Figurative Textile Workshop – Unlocking the Family Album

A couple of weeks ago I travelled to Durham to deliver a figurative weekend workshop to the very friendly and welcoming ‘Embroidery 15′ group. Many of the group had never worked figuratively before so I was pleasantly surprised by the resulting work. The workshop started with my presentation about the way different textile artists use the figurative image and by looking at my own handling collection which comprises of lots of small samples of different techniques that can be used for figurative textile work. We continued by experimenting with composition in collage and finally started to work with fabric and thread, mixing hand and machine stitch with appliqué and paint.

Here is a selection of the student’s work that was produced over the weekend.

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student's work

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student's work 6

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student's work 13

A new art fair inspires the North

I have just finished sorting out my work for the Same but Different Art Fair which has been organised by the Bowery Gallery on Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th April 2014 at Temple Newsam Walled Gardens in Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK. I will be showing lots of small studies  one of which is shown. Read more about SBD Art fair.

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It’s always challenging finding a box into which it will all fit but that is done and I can now move onto my next deadline and my next box for the ‘Beside the Sea’ exhibition at Bilston Craft Gallery in Wolverhampton which runs from 12 April – 14 June 2014. I will be showing some of my ‘Life on the Coast’ series at this exhibition including ‘Bathing Belles shown below.

Read more about the exhibition.

Steve Thornton

10 Things to be Proud of

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Our hometowns and familiar environments can be taken for granted and I have to confess that I am guilty of doing this to a certain extent. Something happened just recently to make me look at my own hometown, Grimsby, N E Lincolnshire, UK  through fresh eyes. So what was it that made me do this? Well, the 62 Group of Textile Artists came to town for a Members’ Research Day.

Later in the year the group, of which I am the current chair, are having an exhibition in the town which will run concurrently at two very different venues, the first, Grimsby Minster is an “architectural gem” tracing its history on this site for more than 900 years. The second venue is the Muriel Barker gallery at the purpose built Fishing Heritage centre which opened in 1991.

I decided to try and find 10 things about my hometown which would fill me with pride. The town was once the largest and busiest fishing port in the world and was known as the ‘Klondyke of the East  Coast’ and in the 1980s it was also known as ‘Food Town, Europe so the obvious place to start was with food so here goes.

1. Grimsby Traditional Smoked  Haddock.

In 2009 Grimsby Traditional Smoked Fish was awarded a Protected Geographical Indication from the European Union. This means that only fish produced in Grimsby using the traditional method can be called Grimsby Traditional Smoked Fish.

Find out more : http://gtfsgroup.co.uk/

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2. Grimsby Fish Market

Grimsby is of course famous for it’s fish, Grimsby Fish Market is the focal point of the local industry and its importance is recognised by the UK and EU Fishing Industries.

Find out more : http://www.grimsbyfishmarket.co.uk/

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3. Local Fish & Chips

When I was a child we ate fresh fish 2 or 3 times a week . Fish so fresh it still tasted of the sea. Today the Captain’s Table fish restaurant in Cleethorpes serves sustainable fish which tastes just as fresh. In my opinion better the Magpie café in Whitby and I’ve tried both.

Find out more : http://www.thecaptainstable.co/

4. Lincolnshire Sausages

The John Pettit’s butchers has been making sausages for over 100 years. Their Lincolnshire sausage, is  still made to an original family recipe dating back to 1810.

Find out more: http://www.johnpettitbutchers.co.uk/category/sausages

5. Grimsby Minster

Grimsby Minster is known for being the only parish church in England to have its own Choir School, St James’ School. The building has been changing and evolving over many centuries.

Find out more: http://grimsbyminster.com/

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6. The Fishing Heritage Centre.

Opened in 1991 the FHC has a permanent exhibition depicting the Grimsby deep sea fishing industry in its heyday of the 1950s. It also has a temporary exhibition space. Over the last 5 years it has housed the ‘Unlocking the Collection’ series of exhibitions. The current one ‘ Treasures from the Collection runs until 21st April 2014.

Find out more : https://www.facebook.com/FishingHeritageCentreGrimsby

7. The Museum Collection of N E Lincolnshire

For about 10 years I volunteered to work with the fantastic costume collection.The collection represents the history of North East Lincolnshire, from its geological origins to the modern day. It currently consists of approximately 60,000 artefacts across Archaeology, Natural Sciences, Local and Social History, Costume, Art and Maritime History.

Find out more : N E Lincs Museum Collection

8. The Great Grimsby Ice Factory

This grade 2* listed building was was built in 1901. Its purpose was to supply ice to preserve fish on its journey from the deep sea fishing grounds to the nation’s plates. It closed its doors in 1990. The Great Grimsby Ice Factory trust are fighting to save this fantastic building.

Find out more : http://ggift.co.uk/

To help to save this important building donate : http://ggift.co.uk/make-a-donation/

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9. The Dock Tower

For 137 years Grimsby Dock Tower has dominated the town’s skyline and is a well known landmark. The 309ft high tower has played a fascinating role in the town’s industrial history.

Find out more :  Dock Tower

10. Cleethorpes

Most of my life, apart from a brief sojourn in London, I have lived within 6 miles of the East Coast of England. Its huge skies and vast beaches are second to none. Cleethorpes developed as a fishing village but with the coming of the railways in 1863 it soon became a popular seaside resort. The town adjoins my hometown of Grimsby.

Find out more : Cleethorpes history and heritage

Now I have taken a fresh look at my hometown and surrounding area why don’t you do the same. It’s amazing what you’ll see.

Great articles on www.textileartist.org

textileartist.org is a great resource for textile artists, textile enthusiasts, students and educators.

Here are just a few of my favourite articles and interviews.

judith scottTextile artist Judith Scott: Uncovering innate talent

Fiber Art Now

How to Photograph Textile Art

25 amazing WordPress themes for artists

wordpress templates

Interesting interviews on textileartist.org from

Nigel CheneyArran IllingworthTilleke SchwarzJames Fox Jacqueline Treloar , Ann Goddard

and many others including myself.

Anna Scott : I am inspired…

Anna Scott who is an Australian embroiderer and blogger has kindly posted about my work.

Anna Scott : I am inspired….

It was so refreshing to get an email from Anna asking if she could use my images for her blog. Usually people just help themselves nowadays. I don’t really mind this on the whole as the images are usually used by students as reference material. Reproduction for financial gain would be another thing but images of my work can be found all over the internet and I like to share. She asked me why I use the image of a fish so often. It ‘s quite simple really. My hometown is Grimsby in Lincolnshire in the UK. Grimsby was once the largest and the busiest fishing port in the world and was known as the ‘ Klondyke of the East Coast of England’. Sadly this is no longer true, the northern cod wars with Iceland put paid to that and the place has gone to rack and ruin. Actually there are quite a few of my pieces that are about this very thing with references to a Grimsby St in London which has been knocked about somewhat in recent years. My family was very involved in the fishing industry both as fishermen and fish merchants so the fish has become my signature if you like, a symbol of where I’m from and I usually try to include on somewhere on my major pieces. The image below shows the first work in which I included a fish.

Public voting for the craft&design selected awards 2014 is now open

To vote for me please go to at the bottom of my makers page  http://www.craftmaker.co.uk/suestone/

image of Woman with a Fish 2007

Woman with a Fish 2007