Chandler’s Ford Library provides us with books, music, and films, and yesterday, the library also brought us the most talented artists from The Sorting Office Studios in Eastleigh.
I’ve been following the artists around Eastleigh since last year and it was very lovely to see some of them again in Chandler’s Ford Library.
Residents of the Sorting Office Studios met the public and demonstrated some of their skills during the creative day at Chandler’s Ford Library. I got to meet the artists and they explained their arts and creativity with me.
Helen McArdle – costume designer
Helen McArdle showed me her hand-made 1760s dress called a mantua, a woman’s loose gown fashionable during the 17th and 18th centuries, which is also called a saque back dress.
The skirts can be worn hanging down or pulled up and ‘polonaised’ so the lady would not get a muddy skirt.
The lady also has a pair of pockets tied around her waist, and in them was a bottle of smelling salts (ammonia). I had a sniff. The smell was so pungent and I wonder why a lady would carry the smelling salts around in the old days?
The most important thing you need to know about Helen McArdle’s costume is that she is historically correct in her costume making.
Helen is a graduate of Wimbledon School of Art, has worked in theatre, including the Royal Shakespeare Company, and has an MA in historical textile and dress. She is also a member of the Hampshire Regency Dancers, who have a reputation for historically accurate costume.
Helen has created costumes for museums, theatre, re-enactors and dancers. She is notable for her hats and male costume specialism.
Find out more about Helen McArdle in this Sorting Office page.
Karen Head: textile artist
Karen loves hand dyeing simple materials. She transforms them into works of beauty.
Karen is an established tutor of felt making, nuno scarves and dyeing and has regularly presented to Guilds and organisations including Worthing Embroiderer’s Guild, Basingstoke Embroiderer’s Guild and Wessex Embroiderer’s Guild.
Karen showed me gorgeous hand dyed silks and wool. The technique Karen uses is nuno. Nuno means the fibres passing through the fabric.. Here is how Karen describes one of the scarves that she made:
“I’ve felted this scarf by hand and the technique is called nuno. I place the wool and silk fibres onto silk chiffon and make it wet through with soapy water. I then rub and roll and rub and roll and rub and roll until the fibres have worked their way through the fabric! It’s a very physical process!”
Visit the website of Karen Head: Karen Head – designer, dyer, maker, tutor
Anna Lambert: Sew Anna Boutique
Anna Lambert has always loved crafts and enjoys designing and creating items ranging from homeware to fashion items.
Anna particularly enjoys working with colourful fabrics and taught herself to sew by hand when she was a teenager.
Anna is always dreaming up new ideas for how to make unique handcrafted creations.
Anna Lambert specialises in feminine gathered skirts for girls and women, some lined, others an exuberance of pattern, and others with retro styling details, but all with a nifty and practical adjustable fit.
Visit the website of Anna Lambert: Anna Lambert – Creative Eastleigh to find out more about her unique styles.
You can find out more about other residents artists at The Sorting Office in Eastleigh in this website: Artists and Designer – Makers of The Sorting Office Studios.
In the past few weeks, some of the artists’ beautiful creations were on display in the large cabinet on the ground floor of Chandler’s Ford Library.
Open Studios: Don’t miss The Sorting Office Open Studios on Saturday 13th June 2015. More information will follow.