Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Thread Management Deja Vu

 A bit of a problem with the last post about this film so here it is again, all shipshape! It is a lovely little film about the work I have been doing with Professor Roger Kneebone and his team and documents what happens when surgeons talk to lacemakers, embroiderers, knitters, puppeteers, fly fishermen and computer modellers. The film is by Smart Docs .

( if you can't see it here, see it here !)

Monday, 3 November 2014


   This needlelace piece will be up for auction at the Art Workers' Guild soon. It is a wired edge feather, coiled around to form a choker style neck piece. I have worked it in various shades of silk and rayon, the edge being beaded. The fastening at the back is a simple drop chain with a green glass bead as the weight.
    All the auction details can be found on the flyer below or here at the Guild website. Our most illustrious member was of course William Morris but also Arthur Rackham, J.W. Waterhouse and Edward Burne Jones amongst many other remarkable artists and crafts people. We believe in art for all and that art is good for you !!!! Today we have master practitioners from every field of the arts and crafts movement plus surgery and engineering.
   Here is our new Tumblr site.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014


Lady Google
invites you
to a viewing of her collection

The Art Workers Guild
6 Queens Square
London WC1N 3AT
Monday 27 October 6 - 9 pm
Featuring work by
Celia Ward

with contributions from
Max Alexander   Gwendolen Dupre   Kang Sing Fung 
Deborah Hopson Wolpe   Rachael Matthews   
The McGrath Makers & Sophie Ramsay   Fleur Oakes
Iona Ramsay  Sonia Tuttiett   Charlotte Ward   Sarah Winslow

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

'so long at the fair

   I'm considering taking a couch with me next year so that I can lounge at the back of my stand ! In a small space you always feel a bit in the way so I hide at the side of the big plinth with the show piece on !! ( and eat chocolate bunnies from the truffle stand nearby ).  I had a lot of return visits from regular customers which is always very heart warming and many kind words too. Thankyou to everyone that visited me ! 
  Some more work will be on show in London soon, plus one piece up for auction !!! I will post about them soon.
   I will be teaching in March too so check the link in the side bar .

Friday, 26 September 2014

Knit and Stitch 2014

   It's back ! It must be nearly October because my studio is overflowing with bits of embroidery ready for 'the show' (stand no.TGi7).
   I am delighted to be showing the lace jabot and cuffs I made early last year too. Below is a description of all the symbolism in the lace for anyone visiting the stand who wants to know more.

Lace jabot for the High Sheriff of Cumbria,2013
This lace jabot was made in 17thC. style 'picture' needlelace.All the symbols in it are relevant to the Sheriff who is a J.P.and architect.
Cumbrian rose: requested by the Sherrif the rose and leaves form the basic structure of the design.The five pointed star in the centre of the rose is also a traditional cowboy style sheriff badge.
Briar: Used in order to reference prison the briar features in a series of paintings by Burne Jones which are held in a local Cumbrian Arts and Crafts house.
Eye: An eye for justice with a question mark in the centre. The most densely stitched area with a separate eyelid which has a picot edge. The ? is a separate piece.
Bow: to symbolize the Sheriff's namesake,Diana,the bow has a proper string which is pulled by the ?. The clients initials are interwoven between bow and eye.
Squirrel and Moth: To represent criminals the squirrel here is actually a red and he holds a needle.He has a tufted tail, a proper 3D ear and was the most intricate to construct. The moth also has a furry body and has moons on his wings for Diana as goddess of the night.
Scissors and Wool: A direct reference to the clients daughter, a textile artist, spinner and knitter who owns local Herdwick sheep and also to me ! The knitting needles are wired to stand out .
Snails: a term used in Honiton lace, children often were employed to make background filler shapes which were referred to as snails.
A mixture of fine cotton perle,viscose and an ivory coloured cotton was used.The edging is wired and the stitch density goes up to 900 per sq.inch.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014


    It's that time of year again...getting ready for the Knit and Stitch Show at Alexandra Palace, London. The dates have been extended this year so we start on Wednesday the 8th October and go through to Sunday the 12th..........which means I'm buttoning away ! One new line are the lucky clovers, part of my 1930's range.
    I am also going to revamp some older lines after spending the afternoon gathering all my designs from the last five years worth of sketchbooks into one new one  (oh the joy of a new sketchbook). I found this lovely long thin khadi paper book whilst teaching at West Dean over the weekend and it's perfect for my button designs. As a consequence I will bring back Goblin Market in particular.
 What inspires all this ? Have a look at my Tumblr page......

Sunday, 10 August 2014


'just finished embroidering some runes for buttons. There are three in this set, the runes for love, protection and luck. Each has a garland edge with symbolic herbs and flowers associated with each rune so love has violets, comfort has lavender and luck has thyme. They will be on Etsy when they are complete.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Studio stuff

..the state of my studio desk at the moment, making wallflower butttons

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Lacrimae rerum

...the tears of things.This is still in progress, more moths to come and some other things to make.Essentially a pile of old books with embroidery !

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Art is Unity

'just got back from a trip to Cumbria with the Art Workers' Guild. We had been invited up by Grizedale Arts to be involved with their long running community project with the Conniston Institute. There was little in the way of a brief as it was a 'go see' kind of mission but never the less, being artists, we did stuff ! The public were invited to come and learn or just observe the various master crafts people there and many did ! I teamed up with Rachael Matthews of PYF and we decided that various aspects of the institute needed attention. The Ruskin museum is situated at the back of the main hall and there is a large collection of Ruskin lace in it. It was developed as a form of income for local people and combines drawn thread work with needlelace techniques. We took the idea and started developing some ways of making lace that could be printed with . Rachael had a huge roll of jute with her and we made various pieces to explore simple ways to improve the floor and chairs !The above photo shows how I turned a chair into a loom and then made a strip of needlelace on it . This was then wrapped around a roll of masking tape and made into a printing roller by Daniel Heath , another member of the team.

