Tuesday, 2 November 2010

New Website, New blog!

Well folks, in an aim to bring together my website and blog I have developed [am still developing!] an new wordpress site.
I've moved across many of my recent blog posts and from here on in www.dionneswift.co.uk will be the direct address for my latest news and information. 
I really appreciate your support and hope that you will continue to follow my mumblings....!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Janome sponsorship

I am delighted to annouce that having followed the progress of my work for many years, Janome are supporting my work by delivering 2 fabulous embellishing machines to my studio next week. I already have one of my own & love it - although intially I was dupious & thought they were another faddy item.  But having fully explored the potential of needle punching, I'm hooked and regularily use these machine to draw on cloth.

If you would like to learn more about using an embellisher to create unique marks on cloth join my Drawing for Textiles workshop 22/23 February 2011
If you can't wait to get your hands on a machine and have a go for yourself, then you'll find a list of Janome stockists HERE
Thanks Janome :-)

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Master Class at Alexandra Palace

10 lovely ladies attended my 'Drawing for Textiles' master class at the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace yesterday.
They liberated their drawing and translated their marks into cloth with stitch and embellishment. Janome sponsored the workshop by providing a collection of embellishers, so big thanks to them and to all the wonderful students for making it such an enjoyable day.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Special Workshop Offer

Workshop Wednesdays: 13th October, 17th November and 15th December
SPECIAL OFFER £135 that's 10% OFF!
Drawing for textiles; double dying; designing; printing on cloth; dip dying; fabric painting; discharge; stitch; devore; acid dying.
Good clear teaching - approachable tutor who anticipated what is complex/confusing.  Nice friendly atmosphere.
The studio is really well laid out, very friendly atmosphere.
Thoroughly informative.
Excellent studio - much more spacious than I would have expected.  Well equipped

Creative workshops to help you explore and expand. Offering new skills and techniques with 1:1 mentoring to enhance your creative development.

All workshops run from 10am - 3 pm and include initial materials, tea/coffee and cake [often home made!]. Radiant Works, Back Union St., Huddersfield HD1 6AL
Secure your place for the 'Wednesdays' in the Autumn term by sending a cheque or paying via Paypal. Click the 'add to cart' button for a secure transaction

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Developing a new statement...

It's so tough putting together the words to support your creative work. I've been struggling with it for days - in desperation I tried to talk to my husband about it and get his opinion on my initial script ideas.  He's not from an Arts background and whilst he's supportive, he isn't really interested....he just looked at me with a 'I haven't got a clue what you're mumbling about' - Cheers love!
So I resort to cyber space for help...that's you!  What do you think - I'll take the good, the bad and the ugly.

'If I said black you'd say white...' [My Dad]
I'm still coming to terms with the fact that we all have differing points of view. Goodness don't you all see things my way? 
Using a mostly monochrome palette I investigate the world from unique and unusual angles.  Photographing and drawing lost corners; finding intriguing compositions by viewing them form a different perspective.
'That sordid of all havens, the corner deserves to be examined' [Gaston Bachelard]

Order gets disrupted and angles are skewed as I play with texture, techniques and processes to create a collection of abstract mixed media wall pieces.
Dionne sees the broken patterns and distorted rhythms created by edges that aren’t quite straight and angles that don’t quite match; waiting frames reared up against a wall; a half open set of drawers. It is these discrepancies in order which inspire the stitching, cutting, and layering onto and into the printed felt that adds further depths and gives the finished work its warmth and physicality.
Dionne Swift brings to her work the energy and excitement of one who delights in the discovery of new approaches and techniques. In this new collection there is no doubt that the same delight will be shared by her audience.  [Jo Groner, print maker and Lee Corner, Mentor]
I studied for my degree in Textiles at Goldsmiths College and my Masters was awarded by UCE. Work exhibits extensively throughout the UK: I was a featured Artist at the popular Knitting and Stitching shows 2009, my latest exhibition NEW GROUNDS was reviewed for Embroidery Magazine by June Hill in 2010.
Supported by a collection of teaching qualifications I have lectured at Higher Education level for over 20 years and continue to offer a selection of creative workshops from my Yorkshire based studio.

