About Me

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After graduating from Art College with a Foundation Degree in Applied Arts. I have decided to focus on textiles and creating textile art, using a range of media and surface embellishments. I have recently started a two year course which is focused on design and stitched textiles worked and embroidered by hand and on the sewing machine. I love the mix of traditional and contemporary elements, as I love the history of embroidery and stitches and enjoy sampling and experimenting with them to make them contemporary. Living near to Durham City I am close to endless sources of inspiration to use in my work. Please note all text and images are subject to copyright © Emma Mears

Monday, 13 January 2014

A new year...

...at this time of year I am enjoying seeing the snowdrops just emerging...and just yesterday I saw a lovely crop of celandines which brightened the day, even more.  They were such a bright yellow - like the yellow paint you used to see and use in primary school! 
I have just come back from a lovely walk in order to inspire me in my venture into 'texture' as part of a design unit I need to complete as part of my City & Guilds course in stitched textiles.  I love taking photos which I can then use as sources to draw and stitch from, now and in the future.  I actually did the same walk yesterday with some lovely friends but I did not have my camera!!!  and so today I retraced my steps to take 'pics' of all the inspirational things I saw which have interesting textures.
I am totally inspired by a textile artist named Alice Fox who has created some beautiful textile pieces based on her collections and observations of the coast and more recently, the 'pavement', in a beautiful place called Saltaire in the North of England.  Alice Fox 'combed' as she calls it, the pavement and used her collections and observations to create gorgeous, stitched, printed and collaged pieces.  And what is wonderful is that I could see these pieces first hand in my favourite gallery, the Masham Gallery, North Yorkshire.  I bought one of her books as her work so 'got to me', as it related to what I am currently thinking about with regards to texture and also using fabric manipulation and stitch to create texture on fabric and paper.  It was like I was 'meant' to be here seeing it, and I am so excited about what fabrics, yarns, techniques, I can play with and what the outcomes may be for this project, as I am already brimming with ideas for products and things to make for my projects too - for this course. 
Another textile artist I am inspired by for my future projects is Maggie Smith who creates gorgeous texture on fabric using materials such as polyfilla and emulsion paint to name but two!  So, I think it is time to put all my creativity into action and post some pictures of my samples, happy accidents and experiments very soon!   

You can find Alice Fox's work at Textileartist.org - I have just subscribed to their newsletter and their website is fab for all things textile!   Also see :  www.alicefox.co.uk

Thursday, 30 May 2013

my stitchschool year...

woweee, i have almost finished my first year of stitchschool, in Durham.  It has flown by!  I have been so busy doing every type of stitching from hand applique to hardanger, broderie Anglaise to blackwork, and that's only naming a few...also dabbling in space dyeing and studying 'colour', line and shape in a lot of detail...
Above:  contemporary canvas work - based on inspiration from a garden in Country Living Magazine. 

I have also been looking far and wide for inspiration for my stitched textiles and for setting up my own business in the future...after visiting Saltburn with a friend to have a peruse around a market we realised a vintage fair was on too!  I was so inspired I am looking into getting my own stall!  I bought a few things to add to my collection, some old pins in a gorgeous tin, and some old threads and cottons - the colours back then were lovely! But I daren't use them, they look so nice in my old wooden box! 
Anyway, need to get on with stitching! 
Looking forward to visiting the Lindisfarne Gospels exhibition in Durham in August - it starts July though, I am hoping this will give me more ideas for my work...the exhibition has got Durham City buzzing!   see www.lindisfarnegospels.com

Bye for now...  I will leave you with a little sample of 'contemporary' cut work and Broderie Anglaise, stitched onto a scrap of Liberty fabric...hope you like...


Monday, 11 February 2013

in stitches...

