A Sense of Place

Saturday is workshop day. This time in Hartlepool with the local Embroiderers’ Guild.

The project involves participants choosing a place or scene that is special to them – a favourite walk, holiday destination, or family home for example. I ask them to bring visual reminders of the place – sketches, photos or similar, and to consider how the location makes them feel.

This group had heard my talk ‘Critical for Creativity’ the previous week so they were primed with ideas on how to emphasise a mood or feeling in art.

After a talk through the process everyone quickly got busy. With scenes from Devon to Dumfries, North America to the Psychedelic lands of the imagination – each piece was unique to the maker (!).

Compositions were adjusted to enhance the form of the work, leading the eye towards the focal point. Scale was considered, in subject matter and stitch size, to create a sense of space and depth in the work.

Working to a small scale and aiming to create a textile piece that would wrap around a miniature canvas. We used bondaweb and needle felting techniques to put together the images before adding hand stitched details. I intersperse talking to participants individually about to develop their work with short demonstrations of relevant processes. My aim is always to encourage people and offer new approaches that might spark motivation for further development

This is a day workshop, the tricky bit is always thinking what to pack – there are the essentials, tracing paper, bondaweb (& ironing equipment!) threads…but as I never know what scene people will choose I have to guess what colours and textures might be useful- this time we could have done with some sheers or metallics to create watery surfaces.

This time the needle felting kit was invaluable/ used to create clouds, mountains and trees in various scenes.

This is the second time I’ve run a workshop at the Athenaeum in Hartlepool- an amazing Victorian building with very high ceilings and rambling corridors. Last time I got to use the chair lift to carry equipment upstairs and this time everything was set out on the (covered) pool table!

The view outside reflects the changes taking place in the area -from one window the peeling paint surfaces of abandoned buildings, from others, the impressive new art school and the old bus station that is now a film studio.

I will soon be updating my workshop list so take a look and see if there’s anything that you’d like to do – or if there’s something I do that is not listed let me know !

Published by Donna Cheshire Textiles

I am a professional textile artist specializing in Appliqué and Free Motion machine stitching. In order to create a unique colour palette, I hand dye my own fabrics and then use these to create the landscapes and coastal scenes recorded in my sketchbook. I often incorporate recycled or vintage fabrics in my work - they add meaning to the story the work is telling. I love being so close to the Northumbrian coast and countryside and I especially like taking time walk and draw these stunning landscapes

6 thoughts on “A Sense of Place

  1. Hello Donna
    YOu did a talk for Hartlepool Embroiderers guild recently and I bought a card. Your sticker was on the cellaphane. I am just saying that I cut if off and put it inside the card I sent to my friend otherwise she would not know who did the work. You should stick them on the back of the card so people know it is yours. Just saying 🙂
    Trish Stephenson


  2. Your talk and the following workshop was truly inspiring Donna. I have used your printout for looking at artworks a few times since the talk and each time I have seen much more in the pieces than I had before.
    Thank you for being at the Hartlepool Embroiderers guild and my phycadellic landscapes is up in my work bay at uni. You are also in my research file as an artist of inspiration.
    Take care,
    Alan Teather


      1. Not yet but it will get done. It is on my work bay wall now and it will probably be a big inspiration for my final project. I had thoughts of making a chaise lounge in the shape of a large 8 foot scorpion but after seeing your seaside piece that we thought could be Whitby or staithes I got to think about a large wall hanging of stitch, like 3 m x 4 m with a lot of elaborate stitching, applique work, embroidery, hand printed material and then backed with either a corresponding scene or a plain hand died back.
        I like working with silk so that might be in the mix AND all from your lecture and workshop.

        I will let you know which way I go but you have been such an inspiration and trust in my Psychedelic landscape.


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