Changes and New Challenges for 2020

I am very excited to be working with a new gallery for 2020. Ty Meirion is a lovely gallery on the edge of Snowdonia National Park between the mountains and the coast. A beautiful part of the world that has inspired many pieces of my work for years.

The beach at Barmouth, N. Wales

I will be making new work for 3 selected exhibitions. Starting in April with “Coastal and Maritime” followed by “Art in Nature” in July and finally “Illuminate: the Night Sky of Snowdonia” in November. An interesting range of themes for me to be inspired by, I am looking forward to the challenge!
More details on my exhibitions page for dates and the gallery location.

Another new venture for me is to be represented by The Daniel Raphael Gallery on Artsy. An online platform for collecting and discovering art.  Through its website and mobile app, Artsy offers users an opportunity browse through its catalogue of artwork without stepping into a physical gallery.

This will be the first time for 26 years that I will not be exhibiting at the Chelsea Flower Show. It is an opportunity for me to try new avenues and opportunities that come along. I am looking forward to a change of scene and pace to my creative year.

The Australian Leg

April helping me hang my exhibition in Gallery76

I moved on to Syndey for the second part of my trip, to be hosted by the Embroiderers Guild of NSW for a pop up exhibition of my work, a lecture, a weekend course and a 1 day masterclass! Busy week !

I had a super group of students who produced some exciting work on my courses in Sydney. They are on my students work page on my website.

Embellishing play day!

I did have some time off in Sydney and my host was kind enough to let me play with her embellishing/felting machine. It was so much fun. This is my first effort and I also satisfied my urges for some therapeutic hand stitching on this piece. Inspired by the NZ bush colours and textures. Watch this space for more embellishing pieces !

I moved on to WA for the final 10 days. First to Perth for a few days off and bizarrely experiencing the coldest October day in Perth in 17 years! I enjoyed exploring Fremantle and also gorgeous gardens with the early summer flowers

I taught a 3 day course in Margaret River midweek, we made 3D lacy winter trees and applied them to silk painted skies. What a beautiful set of work came out of this workshop!

Finally back to Perth for the last bit of teaching, this was for TAAMMI a textile group strongly focused on machine embroidery. We worked on Colourful Landscapes I was very proud of the standard of work achieved.

I always love the enthusiasm of my students when I travel such distances to share my skills and experience

An evening stroll on the beach south of Margaret River

New Zealand adventures

What to do when its raining….write my blog!

I am into my third week away here in New Zealand and I am having an enjoyable and eventful time. I started the trip in Napier with my exhibition at the Boyd Dunlop Gallery. I shared the show “Silk and Glass” with New Zealand glass artist Evelyn Dunstan. Her work is incredible, she is such a talent, intricate natural forms in lead crystal using the lost wax method. ( I was fortunate to visit Evelyns studio when I was in Auckland and see the process.) I was very proud to have my embroideries displayed alongside her work.

The gallery looked amazing, I was thrilled to see my work given such status in a beautiful space. Richard is keeping the unsold pieces in the gallery when the exhibition ends and we are planning a new exhibition for 2020. Looks like I will have to come back again. Hooray!

After a few days enjoying Napier, the Art Deco architecture and the art galleries  I travelled to Auckland for the Quilt Symposium. This was 5 days of teaching, 2 courses and 38 students! We were based at St Cuthberts College and I was one of about 40 tutors from far and wide including New Zealand, Canada, USA, Australia and the UK. The week embraced all things textile!

My students on the Crashing Waves course

My students on the Colourful Landscapes course

There were courses, exhibitions, lectures, shopping opportunities and best of all a chance to meet other tutors who were previously just names I knew well. That networking is invaluable and it is so good to share experiences with like minded people. It was a pleasure to meet Kim Thittichai, Alysn Midgelow-Marsden and Pat Archibald. Oohhh look at me name dropping!

“Our” beach in front of the Airbnb at Ferry Landing

After the Symposium I had booked a place to stay on the Coromandel Peninsula at Ferry Landing, a couple of hours from Auckland. The weather was very kind and we enjoyed sunshine and walks on deserted beaches.

Fresh fish for breakfast with the view from the deck

We visited Hot Water Beach which was huge fun, to see people furiously digging enormous holes up to 6ft deep to create their own mini spa from the natural hot springs under the sand. We took the lazy option and used an abandoned one!

In Waiau Kauri Grove and waterfalls

We explored the peninsula thoroughly with walks in the bush and a climb up and over Shakespeare Cliff to Lonely Bay. We took the passenger ferry over to Witianga for dinner one evening and just relaxed. It was the perfect antidote to the previous week! 

Hot Water Beach fun!

So a few more days in NZ left to enjoy, a wonderful stay with friends in Hastings followed by Lake Taupo and Bay of Plenty. Then John returns home and I head to Syndey for the Aussie bit of this trip.

Home Again

I am home after my week at Chelsea. The weather and sales were great. We saw friends and customers and had a busy but successful time.
It’s a great venue for meeting people from all around the world. 
I am now relaxing at home enjoying my garden which has bloomed, in my absence, into the most gorgeous colours. 
My next event is my Open Studios in the middle of June. So, tidy up the garden, hang up the pictures and look forward to welcoming all my visitors. 
Come and see me, I am open over 2 weekends in June, 8th 9th and 15th 16th 10am to 5pm each day.
A bit of news from before my trip to Chelsea….
With only a day to go until the deadline I chanced upon the opportunity to apply to be an Aurifil Artisan. I have been a huge fan of their threads for many years. They sponsored my Woodland book years ago and funded me exhibiting at the European Patchwork Meeting at Sainte Marie aux Mines. I was delighted to get this email and to be working with Aurifil and the team.
Hello Alison,
Congratulations on being selected as an Aurifil Artisan for 2019!! We were all so impressed with your application and are very excited about working together this year to promote you, your work, and Aurifil thread.
Today we are thrilled to welcome our 2019 Aurifil Artisan Team. We were incredibly humbled by the enormous response that we received to our call for applications. We had a very tough job in narrowing down over 250 applicants to a team of 50.

That time of year again!

