An Evening with Amanda Clayton

13 05 2013

An Evening with Amanda Clayton

Last week Brockhampton Quilters were privileged to spend an evening with Mandy. Having gained a first class degree in embroidery, Mandy has developed a style of work, usually using neutral materials and thread that have been inspired by artefacts from her past. Texture is hugely important in her work. Mandy has exhibited widely and won many awards for her highly personal work. She is also a teacher and as her sister is one of our members, she offered to spend an evening with us. She began by talking about black and white, positive and negative and displayed the antique gloves you can see in the photo on different papers and fabric.

Next she talked about her sources of inspiration and about drawing. Now the words ‘let’s draw‘ sends shivers down the spines of most of us but being pushed out of your comfort zone is good for all of us once in a while! So in no time we were using dried leaves to help us fashion leaves from wire and soon we were choosing from a range of papers to display the leaves in a variety of ways.This was a long way from traditional quilting but it got us all talking about what we do and why we do it and in some cases why we get so anxious when someone asks us to something different.

Since the evening, although my leaves and paper are still in a box, I have thought more about the simplicity of stitching on fabric and the textures we create even when we use white on white or black on white. One of my most treasured possessions is a very worn Durham quilt, plain cream with simple cream stitches which I bought on ebay. It lives on my spare bed and has to be removed when I have people staying as it is so fragile. In my mind it is truly beautiful and I often think of the woman who stitched it many years ago. Was it just utilitarian to her or did she gain pleasure from drawing on that cream fabric? I hope that though the quilt has been well used and much washed, she too gained pleasure from making and using it.

So coming out of my comfort zone makes me think about what I do when I stitch and how I decide what to do. Sometimes it makes me realise I am very happy with what I am stitching at the moment.  I can think’ interesting evening’ and carry on but sometimes as in this case I want to see more of what Mandy has done because she has made me stop and think and question.

Do you like being taken out of your comfort zone?

You can see some of Mandy’s work here:

and she has a pinterest page here:


Reflections on what makes us happy!

12 05 2013

Reflections on what makes us happy!

The two things that make me most happy are sewing and gardening. When it rains, I think that means I can sew and when it’s sunny, I head for the weeds, trowel in hand. So in many ways, I don’t mind what the weather does though I do like a balance between sun and rain.

Over the last few weeks I have been in the garden whatever the weather because we’re opening it for cancer charities next weekend. That means I’ve done rather less sewing so it was great that I was committed to the Jan Hassard Dazzling Diamonds Saturday workshop a couple of weeks ago. What better way to spend a day than with like minded people, with friends new and old being taught something exciting by such a skilled teacher. I went home a happy sewer to do some gardening…..
In the photo you can see the quilt that Georgina made in the workshop. I love those batiks so much I may have to make another one! I love the way her feet, the top of her head and her fingers peep out from the edges of the photo but I guess it helps show the size of the quilt!