Somewhere along the line, I became interested in making small fabric collages using scraps of fabrics left over from my days as an interior designer and also incorporating vintage textiles collected along the way. This has now become such a passion for me that I am willing to travel a very long way to take classes from expert artists in this field. My favorite is Mandy Pattullo, who lives and works in the UK.
My most recent adventure was rolled into a fun trip to visit my daughter, Alex, who is currently attending the London College of Fashion. We boarded a train in London and traveled north about three hours to Newcastle upon Tyne, England, a beautiful old town built by the Romans near the border of Scotland, to take a one-day workshop with Mandy Pattullo.
Waiting on the train in London.
Gateshead Millenium Bridge pedestrian and cyclist tilt bridge over the River Tyne
between Gateshead and Newcastle upon Tyne, England
The class took place in an old church in Northumberland, England that has been converted into studios for artists called The Hearth.
The old church, now The Hearth studio for artists, in Northumberland, England. Alex sitting outside The Hearth.
Now by Winifred Nicholson
The class was held in one of the larger rooms at the Hearth. There were 10 students, all from neighboring towns.
Students working in the classroom. Alex hard at work on her collage.
So I began. Using small bits of scraps of fabric, I built up a collage using layers of vintage fabrics, added some backstitches, French knots, running stitches, seed stitches and other embroidery stitches, until I was happy with the overall interpretation of the original painting.
One of the highlights of the day was to visit Mandy's working studio. When she is not somewhere in the world teaching and she is in her studio, she sits by a window and carefully arranges her fabric pieces and stitches.
She is drawn to pieces of cloth that have a patina, and she tries to source vintage fabrics and quilts to recycle into her own work, particularly those that show a story of use and evidence of a previous female needleworker. She combines these fabrics which she already has or are given to her. She is not interested in buying anything new anymore, and she pursues what she calls "thread and thrift".
Mandy in her studio and some of her pieces from her private collection of embroidery work.
Small studies of nine-patch variations by Mandy.
This is a Mandy Pattullo original that I own. She is prolific and sells her work on Etsy. Check out her website www.mandypattullo.co.uk