The main focus for me at the moment is creating new work. It’s the run up to the Chelsea Flower Show in London. Run is a good choice of word, it certainly is not a stroll. Lots to organise before the set up day. The most important element is the work of course.

I need to create a well designed exhibition space with its pots and planting looking the best I can manage but it is really the embroideries that need to be the star of the show. I try to be organised well ahead of time and not panic. It’s always the same date, third week in May, so I can’t claim it was sprung upon me! I think I actually like the adrenaline rush and trying to cram just one more embroidery into the collection. I am never short of ideas and inspiration just time!

This year my work includes coastal walks in Cornwall, days spent in the Lakes and further afield, the wild lupins in New Zealand.

Inspired by a visit to Langdale, Cumbria

Work in progress, Lake Tekapo and an abundance of wild lupins

I am also featuring fruit and vegetables alongside my more familiar landscapes and garden scenes. Broccoli, cabbages, blackberries and a cauliflower so far. They are small studies 5 x 5 inches (12 x 12cm). Packed full of details and a mixture of paint and stitch. I have enjoyed exploring the techniques to make this subject matter work, I am enjoying the results. I imagine stitching more of them right up to the night before the show!

There could be strawberries…raspberries…oh and artichokes, possibilities are endless!  

More adventures in NZ

This trip continued to be a combination of inspiration for my work and a success in Napier! Apologies for all the photos it’s been a challenge to choose from so many. I hope it gives a flavour of the amazing country of NZ.

We travelled across country from Auckland towards the east coast, stopping at the Huka Falls nr Taupo en route. What an amazing sight, the colour of the water was a deep turquoise and the volume incredible to see. 

Moving on we arrived in Hastings and Napier for a 6 day stay. Napier is a beautiful Art Deco coastal town, with great architecture, galleries, coffee shops and long elegant seafront promenade and gardens.

Whilst there I visited the Boyd Dunlop Gallery in the town which has a strong eclectic mix of art on show. They represent some well respected NZ and international artists and I now have my work there too! They have 9 of my embroideries and will display several of them in their Christmas Show. I am thrilled to have my work there and we have plans for a show in 2019.

One of my embroideries chosen by Richard Boyd Dunlop for the gallery

We headed on from the east coast to wine country and to Martinborough for 1 night to enjoy the region for the second time.

Outside the pretty cottage we stayed in 

We then went down to Wellington to catch the ferry over to South Island. A beautiful trip with an opportunity to see the fantastic coastline into Picton.

Our time staying in Nelson was the first taste of South Island, it’s a beautiful town, a cluster of hills with views over the ocean. We especially enjoyed a trip through the vinyards out along the Golden Bay to Wharariki Beach.

On the outskirts we discovered WOW, the Wearable Art Museum and there is an amazing collection of Classic cars too. 

It was time to move on and our next destination was Franz Josef Glacier. A drive down the wild west coast, we stopped at various points, for a picnic lunch overlooking the sea and several walks into the rainforests for embroidery inspiration. Finally arrived to stay a couple of days and the highlight was a helicopter flight.  We went up to the snow capped mountains to land and then flew over Fox and Franz Josef to see the glaciers up close! Thrilling!

The next drive took us further south over the Haast pass between Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea to Queenstown and then to where we stayed, Te Anau. More beautiful scenery. 


Te Anau was our stopping point on the edge of Fiordland National Park for the planned trip to Milford Sound. This was to be one of the most amazing drives through a picturesque valley and boat trip along a majestic fjord. That’s for the next blog!

Australia Trip: Travelling and Teaching

It’s only been a week since I left the UK and it feels more like three. I arrived in Sydney and was met at the airport to be taken to stay with the President of Embroiderers Guild NSW in a calm, spacious house in Breakfast Point. Lucky me and a big thank you to Ron and Wendy.

After a necessary day of rest I went into the Guild headquarters to hang my exhibition of 30 embroideries in their beautiful Gallery76. It’s on the top floor of their custom designed building, with great light and gleaming white walls. I had lots of help from April, their gallery curator and we were very pleased with the end result. They had kindly organised a launch that evening with wine and nibbles and with a little jet lag lingering I hope I made sense to all the people I spoke to!

My course “Crashing Waves” started the next day and I had the weekend with a group of enthusiastic student’s. Their work is on my website. Please take a look, they made some great embroideries. I closed the weekend with a talk in the evening about my inspiration and process. Everyone seemed to enjoy it with many really insightful questions to end the session.

“Autumn Sunshine” part of the Embroiderers Guild NSW Collection

One of the highlights of my week here is the purchase of a piece of my work by the Guild for their Collection.  “Autumn Sunshine” is the piece and it will be housed in the Archive Room and be available for students to study and will be hung in Guild exhibitions. I feel honoured to have an embroidery of mine in their Collection, I am in esteemed company!

I have been invited back to teach for the Guild in 2019, we are planning a weekend course in late October but also an additional Masterclass, I will keep you posted.

I have had a couple of leisure days too. A trip to Bondi Beach for the cliff walk to Tamarama Beach. We thought we were too late for the Sculpture by the Sea but fortunately a few were still in place and they looked amazing in that rugged setting. My trip here next year will be a little earlier and I will be able to see the full exhibition of sculptures, can’t wait!

Only a couple more days for me here in Sydney then on to Melbourne for 2 more courses. I am really looking forward to catching up with friends there.

From the Summer into Autumn!

I really have enjoyed this great summer. I am fortunate to be able to open up the bi fold doors of my studio and keep cool. It feels great to let the garden and my workspace merge into one, especially when I have students there too. We have enjoyed lunches on the lawn and have to drag ourselves back in to the task in hand!

I have been teaching in some lovely locations too. A residential course in deepest Dorset and “Etched in Frost” in sunny Brighton in July. Also several courses at home in Oswestry and the most recent in Harwich at The Old Bank Studios where “Flowers and Foliage” kept everyone busy and happy for 2 days.

Celebrations in the Royal Academy!

I have managed a bit of down time too. A few days in the Lakes was a highlight and a few trips to London. I felt I had to take advantage of my artwork being in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition so went 4 times!! It has been so lovely to share the experience with friends and family.