I just cannot believe it has been nine months since my last blog, so much has changed since then.  I have graduated from college with a foundation degree in Applied Arts - with merit!  I have started a design, textile and stitch course in Durham city, which I absolutely love - it is only one day each week but I come away inspired and with loads of work which takes up the rest of the week!  Each week we focus on either traditional stitch and embroidery, or contemporary - and we look at both elements within machine stitching too, it's a brilliant course which teaches lots of techniques, looks at the five elements of design in detail: line, shape, form, colour and texture and also requires you to create lots of samples, experimental pieces and finished pieces and projects. 
I have also moved house - and I fall in love with it more each day, its small, white and soooo cute, my little dream home.  It is not too small to not have a studio, in fact my studio is even bigger than my last one, it just needs some 'tlc' and a bit more of my stamp on it, some more storage and shelving and it will be even more fabulous!
Apart from being very busy with my new course and new home, I have admittedly felt a bit overwhelmed and also worried about losing my skills.  I have on good advice decided to focus on textiles and work on my jewellery 'as a hobby' in the summer, as I need to develop my own 'brand' and focus my skills in one area. 
Here are some of the things and sampling, I have been working on since September, herringbone stitch, gathering - mock smocking on the machine - using twin needle, stuffing - fabric manipulation, couching and applying on the machine, and creating my own textured, layered fabric with free machine embroidery... back soon...

Friday, 18 May 2012

busy - busy - busy...

...well it's been really busy - I have had no time to blog - I am now finished my last project and will be completing my foundation degree in Applied Arts in June - then out into the world of self-employment.  Here are some sneaky pics of what I will be displaying at my degree show in June...x
                                                my enamel abstract and detail flower studies
felt and stitch brooches

detail of silver stylised 'aubretia' brooch

enamelled agapanthus 'study' mounted on waxed oak

Monday, 26 March 2012


finding my happy place

...where to find happiness?...it's all around me...it's just noticing it and catching snippets of it...and remembering it...realising it.  This is my new brief, however I have been working on it for some time now.  To get me started, I jumped head first into drawing...places and people - to draw connections with places...I don't know about you but if I find a place I like, I go back time and time again.  For me, those places are quite local to me - certainly in the North of England, as I love this part of the world.  Some of my favourite places are Saltaire, Masham and Jerveaux Abbey, York and Durham, they are all beautiful in their own way and are inspirational too.  I love taking a notebook with me when I visit places or go on holiday and so my notebooks - there are many - are a main focus - as I write lots of lists and quotes and ideas in them which I am going to use as inspiration and to hopefully create my pieces and designs.  For my products this time and this will be for my graduate degree show, I will be enamelling and perhaps etching in jewellery and in ceramics I am practising monoprinting techniques.  For textiles, I have not totally made up my mind, I am however really interested in making a piece of textile art with gorgeous embroidery... what I do know is that I want all of my products to link together and have a narrative, by sharing my notes and I suppose diaries about my journeys and travels, I will be able to achieve this...which is an exciting journey in itself...

Thursday, 2 February 2012

...I made it...

All finished, polished, drilled and stitched... and handed in, my last brief is now a thing of the past and I await my fate - my marks! What a journey it has been...but worth it when you get such positive and lovely comments from your tutors and colleagues.  Thanks to Emma, my tutor who during our 'critique' said I had made my acrylic jewellery pieces 'my own', what a lovely compliment, it's boosted my confidence no-end. 
I did say that my brief was a thing of the past, ...only I am very inspired by what I have learned and made and the outcome and I would love to continue making my jewellery and developing it further.  As I said before,  it has all been inspired by images of disease, plant and human cells - seen under the microscope.  What is weird and great is since doing this 'brief', I have learned about the  'Festival Pattern Group' who in 1951 for the Festival of Britain, designed and made textiles, wallpapers, ceramics and more, inspired by x-ray crystallography.  It was a huge success at the time and I am really excited about the prospect of using this to inspire me to create my own 1950s style 'contemporary' textiles and prints and ceramic collectio,n perhaps?  The Festival of Britain theme has also initiated the idea of me doing my dissertation propsal around this idea. The other exciting part is the fact that many of the fabrics and textiles were printed onto 'the then new' - rayons and nylons which were produced and invented by ICI - not sure if this links with ICI local to me, but I will research and find out!
Well, I am now starting to research a new brief, we have been told to think about happiness, what makes us happy and the places, people, objects which make us happy.  I have already been to my happy place last weekend, Masham, North Yorkshire and visited my favourite Suncatcher's Cafe had my 'Spicy Bean Burger' and then visited The Gallery, Masham, that's all I need to get me to a happy place, although I could not get any Becky Crow earrings at the gallery, they had sold out, but that's great for Becky and great for Josie.  So, I will go and sketch my favourite bits of Masham!  Oh, and thanks to the City and Guilds Felting Group who put on a fab display and exhibition, I am inspired with felting again and it was lovely to see Thelma - my felt tutor!  'Till the next time...bye for now and thanks xxx