ELMHAM SEWING GROUP - October 2015

Posted in General Village Interest

We are delighted to say, that despite the dire weather over the Festival weekend, we were able to take £261 from the sale of our colourful bags and cushions. We donated half to the Flower Festival and half to the Play Equipment Fund. Thank you to everyone who supported us.

You may know that we usually meet fortnightly to chat, sew and generally put the world to rights over tea and sometimes, cake! However, recently we were delighted to visit South Creake Church and view the Exhibition of Art and Textiles, Mixed media and Pottery.

The whole exhibition had been organised by Curator Alan Schmidt and the art had been chosen to work with the sublime medieval art of the church itself. Looking upwards, hanging from the ends of the rafters, were the most wonderful carved wooden angels, twenty two in all and these are one of the wonders of Norfolk today. They were commissioned to celebrate victory at Agincourt in the autumn of 1415 and it is believed they are modelled on real fifteenth century villagers. As part of this exhibition there were groups of models of the bowmen made here by sculptor Neal French from Dereham, how we loved them!!

Alan Schmidt told us that he and his wife regularly come to our Festival and how wonderful it is. A few years ago he was very taken with Caroline Payne's flower arrangement complete with two stuffed crows (they did look brilliant) and he incorporated two crows in a painting which we saw!
We were met by our own Helen Synge from County School who explained how and why she had created the incredible piece of Quilting called "The Paradise Garden". It was hung between 2 pillars and measures approximately 12'6" x 7'; it is the largest wall hanging she has ever done and this one is just for her and she will not be selling it. Helen is a graduate of St Martin's School of Art in London and did her Master's Degree at the Central School of Art, working in the Victoria and Albert Museum. She is a Textile and Watercolour artist and often accompanies her commissions with the detailed sketches of the design which people are keen to own.

When she is commissioned to make a wall hanging, which will usually be 8'x4',she is given a few ideas ,then she goes away and makes working drawings, before painting them in watercolours, then she finds samples of fabric to be used on the hanging. All the while working, closely with whoever has asked her to create the hanging.

Her design shows a birds eye view of a beautiful garden with a river, fish, exquisite water lilies plus Pegasus, a dragon and more flowers all surrounded by a high wall with no gate and only one way out! Guess the way out if you can.
Each intricate section was worked on separately in beautiful fabric and finally put together on the floor, with Helen on a step ladder looking down to make sure it looked as she wanted it to. By working on it exclusively, no other commissions, from 9 – 5pm with an hour for lunch, 5 days a week, she completed it in just under 10 months.

Her paintings are a feast for the eyes and after she had explained the techniques she uses, we were even more in awe of her immense talent.
We wandered round the rest of the exhibition and admired the Bowmen of Neil French of Dereham, the cushions and small wall hangings, paintings and pottery but our eyes were always drawn back to THE Wall Hanging.

Heather, Janet, Jeannette, Julia, Meg and Tish.