Does it say enough about my work so as to appeal to a wide audience?  I hope it's open enough to allow me to freely create under it's banner...I just don't know, text has never been a strong point, so all your thoughts are so much appreciated....I'm sure I've not 'finished' it correctly ...I'm sure you'll let me know.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Saltaire Arts Trail

I've just delivered a collection of Fabric Ground Series pieces to 75 Albert Road, Saltaire [A browsers of unframed works too]. It's part of the well established Saltaire Arts Trail which runs of the next 2 weekends - the private viewing is this Friday evening.  I presented an artists talk at the festival last year. 
Residents of this wonderful village transform their homes to accomodate an abundance of artworks & visitors have the opportunity to view art in domenstic environments rather than possibly slightly sterile gallery scenarios.
I'm  going to be at 75 Albert Rd. on Friday evening & for most of Saturday - so come, take a look and immerse yourself...

Sunday, 5 September 2010

New Creative Workshops

I've consulted my diary and found a little gap next April [while the lovely Ellis is on Netball tour] to plan a wondrous weekend of devore. I know devore inside out and upside down - I can tell you it's much more than just a bit a balding velvet!
So if you want your devore turned the wrong way round come join my workshop: Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th April 2011.
If your traveling a distance - the studio is a quick walk from the station, I can suggest a range of accommodation and additional attractions to enhance your visit.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

HOST: Open studio trail

Each year we open the doors of our studio and invite visitors to come and see how we work; chat about why we work and possibly sell a few precious pieces too!
Sat/Sun 18th/19th and 25th/26th September 11am - 5pm
Radiant Works, Back Union St., Huddersfield HD1 6AL
Contact me for a FREE brochure!
This year, as well as the resident artist of the studio we have invited guest artists to make a exciting collection of viewing for your delight & entertainment!!
  • CarolAnn Allan Showcasing Textile Artist, recently receiving a wonderful First Class Honours Degree!
  • Kerry Mosley Showcasing Textile Artist, you may have seen Kerry's delicately knitted portraits at K&S last year.
  • Alison Taylor Showcasing Textile Artist, Ali graduated from Textile Crafts at the University of Huddersfield, now teaches textiles in a local school & has been involved in my workshops for a number of years.
  • Fiona Wilson Resident Textile Artist & this years Embroiderers Guild Scholar
  • Julie Ann Seaman Resident Jewellery Designer.  Julie runs wonderful jewellery evening classes from the studio - come along to find out more.
  • and of course myself, Dionne Swift Resident Textile Artist. I'm planning to use the occasion to have a studio sale, so there will be plenty of bargains to be found.
Here's a map to help you locate the studio, there's usually plenty of free street parking right outside and my mobile number is on my website if you need more assistance.

Artists Access to Art Colleges

This is a great scheme: a fantastic way to get involved with students at higher education level; to access all that specialist equipment stock piled in universities and to give yourself the opportunity to 'set to' on a new project.  Take a look AA2A some of the closing dates are on the horizon so don't delay!!!  Good luck.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

September newsletter

Take a look at this month's round up via this link
There's details of all this month's exhibition venues; open studios, workshops and other events.
If you'd like to receive my monthly newsletter sign up on the RHS.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

New Collagraphic plates

It's been an afternoon of cutting and sticking to create textural drawings to print from in a few days time.  It's important to try and ignore the surface decoration of the materials used and focus instead on their textural qualities - it's these that will hold on to the ink and give the most reliable results when they eventually go through the press. If you'd like to learn more about Collagraphic Prinitng there are various workshops over the coming months.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Monthly Textile Workshops

