Previous Exhibitions

Power of Stitch 2019

This enigmatically titled exhibition opened at Braintree District Museum in April 2019, showing through until the end of June, and later moving to Snape Maltings for a week early in July 2019.

Power of Stitch as a theme was explored by the group during a period of research and reflection of around 18 months - two years and was developed and interpreted by individual members in many ways, resulting in a diverse array of works that included two- and three- dimensional pieces that included works with interactive elements.

The diversity of this exhibition reflects the group’s range of skills, backgrounds and approaches, with Power of Stitch being expressed in the works sometimes conceptually, to being a means of carrying out design, through historical and cultural explorations, and more besides.  Truly engaging and thought-provoking.

This video is a snapshot of Power of Stitch exhibiting at Snape Maltings in July 2019.
The Power of Stitch has been used by many artists from the past to the present day. Nineteenth century artists Lorina Bulwer, Elizabeth Parker and Agnes Richter dramatically stitched text to express their trauma and sense of injustice.

Here is how the EAST group interpreted the subject.

Melinda Berkovitz returned to one of her preferred themes for this exhibition – water studies. In this new work she considered the relationship between the sea and the men that come every day to fish by the sea wall.

‘A Place to Live’ is the title of Felicity Borwicks’ piece which was prompted by her feelings of powerlessness, anger and distrust when local plans and reason are overridden by human greed.

Over the course of 25 years in the 18th century tambour embroidery changed the lives of London women for richer or poorer. Janette Bright took this subject for her exhibition pieces and through stitch told the story of a Madame Pignerolle, a group of girls apprenticed from the London Foundling Hospital and two girls who were listed as having no work and therefore committed suicide.

Susan Canfield shows a brief summary of the textile revolution in her work, from power to empowerment, ending with the badge of the Women’s Social and Political Union, the militant Suffragette group formed in 1903 highlighting the empowerment for all of needle and thread.

A love of both pattern and colour saw Carol Dixon exploring the Shibori technique combined with indigo dye. The power of the stitch is the method by which the design is achieved.

To gain confidence and peace of mind after a particularly stressful time of ill health and family bereavement Liz (Hammond) Eaton used stitch to create her work based on designs of the buildings at Sizewell Power Station.

Jenny Leslie focused her work for Power of Stitch on the power of nature after a trip to Yellowstone Park in 2916. Jenny depicted the immense power of volcanic formations by studying Mammoth Springs which is like a living limestone waterfall and lava flows that can be found in Hawaii.

Grayson Perry, graffiti and a fondness for the Steam Punk/Cosplay movement inspired Lynda Monk to create her wearable art pieces in a Victorian Style. Steam Punk enthusiasts dress to convey their re-/upcycling aesthetic in their love of the old, the repaired, the reworked and the imperfect.

Kay Mullenger was initially inspired by the Adrienne Rich poem ‘Diving into the wreck’. She focused on the Norfolk Coast where elemental forces and the passing of time transform the shoreline and the previously buried groynes on Caister beach. The power of the sea has forced large stones between the groynes’ metal poles while their rusting and decay bear witness to the fragility and the transience of human-imposed structures that nature will eventually reclaim.

Having looked at the impact of post-traumatic stress disorder from WW1 on future generations by exploring epigenetic inheritance and studying how human DNA can be manipulated and interrupted by each person’s life chances Tricia North used plastic, metal and thread to highlight the perfection of humanity in conjunction with the man-made world with which it interacts.

Lorna Rand used her late husbands occupation as an engineer to inform her body of work. The designs were close ups of mechanical parts and each of the three pieces were duplicated with one being worked in black and white and one in colour.

Through the use of photographic images, fabric and mixed media Libby Smith explored the changing seasonal colours and textures of the North Essex landscape and the creeping urbanisation and industrial development.

Margaret Talbot is fascinated by rocks and caves, particularly in relation to texture and rock formation. She has also been inspired by rock churches and frescoes in Turkey and Italy. Margaret uses stitch to manipulate the fabric to resemble these textures.

Inspired by the landscape and the black houses found on the Outer Hebrides and how nature and the elements can dictate the way they are built and the land crofted, Julie Topsfield interpreted this powerful landscape by combining some of the elements found on the islands together with detailed stitch.

Following a thread 2017

This exhibition began at Braintree District Museum on 22 April to 24 June 2017 before moving to Snape Maltings in June - July 2017.

Following a Thread.... allowed each member to follow their own creative journey and develop individual themes that were both meaningful and reflected the considerations that slowly unfolded during an extended period of research and contemplation.

As expected, the individual determined their own outcomes but common key themes often began to emerge within the group. Themes included surroundings, personal circumstances, history and literature. The exciting and seemingly endless range of textile media ensures that this exhibition contained not only a diversity of ideas but also a wide range of materials and skills utilised to produce work to its highest standard as is now anticipated from this flourishing group.

There are no limits to artistic creative interpretation and Following a Thread…. explored many of these within the exciting dimension of textile art.

