Saturday 11 May 2019

May meeting - Jan Dowson

Our speaker this month was Jan Dowson. Before retiring she taught, amongst other things, C&G embroidery in Lincolnshire, and was the teacher of Lynn Haith, who came to talk to us a year ago.

Jan told of her early artistic endeavours, drawing patterns on the insides of old envelopes, when she was a small child. A habit which hasn't left her, albeit now she has moved on to proper sketch books.

Jan Dowson - Sketchbook

After her children were born, Jan worked her way through City and Guilds parts I & II and then took a Foundation Art course which eventually led to a teaching career. She mostly works with hand embroidery, a decision made initially because she had very few resources, and lets the 'stitching do the talking'.

Jan Dowson - Hand Embroidery

Jan was awarded the Gold Medal for teaching by City and Guilds, the Worshipful Broderers award, and the Beryl Dean award. One of the OFSTED reports for her workplace said her course was 'A pocket of gold in a field of dried grass'. These words resonated with her, and with her many past and present students, who created a magnificent embroidered book filled with pockets of gold and reminiscences as a gift on her retirement.

Jan Dowson - Pockets of Gold book

Jan then talked us through her method of working, and had brought many wonderful examples (including a hysterectomy doll!) for us to have a look at. Jan continues to teach and gives talks and will have a book 'Expressive Stitches' coming out with Search Press at the end of this year.
This was a very interesting talk, and easy to see why Jan has received so many awards.

In other things . . .

We have two Facebook pages.
A main one (click here) and a Group one (click here). Although many posts are on both pages, you need to 'like' both of them to see everything. There are also links to the pages in the sidebar at the right of this blog (if you're reading this on a phone or tablet, you'll need to scroll down and select Web View in order to see the sidebars).

There is no branch meeting at the start of June, but there is Regional Day on June 8th, and National Day of Stitch on June 22nd.

The July branch meeting will be a talk on 'Designer Cabochons' (a change to the printed programme) and the Chairman's competition will be judged. The theme is Mixed Media.

There will be a coach trip to the Bowes museum at the end of October. Details to follow.

April Meeting - Heather Ritchie

At April's meeting we had Heather Ritchie talking to us about her story.

Heather's talk was a step away from a traditional chronological story of a person's life!
She brought with her a wonderful array of her work, from some of her earliest pieces to her most recent explorations.

Image taken from
Each one really did tell a story, and Heather is a natural story teller and keen observer of what other people would walk straight past and not think twice about.
Her talent is evident, when you can feel like your were there in her tale.

Her work in Africa,  born from a personal perspective of sight loss and the effect this can have on a person, is inspirational. 

This short blog does not do justice to Heather's engaging and hilarious talk, you must hear her and see the rugs she produces for yourself.