WHO: Suitable for all abilities
WHAT: Expand and progress your textile skills. Ideal for Textile teachers, enthusiasts and novices alike. Develop individual projects, explore new ideas and investigate new textile techniques. There are no exams, course work or deadlines. We focus on enjoyment and learning new textile skills in friendly and welcoming environment.
WHEN: TEXTILE TUESDAYS: 12th October, 16th November and 14th December
OR WORKSHOP WEDNESDAYS: 13th October, 17th November and 15th December 10am - 3pm
CHARGES: £150 per term including materials, tea & cake!
DETAILS: I have 17 years lecturing experience working across a variety of Higher Education scenarios. Autumn Term 2010 explores stitch and composition, with exciting drawing techniques for textile enthusiasts. We will be developing images into stitched surfaces and print screens for the following term...
APPLY: Please get in touch if you would like further details and a chat about the workshop. 07974 747080 I look forward to hearing from you, Dionne.
CONTACT: info@dionneswift.co.uk
Deadline: 1 October 2010

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The Sketchbook Project

My sketch book arrives in the next few days, I've chosen 'In 5 minutes' as my theme.  Do you think this means I should complete the sketch book in 5 minutes; spent 5 minutes on each page or contemplate for 5 minutes before doing exactly what I like anyway?

The Sketchbook Project: 2011 » Art House Co-op We build art projects and communities

Monday, 16 August 2010

What's you're favourite?

I'm compiling a list a fabulous galleries, craft and design shops. What's you're favourite? I'm always inspired by Yorkshire Sculpture Park, but I'm sure there's a wealth of smaller gems out there...let me know...

Friday, 13 August 2010

Discovering Devore @ Art Van Go

I'm looking forward to my next workshop - Discovering Devore at Art Van Go in Knebworth 25th + 26th August. It's the first time I'll have run a workshop for Viv & Kevin, so it's all very exciting!
My exhibition at Art in Action earlier in the summer encouraged a number of you to sign up for this action packed workshop, but there's still time to get your name down!
You be working on a broad range of different devore fabrics and developing other uses for the process - don't worry if you haven't dabbled with devore before - I'll help you through all the stages, it's easier than rumour suggests!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Discharge Kit

Discharge Kit
Discharge is the safe bleaching or 'discharging' of colour from a cloth.  You can acheive an array of amazing effects - see some examples below.
75 gms Decrolin - the active bleaching agent.
30gms Indalac - a thickening agent which creates a paste to carry the Decrolin.
£10 inc. P+P

Colouration Kit

Colouration Kit
Everything you need to dip dye and paint a variety of fabrics [cotton, linen, silk and viscose]. 
5 x 10gms procion dyes [red, yellow, blue, turquoise and black]
75 gms Manutex to thickens dyes, allowing you to paint draw and print.
75 gms Soda Ash and 75gms bicarbonate of Soda both useful for fixing dyes.
30gms Urea this is a wetting agent helping dyes to penetrate the cloth.
Application bottle, mask and gloves.
£20 inc P+P

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Art in Action 2010

Just back and recovering from a wonderful experience at Art in Action, Waterperry House, Oxfordshire.
I spent 4 days sewing and chatting, chatting and sewing, meeting lovely folk and actually getting lots of creative work done too. I'm very pleased to say I was able to complete the sewing of my entry for the Festival of Quilts competition : contemporary section. See the finished piece in all it's glory at the NEC in August.
A huge thanks to Kate Wells for co-ordinating the Textiles section of A in A - just for her and Rowanna here's the recipe for the 'oh so healthy' gorgeous chocolate brownies that kept us going on setting up day!
[No it's not a miss print - it is sweet potato!]
Makes 16
Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 40 minutes

400g sweet potato, baked in their skins until soft, then cooled
3 free range eggs
140g light muscavado sugar
60g dark muscavado sugar
A pinch of salt
150g dark chocolate 70 per cent, melted and cooled
100g ground almonds
2 tsp chickpea flour [gram flour]
70g of good quality cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g Turkish delight, chopped
Method: How to make Turkish delight brownies
1. Heat the oven to 16°0C.
 Line a square brownie tin with greaseproof paper.
 In a clean, dry bowl whisk eggs, sugars and salt until they become really voluminous and pale. This will take about 5 minutes.

