Monthly Meeting May 2021

After a small amount of group business, this month’s meeting was highlighted by a lecture from Wendy Dolan.

“Layer, Paint and Stitch” by Wendy Dolan

Wendy Dolan is a textile artist and the author of Layer, Paint and Stitch”. She lives in Hove and has been fascinated by embroidery since childhood, going on to train in art and textiles. Her talk took us through the techniques and fabrics she uses to make fabulous designs using her layers of fabric, creating textured surfaces, onto which she adds paint and then hand and machine embroidery.

Inspiration is found for her work in the countryside around, art galleries, and exhibitions. She takes photos of scenes, of buildings, and of every day objects that interest her such as rusty nails and piles of logs.

The fabrics she uses include natural calico, muslin, cheesecloth, cotton batting, slub silk and chiffon; all are pre-washed before layering onto her design. They are torn, rather than cut, and stabilised with “Stitch and Tear”, before she paints onto her work with water based paints. She described the use of “eXpandIT”… a white paste which she sponges onto the back of the fabric, which then expands with heat to make puffed up areas of texture. She also uses horticultural fleece, which melts with heat and resists the paint colour to produce a mottled effect, such as that seen in clouds.

Wendy then illustrated her techniques by showing examples of her work. We saw meadows, poppy fields, and William Morris flower designs. Her work on architectural designs was most unusual with scenes of Venice, London and Brighton, and often included embroidered “maps” in the composition.

Her commissions included wonderful embroidery and lace for weddings, huge stage curtains for 2 ships, and a triptych wall hanging for Ashridge called “Aspiring Arches”

This morning really was a treat: we listened to a most professional and clear presentation. A group of us will be joining Wendy for her workshop later in May, which promises to be a great day for us to learn some of her skills

Virginia Clough
Vice chair
May 10 2021