Week Two: Charnwood Arts 40th Birthday Summer Project

What a week, there has been a flurry of activity at the ArtsHouse this week. We’ve been so busy  that I haven’t had the chance to blog on the activities each day, but needless to say it has been worth it. We have worked with each group again this week, including RawArt, ManCraft, MakeSpace, The Big Knitting Group, Media Club, and the Taiwanese interns have also been working with us.

On Tuesday we set up the printing press for dry point etching.

Whilst on Wednesday we did some more cyanotype printing but this week we also prepared some fabric with the photogenic chemical. We also experimented with adding coffee granules to the rinsing water which helped develop the images. This produced some fabulous results as the coffee changed the colour of the prints slightly so we got some beautifully crisp images with a lovely indigo blue.

On Thursday we spent the morning clearing the garden ready for Fridays celebrations. We also put up some of the makes from the last two weeks including some funky fish shaped wind socks and some netting ready for some creative and communal weaving. The Taiwanese interns came to work with us on Thursday as well, so we set up the printing press upstairs and we showed them how to make Ojo De Dios (God’s Eye Weaving). Some of the students took to the weaving making some lovely pieces, all different sizes. Others chose to experiment with some embroidery whilst two students worked upstairs to design, etch and print some delicate and intricate pieces.

As the afternoon turned to evening and everyone left myself and Jemma stayed a little longer to look through all the work we’ve produced over the last two weeks. We were amazed at the amount and the quality of the work. We bagged up 40 pieces of work to put out for our Free Art Friday event the next day.

Watch this space for an account of our Free Art Friday drop and celebration day activities.

Here’s a sneak peek…


This project is supported by Loughborough Universities Community Donations Fund


Our Textile Stories exhibition launches

On Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd Jemma Bagley (Charnwood Arts, Community Arts and Wellbeing Coordinator) and I were at the Peepul Enterprise putting up Loughborough University 1st year textile students work.

We did a lot of prep in the weeks running up to the big hang, organising, planning, sourcing materials, cutting down  and washing ladders and lots and lots of framing. The time spent in preparation really paid off.

Here’s a little taster of the foyer area

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And we also have some work on the first floor next to the restaurant 20160421_163131 20160421_162925 20160421_162859 20160421_162809

Not to mention the ladder installation.

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It has been a long, stressful and arduous few days but I think the results were well worth our efforts.

The exhibition is now up and ready for viewing at Peepul Enterprise, Orchardson Ave, Leicester LE4 6DP.

A huge thank you to Jemma B for keeping me going. Also to all the students who produced the lovely work, to Maddy for creating and publishing the blog, to Kerry Walton and Kerry Akiwowo for their help and support setting the brief and for guiding students through the project. Also thanks to Natalie at Charnwood Arts for making the lovely information boards, and to Peepul Enterprises for hosting and not complaining about all the hammering and drilling we caused yesterday.

Why not also visit the blog to find out more about the project: https://ourtextilestories.wordpress.com/

We hope that you enjoy the show!

Our Textile Story

Following on from the success of last years collaboration we have once again joined forces with the first year textile students at Loughborough University to bring you this new project, ‘Our Textile Story’.

A new blog that has been set up to promote the current project and exhibition with information about the past project and how the collaboration first began.
Building on the success of last years ‘Our Knitted Story’, this years students were set the project Our Textiles Stories. The brief was to create a set of work which explores the history that each individual student has with textiles. What were their earliest memories, what has influenced them in their years of growing up that has led them to choosing textile design as a career?
jessica wake1 rose heales nadine wilde1img_1763ella Mcknight lia liburd alice charter img_1876 holly lee jessica wake
Maddy Wozencroft is one of the selected students and she has set up the beautiful WordPress blog which contains an overview of the project and displays each selected students work. There is more info to add, as each student will have a statement about their work and how it developed.
We are happy to say that the exhibition ‘Our Textiles Stories” will be on at Peepul Enterprises, Orchardson Avenue, Leicester from Friday the 22nd April until Friday the 6th of May 2016.
There will be an opening event which is still being planned at the moment. The details about the exhibition at Peepul Enterprises will be added to the blog soon. 