My next adventure is my annual trip to Australia.  I will be teaching in Melbourne and in Sydney, where I will also give a lecture and  have an exhibition of new embroideries. It will be at Gallery76 which is in the Embroiderers Guild Headquarters NSW. More details of rimes and dates on my courses page. I will also be teaching again in Hastings NZ as part of my trip.

Here is a sneak preview of some of my new work.

Chelsea and The Royal Academy

Where to start with an update on my activities…!?

The Chelsea Flower Show:  the annual trek to London for the 3rd week in May. This is 7 days away, starting with packing my pictures into the car, throwing clothes for every weather condition into the suitcase and organising pots and plants to decorate the stand. I pushed the boat out and painted the stand a gorgeous shade of green to set off all the new embroideries.

The weather, gardens and sales were excellent this year. I saw new and established collectors of my work each day. The wonderful part of Chelsea is the enthusiastic and well informed visitors from all around the word. It was my 25th time and continues to be the highlight of my exhibiting year.

The week ended on a real high, I got an email from the Royal Academy telling me my submission had been accepted into The RA Summer Exhibition!

I was delighted to be part of this prestigious event and headed back down to London for Varnishing Day on June 4th.  Traditionally a day for artists to varnish or add the finishing touch to their artwork. We all gathered in the courtyard of Burlington House with a steel band to create the atmosphere. All the artists first walk down Piccadilly to St. James Church for the Service for Artists and then back to the Academy for a Reception. It was a terrific day, so wonderful to see my picture hanging up in the same exhibition as David Hockey and Grayson Perry with a glass of bubbly in my hand!

And the icing on the cake…it sold on the first preview day!

Next in the diary was my Open Studios event, this was the 18th year and is still going strong. A big push to get the garden looking its best as visitors seem to enjoy that as much as the embroideries! We had great weather which is not the norm for those 2 weekends in June! Lots of visitors, lots of friends and some people who had come a long way to see me. The lady from Southampton wins the prize for the longest distance travelled!

We had a lovely trip down to Cornwall for a few days, it was a great break between the 2 weekends of Open Studios, designed to stop me working straight through! We spent one day in Padstow enjoying a fab lunch in the Rick Stein Bistro, a day in Falmouth and another walking across to St Michaels Mount in the sunshine.

On into February

The snowdrops have appeared outside my studio door, as reliable as ever, they signal to me, that the year is slowly moving on. The primulas and daffodils will be next and spring will really be here. Hooray!

Keeping warm, busy and being productive is my main goal at the moment. I have the Chelsea Flower Show to plan artwork for and my theme for this year is colourful landscapes and gardens. Seems obvious somehow but previous years my work has been more focused on trees, moss and earthy green landscapes so this will have another slant. For my 25th consecutive year there I hope the body of work will look refreshingly different while still looking like my work of course!

Rhododendrons in Full Bloom

Rhododendrons in Full Bloom

This is one of the large garden scenes I plan to have filling the main wall of my stand at Chelsea. I am aiming for 9 on the same theme displayed in a tight group but if I run out of time 6 will work too!

Amongst the Linseed

Amongst the Linseed on display in “Stitch”

An unexpected email has lead to my work being part of an exhibition this month in London called Stitch. It is at the Daniel Raphael Gallery and it runs from February 22nd to March 22nd. I will have eight pieces of my work included in the show.

It’s an intriguing collection of embroidered work by 7 textile artists, hand and machine embroiderers, all with interesting stories to tell and wide ranging imagery. “We are part of a new generation of artists that are enabling embroidery to transcend its domesticity into the fine arts”.

I am delighted to be part of the show and to have a second London gallery (the other being M1 Fine Art in Greenwich ) showcasing my embroidery.

The Moss Beneath my Feet

“The Moss Beneath my Feet” is on display in the “Stitch” exhibition


Open Studios 2017

Every June I open up my studio to the public for 2 weekends as part of the Borderland Visual Arts group Open Studios. I demonstrate and chat to everyone about my work. We welcome visitors to stroll around the garden and look at the photography display by Myk Briggs in the summerhouse. We had mixed weather as usual, persistent rain over the first weekend and a mini heatwave on the second!

We work on the garden to make it look its best and people really enjoy looking around it when they visit us. We had lots of people come to see us, some new faces and some regulars.

We took a trip to Cornwall between the 2 weekends. Visiting The Lost Gardens of Heligan, somewhere I have wanted to visit ever since I saw the show garden inspired by the renovations at the Chelsea Flower Show many years ago.

We ended the day in Mevagissey with a Cornish ice cream and a sit on the harbour wall.


Day 2 we enjoyed a great coastal walk near the Godrevy Lighthouse and Seal Bay.


Then on to St Ives to the Tate and the Barbara Hepworth Sculpture garden

We fitted in a visit to Wistman Wood on Dartmoor on the way home. It was a wonderful break and reminder of how beautiful our countryside is.

Chelsea Flower Show 2017

My 24th year at Chelsea! I can’t believe it. Where did those years go? The weather was wonderful with 6 days of sunshine and only one short sharp shower on Saturday morning.

We spend Sunday setting up the stand with all my new artwork, with the focus on several large pieces especially for the show. We had new lights, pots and plants and got it all ready for the judges to view it on Monday. The big surprise for me on Tuesday morning was to be awarded The RHS 3 Star Award for my stand! Its only taken 24 years, best not to rush these things! I was thrilled, what a great start to the week. 


Monday is press day with lots of celebrities and publicity stunts. It is the fun day to be there to see all the TV crews and this year all the Radio 2 DJ’s. We have very special visitors on Monday afternoon before the show opens to the public. A selection of Royals get their preview of all the gardens. This year I was fortunate to see the Queen, she really is marvellous for 91 years of age.

The gardens at Chelsea were interesting as usual, some controversial but all showing horticultural of the highest standard. My favourite was the Japanese Artisan garden with its waterfall and beautiful cushions of moss.

I had a successful week with sales and commissions, meeting up with collectors of my work and making new connections and sales to South Africa, Australia, Ireland and USA.

