Tag Archive | york

Northern College of Costume Exhibition

ncc flyerThink you are not interested? markterry_170509_8660cropThe latest group are putting their efforts on display this weekend and it is worth taking a look.


This is good old fashioned history based theatrical costume making.

Never wondered how many component parts go into making one Tudor “dress”?  Well, now is the time to start wondering and also have the opportunity to find out.  At the same time you could take a peek inside  a Teddy Boy’s pockets, or ask the ladies about their 1940/50s evening wear.


I went along as a dresser for the Tudor photoshoot in our local Tudor Barley Hall. Those big skirts over farthingales and the stays can take quite a lot  effort to get on and then to manage. It was so atmospheric in there – I can’t wait to see the photos.

The Teddy Boys stayed in the city centre down one of the seediest side lanes. No romantic Tudor beams for them. The final shoot of the day was at a Neo Classical chapel. A rather busy day.


Take a look at the complexities of the makes, see what can be achieved with some  ingenuity, hard work  and a lot of know-how and guidance. And then think – this was all achieved in 15 weeks!

I did the course a few years ago, and survived with battered, stitched fingerends and a lot more skills than I started with.

If you are in York, do drop in.

markterry_170509_9194cropallPhotos : Mark Terry



YOS 2017 Logo bleed_CMYKLargeItisfinallynearlyhere…NotthatIamgettingexcited….ohno, all calm and immaculately organised……

I am opening 22 and 23rd and then 29 & 30th April.  (no. 38)

Please do come along for a chat or at least to point and laugh. I will be doing quick demos on demand through out – rough timings for these will be on my facebook textiles page by the end of the week and bookings available for ‘ I want to try that….’ opportunities.

My event happens in my workroom – the question is- how far from the usual chaos does it need to be? Yes it should be a workspace rather than a the perfect white gallery, but  stuff has to come out so that I fit people in, the walls

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

have to cleared so that work can be displayed. And having cleared stuff out – where do I put it?

No new work this week – just a quick taster/ teaser.

https://www.yorkopenstudios.co.uk/index.php –  Do check out the event website, there is so much going on and some fabulous makers around – who knows who is living down your road or just round the corner?



The Gentle Art of Wet Henning.

Feel like I am standing still while spinning round and round without ever finishing anything!      State of anxiety – damp, slightly warm.

There is a whole list of part done things, none of which are at an exciting stage- just slog, fiddle, and general chaos.

Cluck.   Proposals and applications for events and exhibitions to finish and send.


Some of the exhibition stuff- blocking front door and workroom!


The Big Landscape is half way done. So also half not done. So also entirely populating one corner of the workroom floor.  Cluck.


Cluck.  Ronald the Robe is on his way – pieces for the toile are drawn out. Needs to be cut out  and the toile made up, then the cutting table can be put away and I get some floor space back. Cluck.

Prepping work for exhibition. Always takes for ever. and takes over completely. Can’t get out of the front door and have to duck into the workroom.     Very big cluck.

Prepping for workshops on stitching , dodgy dyeing and creative sewing with kids. Samples and ideas all over the place.  CLUCK.




Have spoken with the gallery and I am going to take a wide range of things in,  some  may not be practical for their space  or commercial enough but they want to try.

The Hospital Words installation may only appear in part and might end up on a mannequin if they can not dangle the jacket and banners as it was at the Old Fire Station. The large hanging is over 6′ and delights in the name of The Big Beastie (supposed to be “Middlemoor, Nidderdale” but ….) and the rest are more conventional landscape pieces. These are the bigger trio, there will be some smaller bits as well!


I find the difference between the Winter pieces and the Summer piece quite mad, it wasn’t deliberate. I had wanted to make more use of vivid colour but hadn’t realised the compositions, style and even density of stitching was so different!

Winter Series

P1050363It stopped raining, the clouds parted, and….. the next stormy weather front came in.  The current world is either water or in training to become water- the mud is a particularly  good vintage.  Bright, calm days are a rarity, so it is not a surprise that the present beastie is muted, drab and dribbly.  I returned to a favourite site, about 5 miles away, not by bike but in a nice warm car,  clutching a thermos.  P1170095

It was always meant to be sketchy and scribbly, moody rather than hard, and more about mass rather than detail.  Colour would be secondary to textures. On the whole it has worked that way with the usual amount of frustrations and moaning of course.

The work is built in layers, each deliberately incomplete,P1170099 first the rough sketch, then quick scribbles and scrubs of  watered down emulsion.    Initial stitching  is barely there on the horizon, thread matching the cotton canvas. The murky weather blurred the distances so the lines of stitch wander and weave, never describing too clearly the receding layers of woodland and hill. The closer trees are  in thicker Gutermann quilter’s cotton thread to give more bulk, pale grey variegated for the distant ones, darker and bolder colours for the main two.  Chunks of frayable synthetic fabrics  were laid into the stitching, finer offcuts and snippets of various colours for the central tree.

