile Summer School – Day 2

The second day of the Bath Textile Summer School was warm and sunny. Many of us arrived at the Holburne a little early and sat outside talking over the previous day’s learning and any “homework” we’d done the night before. One of the very best things about being on a course like this for me is that I have the chance to meet new people who share my interest in embroidery.

In Jenny’s classes she always sets up a display of her completed designs for us to see. It’s such fun to see the range of her work and, of course, inspires us all to recreate her designs as beautifully as possible!


As soon as it was time to begin, we all got settled and down to work quickly. There is a calm, relaxed and industrious atmosphere about Jenny’s class. She gives direct instruction to half of the group at once and then was around and around the tables checking on everyone’s progress, stopping when someone needed help and giving praise and gentle correction along the way. We all commented on how well she teaches each one of us and that no one feels like they aren’t getting the help they need, when they need it.


I asked Jenny if, when she designs a piece for a course, she thinks about how she will teach it to a group and she said yes. After the design is developed, she then thinks through the teaching process and makes any little changes that will make it work well in a group class. This is probably why so many us are already talking about booking for her class next year – first rate teaching and fabulous designs are an experience that you want to repeat!


Above is a photo of Jenny demonstrating how to shade the wings of the god Minerva in the mirror frame we are creating. Her explanation of long and short shading is so clear: think of your needle going into and out of the fabric like an airplane taking off – at a nice, low angle – not like a rocket ship blasting up into space. She, like many teachers I’ve had, said not to think of it as rigid long and short stitches, but to think of the stitches as long and longer. Since the most common mistake in this technique is making stitches too short, this is especially helpful advice.


Above and below are photographs of the wings on my piece, shaded in the beautiful colors inspired by the green and blue of the waters in the Roman baths here in Bath.


The biggest challenge of the day was learning plaited braid stitch. We all were given lengths of yellow silk gimp to practice with on the edges of our fabric. As you can see, I needed a lot of practice! I now feel confident that I can do it properly and I’ll be adding plaited brain stitch bars to the round frame in the design next.


Below is a photo of the original piece mounted on a mirror frame designed by Jenny’s father. Isn’t it a stunning work of art?


When Jenny teaches a class she brings with her kits and supplies from her shop. As you can see below, the temptation is huge and I think no one has been able to resist picking up something for future projects!


Jenny brings tools and supplies for stump work, including the beautiful silk gimp we are using in a huge variety of colors, silk wrapped purl purl (which we will be using) and loads of other goodies with her. It’s lovely to be able to see the things you would like to use for future projects before you purchase them. It’s also a huge temptation!

Bath Textile Summer School; Day 1

I’m in Bath this week at the second Bath Textile Summer School taking a class with the delightful Jenny Adin – Christie (seated in the photo above). We’re learning stump work techniques as we embroider a beautiful mirror frame based on architectural details in the Roman Baths here in the city.


Most of the people in the class live in the UK although there is one student who has flown in from Australia! Our classroom is in the Holborn Museum, just off the entrance with large windows and a wide door that opens into the beautiful grounds.


Each of us is provided with a kit from Jenny that contains all the materials and one of her justifiably ‘famous’ instruction booklets. It really is a small, spiral bound book – with a table of contents! Her instructions are completely clear and her diagrams/drawings are almost (but not quite) as good as having her right next to you. I’ll write more about the project and the class next time because, at the end of the day, we got a surprise when Catrin Jones, Curator of Decorative Arts at the Holborn, brought down their casket for all of us to see.


When she walked into the room with the casket on a rolling cart, it was not unlike a rock star arriving! So many of us had only ever seen something like this behind glass and under relatively dim light. As we gathered around in a circle, she talked briefly about the casket. You can find out more here. She also graciously allowed us to take photographs and pointed out that there are excellent photos on the web site (link above).


Catrin was very familiar with the images on the casket and she pointed out her favorite things to us as we slowly moved around in the circle so we could see all the sides. Above you can see the reflection of the girl in her mirror. The silver handle in the original.


Above is the sun, smiling down on a happy couple in the garden. In some places the embroidery wasn’t finished, so we can see the pattern lines. I wonder why it wasn’t finished.


My favorite parts were the two dresses of the women on the front of the casket which were delicately embroidered. The minuscule stitches that make up the pattern on their dresses seem impossibly small to have been done before the invention of the daylight magnifying lamp!


After we’d had a good, long look at the outside, Catrin open it so we could see the inside. The interior has 19th century additions/replacement paper so it is of a different era from the outside. You can see a glimpse of the deep purple paper that lines the inside of the cabinet.


Catrin Jones also brought an embroidered panel for us to see. It tells the story of  the death of Jezebel and is worked in silks on canvas. The colors are remarkably fresh and bright for a piece worked around 1640. For more information on this piece, click here.


The Holborn’s collection of embroidery isn’t large but the pieces they do have are beautiful. If you want to see more of their collection, here is link to the search collections page. Type the word “embroidery” in the search box and you will be taken to the embroidery page of their collections. Click on any image and you will find photos and information about each piece.

After all this excitement it was time to pack up for the day – and what a great day it has been!

Next time, more about the project and what I’ve been learning!