 I came home to my garden overflowing with coIour….and weeds! I now have two weeks to rest, tidy up the garden and get organised for my Open Studios on June 10th, 11th and 17th, 18th. Hope to see in Oswestry then!


Preparing for Chelsea Flower Show

It’s that time again when the weeks fly by and the “to do” list grows! Chelsea has become my main focus of the year for exhibiting my new work. From the time I arrive home in December from Australia up until mid May I am busy creating new pieces.  I think about how the stand will look for the whole week and I know I will need lots of choice of pictures so it will look as good on the last day as the first. 

This embroidery “Early Morning Frost” will be one of the largest pieces on display. I always aim to have a wide range of picture sizes and subject matter for people view.  I meet collectors of my work there each year and it’s good to have a few ideas they haven’t seen before!

Here is a new piece inspired by the garden at Plas Tan Y Bwlch in North Wales. Dappled shadows are always a favourite of mine.

The design of my stand has to be considered in plenty of time too. I have invested in new lights this year and a change of colour for my counter and stencilled lettering on the walls.  We all need to have a floral content to our display and I am fighting off the slugs so my prize hostas can take centre stage!

It’s worth all the time and effort invested, it’s the top horticultural show in the world and standards are exceptionally  high!

RA Summer Exhibition and Womans Hour Craft Competition

I have spent a few evenings recently filling in application forms and now I remembered why I don’t enter competitions! It is so time consuming to do it thoroughly and quite stressful making decisions about which works to be judged on. We artists are not generally very good at promoting ourselves but you have to be “in it to win it” so they say!

First of all I have entered an embroidery for the RA Summer Exhibition, there are only 12000 people doing the same thing! I visited the Summer Exhibition last year and saw an amazing array of artwork and felt inspired to apply  So, this is the year I put myself forward, nothing ventured, nothing gained!

I have submitted this piece of work, it is 16 x 10 inches. Based on photographs and sketches of the woodland at Plas Tan Y Bwlch in North Wales. It is a piece of work I am proud of so it seemed a good choice.

The Moss Beneath My Feet

The second event is the Womans Hour Craft Competition in conjunction with The V&A and the Craft Council. They are looking for the 12 best craftsmen in the UK, the successful ones will have their work exhibited at The V&A and the best of the 12 exhibitors wins £10,000. This application form was extensive and I nearly gave up! I have submitted 4 embroideries to be judged on and a proposal for a new embroidery for the exhibition if I get that far i the process. It is all based on work from the last 5 years. This a new piece of work this year and one of my submissions

On a Frosty Morning


I intend to forget about it now, the process is complete and l wont hear anything until April, I will keep you posted!


Starting the New Year

It makes me very happy to hit the ground running in January! I do enjoy Christmas but crave getting back to my studio and creating new work. I had prepared so many painted silk pieces for my Australia trip last October that it seemed a good idea to lay them all out in my studio, and work towards the completion of each one. I use images that inspire me as examples for courses so the intention is always to complete them.

It was interesting looking at them all again, quite a range of subject matter, lots of flowers and some seascapes, also woodlands and dramatic skies. Hard to choose which one to work on first! A lot of the creative decisions have been made by the time I have a painted background, a commitment to colour, image size, shape and composition, so in most cases each painted background was ready for my stitching to add texture, depth and definition.

Working these prepared backgrounds is a great way to get me back into the creative zone. As with many things I do it’s become part of my annual routine. I always focus on producing new work for exhibitions in the first few months of the year. Then a week at Chelsea in May swiftly followed by my Open Studios in June, then the summer ( if we get one!) Finally in October my 6 week teaching trip to Australia…if I am in a rut, it’s a very happy rut! There is of course a liberal sprinkling of teaching throughout the whole year, with courses at my studio and around the UK.

I am always pleased to have a magazine article about my work, there were two last year and one in 2017 already. This time it’s in “Be Creative with Workbox, a four page spread of a snow scene which is the winter project out of my Woodlands book.


Travel, home and away, plus a new gallery

September and October have been a fun months for me with a bit of holiday travel combined with some textile work (of course!).

A few days in the Lake District with good weather gave me an opportunity to take some great photographs. Such inspiring scenery in Langdale with lakes, mossy walls and mountains. This was swiftly followed by a 4 day trip with the family to Rome. Not a place inspirational for my embroideries in the way of lush English countryside but a wonderful city with fabulous architecture at evey turn. We walked over 24 miles in 4 days, so we certainly saw a lot of the city!

My sons at the Trevi Fountain!

Before I set off for my 6 weeks in Australia I selected a few of my embroideries to have on display at a new gallery. A few local scenes with an autumnal theme, including 2 pieces inspired by one of my favourite places, Ellesmere. So…

Across the Mere

The Copper Tree Gallery in Tarporley, Cheshire now has a collection of my embroideries. This is a new venue for me in a beautiful part of the country. My work will be on display from October 18th until Christmas. I do hope you can get there to see them, the gallery is easy to find in the High Street.

For my next blog I will be in Australia, where it will be a bit warmer! I start my trip in Canberra which is new location for me, so I am really looking forward to being there.

Bare Roots in Springtime


New work in the M1 Fine Art Gallery

I have some new work in the M1 Fine Art gallery in Greenwich, London this week.
10 pieces in total, a range of colourful countryside scenes, including bluebells, daffodils and poppies.















It is the Summer Exhibition and I am deighted to have my embroideries included in this predigious show. The opening night is July 15th but the work will be on display throughout the whole summer. Please go along and take a look!

My Week at the Chelsea Flower Show

This my 23rd year of exhibiting… hard to believe! It’s an experience that’s difficult to describe, stressfull, exhilarating, exciting, a privilege, hard work but always worth all the effort. It has become the main focus of my exhibiting year with months of planning leading up to a great week.

It is a welĺ rehearsed routine, finely tuned over the years but there are often a few surprises. Months of preparation ends with me packing the car with alĺ my framed pictures, cards, prints, books, the counter, lights, plants and flooring for the stand. Choosing my clothes for the week is always a challenge as we have had everything from a heat wave to torrential downpours over the years!

