Kate Blandford's Deviant Discoveries

Check out this beautiful hand embroidered mandala by Tanya Kirsanova. I’m loving the rich colours she’s used, a truly awe inspiring piece. I’ll let the photos do the talking. Ogle away!

Mandala by Tanya Kirsanova
Mandala (detail) by Tanya Kirsanova

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It's Kate BlandfordKate Blandford is a craft and doodle enthusiast currently working in Bristol. With a penchant for cross stitch and pixels, Kate produces work dabbling in both the handmade and the digital. Her work was once described as ‘shabby chic for Satanists’ due to her love of embroidery, twee skulls and Slayer. You can visit her website here: www.kateblandford.com

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Sequintial Art with Claire Barrett from Hawthorne and Heaney

Whether your looking for the London experience this Christmas, or are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle we think we have a suggestion to suit you. We’ve picked our favourite exhibitions to visit this holiday season in the hope of inspiring you to get out and about;

  

The British Museum currently have a great exhibition on called ‘Ming, 50 Years that changed China’ which is now coming to the end if its run as it ends on the 5th Jan but has an abundance of treasures brought together for your viewing pleasure from this exotic province. The artefacts themselves include porcelain, furniture and sculpture but we think that the gold, silk textiles and jewellery are the most inspiring pieces from the collection. They demonstrate of great ancient craftsmanship, with pieces not just from China, but also the regions which they explored during the Ming Dynasty.

If your looking for a little more family friendly fun then try the Museum of London’s ‘A Bear Named Paddington. Charting this much loved characters journey from literature to screen, the exhibition compliments the movie beautifully. Catch it quick as its only on until 4 jan 2015!

Finally there is the more unusual choice, The London Sewing Machine Museum, quite an obscure little museum that makes a refreshing change from the big museums of central. Located out in Tooting Bec and some what inconveniently only open the first Saturday of the month from 2pm-5pm this place is a veritable Aladdin cave of sewing machines, with 600 on display ranging from 1850 to 1950 some of which have had movie careers or belonged to royalty (Queen Victoria’s eldest daughters sewing machine is in residence).

Happy Christmas from the team at Hawthorne & Heaney!

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Mr X Stitch brings Showtime Snippets

Showtime Snippets sweeps together all kinds of titbits from the interwebs into this handy digest for you. If you’re a stitch/textile artist, hopefully these snippets will help you find shows and exhibit!

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Five Book Recommendations for Xmas!

by Mr X on 18 December 2014

There’s still time to hit the shops and get gifts for your stitchy chums, so we thought we’d put together a few book recommendations for you! We’ve done a fair few book reviews over the past year, so feel free to rummage through our back catalogue for ideas. For now we’ll showcase some books we’ll be reviewing in the near future!

Stitch Draw: Design and Technique for Figurative Stitching by Rosie James is a terrific introduction to figurative machine embroidery. We’ve been fans of Rosie for a long time and this book proves her skill as an artist and a teacher. Packed with inspiration and ideas, it features interviews with some great machine embroidery artists (including our very own Leigh Bowser) as well as simple instructions that will have you busting your machine out to get going.

We interviewed cross stitch sensation Makoto Oozu recently – he’s the Japanese answer to Mr X Stitch and has produced hundreds of cross stitch designs for you to stitch. This book – Makato’s Cross-Stitch Super Collection – is packed with ideas and motifs for you to mix and match. A great book for anyone who’s looking to cross stitch something a bit different!

Craftivism: The Art of Craft and Activism is the new book by Betsy Grier, who coined the phrase that you should know and love. Her book is a great intro to the subject and contained inspiration and interviews with activists and crafters from around the world, including Sarah Corbett, Carrie Reichart, Leigh Bowser and some wiseacre called Mr X Stitch.

While we’re on the subject, Sarah Corbett’s Little Book of Craftivism is a great stocking filler with anyone who has a social conscience and a penchant for craft! I highly recommend this little number – it could change the world.

And finally, if you’ve not bought a copy of PUSH Stitchery, you’re missing out! It’s got 30 embroidery artists from around the world and is a terrific gallery book that shows what a versatile art form needlework can be. Here’s three links for you to get your copy, from the UK, the US and Canada!

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Mr X