Wednesday 31 August 2011


Today I have been to

in Scarborough, to see this...

I am a great fan of the nineteenth century novel ( British and American) and remembered being profoundly shocked by The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and its tales of drunkeness and debauchery. Its not as good as "Jane Eyre" of course but worth a read. Anne spent her last day alive going down to the South Sands on a donkey cart. Lucky her. I was too big to be allowed on this lovely donkey on Filey beach. So glad they were still there though and looking cared for and happy.

Tuesday 30 August 2011

Thank you Cath

Thank you to Cath who did the flowers inside and outside the Church for my exhibition. They were sensitively chosen to fit in with the colours of the Church and the textures and fabrics I had used.

Alice Brewster

More on my maidens at

Monday 29 August 2011

Quiet Moments

Very few quiet moments when the public haven't been in OSS but when there have been I have been sewing in the church porch in the sun. There can't be too many views from church porches like this one.

...... and look at what I found in the font when I took its lid off!

Sunday 28 August 2011

Old St Stephens

Many visitors have come from far and away this weekend to see my "Remember Me" exhibition at Old St Stephens Church, one mile above Robin Hoods Bay. I am exhausted from meeting and greeting, though today 10 of us had a merry little picnic in the church porch and I have been touched by the warmth and support from the locals. It will be on till Friday night and I will be there again all of Bank Holiday Monday to talk about it. The rest of the week the exhibition will be manned by volunteers but if you really want to see me then ring me on my mobile number and I will try and come up to the church to see you as I am staying not far away. Here is what you can expect to see

50 garlands embroidered with names of girls who died young and single. The Maidens garlands hanging in the back of the church may have been made for any of them. I have made a flower for each girl out of papers, vintage materials and silks and from each hangs a single white paper glove and ribbons. All the girls are buried in the church yard. They are all "sitting" in the pews at the back of the church near the ghostly remnants of the original garlands and near a dress which is facing away from the altar. They never got to walk up that aisle as brides!

In the chancel area, hanging over the pews are embroidered blue runners telling the stories of boys who would have been the girls' contemporaries but who were also unmarried because they also died young, all of them at sea. Many many more boys died than girls but I have selected ones who had a good description on their graves of where they were sailing, or where they were drowned. Some local buys met their deaths as far away as Tasmania but most drowned in the North Sea on the route up and down to London.
Hand embroidering these tales became a bit of a chore towards the end but it was worth it because I have met many local people with the same surname, live in the houses of these families and have shared stories with me.

You will see my recreation of Janey Levitt's garland hanging back where it belongs up near the altar. Today has been very windy and it has been turning around nicely all day in the breeze.

Thursday 25 August 2011

Folk Art Applique Workshop

There are still places on the Folk Art Applique course I am running for Kate Jackson at MAKE in Allendale on 18th September. The course costs £60 and includes a delicious lunch at the Allendale Bakery and all materials. Check out for details on how to book.
The course looks to American appliqued quilts, folk art and domestic still life for inspiration. You will build up a pieced picture using traditional hand stitching techniques - applique, piecing and embroidery using a variety of fabrics. I will be there to guide you in terms of inspiration, design and composition. In the one day course you should be able to complete a piece like this ( if you work hard!).

I like doing pots and flowers but I encourage students to come up with their own ideas. Here is some work in progress from the last course I ran ( from student Anna Nesbitt)

Tuesday 23 August 2011


Here is a detail of a collage on to an embossed paper glove. I have been making these to sell at my Remember me exhibition which opens on Saturday. See more images on my Memento Mori blog

Sunday 21 August 2011


Old St Stephens, where my exhibition opens on Friday, is in the parish of Fylingdales. There is a terrific silent film about Fylingdales at the Yorkshire Film Archive Online It is an elegiac film made in 1955 by an unknown amateur but I hope it will make you want to visit. Type "Fylingdales" into SEARCH. The whole site is addictive with many rare films of times gone by, folk customs and traditions.

Friday 19 August 2011

Photo Shoot

Drove down to Old St Stephens today to meet the press and have a practice run for the exhibition. The church looked just beautiful in the sunlight. This is an unashamedly romantic installation in a romantic and atmospheric special space Great fun moving the maiden's dress and garlands around the church and lovely to hear Deb paying the organ from above. Please come and see it on August Bank Holiday weekend !

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Monday 15 August 2011

Janey Levitt

As part of my exhibition "Remember Me" which starts next Saturday August27th at Old St Stephens Church Robin Hoods Bay I have recreated Janey Levitt's garland. Janey was the last maiden for whom a garland was made, in 1859. For years her funereal memento mori was hung in the church but it disappeared during a period of garland conservation in the 1980s. Luckily Peter Brears had examined the garland closely and was able to come up with diagrams and notes as to its construction. I have followed these instructions carefully, using the correct measurements, stitch details and colours wherever possible.
I can't wait to see it hanging in the church!

Saturday 6 August 2011

Glandford Shell Museum

Home to Norfolk and a trip to revisit The Shell Museum at Glandford ( This is a really special little museum which was purpose built by Sir Alfred Jodrell and is home to a quirky collection of donated objects as well as shells and shell related objects. If you are visiting the North Norfolk coast and are interested in cabinets of curiosities then check it out. It is small and very quiet as visitors become totally absorbed in the displays.