Wednesday 25 October 2023

Momento Mori - Annabel

It's still a little tricky to work on stitch and paint at the moment, so I'm concentrating on concentrating. Chain Stitch has evolved into another Momento Mori piece. I love the way random ideas and thoughts can coagulate into a theme. I've been pondering what makes us vulnerable and there is so much - the new piece will be called "Chain Stitch - You Live, You Cry, and Then You Die". Cheery! 

What makes you vulnerable? This is a take on ill health - 2 paintings called "Pain" and "Nadir". Self portraits in acrylic on paper.


Tuesday 24 October 2023

Three Little Birds, Lenny Henry

If you're following Annabel's exhibition pieces about Windrush, there's a TV programme out shortly featuring Lenny Henry talking about his mother coming from Jamaica. Here's a link 

" A life-affirming drama, written by Sir Lenny Henry inspired by his mother's stories about leaving Jamaica in the 1950s for Great Britain. Follows sisters Leah and Chantrelle and their friend Hosanna starting a new life in England."

I t's a 6 part series that screens on Sundays at 20:00. It was filmed on location in Leamington Spa around the Tachbrook Street area.


Thursday 19 October 2023

Introducing Stephanie Redfern!


©Stephanie Redfern

We're all absolutely thrilled to have the fabulous Stephanie Redfern join us for our exhibition in Leamington. You may already know Steph from the many exhibitions she's been in around the UK and from shows such as Festival of Quilts. You can see some of her work right now at Forge Mill Needle Museum in Redditch.

Here's a little excerpt from Steph's website which you can see yourself by clicking this link:

"A ceramist for 20 years after leaving art college, I began working in textiles and mixed media in 2003.
My textile work starts with an interface of design and material. I paint and print many of my own fabrics, and construct my work using collage techniques, machine and hand stitch, in my small home studio. ​Many of the materials I use are recycled, particularly fabrics, plastics and papers.

To these practices I have gradually added more media, enjoying the use of paper, found objects, leaves, pods, bark, wood, recycled plastics, metal, and ceramics. My work is based upon the natural world and landscape.  The things that happen in my art are a combination of personality, experience, life and the patterns and spaces that move me.

My work consists of artist's books, for which I also write the text,  and mixed media wall hung textile work, both framed and unframed. 

I have published four books. Into the Cacao Grove, The Stone Bird and Shadow and Light are facsimiles of three of my mixed media artist’s books, and Thoughts, which is a collection of texts used in my artist's books. They are all now sold out, but I have now written a book for Search Press. It is called Stitched Textiles: Nature, and explores how my work is inspired by the natural world.
​Available from Search Press, Amazon and bookshops.

​ISBN - 10: 1782214526
ISBN -  13: 978 - 1782214526



©Stephanie Redfern

©Stephanie Redfern

Wednesday 18 October 2023

The Background's Too Strong It Needs To Be Whiter - Annabel


Benjamin Zephaniah has very kindly given me permission to use some of his poetry in this next piece of work. I have been reading his autobiography and poems and making notes of wonderful words I could use. In the end I thought his portrait which is one of the Windrush series, should feature his poem about Windrush, "The Men from Jamaica Are Settling Down".

I felt it was important that these words were readable, and not knocked back to become part of the piece so was wondering how I could do this. My background which is a collection of sketches/painting I'd made of Brum were too strong and the words wouldn't show, so wondered what I could do about that. I decided on a layer of gesso with the words then written on top.  I said to G, "the background's too strong, it needs to be whiter" and the title was born. My innards fizzed; it felt right. Thank you Benjamin!

Don't forget to follow here too: Threads of Memory page  

The other thing I am contemplating for this one, is the use of grafitti style writing in some way - I've asked a well-known grafitti artist for some advice on using spray paint, but the scale being so small may mean I'll need to put an image on the cloth instead of the real thing. We'll see.

Thursday 5 October 2023


Daniel Lismore has just started painting portraits again, and I know that Linda and Laura both have tackled them in their work. You might have seen Daniel on Portrait Artist of the Year where he was a guest sitter, or last night on Portrait Artist of the Decade, where he was in the audience.

I think if you work in textiles and/or include stitch, this can create problems. A stitched faced has to be tackled carefully to stop the sitter looking old and wrinkled! Laura and Linda have some interesting ways to tackle this and you can watch their videos on Design Matters TV to get some ideas.

Out of Time by Laura Kemshall


For a quilt it's important to add some stitch somewhere or the layers will sag over time and if, as most are, it's to be a wall hanging then it's even more crucial.

Here's some of mine. They are quite old now, and my latest work tackles portraits slightly differently, and I feel I'm getting there on absolute flatness, but I still like a stitched "outline" of features and lots of stitch work on the hair, hats, clothes etc. I always stitch first and paint afterwards.

All these quilts were part of a large series that can be viewed here.

Shall I Be Mother? The story has been stitched up to the neck and chin, facial outlines are added and lots of stitch to make the hair

Leaf Mould. Here the face itself is stitched with words up to the mouth, nose and eyes. There is stitch on all the features but it's not heavy and there is paint over it.

Be The Change You Want. The facial features are stitched but not the face. It's difficult to get the face flat enough to stop long-term bowing/sagging of the fabric.