Between the lines  2014

Between the Lines was launched at the Knitting and Stitching Shows at Alexandra Palace in London and Harrogate in Yorkshire in October and November 2014. The exhibition then moved to Braintree District Museum, Braintree in Essex, The Pond Gallery, Snape Maltings in Suffolk and the Corinium Museum in Cirencester, Gloucestershire. Its last venue was at Landmark Arts Centre, Teddington. The exhibition reflects the groups’ response to the centenary of the First World War.

Each of the thirteen artists explored the 1914/18 conflict and undertook extensive research of their chosen theme. Several artists were inspired by landscape with Margaret Talbot looking at how war scarred and changed the land, while Libby Smith looked at the way poetry and landscape became a frequent theme during war time.
Poetry could also tell personal stories and this was something else that inspired Libby but Liz (Hammond) Eaton, and Susan Canfield were also inspired by poetry. Susan Canfield also looked at literature and art from the 1910s and 20s and Liz (Hammond) Eaton specifically looked at the poem A Poplar and the Moon by war poet Siegried Sassoon.  

Anne Norton and Ellen Devall also looked at the personal correspondence of the soldiers' experiences, with Ellen finding how even the most tiny sight of nature could provide solace. Personal stories were featured in the work of Melinda Berkovitz who looked at how the Anzacs were involved, while Julie Topsfield explored her own grandfather's story. 

Lorna Rand's family history looked at how two families once at war (one British and one German) are now at peace, brought together through marriage.  

Janette Bright was interested in the role of women, often involved in small ways that brought comfort and boosted morale and Delia Pusey looked at how women stitched postcards both as a thing of beauty but from financial necessity by the French and Belgian embroiderers.  

June Carroll was inspired by barbed wire and Tricia North by handmade weaponry, but in Tricia's case how bombs from jam tins connected to tea at home.

By the time we visited our last venue at Landmark Arts Centre new members Felicity Borwick and Jenny Leslie had joined the group and added a piece to the exhibition - Felicity looking at Commonwealth soldiers while Jenny created a piece that reminded her of her ancestor's memories of war.

As with all EAST exhibitions, the work included a wide range of textile techniques, all beautifully presented to the highest standard and expertise. The contemporary work was accompanied by research material making the completed display highly topical as the country remembers this significant period of our history.

These are some of the comments from the visitors at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace in response to the first showing of "Between the Lines" in 2014.

"A stunning and very moving exhibition. What skill! Absolutely wonderful. Worth coming just for this."
"Out of all the memorials I have seen of W.W.1 this is the most informative. I feel so moved. Thank you."
"Beautiful exhibition – came across you on Facebook – was really looking forward to seeing it. Wasn’t disappointed."
"Inspirational work. Could spend the whole day looking at it."
"Very moving for the grandson of a soldier shot in W.W.1."
"Love the thought and design development that has gone into this."
"Well – I’ve never seen anything so beautiful, inspiring and moving as the EAST exhibition. Thank you so much for sharing with me."
"A really wonderful exhibition on a difficult subject. Well done."
"Soul stirring, inspirational and overwhelming . Thank you."
"An amazing tribute to those who fought and died for our freedom."
"The work here is incredibly beautiful and inspiring! I feel a better person in a better world after having visited your stand."
"Absolutely stunning. Thank you. A real privilege to see the sketchbooks too."
"A clever exhibition very well put together. One of the best I have seen. Well done."
"Thank you for your exhibition. Your pieces are incredibly varied and so well executed. You are all so talented. I’m going away totally inspired. "

Internet TV company Just Hands-On TV filmed E.A.S.T members Janette and Susan talking about the Between the Lines exhibition while it was housed at the Cornium Museum in Cirencester. T
The film is now available on their website to view.

Making a point 2012

Beginning in Braintree Museum in 2012 this exhibition travelled to a new venue at the Corinium Museum, Cirencester before finishing at the Pond Gallery, Snape Maltings, Suffolk in 2013.
Delia Pusey continued her exploration of Chinese culture with exquisite purses and pockets while in contrast Lorna Rand was inspired by the brashness and colour of graffiti art in Prague to make a connection between new art on old buildings. Margaret Talbot recycled vintage fabrics and incorporated them with photographs of buildings of the Dordogne area of France.

Both inspired by colour, Melinda Berkovitz created "walls" of knitted white textures interlinking with coloured metal wires while Carol Dixon used a vibrant palate to explore the hues of our emotional language. 

Tricia North was inspired by ledgers and numerals to consider how we interpret multi-layers of information in our lives.

Landscape was behind the inspiration for Liz (Hammond) Eaton who used research into the erosion and destruction of coral reefs as her starting point while Libby Smith's landscapes began with looking at productive environments such as allotments and farmland.

June Carroll's work was more graphic exploring maps to create textured surfaces of print and stitch.

Diana Christopher began with images of architectural features, massing a collection of openings and entrances to inspire her hand-stitched panels. 

