Excitement builds, but…..

remember, this is a VERY long project so no breath holding please.

At the last post the initial idea of the tree trunks were on, pinned and temporary. Since then the fields behind have had a layer or two added, the rough ground at their base is begun and some of the trunks have been made more solid. Of course each task meant more to do on the next one, so it is easier to say than do, and certainly quicker.

I have other tasks that are taking priority at the moment which means time spent on this is like a holiday – rare and to be enjoyed. Having the studio space is such a good idea- by the time I have cycled there and climbed the stairs all the pressures have been left behind (or I am too puffed out to care). It is a bit of a haven, very basic, minimal equipment, and no need to tidy up, just open the door and walk in then walk out and shut the door. Bliss.

Those other prioities –

Urban Decay – a mixed exhibition at Blossom Street Gallery, York. Me and 4 other artists – Jill Tattersall, Sharon McDonagh, Simon Sugden and Linda Harvey. Opened on the 18th and running until the end of February.

Film and Fabric – an informal York Textile Artists ‘show’ through February and into March, at The City Screen in York . This is not a gallery but an independent cinema which has artists showing through out their public spaces including a rather nice cafe.

There is of course the Company of Merchant Taylors banner to make. Samples have been done, plans and sequences ignored and I am started on the big curly foliate flourishes ( acanthus leaf (?) moustaches), the helmet and lion mask – all at the same time…. well, what did you expect? Logic? Self discipline? Rigid scheduling? Where’s the fun in that?

Can’t wait to do the cameleopards!

And a talk and workshop for the Durham Embroiderers Guild, and teaching and tutoring at home and at the Viking Loom shop, and… it sounds busy, but I am constantly amazed by my powers of distraction and inertia.

I think my goddess name would be “She Who Says ‘Nah, Do It Tomorrow'”.

The Bigger Cousin has smaller relatives.

Progress on the Big Beastie’s Bigger Cousin (still need a name!) has lurched forward this week. I am still working on giving a bit of substance to the background hills- lots of lines in softer colours and bits of fine fabric caught in to suggest distant areas of woodland or different fields. It is too blocky and patchy even now but this has to be worked into a coherent area before I can move on to the next layer. I am pulling threads to soften the impact of the fabric and will be bolder with the stitch now the idea of the surface is there. Large crosshatching should give tone and volume relatively quickly! (hope). To add a little paint to help to blend? Probably not, but…. maybe…. I can not tell you how much I want to get on to the more exciting bits! I really want to do the tree trunks and the foreground textures, but this background has to be done as the trunks will cut across it. And there is that small matter of the wall ( pink strip).

Progress is properly hampered by locking myself out of the studio – will get new keys tomorrow, but in the hiatus I have put some work in on one of the companion pieces. Not really happy with it either but at least at this smaller scale it takes less time to achieve dissatisfaction.( It is only about 100cm x 40cm…) Perhaps a day to do other things.

70% done

The real saga this week was -1, gallery meeting in the morning, very positive : they want to take some cards and painted scarves straight away, to show some of the monochrome stone landscape abstracts as part of themed show in January and then a lot of bigger landscape work over the summer. That was the good bit. 2, The bad bit was locking myself out of everywhere. How not to waste an afternoon! 3, It ended positively though with clients coming round to view and purchase.

This week will be better. This week I will get the hills done. Stop eyeball rolling and sniggering, I am determined. At least until the next crisis or distraction. Ooh, Christmas…..

Invitations for the Textile minded.

This weekend – in fact tomorrow- is—-( drum roll, small fanfare….)

York Textile Artists Winter Show.

Angela Anning, Fran Brammer, Carol Coleman, Linda Harvey, Sarah Jackson, Bridget Bernadette Karn, Julie McCready, Cathy Needham, Alison Spaven, Galina Titova.

Cemetery Chapel, Cemetery Road, York YO10 5AJ.

 Saturday and  Sunday – 10 -4pm   Parking on site, refreshments by O’ Crumbs.