2. Scoop out the sweet potato from their skins and mash with a fork. Fold in the chocolate, ground almonds, chickpea flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and vanilla extract until its incorporated. Add the Turkish delight.

3. Pour into the lined brownie tin and bake for 35 minutes or until the top is firm.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Simultaneous sampling

Over the last week I've been working 1:1 with a another Canadian designer, developing devore, dying, discharge and transfer techniques. Canada is apparently a bit of a textile desert!

The photo shows a hive of activity on the print table; constantly multi tasking and shifting between techniques with a series of samples on the go simultaneously. For me sampling in this way is the best way to understand a broad range of skills within a limited time frame.
If you're interested in learning new textile skills please get in touch.

Textile gathering.

Last Wednesday the studio welcomed a great group of textile ladies who had regularly taken part in my workshops over the last few years.
For the last 10 years I've cooked and created lunch for my students & we've enjoyed a vast array of culinary delights, yet on this occasion the tables were turned so everyone brought along a contribution & we had the chance to catch up on where their tactile techniques had taken them.
Maggie has moved on to BA Contemporary Practice at MMU, Val's studio is just about up and running, Cath showed us a stunning devore creation [soon to be exhibited at Cannon Hall], Wendy's calligraphy has gone from strength to strength, Angela brought her basket full of textile treats and Ali's time is all taken up creating a whole new being!! [Big congratulations!]
Thank you all for a lovely afternoon indulgently chatting, eating and drinking - I had my camera at the studio yet was so involved I forgot to use it...we'll have to do it all again soon to get a group shot!

Monday, 28 June 2010

Holmfirth artWeek 4th - 10th July

artWEEK is a local event with a national reputation – most of the exhibitors are from Holmfirth but visitors come from all over the country to view and to buy. It is astounding how much artistic talent there is locally – it is this that makes the event such a success . . . and brings so many visitors to Holmfirth every year.

The main Exhibition in the Civic Hall will run all week and feature work by 425 professional & amateur artists. [I have 3 Felt Ground Series pieces exhibited]. If you are looking for a bargain I've had a studio sort out & you can catch a good deal in the market area on the stage - framed and unframed pieces at a snip for the duration of artWeek

In addition there will be over 30 smaller fringe venues around the Valley.
I'm part of the fringe too: find a large selection of my work on the top floor at White Rose Gallery & Winnies, Daisy Lane Holmfirth - the PV/opening party is Friday 2nd July 6-9pm ALL WELCOME!

The first Holmfirth Art Exhibition was organised in 1967 by Isobel Shaw and Christabel Dangerfield. Their twin objectives were to provide an opportunity for local art students to show their work and to raise money for Cancer Relief (as it was then called) – on that occasion a grand total of £120 was raised for the charity.

Their legacy is an annual event which sells 2000 artworks every year and regularly raises in excess of £30,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support. Having achieved our target of £40k for the 40th event artWEEK has so far raised well over HALF A MILLION POUNDS.