The Moss Beneath My Feet

The week begins on Sunday with an early start, driving down from Shropshire to Chelsea. We organise my display when we arrive, it is usually a 5 to 6 hour job which includes laying the floor, erecting the lights, hanging the pictures, assembling the counter and finally arranging the plants. The RHS judge our display so the pressure is on! 

Monday is Press day, we are knee deep in celebrities all morning and usually see the Queen and accompanying royals in the afternoon. Overall it is a day to look at the gardens up close, take lots of photographs, catch up with other exhibitors and enjoy the whole experience before the crowds arrive on Tuesday. In the evening it is the Gala with music, champagne and canapés, I admit…it’s not all work!

Richard E Grant!

Its a busy week with long days as the show is open 8am to 8pm. We meet established and new customers who chat and buy, adding to their collection or hopefully starting one!

There are highlights for me every year, something special resulting from exhibiting here. This year an invitation to the Chelsea Physic Garden to teach a course next year. I had a private tour of the garden, which was such a privilege and I took lots of photographs for inspiration. I am really looking forward to working with them next year.

Chelsea Physic Garden

I was also lucky enough to meet the Australian women who are responsible for the 5000 Poppies. They visited my stand and we enjoyed a mutual admiration moment or two. It was such an amazing project and I was so pleased to meet them.Well, as always the week slips by and then its time to go home, unpack and lie down in a dark room. I plan to do it all again next year!

As busy as ever!

Finally the days are getting longer and I have snowdrops and hellebores flowering outside my studio door, with daffodils in hot pursuit! I am enjoying spending time in my studio teaching and creating, watching the seasons change and the garden wake up, it’s wonderful being so close to my garden but warm in my studio! Its a busy time, lots of organising for the year ahead going on, with lots of forms to fill in for various exhibitions and opportunities as the year falls into place.

I have been invited to exhibit in the Capability Brown Festival with the Embroiderers Guild and my piece is on its way to Guild Headquarters this week.

My embroidery “Amongst the Snowdrops” inspired by the snowdrop walk at Chirk Castle will be on display at 3 of the venues throughout the year. The Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch show at the NEC in March, then in the exhibition “Landscapes and Gardens” at  Chirk Castle and on to the Knitting and Stitching Show later in the year, more details here

Preparations for the Chelsea Flower Show are underway too with lots of embroideries planned and some already completed. I do enjoy the pressure of a deadline, it focuses the creative juices!

Following on from my week at Chelsea will be my Open Studios event in Oswestry, a chance to visit me, see my studio, garden and embroideries. We have 33 artists working and displaying their artwork in 16 studios in and around Oswestry. It will be a great event and we are expecting lots of visitors over the 2 weekends, June 11th,12th and 18th,19th.

My flights to Australia at the end of October are all booked, it will be 10 flights in total and a total of 5 weeks away! I will be teaching 6 courses in total. I am excited to visit Canberra this trip, as a new venue, then on to Melbourne to see some familiar faces, finally to Harrington, north of Sydney to run the last 2 courses of the trip, more details on this page


A week in Prague

Old Town Square lit up with the Christmas tree and market

What a beautiful city. Being invited to exhibit and teach there was a great incentive to go to a city I had been meaning to visit for a long time. I was not disappointed, the architecture, food, sculptures, museums and the people combine to create a wonderful atmosphere. It was also the start of the Christmas markets so everywhere looked really festive.

The Astronomical Clock in Old Town Square

208 steps down from the Cathedral

I was exhibiting at Textile Prague held in the beautiful building Slovansky dum over the weekend. On the Saturday I held a Masterclass for students from Russia and the Czech Republic. I had an interpreter, Helene, who was wonderful. She had printed diagrams of a sewing machine with all the parts named in Russian and Czech, how organised is that! It was a new experience for me and the day went really well, due to enthusiastic students and a love of machine embroidery by all concerned!

My books in Russian!

Inside Slovansky dum exhibition space

Fellow exhibitors Elena Tkachenko and Galina Domakha from Russia

I had a few days to explore the city after the exhibition ended. I had researched a sort of sculpture trail and we set off each day to find 1 or 2 or more. Its such a great place to walk around, so much to see, lots of places for a coffee or lunch or a beer or 2!

It was a wonderful week in a city of great culture.

Entrance to Municipal House designed by Mucha

Home from Italy… off to Australia

I have just got back from a wonderful week in Italy with my family. We stayed in Reusa, near Fizziano, up in the mountains north of Pisa in a beautiful villa with views to die for. We visited Tellaro on the Italian Rivier and had a day in Florence and Lucca for a culture fix. I was trying to have restful time before my big trip to Australia and with good food, long leisurely lunches, great company and sunshine, I succeeded!

There are only a few days left until I fly to Perth so I am busy gathering everything together for my trip. I have a lot of courses to prepare for and a few clothes to pack too!

I have a few things to do before I go, deliver some pictures to the Willow Gallery in Oswestry and an article to finish for the Swedish Embroidery Magazine.

I am really looking forward to meeting all my students when I get to Australia.  I will be teaching at Fibres West for the first week, then on to Melbourne to teach another course over the weekend.

During my time in Australia I will be exhibiting my embroideries in Melbourne at the Firestation Print Studio Gallery with textile artist Carly Leech. Our work will be on display from October 14th to 24th. I first met Carly at the Tasmanian Craft Fair in 2013, she flew from Melbourne to visit me there. Carly and her friend Sue are the organisers of my course in Melbourne this year and we are planning one for 2016 too!

After teaching in Melbourne for the Embroiderers Guild and then in Deloraine, Tasmania at Elemental Artspace, I will head back to Perth for yet another course! Then down to Margaret River to complete my 6 courses in 6 weeks away. A very busy schedule,  meeting up with some very special friends from my last visit. I plan to post my travel progress on this blog so you can keep track of me!

A Busy Summer…

I like lots of variety to make life interesting and this summer has certainly given me that

I have been busy with a range of activities, such as placing new work into galleries, trips away teaching, a 3 day course in my new studio and even some time for some stitching!