Then when you have your breath back –

West Side Artists York – Winter Studio Open Days

– on the weekend of 30th November/ 1st December.

Michelle Hughes with Richard Rhodes, Elaine Hughes, Jill Tattersall, Simon Palmour, Fran Brammer(Sunday only)

Contact individual artists for details/ times etc.

My  invitation is below – 81, Jute Road, York.    YO26 5ES.



New Gallery Opening -New venture by Alison Spaven.

“The new Wytchwood Gallery & Studio in Naburn will be opening the doors for the first time to invited guests Friday 29th November at 7pm

This special champagne preview evening will launch the inaugural Christmas exhibition featuring works to buy from owner Alison Spaven and other carefully selected local artists, and will then be open to the general public every Saturday until Christmas between 10am and 4pm, with other times available by appointment.

To get your invitation for the preview evening, email

wythwood gallery.PNG

Who knows, you might even fit inthe Knitting and Stitching Show, Space Invaders’ Souks, River Art Market Sundays at Spark, and a few other things as well!  York is  an interesting place to be!

York Textile Artists’ Winter Show

It is here!! The annual textiles show! (well, second one). Nearly all of the tribe are showing, one or two have been over committed in all sorts of directions and so won’t be joining us, but the rest……

There are lots of us… Angela Anning, me, Carol Coleman, Linda Harvey, Sarah Jackson, Bridget Bernadette Karn, Julie McCready, Cathy Needham, Alison Spaven and Galina Titova. Plus don’t forget the cakes from O’Crumbs.

It is only on for the weekend so don’t get distracted or delay!

Or if you can’t make it there, perhaps you can get to my winter open studio day on 1st of December, 10 – 5pm. Several local artists are opening that weekend so come along for a chat, find unique gifts, handmade artist cards, original artworks-

Westside Artists York
The following artists will be showing their work
Michelle Hughes – Lino prints
30 Nov 10 -5pm, 1st Dec by appointment
Also showing Richard Rhodes, ceramics, and an example of garden sculpture by Simon Bull.
67 St Swithins Walk. YO26 4UG
Elaine Hughes – Paper Artist
Elaine Hughes exhibits her work at her studio/gallery ‘Written’ every Saturday 10am to 4pm and now also Friday evenings 4 to 6pm until Xmas.
Scarcroft Lane, York YO231AD
Fran Brammer – Textile Art (me)
1 Dec 10am to 5pm 81 Jute Rd. Yo26 5ES
Contact Fran for details on
Jill Tattersall – Mixed media
30 Nov & 1 Dec 10am to 6pm
9 Mount Parade, YO24 4AP
Simon Palmour – Photographer
30 Nov & 1 Dec, 10am to 6pm
60 Hob Moor Drive, York YO24 4JZ
Just turn up or contact Simon on 07772 896 629.

Yes? No? Yes. Waiting.

Exciting times!  Group ( York Textile Artists) evnts both large and small are looming ever nearer, we are putting work up in Helmsley Walled Gardens in a couple of weeks and the big group exhibition in in November. Work is still up in a local hotel and 2 pieces are now awaiting selection for an Open Art Exhibition in a neighbouring town. Today is deadline for another big Open Art Exhibition ( online submission thank goodness!) in the other direction and I still have a contribition to do for an exhibition celebrating Anne Bronte.  And don’t forget the workshops to do. One is for the Hornsea Art Festival,  it was booked months ago when I thought October looked empty!

While it is exciting, trying to remember what is going where and for how long is a juggling act of the highest order. Every event wants things done in their way, from information on forms, the file size and resolution of images, labelling work , even down to hanging hardware.  Get it wrong and it will cost you. This is a competitive place,  refusals are commonplace and detailed critiques of why you aren’t selected are rare. It can be  whether you fit their idea of a theme, whether there are other similar pieces offered, if  textiles is “serious” enough, or perhaps they just don’t like it, or it is the wrong size, style or colour it fit in.

dappled2019well, we shall just have to see how this one gets on. After an age of pondering I have finally finished it – adding paint to the ground, adding some sharper contrasts and colouring in the “sky”.