Anne Norton, interested in structure and form, was inspired by a visit to the Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield and her native Yorkshire countryside.

Janette Bright continued her scrutiny of the 18th century, in particular the age of the Enlightenment to create a miniature museum while Ellen Devall looked at the plight of the Victorian seamstresses dreaming of a better future, but finding the reality very different and telling their story with her "Hope Chest". 

Susan Canfield made a personal journey to think about "What makes us British?" and in particular everyday life in Britain in the 1930s.

Julie Topsfield extended her interest in birds to look at the sport of falconry, and looking at the evolution of gloves from the first Elizabethan era to the present day.

Talking textiles 2010

Talking Textiles was the exhibition that celebrated fifteen years of EAST working together and ran between September 2010 and July 2011. Venues included Braintree District Museum in Essex, Fairfield Mill in Cumbria, Northampton Museum and Art Gallery, Nuneaton and Bedworth Museum in Warwickshire and the Pond Gallery at Snape in Suffolk.
Liz (Hammond) Eaton used bright and colourful panels to tell a subtle message about life's emotional journey while Tricia North presented pieces that explored joinings and connections.  

Margaret Talbot presented a set of sea life panels that portrayed the sad decline of the Scottish fishing industry, while Carol Dixon used her work to look at personal story of dwindling manufacturing culture and industrial decay.  June Carroll continued her exploration of maps using dockland regions as the inspiration behind her panels. 

Melinda Berkovitz continued her study of water patterns and declining natural water sources, in particular the Sea of Galilee. 

Julie Topsfield was inspired by the patterns and markings on bird feathers with fragile pieces that captured the delicate harmony between man and nature. 

Janette Bright continued her research into the records of the eighteenth century Foundling Hospital and Libby Smith considered the work and life of nineteenth century poet Emily Dickenson.  

Susan Canfield had created an ingenious "pop up book" as a tribute to a young pupil whose untimely death led her to consider Shakespeare's "Seven Ages of Man". 

Diana Christopher was inspired by the international artist Dale Chihuly to create her own 3D machine embroidered pieces. Tales from foreign part are always featured in EAST exhibitions and Anne Norton designed a series of vessels and hangings that capture the essence of the African Shoowah People.

Delia Pusey produced an intricate tribute to the Yellow Crane Tower in China while Lorna Rand combined images of graffiti in Prague with Japanese kimonos - a successful merging of East and West.

EAST 13 2008

EAST 13 was the exhibition which started in our 13th year (starting 2008 and continuing until 2009). Again there was a great variety of topics that were the inspiration behind the work of the artists.  

Melinda Berkovitz had just begun her exploration of the patterns created by the movement of water and in particular the Great Barrier Reef, Janette Bright was using individual tokens and individuals discovered in the Foundling Hospital archives and Susan Canfield had been inspired by the silver birches discovered during a midwinter visit to the Isle of Mull. 

June Carroll was looking at maps and town planning while Diana Christopher was looking at the shapes, lines and patterns of nature. 

Carol Dixon was looking into the artefacts of ancient peoples while Anne Norton was interested in the icons of Russia and Indian jewellery.  

Yvonne Pedretti had a passion for the sea and combined this with her interest in domestic stitching to explore issues of time and environment. 

Delia Pusey was inspired by Chinese costume and Lorna Rand created some fabulous hats inspired by the natural life of Australia and New Zealand.  

Libby Smith was fascinated by memory and cloth while Margaret Talbot explored medieval church architecture, in particular flint flush work.

EAST @ The Warner Textile Archive 2009

This exhibition which was launched at the Knitting and Stitching Shows at London and Harrogate in 2009 was created in conjunction with Braintree District Museum Trust.

Work from this exhibition can be hired through Braintree District Museum and members of EAST can arrange talks explaining the archive and how it inspired their contemporary pieces. Visit the Gallery and the Warner Project pages for more information.

Stitched Up!, Spirit of the cloth and earlier exhibitions (1997-2007)

Spirit of the Cloth ran from 2004-2006.  It started at Braintree District Museum before moving to the Knitting and Stitching Shows at London and Harrogate. Spirit of the Cloth also visited the Manor House Museum, Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk and Snape Maltings also in Suffolk.

Stitched Up! ran from 2005 to 2007.  It included a display at the Voirrey Embroidery Centre, Wirral.

In 2002 EAST exhibited at Braintree, Bury St Edmunds and Knebworth - Take 11

In 1999 EAST exhibited at Braintree and the Knitting and Stitching Shows at London and Harrogate - Tales of Another Place

The first EAST exhibition Icons was at Braintree District Museum in 1997.

Threads of time 2000

This exhibit is another project by EAST which is now part of Braintree District Museum archive.
The museum is located in, Manor Street, Braintree, Essex.
This exhibition was inspired by objects and other aspects of the museum, to mark the millennium in 2000.

This exhibition also visited the Knitting and Stitching Shows at London and Harrogate.

For images of the work visit our gallery, or to arrange a talk about how this work was created, visit our TALKS page or contact us by email.