Walcot Chapel – turmeric and tea



Withies looking like stitches in the landscape!


Cloth drying on the line – prayer flags in my thoughts – looking through the cloth and dreaming of the tea and turmeric drifting into the atmosphere..


Table laid, piece in progress


Catching thread thoughts and fragments


Pinned gently to allow for movement, shadow and spaces to breathe!


Over the course of the week I thought about what each choice of stitch reflects – what iconography.



Turmeric and Tea

Back in May – turn back time for the story of an Artist Working Studio week at Walcot Chapel, Bath


Turmeric and Tea – a spice of healing and meditation mixed with a reviver and comforter…these scents drifting through the air as I dyed the cloth and watched it dry in a soft breeze

susibancroft.2 An open receptive space with fellow artists which evolves through the week – the public come and go, return and interact and the various conversations with visitors and each other stimulate work and spark directions and connections – last year it was in July 



I had imagined Prayer Flags on these withies – but, in the spirit of responding to the place and experience, every morning as I placed them along the path they seemed enough in themselves – people smiled at the welcoming arms drawing them in. Such a joy to work with this – not to stick to predetermined plans, and take risks..



Catching fragments and working with a stitch vocabulary – of which more in the next post!



When I was little, this was a stitch I learned from my mother  – as a functional stitch for hemming – the ‘web’ it creates allows for a bit of movement and ease.

This Autumn we needed some temporary warm curtains to keep out the chill and these charity shop finds are a treat – in burnt orange, they make the most of enhancing the sunshine. They were amazingly long, overlocked at the ends – so, not wanting to cut them incase they need re-using somewhere else next year or handing on, I decided to herringbone a deep hem. More warmth, and beautiful shadows – actually a 30 inch hem!

herringbone1photoWhen I teach hand embroidery, I often suggest there is no right or wrong way to position your hand or to direct a stitch – creating a comfortable smooth rhythm is more important. This proved only too true for me, as I had already hung the 4 curtains – so was half wrapped up in them by the end! You can just see threads of the herringbone on top of the overlock stitch…

Some herringbone stitches – worked at varied sizes, textures and layers…

IMG_3197IMG_3206aI never wore anything with quite such a deep hem as a child even though clothing with ‘plenty of room to grow into it’ was the usual and valued way of life – but I do remember catching my toes in the herringbone stitching rushing to get dressed!

Strand meditation 2

susi_bancroft.IMG_2958Strands of thread link the pieces

Joining, and leaving space

for movement: to attune, to ease in the water

susi_bancroft.IMG_2963There is a film of this work on show too – in my mind’s eye it was always drifting in the sea – in the liminal space – filmed at tide turns, dusk and moonrise…

susi_bancroft.IMG_2979At the end of the film, moonrise

2 women, quietly rinsing a cloth

Standing in the sea

Strand Meditation 1

susi_bancroft.through2Walking the shoreline

Tide turn – the space between

Rhythm of waves flowing….

Rhythm of breath, meditation

Dawn and dusk, stitching in early morning

The pause, stilling…..

Rhythm of stitch

The embroidered buttonhole wheels are complete thoughts

Others fragmented, partially formed

The seed beads

Those are the shells, stones, tiny claws

Found objects catching my gaze, mixed on the shoreline

susi_bancroft.IMG_3099detail of stitched piece..

See this – here Also the Brunel Broderers blog for all artists work for Strand


made by faeries?

The waistcoat for the Mayor – made by faeries? Whose hands worked so hard to make such exquisite beauty?

susi_bancroft faerie dressA skirt of silk dyed with turmeric, seed beads, paper bodice dyed in tea – machine and hand stitch – and winged shoulder details made of garlic bulb leaves….

detail from Suited exhibition sketchbook piece


IMG_2491aMy research took me to the V and A  This was where Beatrix Potter went to draw the waistcoat for the Mayor…   It also took me to the Ashmolean

In both I looked at and drew waistcoats embroidered with silk floss satin stitch flowers of breathtaking beauty and skill.

The buttonhole stitch and the satin stitch stay in my mind. They combine in a fragmented and deconstructed sample…


new year, new mend

Uh oh – where have I been?!



Remember this… jeans mending piece

Well , it seems to be attracting alot of interest! I find this heartening.

It always feels natural and easy working on denims – patching, mending, stitching, embroidering, creating something with a deeper beauty whilst protecting it, saving it from falling apart. It has lead a full life, shows the signs, the places of strain as well as tears.

So – in looking, suddenly I notice the full subtle colours of the threads, the softness of the cloth through wear. I want to hold on to this.


To back the tears with bursts of colour, to stitch the layers with rhythm and balance

and add something.

susibancroft_jeans mending 2




I want to thank someone special too – for her inspiration, and a practical note about blanket stitch! Have a look at http://daintytime.net/2012/12/15/faq-mending-binding/

Thanks Sherri Lynn!