Friday, 27 April 2012

we love Billie-Jean.........

Last weekend at Les Soeurs Anglaises we were proud to host the opening of an exhibition of the recent work of local artist, American born Billie Jean Spille.  

Anyone who has attended one of our past workshops may well have had the opportunity to visit Billie and see her wonderful, unique work in the intimacy of her Rapunzel-like studio where she keeps all her current and bygone treasures; and if she was a a smidgeon younger we would invite her to lead a workshop here of her own because we just love her beautiful, unique art and style.

Billie's health hasn't been too wonderful over the last few years, but she continues to produce her art and is currently transferring some of her vintage designs onto larger canvases.  There were plenty of these to see at her show and a good turnout of visitors and admirers on the first afternoon of her exhibition.  Some of her work is still available though so please do contact us if you would like to purchase one.  Prices start a 300€ for her larger pieces.

Also available, in packs of 10, are her postcards (40€ + postage)

as well as the poster for her exhibition (20€ + postage)

Monday, 16 April 2012

better cooler than later.....

One things we're never short of down here in S W France is a good brocante:  for that read antiques fair/car boot sale.  The French haven't quite got the hang of the concept "going for a song", but there is generally one or two items that they can't see the value of.  Beautiful, but too specialized or functional to be of general interest.

linen and silk reeled around pieces of wood

wooden cotton spool with original sewing needles

traditional dressmaking dummy

Despite the crisply cold weather we are having at the moment (too cold still to open the pools), the forest hyacinths have decided they are going to dance whatever.  

The wisteria is a little behind them but also determined.

And, of course, the early birds......

Talking of which, here is one of Catherine Willis' divine collages - like all her creations she combines various media with organic "finds" to produce delicious effects.  She will be sharing her ideas and techniques at the workshop she's leading here is September this year.  

Sunday, 8 April 2012

pretty pictures, fine lines.....

Easter is upon us, Spring is in the air - and not a day too soon - and we are getting into gear for our first workshop, experimenting with new recipes and tidying up the garden after the Big Freeze.    


Meanwhile, photos of the beautiful stitch work inherited by some of our "followers" continue to trickle in, and as Julie Arkell won't be able to chose a winner until she arrives down here  at the beginning of July to lead her workshop for us, we have decided to extend the deadline for the competition (the winner will be offered a free place on one of our courses).  Not that it's entirely unselfish of us - we get enormous pleasure looking at the entries and reading the fascinating stories that go with them.    So please keep them coming...... 

 Rebecka Ryberg Skott's Grandmother's cutlery roll, Sweden

"This was made by my dear grandmother and it now belongs to me.
This little lovely memory of her somehow symbolizes my background.
I grew up in a family who were abstainers. My very personal theory is that they had to compensate a quite boring life by drinking huge amounts of strong black coffee and eating various delicious homemade cakes. They had to amuse themselves somehow, right!? A family dinner ended always, with a huge table of different cakes set with the finest china and silver spoons. This tradition affects me still, I can´t imagine a life without great coffee and tasty cakes, it is the essence of life if you ask me."

Carol Pietrasanta' paternal Grandmother's crochet and pulled stitchwork.
"My grandmother emigrated from Italy as a young girl and lived in Erie, PA.  Although she lived through the depression and probably did not have an easy time, she said that she and her family were happy.  She had a sewing machine that I would used, when we went back to visit, that was operated by the knee.  When she died, my dad brought back a box of her crochet work that was a complete surprise.  I wished she had shown this to me when she was still alive, but she probably thought it was not a big deal.  To me it is...I have sewn my whole life and became a patternmaker 25 years ago.  With computers aiding a lot of the creative work today (I use the computer, too, for my work), I value the idea of handwork and what our hands/minds can create."

Our photographic enthusiasts will soon be packing their sunglasses and filling their suitcases for the five day workshop with Jasprit Singh at the beginning of next month.  


And then there will be all those big knitting ideas with Patricia Roberts in June to look forward to.  Can't wait!

Monday, 2 April 2012

woven wonders......

Later this year, in October, we have the great pleasure of hosting our first Wire and Sewn Sculpture workshop to be led by the multi-talented, Julieann Worral Hood.  In fact Julieann has only recently installed 50 new wire sculptures in the windows of the famous Michelin flagship Conran Shop in Chelsea, London. The pieces will be on display until mid-May as the back-drop of a major media launch of the new look Conran Shop on April 26th - a prestigious commission for a prolific artist. 

If you are out and about in London over the next few weeks, do make a point of popping  into the Conran Shop to take a look at Julieann's delightful and inspiring "creatures" .  All pieces are for sale (though some already have already been sold during installation!).

Julieann's workshops fill up very quickly, but there are a few places still available on her for the 5 days of wire sculpture with us here in South West France.  

Twitter:  @jwoho