Visit the artWeek website

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Worthwhile day

Some days you just don't get a whole lot done, others fall beautifully into place & today felt like that.
Visited MMU textile degree shows & was transported back to my days at Goldsmiths. I think it must have been that red brick architecture that gave the place a particular atmosphere! The work was splendid - but no photos to show. I never feel comfortable photographing others work, I'd much rather take memories away - if it affects me enough, it will be retained.
Whilst there, I bumped into Alice Kettle, which is always a lovely collision! Her colleague turned out to be a curator looking for exhibitions & possibly interested in NEW GROUNDS - it would be great if I could extend the tour! Fingers crossed everybody!
That would have been enough to make a wonderful day - nice work & great people! But there were also 2 fabulous phone calls:
The first asking if I could deliver a professional practise talk to the creatives of Art in the Pen/North Yorkshire. The CPD of Artists is a subject I'm hugely passionate about, so I jumped at the chance.
The second for regarding an intriguing commission for a corporate client in Central London. A gallery found be online....all that website work feels like it's worthwhile when it creates exciting leads.
Add to the mix; delivering work to a gallery; another run [now my 4th in 2 weeks] and a delicious BBQ & it's been a jam-packed spot-on day!
Thanks to Fiona for being my exhibition viewing buddy!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Canadian conclusions

So where did the time go? One minute I was going to be updating every other day...then hey it's 6 weeks later! May was definitely a busy month - jam packed with shows, gallery visits and of course devore discoveries. Here are just a few of Audrey's outcomes from her time with me.

I don't know if you can read all the technical text, but Audrey was keen to explore the potential of mixing devore processes with those of her usual technique of etching.
In future I'm not going to make blogging promises that I can't keep!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Alice Fox Textiles: more squares...

Alice went to see NEW GREOUNDS last week and seemed to get alot from the work - always good to know that it's hitting the right spot! Alice Fox Textiles: more squares...

Monday, 26 April 2010

One day to go...

Just 24 hours before my new 'student' arrives from Canada. Despite the thousands of miles travelling and voluminous clouds of volcanic ash, Audrey Feltham is on an epic journey of devore discovery! And I can safely say I'm ready for her!!!.
The studio has had a clear out - a full car load went to the tip! It's had a fresh coat of white paint, there's been a furniture re-jig and a lovely collection of new devore fabrics arrived last week.
Now some of the cleaning has been for Audrey's benefit, but I must admit a lot of it has been procrastination & avoidance of a whole series of other jobs I needed to work on! Why is it that I work better under pressure. I would love just once to take everything at a steady pace and enjoy the process, rather than being backed into a corner! I know how to plan and manage my time - I now need to put it into practice in order to avoid the stress!
Having said all that I'm confident I'm on schedule & have work that I'm happy with for Prinfest next weekend. A textiler in a printmaking environment, um that's a slightly uneasy thought [I'll have to blog about that later - must get to the studio & review the latest pieces]

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Audery's international residency

For the last few months emails have been going back and forth between here and Canada, finalising plans for Audery's visit. For those who don't know Audrey Feltham is a printmaker based in Newfoundland. So keen is she to discover the delights of devore, she's travelling 1000's of miles over to the sunny Huddersfield to learn all I know about textiles! Can I condense it into 1 month when I've been engrossed in cloth and stitches for the last 30 years? Well I'll give it a go - it will be a whistle stop tour!

We have a heavy agenda:
May Bank holiday weekend we are both exhibiting at Printfest.
Following week we are part of 'Stitch' at WYPW, an exhibition bringing together textiles with all forms of printmaking.
Stroud International Textile Festival is the next venue - I'll be running a workshop and Audrey is complimenting this with a professional practice talk.

I want to use my blog for the next month to provide commentary on the visit, I'm going to aim for a update very day or so - that's quite a commitment for me, but I hope you'll enjoy the progress of the residency. Audrey is going to do the same, I'll post a link to her blog when it's up and running. Should be interesting to compare the two!

It's a big thing having a stranger in your studio, for an afternoon never mind a month, and I'll admit I've been very apprehensive. What if we don't get on? But tonight we spoke for the first time on the phone and all my fears have been alleviated - she sounds great, laid back and I can tell May is going to be wonderful - watch this space for the full story of Audrey's residency...