The complete story can be found on the Guilds' Tumblr

Sunday, 4 May 2014


What inspires me ?? Quite a lot ,usually organic things like leaves unfurling , crystalline structures and things under the microscope. I have amassed quite a lot of pictures and so decided to create a tumblr page to put it all on. (you may have noticed the link on the sidebar ). Everything I do is underpinned by my love of art and nature so this is the easiest way to answer that most oft asked question ! and a chance to show other people's work too.

Thursday, 1 May 2014


   Imagine you had to sew like this ! I had a go last Saturday and it isn't easy, especially as I was sewing real skin....well pig bowel to be precise. I was part of a an interactive discussion with a group of surgeons and craftspeople brought together by Professor Roger Kneebone.(see previous post). We talked needles, one-handed knots, stitching in the round and what the body smells like inside....not a lot apparently. Embroiderers and surgeons face common technique challenges and some not so common, my material is not slippery and alive and they don't have to worry about what their sewing  looks like. 
   When sewing in a circle either on a hoop stand or attaching a cornea we all have to struggle to turn ourselves and not the 'work'.Some of our needles are the same..'leather' needles are also 'cutting' needles and we all use squissors. Your insides are often stitched with two slip knots and an overhand knot to secure which gives flexibility to a join .I may request a faggot stitch in future !!!

Thursday, 17 April 2014

The Intelligence of Touch

On Saturday 26th April I will be taking part in a surgical simulation !  This is the work of Professor Roger Kneebone( surgical educator and Brother of the Art Worker's Guild) who will bring his pop-up operating theatre to the hall of the Guild. There will be discussion on how we think with our hands with a stone carver, tailor, knitter and me amongst others from a wide range of craft and art disciplines. Medical and academic types will also be there to discuss how we understand materials and techniques with our hands and not words.
Free Entry but you must have a ticket ( apply to Monica@artworkersguild.org or call 020-77130966)
Saturday 26th April 2-4pm.
The Art Workers Guild,
6 Queen Square WC13AT

(image of 'Pi' in progress, search the science labels for more!)

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Butterfly weekend

Next week I will be teaching a butterfly brooch making course at the lovely West Dean college near Chichester. Students can go and visit the local butterfly farm and then come and learn the skills to make a stumpwork butterfly brooch ! This is a gorgeous place to learn any skill, all the tutors are practising artists and the house and grounds are so beautiful. At night the blue dusk lays like velvet against the golden light from the candelabra lit windows in the state rooms, in the early morning you can walk around the dewy walled victorian gardens.......'still some places left !

Monday, 10 March 2014

The Algorithm Isles

My pin corset will be in the show at PYF from 20th March-23rd April. There are a lot of pins in it...........

.. I overheard someone at a show once say   " I don't think it's quite finished, all the pins are still in it "
Yes they are.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Moss Book

I wasn't supposed to be making this at all but I sat looking at this old book and decided that it needed moss more than I needed to be getting on with stuff .

Ghiordes knots in four shade of green , two in cotton , two in silk,

 ..stitch density of about one hundred to the square inch ( more than an expensive carpet....which takes my mind to unrealistic notions)

...four big tufts (12 hours) and three tiny ones to fill the spine of this old French-English dictionary. After listening to very inspiring music I decided that this will be part of a  larger piece that I have been working on for a while...the piece I was, in fact, supposed to be doing anyway ( thankyou Sigur Ros).

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Good Needlework

I've embroidered a frock,
   And I've sewn the long seams,
While I stitched up a heartache
   And mended my dreams.

I've patched a torn garment,
   And darned a big rent
While I've worked in new hopes
   And a sweeter content.

Why stitching brings gladness,
   Or ease for Life's pain,
And healing from sadness,
   I cannot explain.

But for little hopes baffled,
   And foolish tears shed,
I have sought and found comfort
   With needle and thread.

from The Book of Good Needlework no.4  ( 1930's)

Friday, 17 January 2014


Yes , if anyone goes a bit mad during the dark months of winter it's me. I have set myself the small project of 'making' pi in needlelace...just the first thousand digits. above is the first 50 , below the first 100.

It works like a knitting pattern ,just rows of stitches which I decided to centre rather than offset. In my ignorance I didn't account for zero when I dreamt this up so when I came to the first one..... I decided to do a non-stitch. That is to say instead of looping through to form the stitch properly it is simply a slip stitch. The rest is just increasing and decreasing ( or deceasing if you are a bad typist like me ). The leap from a 1 to a 9 is tricky , bearing in mind that this thing is only 8mm wide at the most. I also leave the tails of the old and new threads on for a bit to prevent any over-handling problems.
...........suffice to say that this post will last forever !

Over the past two weeks I have reached digit 200 ! Above is a close up of  a 019 sequence which is  the trickiest as I have to increase from 0 to 9 stitches in one row . I didn't enjoy these leaps until I realised how lovely they looked under the magnifier. All the stitches curl round the previous stitch like a bunch of keys on a ring. It has become quite a philosophical process as I make each number and see how each one affects the next in the sequence.It is one thing to look at numbers on a page but another to physically justify their existence !

This image shows digits 150-200 . I have found myself reading through  my page of Pi looking for interesting sequences , interesting to make that is ! I'm not sure how I will tackle the 000 section later on ..........

I got bored with photographing it against the numerical background......

...digits 200-250 ( the last few being 01909 )


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