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‘Stitching Favourite Journeys’ Janet Browne

In March, we were treated to a huge selection of Janet’s work, as she talked through not only her journey with textiles and embroidery but her many individual journeys she continues to capture and represent in style!

Janet is local to Halifax and says she remembers seeing the textile dust along the streets and the smell of lanolin from the mills, so it was in her blood from the start. At school, she found a love of colour in her studies but was advised to reduce this a little and consider the benefits of neutrals and monotone in terms of design.

Janet brought her map books and sketchbooks showing how this concentrated her thoughts such as looking through areas to the landscape beyond, and the development of symbols which she continues to apply to her maps today.

Walks are broken down into sections, taking a snapshot every few hindered paces. These include quick sketches, symbols and words.

Some pieces are pleated, representing the fact that you cannot see the whole landscape at any one point in a journey. When in town traffic, she plots stops in order to capture something of interest or significance.

Some of the journeys became closer to home, and Janet’s garden has been a recurring subject for her map making.

He shape of the maps show the shape of the journey, for example up and down a hill, or the wiggly shape the walk or ride took her. An earlier piece of work:

And a more recent drawn design:

Janet briefly described how she works from the reverse of a piece, adding small pieces of fabric as needed to stitch the tiny elements which make her map. Layers form a ‘sandwich’ of hand-dyed material, wadding and dressmaker’s tissue with her drawn design.

Janet is currently taking tiny elements from larger maps and expanding these into new pieces, such as an allotment, a garden or creating the birds she has seen on a journey. Everything she includes has been seen by her.

Here are one or two pieces created on Janet’s workshop. There are more on our Facebook page (link below).