After exhibiting at Chelsea I was approached by the M1 Gallery in London. they wanted me to put my embroideries into their Summer Show and likewise the Willow Gallery in Oswestry. Both ventures have resulted in sales which is lovely

It was great to finally welcome students for a new course ‘Texture in Nature’ held in my new studio. We had 3 days of painting and stitching the texture in tree bark and the woodland floor. The work can be seen here. We even had lunch in the garden between the showers!It is getting close to my next trip to Australia so I am knee deep in preparation, a work visa to apply for, course notes to complete and materials to organise. I will be away for 6 weeks and be traveling all over the country. I start by teaching at Fibres West, a 5 residential course in Muresk near Perth, then I visit Melbourne, Tasmania, Uluru, and Margaret River before I head home. I will be posting my progress here!


The Willow Gallery, Oswestry

I really appreciate the very good, long running relationship that I have with my local gallery in Oswestry. The Willow, is a wonderful space, cleverly converted from a former car show room, hence the large windows and fantastic light. Big comfortable sofas and a great coffee shop which serves really good food too.

I always have a selection of my work on display, often invited to put pieces in a current exhibition and my books, DVD and cards are always for sale in the shop.

For the Summer Exhibition I put in several large new pieces including ‘Under a Green Canopy’ which I am thrilled to say they have sold this week. There is something so satisfying to sell so close to home (5 minute walk). I sell my work all over the world but this felt really good!

Between Wisley and Chelsea

The Wild Garden at Wisley

I have returned from my first show of the year at RHS Wisley, nr Guildford. It really was a top quality show in beautiful surroundings. We had 5 days to enjoy the gardens and meet new and valued customers, their response to my new embroideries was really wonderful. The event was also a great a practice run for Chelsea, after being in glorious isolation at home for months since my last exhibition it can be a shock to the system! I returned to see the progress on my new studio. Its a major project with a cloakroom, utility room and the studio room with its 2 sets of bi-fold glass doors. Its going to be ready for my Private View on June 12th…hopefully! I am thrilled with how it looks and can’t wait to get in there with my sewing machine and hang my embroideries on the walls.

Starting to lay the oak floorboards

Preparations for Chelsea are now high on my agenda, with a few more embroideries to frame and plants and pots to organise for the stand its a busy time. The mammoth task of fitting everything into the car is a challenge, we always manage somehow! There is so much to remember, hi-vis jackets, tickets, screwdriver, framing gun, clothes for all weather conditions, etc. etc. It is the major event of my year and demands my full attention before and during the week we are there. This will be my 22nd year as an exhibitor…I should know what I’m doing by now!

My centre piece for the stand at the Chelsea Flower Show ( 23 x 36 ins)

Teaching in Devon and Cornwall

I have just returned from a wonderful teaching trip around Devon and Cornwall, 5 different courses over 8 days! I enjoyed teaching a range of silk painting and stitching to lots of enthusiastic students, in some lovely locations. The weather was very kind too, its a very pretty part of the world but the sunshine really makes it sparkle

I enjoyed great hospitality from everyone who was kind enough to have me to stay. I was greeted with everything from glasses of wine, fresh flowers in my room, beautifully cooked evening meals and even a hot water bottle if required…and they call it work! Thank you everyone. I have posted a selection of the student work from each course on the website. I was so pleased with the results and so were they.

I eventually made the journey home to Shropshire to find great progress had been made on my studio build. The doors had been fitted, they fold back beautifully to give lots of light and access either end of the room, we also have freshly plastered walls ready to paint. It looks great, I just have to decide where to put my sewing machine for the best view!

It’s a busy time ahead for me now with my first show of the year in the RHS garden at Wisley at the end of the month, April 30th to May 4th over the Bank Holiday weekend. The bluebells will be out and the gardens will look wonderful as always. I am looking forward to exhibiting all my new embroideries there.

Juggling everything!

Its an interesting time of year when the creative and the admin have to run parallel. There is little point in me creating new embroideries and courses if I don’t let people know about them and create opportunities to exhibit them!

So this month I have been getting my annual promotional postcard designed, (thank you Myk) printed and posted. It features 14 of my new embroideries. My printers have made it their postcard of the month on their website

I have also been busy filling in endless forms for this years exhibitions and shows, listing my new teaching venues and exhibitions on my website. I have designed a whole new set of greetings cards they will be available from my website and exhibitions. I have had 2 magazine articles to write too. One will be published in June in an Australian magazine, Textile Fibre Forum, the other is online on shopper lottie a new blog that has an interesting range of interviews.

I also had my new pieces professionally photographed (thank you Myk) and they are on the website gallery to view. Sourcing new picture molding and clarity glass (thank you Nel) was another job to tick off the list

I quite enjoy the range and variety of tasks but as shows and exhibitions appear to gallop towards me I feel I need to be in the studio making embroideries. There are not enough days in the week! Oh and booking flights and hotels too but who is going to complain about planning a trip to Australia or Prague…not me!

Invitation to Textile Prague 2015

Just when I thought my diary was complete for this year I have been invited to Textile Prague 2015 

A 3 day textile show held from November 27th to 29th in the beautiful building Slovansky dum in the centre of Prague. Its an exciting opportunity for me to exhibit my embroideries and I will be teaching a 1 day course there on Sunday 29th. The venue looks wonderful and I am looking forward to meeting the other exhibitors. There are more details on my exhibitions and courses page.

Out with the old…in with the new

This will be the last post of 2014, it has been a great year for me with lots of highlights. It is lovely to reflect on it all before moving forward to my plans for 2015. My forthcoming year has a familiar pattern to it, a creative time in my studio followed by lots of teaching, exhibition opportunities and another trip to Australia in the autumn. I will start the year with a commission, my client has waited patiently for several months. I am looking forward to working on it, always a pleasure to make an embroidery for someone. I have been approached by an Australian magazine Textile Fibre Forum, they are going to publish an article on me, featuring new embroideries inspired by my travels down under, it will be in the June issue. So I will be preparing some images and text in the next few weeks.

I have had confirmation of my main exhibiting opportunities. Starting in May, with the RHS, the first one at Wisley and later that month at the Chelsea Flower Show. So I will be planning new work with those shows in mind. I will open my studio in June for 2 weekends, I am looking forward to some warmer weather by then!

