Textiles at Bucks Art Weeks

A Sunday road trip in Buckinghamshire

I picked up a brochure for Bucks art weeks https://www.bucksartweeks.org.uk/ while I took a whistle stop tour of Oxfordshire with my dear friend Ann back in May. I did a quick flick and noticed there were plenty of textile artists exhibiting so definitely worth a trip over the boarder (I reach Bucks within 2 miles of my house so not so far to travel).

First stop was Milton Keynes to visit Mix3d Stitch [ https://www.facebook.com/mix3dstitch/ ] a collaborative partnership of three different styles of textiles by three very talented ladies…Yvonne Elliott, Jane Charles and Hilary Grayson. As it was the only place in Milton Keynes on my list I felt it only sensible to combine with a trip to IKEA (more plastic storage boxes) and Costco for more cake ingredients and coffee for my workshops and social stitchers!


What a warm welcome I had on arrival a lovely introduction with Hilary who explained the layout and gave a brief overview of the group and their styles, Yvonne is more figurative, Hilary abstract and Jane influenced by folk art.

I found Yvonne style to be very gentle and her light touch in both machine and hand embroidery gave her landscapes and scenes a pretty realistic feel, the lightness of colour I am sure will have very wide appeal.

Hilary was very chatty, her work focuses on mixed media – another textile person who has migrated to stitching on paper, she uses reclaimed papers in lampshades and art including maps. Her work reminded me of Jenifer colliers but she explained that she developed her practice at a time and was surprised to find that she had also used maps on lampshades! I loved Hillary’s colourful abstract pictures the use of strong colours, reds and other earthy shades resonated with me today, I also loved the use of circular machine stitch, almost quilting the surface of the papers.

Jane has a very different style, lot of felt and lino prints combine to make folk art and interesting hangings and textile ornaments. I loved the time for tea hangings complete with a tea spoon, this lady obviously loves to upcycle. I purchased a tree which was rooted in a vintage sewing thread reel. It is really charming and adorned with little red beads as berries. She also displayed some interesting quilts too, you can see the sunflower one above. I was also taken with the tea towel and on further investigation I found that it is a fund raising tea towel – she had hand embroidered one – an excellent slow stitch meditative project if you need one, Jane can be found at https://www.facebook.com/Smallbeans-166207280100742/ feel free to purchase a tea towel at her shop!

Next stop was the Buckinghamshire Craft Guild www.buckinghamshirecraftguild.co.uk and other artists at Obsidian Art at Layby Farm and Ros Long and her most wonderful ‘By Hand Books’. Ros was utterly charming, and clearly loves her craft, she was extremely knowledgeable about the craft and materials, I just wished I had the budget to purchase one of her beautiful books, she explained her craft so well and was cursing an uneven signature in the book she was about to stitch.

Unfortunately the rest of my visit to Layby Farm left me cold, the Buckinghamshire Craft Guild was manned by two artists but neither was engaging with the public they were discussing which artists had sold well! I found Obsidian Art rather confused, I knew several artists were on display there but the spaces were cluttered and there was a lot of stock surrounding the art work pieces, it wasn’t clear which artist was exhibiting where and the painted photographs were hung in every room. It was nice to see the dense and intense machine embroidery stitching of Rachel Wright – her work is very engaging and she has sold plenty however the space her work resided in was cluttered and poorly lit.

One more disappointment – onsite is a fabric shop and Freya Jones who hand dyes silks and provides wool and roving for spinning and weaving, I should have read the small print as both were closed on Sundays.

I didn’t want to return home on a low ebb so as I wasn’t far from Haddenham and I was rather drawn to the description of Kathryn Croxson I made the 15-minute detour on the way. I was so pleased I did. Stepping into a courtyard with her printed fabrics, scarves and bags swinging in the wind from a washing line was a wonderful welcome. A riot of pattern and colour, so much texture in the digitally printed cloths.

Kathryn herself was also welcoming, a refreshing fruity drink, biscuits and jelly beans were laid on by this wonderful Aussie lady with an eye for colour and an instinctive design vibe. Her fabrics are printed from her original drawings and paintings, various items of homewares and a new range of clothes are available along with high quality mugs and melamine plates. Temptation got the better of me and a beautiful silk scarf found it’s into my shopping bag. Kathryn has as real positive energy and I feel strongly that her designs should brighten everyone’s home and/or wardrobe as soon as possible, I can’t wait for her range of Yoga Leggings to be created!

There is still time to visit these and other Bucks Art Weeks venues – full details can be found at https://www.bucksartweeks.org.uk