Sunday 22 September 2019

September Meeting - Joanna O'Neill

Joanna has visited us before, with her small journal quilts, but she kindly agreed to step in at the last minute this month to talk about her larger quilts. Justine Warner, our original speaker, is currently in hospital, and we wish her all the best for a swift recovery.

We also had to cancel the workshop which Justine was going to run for us on Sunday, September 8. If you have not yet received your refund for this workshop, please see Lilian.

Joanna O'Neill (picture credit L Muir)
Joanna gave us a highly entertaining talk, explaining how she first got into creating wall hangings and bags because of Kaffe Fassett, whose knitting and needlepoint designs she enjoyed making. She was fortunate enough to study City and Guilds Stitched Textiles, up to Diploma level, under the direction of Jean Littlejohn and Jan Beaney. 

Joanna O'Neill (picture credit L Muir)
The phrase she uses to describe her work is “shabby riches”. She uses bleach, layers of net, painted Bondaweb, fabric paints, silk paints and stencils to create highly textured surfaces, drawing inspiration from the shapes she finds, for example, in memorial brasses or collections of keys.

Joanna O'Neill (picture credit L Muir)
A friend suggested a trip to the Festival of Quilts one year, and Joanna came home with lots of fat quarters, full of enthusiasm to try quilting for herself. Armed with a library book on quilting, she set out to make lap quilts, gradually improving until she could start exhibiting at quilt shows.

She was interested by the kind of comments the judges made on her pieces, and trained to become a quilt judge herself. She showed us a number of large quilted wallhangings from different shows and exhibitions, encouraging us to come and handle all but one (it was created initially with ink on white high-count cotton, which would quickly start to show marks from fingers). 

During this period she developed a technique of using Markal sticks with intricate, hand-cut stencils, and began to use free-motion machine embroidery alongside hand stitching. Her newest discovery has been InkTense pencils and blocks, which are made from inks.

Joanna O'Neill (picture credit L Muir)
Joanna is such an entertaining speaker, and very generous with her details of how she achieved particular effects. Everyone enjoyed looking at the quilts afterwards, and in particular, being able to handle them.

In other news . . .

The winner of the Ida Barber competition for best original design was Anthea Pawley.

Anthea Pawley's winning entry
Next meeting is our AGM with an earlier start time of 1:30pm, followed by short talks from members. Membership fees are due at this meeting. You may already have received an email from Lilian about this. The total payable this year is £54. This works out at £4.50 per month, which is very good value.

Please give your name to Ingrid if you would like to join the outing to Bowes Museum on Monday, October 21. The cost, including travel, is £35. We will be in The Cube, seeing pieces not generally available to the public.

Tickets are now available for the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show (November 28 to December 1), at a cost of £11.50. Please see Lilian.

Our December meeting will include a celebration meal for our 40th anniversary as a branch. The Folk Hall is catering this at a cost of £14.90 per person, but this will be paid for out of branch funds. Please let Ingrid know if you will be attending.

The afternoon activity will be making a Christmas wreath. Everything will be provided except for the ribbon to wrap around the wreath base, which you will need to bring along yourself.