Experience the Glories of British Textiles with Gail Harker

custom_tourMany Washington state SDA members have had the pleasure of studying at the Gail Harker Center for Creative Arts, or even just visiting the studio for an exposition or a SDA group meeting.  Gail was also one of the featured speakers at the 2012 SDA symposium in Seattle.  Now a truly unique opportunity is being offered by Gail this October… a chance to tour and study art, design and stitch in Great Britain!  

The Littlebury Hotel in Bicester, Oxfordshire

The Littlebury Hotel in Bicester, Oxfordshire

Gail lived over 20 years in Britain, and has developed relationships that open doors to places that the general public will never get to see!  Tours to historic houses, museums and galleries will be guided by specialists, tutors and curators. If you have a keen interest in textiles of all sorts, including embroidery, quilts, and lace,  or a fascination with educational and historic sites, you should consider this trip, planned specifically to enhance appreciation of art, design and stitch studies.

The sense of camaraderie that Gail engenders in her students will be fostered during travel between venues in a comfortable coach where historic stitches and techniques will be discussed, demonstrated and even practiced.  Participants are also encouraged to keep individual sketchbooks on the tour.

Each night after activities the participants will return to the Littlebury Hotel, with the exception of 2 nights aboard a ferry when the tour goes to Normandy, France, to see the amazing Bayeux Tapestry and moving D-day beaches.  Returning to the same comfortable hotel each night allows students to share their experiences and not have the difficulty of packing up and moving multiple times throughout the trip.

A portion of the 70 meter long Bayeux tapestry, embroidered in approximately 1070 CE.

A portion of the 70 meter long Bayeux tapestry, embroidered in approximately 1070 CE.

17th century Frog purse from the Asmoleum Collection

17th century Frog purse from the Asmoleum Collection

The tour starts off with a special one-day event called “The Big Stitch” at the Ashmoleum Museum, Oxford.  There will be about 25 demonstrators throughout the museum, special talks, and a new exhibition of 17th century embroideries.

At the Victoria & Albert Museum, a textile specialist will be giving the group a personal talk while viewing incredible Tutor, Stuart, Georgian, and Victorian textiles.

One day is spent at the infamous Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra palace, where the height of stitched textile art is showcased each year, as well as an amazing vendor market of over 100 specialist shops.

17th Century red velvet embroidered Bible owned by James II, King of England (1633-1701.)

17th Century red velvet embroidered Bible owned by James II, King of England (1633-1701.)

Another highlight is getting to visit the British Library where the group will get to see 16th-17th century books with embroidered pictorial bookbindings.

There are so many wonderful stops and details that it’s difficult to pick just a few to highlight here.  On the Gail Harker Center for Creative Arts website (http://www.gailcreativestudies.com/) you can download a full packet that describes all the details and places the tour will cover, as well as having some fantastic links to textile collections and online galleries.



To find out all about this incredible tour, you can go to: http://www.gailcreativestudies.com/about/england-tour-2014 and scroll down to see the highlights and download the complete packet on the tour.


Margaret Layton waistcoat (1610-1615) at the Victoria & Albert Museum, made of linen, embroidered with colored silks, silver and silver-gilt thread, lined with silk.


East vs. West: Exploring Papermaking

MaryAshtonartist-made-paper-e1378169473320Mary Ashton is a papermaker, printmaker, book and fiber artist, not to mention a member of SDA in Washington.  She has explored the various aspects of papermaking, fiber manipulation and textile-related materials. Her paper, books and textiles have been shown in regional and national shows. These pieces incorporate her research into the many facets of fiber fabrication and design. She has studied and taught related papermaking, bookbinding, fiber and specialty technique classes and workshops in England and the United States.  She works with and teaches Western and Japanese style papermaking which differ in fiber, pulp preparation and sheet forming.

Formally trained as a textile conservator  at the Textile Conservation Centre, University of London, Courtauld Institute of Art, she has worked with various museums as well as being a private consultant for insitutions, area museum services and private individuals in  the United States and England.  She has been involved with the art world, non-profit studio work, artist collaborations, outreach with schools and “at risk” youth programs. Her most recent professional position was Master Papermaker and Outreach Coordinator for Pyramid Atlantic Center for Hand Papermaking, Printmaking, Digital Arts and Art of the Book Silver Spring, MD. In this position, she was involved with collaborations with other artists working with a variety of media.

This spring, why not explore making paper with Mary?

Papermaking Classes for Spring 2014




Western Papermaking                    

Sat May 17             9:30-4:00    0


Using Western-European papermaking techniques, students will explore variations on traditional vat sheet forming.  Discussions will include various equipment, ways of making pulp, recycling, inclusions, layering, making large sheets from small frame and intro to three dimensional techniques. no experience necessary.


Western Papermaking Open Studio                      

Sat May 18             9:30-4:30   

$ 70

Open studio is only open to individuals that have taken the beginning classes and are familiar with the studio.  This is meant to provide a place to work on a project or just practice different techniques.   All arrangements regarding purchase of pulp and type of pulp will be made prior to the date of the use of the studio.


MaryAshton_Japaneseequipment-student-frame1535Japanese Papermaking                        

Sat/Sun June 14-15                 9:30-4:00    (2 days)


Japanese paper is made up of inner bark fibers of traditional plants.  This fiber is soaked, cooked, rinsed and traditionally hand-beaten to form the paper pulp.  The long fibers are layered to form a sheet of paper using a different process than traditional Western made paper.  The result is a fine, translucent long fibered paper with some distinct qualities.  It is strong, good for calligraphy, printing, book arts, three-dimensional work and much more.  All aspects of fiber preparation will be covered in this class.  Three traditional fibers will be used: Abaca, Kozo and Gampi.  Basic equipment needed for future work will be discussed. Bring a towel and secure, non-slip shoes, ideas, questions, enthusiasm, notebook, lunch and beverage of choice.  Students will be working outside during part of the class so please dress according to the weather of the day.


Classes are held at the Seattle studio in the University/Roosevelt area (directions are sent prior to class).  All papermaking classes are limited to 6 students; other classes usually have a limit of 10-12. More information may be found on my website www.maryashtonstudio.com



For registration, contact Mary at maryashtonstudio@earthlink.net  with your name, and telephone number.  Though classes have a scheduled date, if you get three to six people, we can find a date that suits us all!  

Made by Hand – Marianne Burr

Marianne Burr

Marianne Burr, silk painter, quilter, and Whidbey Island SDA member, is the featured artist at the La Conner Quilt Museum in La Conner, Washington in the show “Made by Hand” from March 26 – June 29, 2014.  She will be there Saturdays starting April 12th demonstrating her methods.


“Class of 1935” 68”H x 55”W

Marianne is currently in Tokyo receiving the Silver Award at the 12th Quilt Nihon Exhibition 2014-2015 at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Art for her work “Class of 1935”.  Her pieces are an inspiration to silk painters, surface designers, and quilters alike.  For more, see marianneburr.com.



“Class of 1935” Detail