Becca Birtles

Becca Birtles

Art and crafts have been an integral part of my life, with a particular passion for sewing that dates back to early childhood, where I first learned sewing from my Mum. While I have delved into various other creative pursuits over the years, the allure of stitching has always brought me back. Throughout my artistic journey, I’ve explored diverse techniques, developing a profound fascination for the interplay of layers and shadows—both visible and concealed.

Though choice of subject matter may evolve, the essence of my work consistently revolves around capturing and expressing these layers and shadows. I particularly enjoy in utilising fabric, print, and stitch to convey my personal experiences as a deaf person navigating a hearing world.

Carole Nicholls

I am a Mixed Media artist using a combination of fabric, paint, print and stitch.  The environment is my inspiration which I observe, draw and collect from.  Many years ago, I studied for a degree in printed textiles at Farnham Art College. At Farnham I was constantly inspired by the landscape and teaching ethos which was to embrace natural fibres and organic dyes.

My mother taught needlework so I was brought up sewing, often wearing some colourful creations! For many years I worked as a Baby Wear Buyer and later in life as an Art and Textiles Teacher at secondary school level.

Around 2010 I decided to take the City & Guild’s qualification in machine embroidery which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I studied under Pam Watts and as a result of this, I began to create hangings and framed pieces which I sold through exhibitions. 

I usually begin projects from a place of observation with drawings. I may use a base of calico and ghesso. I then build up the layers with cloth, stitch, paint and digital images, all linked to my original inspiration.

Fran Griffiths

Fran Griffiths

I have always made things and enjoyed doing so.  This has usually, but not exclusively, been in the field of Textiles.  I started making quilts a few years ago and learnt a variety of techniques through workshops.  I fairly rapidly moved from traditional to art quilts which enabled me to increase the range of techniques I could use.

The initial inspiration for my work has often been photos of places I have visited.  However this is only the starting point, and I usually let the work itself inform the direction the final piece will take.  These last few years have, for everyone, been rather different.  Some people have been very inspired by the lock downs, restrictions, etc which have given them more time to be creative.  Others, like me, have struggled to find inspiration, a creative spark, and even the impetus to create, and have turned inwards. 

I now do much more mixed media work and my pieces are often semi-representational and more abstract.

Jo Hill

After a lifetime in Staffordshire I now find myself living near Bath, I am inspired by the countryside around me. My childhood was full of creatives crafts, thanks to my Mum and Grandma. This led me to pursue a foundation in art followed by a degree in textile floor coverings at Kidderminster.

Later I studied at college, achieving City & Guilds qualifications in machine embroidery, applique, fabric dyeing, felt making, paper making, soft furnishings, printing, interior design, and soft furnishings.  This inspired me to take on a teaching role at Stafford college, progressing on to teach face to face workshops and online courses.

I enjoy using natural fabrics; cottons, silks, linens and wools, much of which is recycled and reclaimed. I love texture, natural sheen on the cloth and a soft, frayed ripped edge.

My signature colour palette is natural and muted, duck egg blue being a firm favourite of mine.  I hand-dye, print or paint my fabrics and papers to achieve the required textures, colour or design.

Over the years I have built up the skills to enable me to start projects without knowing where they will end up, I usually begin by building up many background layers as you would a collage, I then add the birds or flowers. I will add a flower at a time starting with the feature flowers, then build up my piece aiming to get different size of flowers and in a variety of shapes and build up a flow or direction of stems to create movement. I use many textile techniques and break all of the rules.


How We Started

In 1984 a group of friends wanted a focal point for ideas to be exchanged and to arrange exhibitions. So ‘The Embroiderers of Bath’ was born to accomplish these aims, starting with 14 members. In 1985 they held their first exhibition. ‘A Flourish of Threads’, was held in The Bridge Bookshop (sadly no longer with us), Bridge Street, Bath.

The following year an exhibition entitled ‘Circle with the Seasons’ was hung in The Global Village Crafts, Green Street, Bath. Over the next two years the annual exhibition was held at The Global Village Crafts. The 5th exhibition, in November 1989, was moved to the Campden Works Museum (now The Museum of Bath at Work), Julian Street, Bath. They changed their name to ‘Textile Artists and Embroiderers of Bath’ to be more inclusive of textile skills. The group described themselves as ‘enthusiastic workers, some with City & Guilds and some with a lifelong interest in the embroidery’.

It was decided at this time to more publicly state the objectives of the group. They wrote that they aimed to hold an annual exhibition in settings less formal than the atmosphere of an art gallery e.g. shops and museums. Also that the whole range of fabric arts – painting on fabric, weaving, dying, “pure” embroidery, machine embroidery, fabric paper making and any combination of the above was to be included.

In 1991 the terms of membership were clarified. Monthly meetings were to be held in members’ houses and a minimum number of meetings had to be attended to maintain membership. All members had to be prepared to help set up exhibitions. Work must be new, thus hoping to bring freshness and vitality to the pieces submitted for selection.