September!    Ronald has gone public,  Staithes Festival has happened,  The Great North Art Show in Ripon Cathedral is in full swing,  York Textile Artists are on show. Time for a sit down, or perhaps not, October is soon and that is looking more and more busy.

Staithes was excellent. The idea is that artists show work in private cottages  all through the historic village and various  events / performances are laid on during the weekend. The old town gets very busy, “heaving” was the term used. Three of us,  Alison Spaven (wildlife felter), Bridget Karn, (felted landscapes) and me,  took a cottage at the top of the town out of the crush.

It was great to meet new people,  many  were new to the idea of  art textiles, but also to meet returnees and old friends. It was like a blast of fresh air.

Tuesday was img_20190910_191744076-1the opening of a mini gallery in the reception area at the York Marriott Hotel.  Organised through the Pyramid Gallery, work of the York Textile Artists is now on display.    10% of  sales is going to St Leonard’s Hospice, their representative did the honours and cut the official ribbon.  (recommend the hotel’s hospitality, Marco di Tullio- the manager- did us proud!) 

I have volunteered to help man The Great North Art Show this Monday. The cathedral is beautiful, and the art is spectacular in that setting, can’t wait. ripon4 Open for one more week….!

Unsurprisingly no new work is in progress at the moment but the fingers are twitching. I did a freemotion quilting course today and came out determined to get colour and texture. So  Garden #8 is pending……. darker and starker than exuberent high Summer. Black  velvet? Less greeny green, and turquoise? More skeletal shapes of seed heads and  structures of the dying annuals? Hmm……..

and  then little sewings to do replenishing card stock before the next venture  at Helmsley Walled Garden in October, and what to submit for the Harrogate Open Exhibition in a fortnight or so… . And starting a new run of day workshops week after next…..

Stitchy Days Workshops

10-3pm £35, includes basic materials. You will need your own machine and threads.

September 25 – Introduction to freehand embroidery. Come for the morning (£15) or a full day . Learn how to get set up, some basic problem solving, try drawing with line and working with texture.

October 9 – Layering- adding in fabrics for colour and texture. Cutting, ripping, creasing, folding. Create layers of colour and give volume and new surfaces to your freehand machine work. Create samples and then experiment with adding to a simple image.

23 October – Focus on Colour- doing more than just colouring in. Creating colour schemes to work with while considering theories & practice . Laying colours on top of each other, working with ‘grounds’, building effects.

November 6 – Confidence in Making Pictures – Finding images, modifying & copying on to fabric – basic methods. Selecting techniques and materials. OR- getting from an image to a stitchable design with or with out drawing -quality cheating from planning to creating.

Minimum number of students is 2, max 5.

New Garden

20190702_083204-collageAnd this what happened…..  P1180545

after those more exploratory photos, after deciding just to use line and layer  and layer. I want the complexity of the plants growing in and through each other, the idea that it changes, it is emphemeral, and makes its own rules….   then there is the sheen on the velvet – as you can see at times the stitching just disappears. Usually when I am trying to sew it!img_20190703_171509739

At the next stage – some how the pink helps a little- it is the hottest, boldest pink I have over the top of flame red! The background isn‘t really this dark,  more of a golden greeny darkish sort of colour – but mostly all you notice is the velvet’s plush surface quality.

All this is how it is now. It is in a plain frame testing whether it looks finished – I think it might be. The temptation is to add more, and more, and then some fabric bits, some texture, but I am still trying to keep it pared down in the lumpy bumpy department.  Still not sure it looks like mine, some of the shapes…. ? and that emerald green… far too close to veridian…more adventurous with detail or less?… variety of scale?  I guess more to do.

franbrammer garden2019

And don’t forget the York Textile Artists’ exhibition in Knaresborough – on until 19th July and totally amazing. See our social media or sign up for the group’s newsletter for the preview’s photos. I also heard this morning that I have been selected for the Great North Art Show so see you in Ripon!