Hopes and Dreams

The latest exhibition from Charnwood Arts RawArt and Cafe_Space group is now on at Charnwood Museum, Queens Park, Loughborough.

The collection has been pulled together from work made for various projects over the last couple of years. Materials include found objects like keys and labels. As well as materials that have been donated, including threads, fabrics, buttons and beads.


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Stories inspiring the artworks include, the fantasy of a treasure island, seashore treasures and the mysterious depths of a rockpool. Tracey Del Grecos piece reflects her childhood growing up by the sea in Wales and a favourite song lamenting the destruction of our environment.

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Other pieces show butterflies and a summer garden, a hope of things to come. Julies rag rug flower suggests the lushness of a peony in full bloom.

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You can enjoy this little collection of very personal work until the end of May during Charnwood Museums opening times.

Opening hours October to March

  • Tuesday to Saturday: 10am – 3pm
  • Sunday: 12pm – 3pm
  • Bank Holidays: 01509 233754

Opening hours April to September

  • Tuesday to Saturday: 10am – 4:30pm
  • Sunday: 2pm – 5pm

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The RawArt and CAFÉ_space groups meet at Charnwood Arts on a Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. Both groups are designed to promote well being through creative activity.

We also welcome and rely on donations of materials for most of our project work.

LoogaBarooga Festival!

I had the immense pleasure this morning of joining with artists Jemma Bagley and James Chantry of Charnwood Arts at Charnwood Arts free creative drop in workshop as part of the LoogaBarooga festival in Loughborough.


The LoogaBarooga festival is a new annual festival for families who love books and illustrated literature.

From 11am this morning we took over the LUArts Market Town Project Space in Carillon Court shopping centre. Jemma ran a badge making workshop whilst James ran a flipbook making workshop.


Jemma sporting her lovely stitched badges whilst I faff about with needle and thread.


Just 15 minutes into the workshop we were starting to burst at the seams with interested families all excited to join in with the activities, some even stayed and crashed on the bean bags to doodle whilst they waited for a space at the workshop table.

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Exhibition’s Up!

As many might already know I’ve been working with the Khushi ladies at the Peepul Enterprise in Leicester. All through September me and the ladies have been getting our groove on with the textiles. We’ve experimented with patchwork techniques, sewing techniques both at the sewing machine and by hand, we’ve even tried our hand at printing – which inspired a flurry of activity over a few weeks as designs were printed onto a vast array of beautiful silks and cottons.

We have been working to the theme of ‘Celebration’ as kindly requested by Juliana, in preparation for the ladies Navratri festival and leading then into Diwali. As Navratri is a festival dedicated to the worship of the Hindu Goddess Durga you will find that many of the textiles feature stylised images of Durga.

I have marvelled in many of the sessions at the ladies relationships, their wonderful sense of community and the support that they offer each other. After over a month of working with the ladies and with the staff at the Peepul Enterprise I have also come to believe that the support that is offered by the centre is as invaluable to the ladies as the support of each other. I hope that this unison continues and would like to thank Juliana especially for all her support.

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This beautiful piece above was not in fact made by the Khushi ladies but by the BE group who were working with my extremely talented friend and colleague, Jemma Bagley, who I would also like to thank for all her help in my sessions and for being my mentor.

I have greatly enjoyed my time with the ladies, despite some minor hiccups in sessions, the atmosphere has been in itself ‘celebratory’, the ladies are entertaining, accepting and overall appreciative. I hope that in the furture the opportunity to work with the Khushi ladies at the Peepul Enterprise arises again.

Good luck to all the ladies in their continuing endeavours.


Block printing

It was a weekend well spent preparing the printing blocks for this weeks session with the Khushi ladies.

We got started straight away this week as the ladies knew exactly what to do. I think we got all the patchwork pieces finished and a few of the ladies were able to do some printing whilst they waited for the sewing machines to become available.

Such a flurry of activity it was hard to keep track. I couldn’t have done it all without the help of Jemma Bagley – helping the ladies to do the printing whilst I helped with the sewing machines.

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