9th May 2016
Jane O'Brien gave an absorbing talk
on the history of damask cloth and how it has influenced her work. With a background in interior
design where she used the fabric for her commercial and domestic clients, she became fascinated by
the lustrous properties which have made it desirable since Roman times. She illustrated the
history via a series of well-known classic paintings from medieval to Tudor and Renaissance
times, when it was the fabric of choice for the rich and powerful who displayed their status
through the clothes they wore. The motifs which were created in early times - the
pomegranates, pine cones, birds, entwining leaves and cartouches - are used almost unchanged
today in upmarket furnishings.
When Jane left employment to study full-time, she found inspiration in the patterns, colours and
textures of damask for her mixed media work using fabric, paper and stitch. She also incorporated
her love of text, later discovering that her mother, who had been a graphic artist in the 1930's,
also made great use of calligraphy in her professional work. Some of her mother's artwork has
been restored and reprinted in a series of cards under the "Eileen and Edith" name.
Bucks Open Studios will run
from 11th-26th June. Val and Viki will be taking part from 17th to 24th June showing their
knitting and hand embroidery. Julia's hand dyed fabrics and block printing will be on show at
the Queens Park Art Centre in Aylesbury on all three Saturdays and from 14th to 16th and
21st to 23rd June.
St Mary's church in Beaconsfield has commissioned a new altar frontal to be stitched by Jenny
Adim-Christie. The final stitch is to be put in by the Duchess of Cambridge. You can watch
Jenny at work in the church on 18th, 19th and 20th July. She will also give a lecture on 19th
July at 8.00pm in the church at a cost of £5. Contact Deborah Sanders for more information.
Art in Action celebrates its 40th year from 14th - 17th July at Waterperry Gardens, Oxfordshire.
See up to 400 artists at work, join in workshops, shop in the marketplace or just soak up the
atmosphere of the gardens over tempting refreshments. This is the last chance to visit this
inspiring show as the organisers have been unable to find replacements to take over the
running of the show in the future.
At the end of the evening, the group presented our Chairwoman, Janet Edmonds, with flowers to
mark the medal she has received from City and Guilds for 25 years of teaching for their
qualifications. Janet also revealed she has received an award from the
Worshipful Company of Broderers,
which will be presented to her at Buckingham Palace later this year. She is currently
pondering the purchase of a new hat!
All photos © Liz Smith