I am excited by the prospect of building a new studio here at Highfield. I have been in the attic for 14 years and have decided a larger ground floor space to work and teach in would be wonderful. I will post progress reports when the work starts.

Wishing everyone a Happy Creative New Year!

A New Gallery

I have traveled home today after a busy weekend teaching the Blackmore Vale EG in Dorset. A  2 day course on Seascapes with a talented and enthusiastic group of ladies. I will post their work on my students work gallery very soon
 I called at a new gallery on my way back to Shropshire to delivery 8 of my embroideries to the TIMOTHY HAWKINS GALLERY in Bartestree, near Hereford

So from now on I have a selection of my work on display alongside Timothy Hawkins beautiful handmade furniture

Its a beautiful space filled with amazing furniture and a selection of hand picked pieces from a small group of artisans. I am very pleased to be in their company

Exhibition and Talk: The Making of the Sweater

The Willow Gallery in Oswestry have offered me the opportunity to exhibit the embroidered jumper I made last year. It was a collaboration with Steven Tai, a London based fashion designer and is quite a special piece of work. Also on display will be all the test samples I made for Steven, showing all the stitch and paint experiments before we settled on the final way to work the sweater.
To coincide with the exhibition I will give a talk in the Willow on Saturday 11th October at 11.30 am about the making of the sweater and my 30 year textile career, followed by a Q and A session

My travels here and away…

Recently home from a relaxing trip to Sorrento. An actual holiday…no teaching or exhibiting! Just a week enjoying some wonderful Italian food, wine, scenery and sunshine. A beautiful place, it was an opportunity to take a break from everything and recharge the batteries.

Its only 5 weeks until I travel to Australia. Its getting close now and I am getting excited! It will be wonderful to see old friends there and make some new ones. This time my trip takes me to Perth, Margaret River, Melbourne and Tasmania. I will be teaching 7 courses in total so it will be a a busy time.

I heard this week I have won second prize (visitors choice) at the Summer Exhibition at the Heritage Centre, Oswestry with my Hidden Depths embroidery. Thanks to everyone who voted for me!

I have some teaching lined up over the next few weeks. Looking forward to revisiting Stitchcraft in Grantham, The Cotswold EG in Gloucester and taking my first trip to the Blackmore Vale Embroiderers Guild in Dorset


Another a Day in the Spotlight!

The sci-fi inspired sweater I embroidered is off to Paris. Steven Tai, the fashion designer that I collaborated with, is one of 10 ANDAM finalists and will be taking the sweater, with other selected pieces he has designed to take part in the final next week

The ANDAM Fashion Prize, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, offers designers a 250,000 Euro prize, a yearlong business mentorship courtesy of Kering’s François-Henri Pinault, and 10,000 Euros of Swarovski crystals.

“I am very honored to be a part of this years final. The ANDAM Award is the most globally recognised support for designers over the last 25 years. I am incredibly excited (and a bit nervous too!) to present my work to the jury,” offered Steven Tai.

I am excited for Steven and wish him every success. On its return to the UK it will be on display for the first time in Shropshire at the Willow Gallery in Oswestry. I will post more information nearer to the date

Open Studios 2014

Its that time of year again and my Open Studios weekend is here. We have been busy getting the garden to look its best and the weather has been kind…for a change!Myk Briggs is exhibiting his photography in my summerhouse, the theme this year is ear trumpets in all their glory and variety. Beautifully photographed, its a visual treat and so informative too.I have displayed my embroideries in the garden room with lovely views of the rhododendrons. I have quite a selection for people to see and I will be working on several pieces during the 2 weekends. The working process is such an important part of Open Studios and my sketch books, sewing machine, boxes of threads and paints makes it more interesting for the visitors. I am looking forward to seeing familiar and hopefully some new faces!

My day at the Willow Gallery

 As part of this years Open Studios event several artists are holding free workshops or demonstrations in the Willow Gallery in Oswestry over the next 2 weeks. Today was my day!

I took embroideries, my sewing machine and lots of my work in progress for people to see. There was a steady stream of people through all day and lots of interest in how I work

It was a good practice run for my 2 Open Studio weekends on 14th 15th and 21st 22nd June

Did you notice the cheeky glass of wine next to my sewing machine…..?!

A Busy Week

I am enjoying an eventful time at Chelsea. My stand has new flooring and a new counter I designed and had made over the winter. I have had lots of positive feedback from the public and the RHS. I also brought lots of new embroideries to tempt people

I met up with Dave Myers on Monday which was great fun. We were friends at Goldsmiths and hadn’t been in touch for years. He was just the same with a better memory than me for all the people we knew!

Its been a fun week, sunshine and showers, hard work but record sales. Can’t ask for more than that!

Preparing for Chelsea Flower Show

On the telephone, framing pictures with one hand and ironing clothes with the another….not quite, but it feels that hectic in the lead up to Chelsea! The biggest and the best show of my year and only a couple of days to go. So much to think about in addition to all the embroideries, cards, books etc. I will be taking.

It will be an opportunity to show off some of my new work, such as the “As the Sun Goes Down” with its reflected autumn tints, inspired by my trip to Maine last year.

Today was the usual last minute panic buying of the ‘floral content’ for my exhibition stand. This year was supposed to be different but the bulbs my husband kindly planted with Chelsea in mind are long over their best due to the warm weather earlier in the year. The best laid plans…

I will be squashing it all into the car on Saturday and heading to London early Sunday morning. Its a wonderful feeling when I get to Sunday evening and everything is ready for the opening of the show. Then all we need is some sunshine!

Exhibiting at RHS Wisley

I am just home from a 6 day exhibition at RHS Wisley in Surrey. The weather was a little wet to start but by the weekend the sun came out and so did the crowds of visitors. It was really good to meet established and new customers at the show. It was organised by Craft in Focus, an organisation with a reputation for the best contemporary art and craft in the UK.

Its a great time of the year and the gardens were a joy to see. I have plenty of inspiration for some new embroideries but will have to wait until I return from exhibiting at Chelsea Flower Show at the end of the month to get into my studio!

