Dear Emma

This week we welcomed Cathy from Dear Emma Designs.

Cathy’s first memory of textiles was rummaging through Nanna’s button box, captivated by the smell and pieces of thread still attached to the buttons telling the history of their lives. As a four year old, her Nanna would talk to her as she sat on her knee and guide her hands on her magical old sewing machine.

Having worked in a few different industries, Cathy longed to work around her passion for making and textiles. The uprising of handmade crafts and national media attention in the area proved timely as she turned towards her dream. Cathy and her friends, both called Emma, would share letters asking about feedback on her sewing ideas. She then entered a local craft fair, and sold her first few pieces of work which gave her the confidence to go forwards.

Eight years later Cathy found growing recognition as a textile artist and started selling all over the world, harnessing the power of social media and market branding.

Cathy spends her time cutting out small pieces to assemble for her designs, up to 180 pieces! The fine detail bringing out the detail in her designs.

We loved seeing her work and cards, and hearing about working with companies such as Country Living and Bug Art cards.

She is now developing her original work into prints so that there is a range for all.

Many of her pieces have a kite flying in the sky. Cathy told us the tale behind that, but it’s our little secret! Let’s just say it involved marmite and toast…

Cathy’s year ebbs and flows as she prepares for various seasonal opportunities and shows. We just don’t know how she fits everything in as well as being a mum, but we are very glad she does!

A few of the works in progress at Cathy’s workshop – more on our Facebook page, link below…

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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).