The 7th exhibition was held in 1992 in Bath Central Library exhibition room. The group was still called ‘Textile Artists and Embroiderers of Bath’ at this stage.

It was in 1996 that the name of the group was shortened to the more compact ‘Bath Textile Artists’ and that is still used today. Group numbers have fluctuated between eight and fourteen. The idea was to keep the group efficient and friendly. Meetings are now roughly at six weekly intervals, with flexibility due to the work commitments of the members.

Exhibition venues have since included Westonbirt Arboretum, Norton St Philip, Bradley Stoke Gallery in Bedminster, The Space in Stroud, Bristol Guild, Fisherton Mill in Salisbury, The Guild of Cotswold Artists Gallery in Nailsworth, The Pound Arts Centre in Corsham and The Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute. The last two are the regular venues for Bath Textile Artists exhibitions.

Spring Exhibition 2005 poster
Spring Exhibition 2005

Summer Exhibition 2009 poster
Summer Exhibition 2009

Summer Exhibition 2010 poster
Summer Exhibition 2010

Spring 2014 poster
Spring Exhibition 2014

Summer 2014 poster
Summer Exhibition 2014

Spring Exhibition 2021

Summer Exhibition 2021

Summer Exhibition 2022

Winter Exhibition 2022

Winter Exhibition 2023

Spring Exhibition 2024

Heather Martin

Heather Martin

A member of Bath Textile Artists for over 25 years, I enjoy working with other like-minded individuals towards themed exhibitions.

‘Seven Birds of Paradise’ was produced for the last exhibition at Bath Royal Scientific and Literary Institute. I studied the cases of stuffed birds in the collection, many of them faded and dusty looking. My birds are brilliantly coloured as if they are still alive.

During the last two years I have produced several pieces reflecting my feelings during the lockdowns and also several based on local walks. I am fascinated by maps and the patterns within them, and used print as well as stitch to represent them.

My most recent Community Arts Project was working with over a hundred adults and children to produce butterflies painted on silk, these will be hung in the entrance lobby of our revamped Village Hall.

Seven Birds of Paradise
Shallowbrook Lane 1
Shallowbrook Lane 2
Lockdown 1 and 2
Butterfly – painted silk. Community Arts Project.

Diane Jackson

Diane Jackson

I began sewing in my teens, preferring my choice of fabric for clothes to that available in the shops!

Patchwork, quilting, crochet and knitting sustained my creativity during my years of employment and bringing up a family but on retirement I have found new and exciting techniques. These give me the possibility of producing my own resources and allowing greater expression in fabric and mixed media.

I take inspiration from the ever-changing Cotswold landscape of my home. My pieces flow from collecting resources with colour and texture suggested by the overall idea of the intended outcome, embroidery and embellishment completing the design. I work mainly with hand embroidery but employ machine stitching and embellishing on occasion.

I am a member of Cotswold Embroidery Guild.

I currently have work on display at Beckford Silk Mill and have exhibited in a number of exhibitions in the area.

Carolyn Long

Carolyn Long

I have always been interested in needle work and crafts. The first embroidery I can remember completing was a tablecloth in satin stitch and lazy daisy for a teacher who was getting married. I have attended various day and weekend courses and have taught textiles at children’s summer schools.

I attained my City and Guilds Creative Embroidery Parts 1 and 2 and after completing this a group of students formed Materialise, where we continue to develop and exhibit our work. I also belong to a small group of Quaker artists working in various media. I joined Bath Textile Artists in February 2018.

The appeal of modern embroidery or textile decoration for me is the wide ranging and eclectic nature of it. The joy of using fabric and threads is in the vibrancy and subtlety of colour and the variety of textures that can be obtained. I like to make my own base for embroidery using papers, paints and inks as well as working into a variety of fabrics. I also like to use recycled materials wherever possible and enjoy seeing something old take on a new life.

I often use the machine initially to texture the piece and then work and rework into it using hand stitch. The feel of the thread and fabric in my hands is integral to my enjoyment of the embroidery process.


Christine Cook

Christine Cook

My main source of inspiration comes from walking in the local country side and enjoying my surroundings. I do take photos and make sketches. I use both hand and machine stitching in my work. I also use an embellisher to blend various fabrics together. I often use cold water soluble fabric to make light lacey pieces. Mostly I work in an intuitive way and experiment with fabrics, colours and mixed media.

Barbara Butler

Barbara Butler

I came to art and embroidery late in life, after training as a scientist. The ‘discovery’ of the texture and colour in fabric and thread came as a revelation and left me looking at the world through very different eyes from which I had observed it before. I now see beauty in unusual places. Even the water stains on the concrete of an underground car park send me burrowing into my bag for a camera or a sketchbook; while passers by look on bemused.

To express unlikely patterns and colours in the wonderful array of threads and fabrics available gives me great joy, which I hope passes on to the observers of my work.

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