Monday, 5 December 2016

.... changing blogs......

From this month we will be ameliorating our social networking, and our blogs from henceforth will be posted on the new Les Soeurs Anglaises website.  We really don't want to lose our faithful readers so please use this link to re-subscribe.  If you have any problems, do let us know so we can endeavour to sort them out.

Thank you, meanwhile, for all your past and present support.

Monday, 14 November 2016

..... so you might need cheering up a little.......

With challenging news coming to us from all directions at the moment, thank goodness for our ability to sit back and enjoy the various gentle arts  that textiles offer us.

I recently returned from a visit to Basel, Switzerland where I went to meet up with Deanna Bogart and Silvan Zingg who will be performing, alongside another super-talented musician, Luca Sestak, at our biennial Blues & Boogie Weekend, July next year (more of that later).  And what I discovered was a charming, friendly city full of wonderful museums and art!!  Such a well-kept secret, and if you are looking for a cultural break from it all I cannot recommend it highly enough.  It didn't even snow! One of the must-see museums there was the Tinguely dedicated entirely to the artist.  Jean Tinguely grew up in Basel but moved to France in 1952 with his first wife, Swiss artist, Eva Aeppli, to pursue a career in art.  He belonged to the Parisan avantgarde movement in the mid C20th and was one of the artists who signed the New Realist's manifesto.  It's hard not to smile watching his deliberately noisy and sometimes huge moving sculptures made almost entirely from recycled materials, and his work will no doubt fuel ideas for our Motion Impossible project in May 2017 to be led by automata meter, Robert Race.  We can only accommodate 8 participants on this workshop so don't delay if you - or someone you know - would like to join us. 


If you're in or around Wolverhampton from 18th February you might be interested in A Curious Turn; Moving, Mechanical Sculpture, a Crafts Council exhibition at Wolverhampton Art Gallery.  It looks to be a treat!
It's never easy to juggle dates with workshop leaders and we have had to make a couple of alterations to our original calendar.  We are delighted to confirm that Celia Pym - whose event Mending, Darning and Knitting was such a success here this year - will be returning in late September 2017 to run a unique combination workshop with fellow artist and stitcher, Richard McVetis (you can read a fascinating interview with Richard at  It will be a week long, hands-on exploration of both traditional hand embroidery techniques and textile repair, with an ongoing discussion about why these skills are more important and relevant than ever.  If you were lucky enough to have attended Celia's previous workshop here we'd love you to return and take your mending a stitch further, so we are offering a 15% discount if booked before the end of 2016. 
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Our calendar for next year may now be a tad confusing so please note that Åsa Tricosa's workshop, Knitting Im-Mercerie, has now been brought forward to 6-12 September.  This means that it is no longer overlapping with the Edinburgh Yarn Festival so enthusiasts have no excuse for missing what we guarantee will be a wonderful event with a superlative knitting teacher.  
Finally, by popular participant demand we have opened a Recipe Page on this website and we will try our best to upload one of much-loved recipes every month.  Do pay it a visit from time to time, along with our Inspiration pageand let us have your feedback - we really love to hear from you.

Meanwhile, we'd like to remind you that make our lives simpler and the journey across social media smoother, we will soon be dropping this blogspot in favour of our new website blog though we will keep this up for the time being as a record of our past blogs.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

..... sew much patching .....

There's never been a better time to join us for a last-minute-workshop and it's really not too late. 

We've just checked out Ryanair and end-of-season flights are being offered at just over £30 each way from Stansted or East Midlands to Bergerac where we, of course, will pick you up and drive you through the late September sunshine to this amazing area of France.  We're very keen to make Celia Pym's first visit with us a rip-roaring success so we''ll even throw in a free night's B&B if you need to stay an extra night.  

Wednesday, 21st to Tuesday, 27th September
5 Days / 6 Nights

As one of our favourite workshop leaders, Julie Arkell, says:  "The early days of autumn bring many pleasures. One on the top of my list would be a workshop with Celia Pym at Les Soeurs Anglaises in the French countryside at a particularly beautiful time of the year.  Celia's work is amazing, and the opportunity to work alongside her, discovering her techniques and sharing stories about the history of textiles and their repairs, in such beautiful surroundings, is an experience hard to miss.  I feel very envious of anyone who is planning to join this event at one of my favourite venues."

While invisible mending is keeping tailors and seamstresses busy around the world, Celia Pym – a London-based artist, knitter and darner — specialises in visible repairs. Using white yarn on a blue Norwegian jumper and yellow on a pair of blue jeans, Celia’s handiwork celebrates wear and tear.  Finding solutions other than throwing away clothes isn't just environmentally friendly. “I love seeing damage and holes,” Celia says. “Making mending invisible doesn’t make sense for me: things happen, stuff changes, holes appear. Let the darning grow into the old bit so that the garment can be seen to change and age.”  

Through ‘The Catalogue of Holes’, an ongoing project that she began in 2007, Celia mends strangers’ clothes. Recording the items through descriptive ‘mend slips’ and sometimes photographs, has led to exhibitions at the Royal College of Art and beyond. “I find it is a way to get to important conversations quickly, with strangers,” Celia says. “As we look at and examine the garment and discuss work to be done, all sorts of stories come out. Sometimes the most important part is talking about their sweater's history.”

Book now for Celia's workshop (we still have 2 places available) and we guarantee you'll not only get lost in the art of giving new life to beloved items - clothes, haberdashery, household fabrics - you thought were beyond repair, but you'll also have an opportunity to slow down, enjoy the fabulous space, light and atmosphere of early autumn in South West France before the winter months set in.   Autumn at Les Soeurs Anglaises won't come around again for at least another year.


And if October seems like a better time to get away from it all, one place has also become available on Claire Wellesley Smith's Weekend Workshop here from 7th-10th. Don't tarry if you can join us......

Katie x

"Don't chase the butterfly.  Mend your garden and let the butterfly come!"