Thursday, 29 September 2011

The wonderful world of dotty people - the pianola tale continues

An excellent follow-up from the exhibition / discussion of our pianola pieces from Rex Lawson, a pianola performer

Dear Lois Parker,

This will strike you as a slightly dotty email, but you have been embroidering pianola rolls, so you must be just a little dotty yourself! I've been sitting here stupefied, reading about the music rolls you lot have been using as a basis for embroidery and general artwork. It came up on Google while I was in the middle of looking up source material on the pianolas that Captain Scott took to the Antarctic.

I write the website at, and I make new pianola rolls, in south-east London. I help to run the Pianola Institute, which is an educational charity some friends and I founded in the 1980s. I'd love to put some pictures of your creations, and those of your Ledbury friends, on our website. You really made a lovely job of your Themodist "Poème Musical", complete with all the dynamic and tempo lines. You even embroidered a grave accent in the title. That's real class!

There are an awful lot of things in life I'm useless at, but I am probably the world expert on the history and manufacture of the sorts of rolls you have used. I have roughly 12,000 of them here. If you are interested in such things, look at our website at, where you will find a lot of background information on pianolas and their music.

I'm doing a live Radio 3 concert with the BBC Singers on October 24th. It's a mixture of contemporary and romantic music. The BBC doesn't often allow the pianola on to the airwaves, and in view of the extreme interest which you have all been showing towards piano rolls, I thought you might be interested.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Sew on.

Kathleen's enchanted creatures in the mini wood show case.

The stitched diary of our work in postcards.

Side view of gallery showing Kathleen's pianola hanging and some of Ann's work.

Beautifully hung by experts of the group, Judy and Ann.

My Technical Support team came back to work today! When I am hovering round my lap top. I have this feeling that I'm one click from I'm safe now!

So some of you didn't make it....what a shame. We had visitors from all over. Canada, Germany, Australia. they all insisted that they had flown in specially.... ( I think that's what they said...some had strong accents...) Anyhow not to worry, I thought I would show you some scenes from the exhibition...mainly to put off cleaning the house which has been a little neglected over the past month or so.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Sew to Speak Saturday

A good day at the exhibition, with lots of people combining a visit to the Quilt show with coming to Sew to Speak.

Kathleen sold another owl, so it was just as well she had brought materials to sew more while at the show.

Lindsay and Anni continue to win the award for causing the most laughter - hoots of delight coming from both rooms on a regular basis.   The Braeburn Apple is a particular source of merriment. If you want to know why it is funny come to the show - it is on until 3pm Sunday.

Judy's frog received lots of compliments,.

and so did Lindsay's Resolutions - the bold language drew people amongst all the other imagery.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Private View - success

discussing the work

The Private View is one of the rituals of the art world.  I did a whole project on these events, their meaning and purpose, while I was at College.

Last nights was a simple event.  Friends and family, people that took the trouble to drive to a little town on a September night.  Lots of complements about how well the show worked as a whole.  The very disparate pieces all had room to speak for themselves.   The works go from exquisite to bizarre, miniature to enormous, and the hanging committee ( I left them to it) did an excellent job.

the cakes

And, of course, the sale.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

The show at night

Having the Private View in the evening in September meant that I got to see the works by artificial light for the first time.  The two pieces that looked dramatically different under these conditions were Grace Wakelin's pianola piece, an intricate  cutwork lace design, and Judy Dames, pianola piece featuring cabbage white butterflies.

Both of these became more dramatic with the strong shadows due to the directional light.

Ann's first sale - boxing hares

The Private view was in full swing when Ann made her first sale - a charming hand embroidery of two hares boxing.  Such a momentous event needed to be photographed.

The door is open, why not come in...

Our exhibition at the Weavers Gallery is now well underway! 
The show runs until this Sunday, 25th September, 10am - 3pm.
Private view is tonight, no doubt more photo's to follow...

Midway through exhibition

We are now into day three.  We have been getting fifty visitors each day, most of whom spend quite a long time looking carefully at the exhibits.  The private view is tonight, so cake and wine and conversation join the pieces this evening.

People are very complementary about the range of work as well as the individual skill, wit and talent.  I may have persuaded two people that they should try machine embroidery a a solution when arthritis makes it difficult to grasp needles / make pots.

So far today we sold Alison's little postcard 'Sparkler', a lavender bag by Katie, an owl by Kathleen (someone who collects her work), some postcards by Grace and an embroidered card for framing by Annie.  Interest is much higher than is a shame not to be able to transcribe the conversations people have as they look at all these amazing works.

Monday, 19 September 2011

The Show Goes On

Today the exhibition was hung - and it looks great.

One of the pieces needed a bit of heavy weight assistance - so a blog by Rod Griffiths is available with a sneak preview of the show.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Sign Ready to Go!

Two days to go until the group hangs it's first collaborative show. 
Three days until the doors open to the public.
Here's the zingy, bright sign which Anni has made for the door of the Weavers Gallery which will draw in the crowds like bees to pollen!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Finishing Touches.

I'm getting all 'Naturesewn Foods' out of the deep freeze and ready for the exhibition. Yesterday, I felt the need for a bit of garnish for my fish cakes...(Well it was Thursday!) It should have been a sprig of coriander.....but in view of the time scale I opted for a slice of lemon.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Whoop, whoop!

Another pianola roll completed and ready to hang in next week's exhibition. Hoorah! It feels like it has taken a very l-o-n-g time to finish. There's a lot of handstitching and layering on this one. Here's a wee glimpse. If you want to see the rest you'll just have to come along to the show!
"I Saw This and Thought of You (part one)"

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

All Agog!

Folk up north have an Angel. People on the M5 have Running Man. Soon people of Ledbury will have Plaster Woman! There's alot of speculation amongst TWG about how Plaster Woman (affectionally known as PW) (Lois Parker's work) is going to get to the exhibition. Rumour has it that a hearse turned up at her house at midnight about a week ago. Sadly Lois did not seize the opportunity whilst she could and turned it away unfilled! A bit too early for Sew to Speak I guess.
I think a motor bike and side car would be great.(As long as she wore a crash helmet.) Someone thought that a sedan chair would be appropriate but it's an awful long walk from Pershore to Ledbury.
BUT, I have hit on the answer. You know on The Antiques Roadshow there's a film of folk getting their stuff to the show. There's a lady sitting on a trailer on a chair surrounded by bales of straw. That could be Lois clasping PW going to the exhibition with style and dignity. So no more talk of coffin shaped boxes tied on the top of cars. Let's go for this. We will all stand on the cobbled lane waving embroidered flags (OR......?) as a welcome party. Oh and let's hope it doesn't rain.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Can you hear it?

If you listen really carefully you can hear 9 sets of embroidery needles pulling thread. One more week to go until the Sew-to-Speak exhibition opens it's doors to the public...