Plans for 2014

I am working on new pieces and enjoying it enormously. I am revisiting an idea of using torn and layered paper collage then adding stitching for detail and definition. Its feels like an interesting diversion and I have an exhibition opportunity locally in Oswestry in mind for the work. I am also working on a series of embroideries based on my trip to Maine. The year is stretching out in front of me with exhibitions and teaching commitments to look forward to.

I will be at Chelsea Flower Show in May again this year and June will be Open Studios time at home in Oswestry but before then I am at a Craft in Focus show at RHS Wisley . So lots of my work needed to fill the walls. There is no better motivation!

I am busy planning another teaching trip to Australia in November. The dates and details are slowly coming together. So far it looks as if I will be starting in Perth and then moving on to Melbourne and Tasmania. I will put all the details on my courses page when the course content and dates are finalised

I do like this time of year (apart from cold, wet, windy weather!) with plenty of time in my studio to develop ideas and the prospect of lots of events and trips to look forward to

Home again

Old Dubai and spice market

I am finally home again and I have had time to reflect on my trip to Australia and Dubai – what a wonderful time it was. There cannot be a better way to visit a country for the first time than to be treated so well by everyone.

I was made so welcome everywhere I went, hosted by kind, generous people and accommodated in lovely B&B’s, one with a personal chef! My 4 week trip was memorable for many reasons, the amazing range of wildlife I got to see in the wild, determined hosts made sure I saw wombats, kangaroos, whales, koalas and a duck billed platypus. Thanks to Maree, Laura, Joanne and Cindy I was shown the amazing scenery of Tasmania, empty white beaches, limestone caves and rain forests. When I was in Geelong, I had a fabulous day out along the Great Ocean Road with Gillian and Anna.

The people I met made it memorable, my course organisers, the Rotarians in Deloraine, the enthusiastic students on all my courses and fellow artists in Tassie, Geelong and Sydney.

In Tasmania I met Cindy Watkins a very talented textile artist, Ken Smith, a machine embroiderer of repute and Bill Flowers, a painter of snakes, just 3 artists out of a huge group at the Deloraine Craft Fair where the quality of craft and art was very high.
In Geelong I was very pleased to catch up with Dijanne Cevaal especially as she was so busy with organising the Geelong Patchworkers and Quilters Exhibition. On to Sydney, where I visited ( twice !) the Craft Gallery of NSW. Meeting Jude Skeers who was so helpful and informative about all things textiles in Australia. I had the pleasure of Julie Haddrick on my course, take a look at her website

I was away for a total of 38 days, I took 7 flights, stayed in 8 different locations, taught 6 courses and I met 76 students. A few of them came on 2 courses and many of them flew many miles to join me. I have made a lot of friends and look forward to seeing them all when I go back in 2014. Thank you everyone – it was amazing!

Tasmania Craft Fair

The Meander River in Deloraine

After months of planning and anticipation I am finally here at the Tasmanian Craft Fair as the Feature International Artist. A fantastic event held over 4 days in Deloraine, a beautiful town in the Meander Valley. Over 220 artists and craftsmen in 7 venues in the town makes this a major event that I am thrilled to be part of. I have met enthusiastic visitors all day, been interviewed for the TV news channel and wined and dined by my excellent hosts. Its great experience and I am having a wonderful time!

A few red dots!

A New Home

The storyboard by Myk Briggs of my collaboration with fashion designer Steven Tai has a new home. It is up on the wall in a great studio/ workshop space at The Mid Wales Art Centre as part of the Food for Thought exhibition that is on until the 20th October. I also have 3 of my embroideries on display. Its a wonderful venue with a Gallery and Sculpture Park and an interesting range of workshops on offer


Open Studios June 2013

Inside my summer house

My annual Open Studios event has brought lots of visitors. Some regulars and lots of new faces. It has been lovely to see so many people especially as the weather has been typically British ! I had a selection of my embroideries on display in my garden room and across the lawn in the summer house was Myk Briggs with his photographs documenting my collaboration with Steven Tai. So many peope have found the whole story amazing.

Sitting in a Chelsea Garden

This is me in the medal winning garden Un Garreg meaning one stone, designed and built by Harry and David Rich of Rich Landscapes, a family run business based in the Brecon Beacons. This is their first time at Chelsea and they have won a gold. They have commissioned me to embroider a picture of their show garden to celebrate their success

Too Busy to Blog!

I started this blog to keep people up to date with all my activities but the last 3 weeks have been so hectic I haven’t had time to write anything!
I have been teaching an Etched in Frost course in Dorset with Dennie Rose and then in Devon for the West Country Embroiderers where we did a 2 day Seascapes course. Then 2 days at home before off to France for the Quilt Expo en Beaujoais . This was an amazing 4 day Art Textiles show Nr Lyon with some very talented textile artists and quilters there who I really enjoyed meeting. I am home again now and preparing for the show in Kent which starts next week at Penshurst Place nr Tonbridge. This is one of the new pieces I will being taking with me

Hidden Depths

Quilt Expo Beaujolais April 18th – 21st

A new seascape embroidery Rolling Over The Rocks

I am busy creating new embroideries to exhibit in Lyon in France in April. The website for Quilt Expo en Beaujolais has all the information about the other exhibitors that will be at the event.There will be textile artists from all over the world. I am really looking forward to being part of it. Ferry is booked and the hotel, I just have to finish those embroideries…..



All Change at The Willow Gallery

I have been to The Willow Gallery in Oswestry today to hang some of my recently completed embroideries. I always have some of my  work in the gallery and try to change the display every month. Currently showing 2 new pieces Ebb and Flow a study of the sea in Madeira and Rushing By inspired by a walk in the woods in North Devon last year. I hope you can get there to see them.

Rushing By a Machine Embroidery by Alison Holt – £595


All things French

I have recently been invited to exhibition in Quilt Expo en Beaujolais which is held in Villefranche sur Saône near Lyon in France. It is a 4 day event held from April 18th to 21st 2013
So how amazing that today Search Press would send me my book Machine Embroidered Flowers, Woodlands and Landscapes: The Art of Alison Holt translated into French. Did they know something I didnt know……!