Les Soeurs Anglaises

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.... hare today ....

My favourite animals in the whole world (apart from our dog, CoCo, of course) are hares, and the current spring-like weather we are experiencing appears to bring them out of their "forms" and across our paths on a regular basis down here.  So magical. And what I like to think of as my familiar would also appear to be the favourite of a certain Mrs Bertimus living in North Lincolnshire, a remarkable art tutor, painter, stitcher and general maker of things,

Mrs Bertimus has a wealth of experience and a personality to match, her pieces are a combination of her love of drawing and that of hunting in charity shops for unloved fabric she can collect and reinvent.  She makes bags, pictures, tea cosies and cushions ~ all made on the sewing machine she was given for Christmas when she was 13. {She didn’t want it; she’d asked for pedal pushers} and it’s all environmentally friendly because she is recycling fabric and uses water-based screen printing inks.  Subscribe to her on Instagram and keep up with her extraordinary creativity!

......IF YOU'VE MISSED THE ARKELL BOAT THIS YEAR....

...because all the places on Julie Arkell's workshop here this year are now booked, all is not lost.  Julie's two fab little books - HOME and AWAY - are currently available to buy separately or together at the charming on-line bookstore Ãto who are offering Les Soeurs Anglaises' participants and newsletter readers a special 10% discount if they order using the code: LSA10.  The cherry on the cake is the discount can also be used against any of their wonderfully curated and beautifully designed publications of original artist/makers such as Pauline Burbidge, Ptolomy Mann, Jilly Edwards and Rozanne Hawksley; a website to keep in your favourites file.

....DEFINITELY IN VOGUE.......

... is our favourite knitting queen, Åsa Sōderman, returning workshop leader of the Knitting Im-Mercerie here this September.  If you missed the Vogue Knitting issue, you can read her fascinating and circuitous life's journey here.  Her first book on knitting will be available later this year, hopefully in time for the workshop (a few places are still available).

 ......THINK BIG......

.... says one of our readers, Janie Grimes, who directed us to fibre artist Jacqui Fink based in Sydney Australia.  Jacqui works predominantly with high grade and naturally coloured merino wools from the antipodes and through the lens of her bespoke studio Little Dandelion, she focuses on creating textiles both extreme in their scale and the physical challenge they represent for one pair of hands. The process is entirely self-taught and the textures she creates are rich, luxurious and have the power to imbue both solace and joy to the observer. You can find several patterns and video tutorials of her larger than life technique on her website and whilst launching into a similar project may not be for the faint hearted, extreme yarns are available through Amazon both in the UK and USA. Can't wait to give it a go and burn up some calories.

....EN PASSANT...

.. .. la Soeur, Susie would like you to consider... " that the coming of age should be moved from 21 to 61.  By then you know that the past is your travelling companion for life; that love is flighty and elusive; that hatred is corrosive; that laughter is essential for stability; that happiness is rarely permanent; that sorrow does ease if not cultivated; that health is a moveable feast; that accidents can often be laid at one’s own door; that family and friends are not guaranteed; that experience can make us fearful; that repetition is inevitable; that the brain needs to be nurtured; that you can’t manufacture ambition and that the level of your success in life should be judged by you alone.
......LOOKING BACK.....

Have you ever given serious thought about the amount of work involved in the production of a Victorian dress?  Well neither had I until I came across the precocious 18 year old seamstress, Jessica Pedersen, from Vancouver and her blog The Historical Attire.  Another self-taught crafter, she dropped out of a degree in Costume Design because she felt she could learn more through reading and researching her passion, Victorian clothing between 1840s-1860s, on her own.  The results are quite fabulous and the skill and patience required extraordinary, especially for someone so young. She has also taught herself how to draft patterns, and uses these to make sure her patterns are historically accurate.  Whilst you may not want to go back to wearing stays and petticoats, I'm sure the techniques once learned could be adapted to current styles to great effect.

..... TALKING OF OLDEN DAYS......

... you may associate the harpsichord with Renaissance and Baroque music, but think again.   Luca Sestak - who will be joining us, together with International musicians Silvan Zingg and Deanna Bogart, for the full Blues & Boogie Weekend we are hosting this July - demonstrates exactly how to bring an historical instrument up to modern speed.   We still have a couple of accommodation options available for the full weekend if you fancy a few days of fantastic live music, fabulous food - prepared and served throughout the weekend by Sven-Hanson Britt, Masterchef; The Professionals finalist and Miele's UK executive Chef - and great company, all to raise funds for Medécins dans Frontières.  

The American artist Jodi Colella lives in Somerville, MA, USA and works with a broad range of materials to create provocative, tactile works that often include public participation. Her work is raw and extraordinary and if you are anywhere near Studio 105, Miller Street, Somerville, MA 02143 on the 31st March, 1st or 2nd April we suggest you pop in to see her show.  As she says, "I come from a place of traditional handwork technique. That's where I usually start when making my structures and playing with materials, but then it goes somewhere else. It depends on a little bit of whimsy and what feels right for what I'm trying to create at the moment." Jodi also teaches needle felting like you've never seen before at the Mauds Morgan Arts Centre.

for those of you with time to spare later in the summer, we still have a few places remaining on both our September workshops:

Knitting Im-Mercerie with Åsa Tricosa

Mending and Embroidery with Celia Pym and Richard McVetis

Read the recipe for our much-loved Eggs with Pickled Tumeric inspired by 101 Cookbooks.

katie armitage