The main trees were done with dense directional work on the trunks and branches, then single line scribbling for the outer twigs. The scraps of fabrics then cut and frayed for colour and texture.

P1050365               P1050364


The lump of woodland to the right was handled differently – blocks of fabric, then slabs of grey crosshatching  with a top dressing of green stitch. It was meant to be  a presence on the picture rather than a character, framing the spaces and counterbalancing the other trees.



At about 1/2 done, the whole was dyed up again, coffee stain and dye added quite brutally.

This was last Sunday’s status when I was building up the density of the stitch work.   It was washed  to knock out the excess dye and paint -dP1050353o not recommend boiling water. biological soap powder and a scrubbing brush approach for your delicates.  Too much of the dye and paint came out, leaving only stains behind.  This meant another round of dying – this was mid storm ‘Henry’ – dye splattering every where, the fabric trying to take flight in the strong wind.   Then more stitching, ripping and tearing on the rough ground to the left, and


The grey  thread and ripped and pulled synthetic fabrics repel the dyes and ink.

adding quick growing branches  to balance the tree shapes. and the thing was about done. Just some dark ink flooded in to deepen the tone, more thin emulsion to refresh the colour and a couple of hours of hard machining and it felt right, so a truce was called.

To make sure I couldn’t fiddle, it went straight on to a stretcher frame!


Seakel Lane Askham Richard

Seakel Lane Askhm Richard, York.






New -ish Beginnings


Oh woe!   Not really. More of an  ‘ Oh,  ummmm,   York.’

Since taking the workspace in the city centre I seem to be losing sight of trees, or at least seeing them as a part of a new context. Don’t worry I haven’t gone all urban, drinking take out coffee  wearing black  and making sure everyone can see and hear me on my amazing new phone, but I am striving for a different  take or shift in subject matter.

When I look out across the city roofscape I still focus on the trees that break through the sky line, can’t help it. The fascinating jumble, the angles and patterns of a mediaeval city no longer really hold the attention, it is how the trees define what is around them and also the old churches. Their intricate tracery and  fine detail are somehow tree like in the way they just emerge above the roofs,  completely out of step with the tiles, chimneys pots and  other structures.

P1160814 P1160820

And of course there is the minster. It just sits there,  unbelievably big and utterly self contained. I sat in the park at the back of it this lunch time, sketching, it is very frilly in a stone kind of a way, and somehow impersonal. I prefer drawing it from the work space – the eyesight isn’t so good so I don’t feel obliged to be too accurate about the details. So the rest of the afternoon was wandering around some of the other old churches dotted about the centre. I am much more at home with the  more domestic and less imposing scale of building.


St Denys


This last week has mostly been about walking in the city at odd times of the day, just getting reacquainted. It has its own sense of rhythms and tides. I have been trying to draw but  I need to redevelop a vocabulary that fits the shapes and characters plus work out exactly what I want to see and record. I won’t share these until I am certain ( certain enough) about what I want to focus on and how. Seeing things in print makes them seem more official and important,  when in reality they are only stepping stones and  will probably end up in the bin as the ideas and responses evolve or die.

Sewing Machine update

P1160824First try at an image  with it!

Still adore it. It is now in it’s new home ( an absolute sage in it’s own right. Why didn’t the lift work?) whirring away with a passion. I have found that it doesn’t seem to have any middle gears or brakes so  experiments are in hand to sort out the scale I need to work at.  I did consider naming it either  Colin or Eric. Couldn’t decide which fitted best so tried to run the two together –  Ercol (I was sitting on an Ercol chair!) , Erin  or Colic.  Oops. Rethink time! Answers on a postcard please.

P1160812Part of York I had forgotten about!.  Also noticed many more ducks….. P1160810

an introduction to a new voice from the deepest darkness of my sewing room……..

A new blog site, a new focus,      but the same me!

I am still making the small scale historic costumes – stories about them –  and also full size ones on commission, but this new blog will focus on the textile art.

Currently I have work for sale at Blossom Street Gallery  in York and am  hosting a series of workshops for The Viking Loom   on using freehand embroidery,  so it is time to write about this side of my textile world.

freehand machine  embroidery

Copse Edge – freehand machine embroidery and more.

This is not a new thing – I bought my machine 34 years ago (ouch) and with in a year it was mostly used to make images. I have been inspired/driven to use textiles creatively ever since.

What is new is that the textiles are completely part of my art practice, not a separate chapter. I approach it as a sketch, making it is an exploration of the subject matter, the process and media, colour and line are responses to need, not predetermined design choices. Being me it is also a case of making what I have work, of finding scraps, experimenting, unpicking, not of dashing out and buying specialist stuff (unless in serious need of retail therapy).

Field Lane

Field Lane

Over the next few blogs I will try to follow the evolution of one piece, from the looking and recording to the final creation.  I hope to discuss the decision making, the materials and techniques involved,  hopefully giving, and gaining, an insight into my making process.

The start point for this is the pen and watercolour sketch below-

the dancing trees sketch.

the dancing trees sketch.