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Devore submissions invited

Very little is written about the elusive devore process & I aim to compile all of my knowledge into a 128 page, full colour, fully illustrated 'dictionary of devore'. Submissions are invited for inclusion in the 'gallery' section of this new and exciting DEVORE BOOK.
Accepted work/artists/designers will receive full credit and have contacted published as requested. You will receive 2 free copies of the book and the option to purchase further copies at wholesale value.
To submit your own work for consideration, send a selection of up to 6 images of devore work (please include surface details and full piece shots), CV and short description of your process/working methods.
Submissions should be sent to:
Dionne Swift
12 Cinderhills Road
West Yorkshire
or email info@dionneswift.co.uk

Please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you would like your materials returned.
Submission deadline Friday 4th June 2010
Images can only accepted as high-resolution digital images [300 dpi resolution] with full caption details: name, title, year completed, materials, techinique, dimensions and photography credit.
Please forward this information to anyone who maybe interested.

Textile installation needs your help...

‘Roses From The Heart’ is a project being organised by Christina Henri, a Post-Graduate Student studying fine arts living in Hobart, Tasmania and who is co-ordinator of The Bonnet Project which recognises the lives of convict women deported from the UK to ‘parts unknown’ in the 19th Century ..................................... For crimes that required pity more than punishment convict women were forcibly migrated around the world. Until 1776 when the War of Independence halted their offloading to America, these ‘unfortunates’ were pawns of the slave trade. From 1788 to 1853 – 25,566 women were transported to Australia...............................

Members of the Embroiderers’ Guild Locally and Nationally, Quilters and Friends have been helping Christina raise 25,000 bonnets – symbols of the women’s spirit – A rose for an English or Irish rose, uprooted from all that was familiar and dear to them; a Heart to show the tribute is made with sincerity and empathy; from descendants, with love.

Exhibitions, enactments and much more are happening in Australia and when Christina accomplishes her goal she hopes to bring ‘the lasses’ back to England and Ireland with a Blessing Ceremony in Westminster Abbey and various Exhibitions around the country and further there will be tours in Denmark and wherever else in Europe, America and Canada ending the journey in N.Zealand before returning to Tasmania where they will be permanently displayed in a very contemporary, stylish public art work.

At the Twisted Threads Festival of Quilts in Birmingham 20th to 23rd August 2009 there was a Booth where people were able to see the progress of this project and receive handouts for this year’s Festival 19th to 22nd August 2010 when it is hoped that Christina will be with us with some 13,000 Bonnets representing those lost lives of women who became the pioneering grandmothers of Australia ................they died to their families back home, the majority never returning and many marrying never knowing what their partner/husband back home experienced from the loss of their loved ones................... may we offer moments of reflection, taking time out from our busy lives to contemplate the female convict story, to scrutinise our own value systems, our levels of judgement, tolerance and acceptance towards others.................................................If you’d like to support this initiative and be a part of a present day Memorial please get in touch with
Norma Bean.
18 Woodhall Crescent,
Lincoln LN1 2HZ.

See www.femalefactory.com.au and www.christinahenri.com.au
for more details and Database where you may find your Surname and adopt a person/persons.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Monday, 22 March 2010

Must get more organised...

...and write this blog more often. Glad to say I've been far too busy to while away the hours in front of this screen!
I've been in Middlebrough helping Artists and Designers move their businesses forward - it's really rewarding to see how they all progress is such a short space of time. Mentoring programmes in Doncaster have recently come to a close & I'm privileged to have been able to work with some inspiring creatives there too.
Workshops are busy and buzzing. In this 'financial downturn' everybody is keen to learn new skills and they really appreciate the value of making.

NEW GROUNDS continues on it's tour - It's moved on from Bankfield and opens on Saturday 27th March at Ropewalk Gallery, Barton on Humber. Sales during the exhibition have been fabulous, it's encouraging to know people enjoy my work enough to part with their hard earned cash! Best still that so many other Artists are buying my work: Hilary Bower bought a piece recently.

The print workshop supporting the exhibition is now full, but I do have a 2 day version at Radiant Works in May - take a look at my site if you're interested.

Thursday, 7 January 2010


It's a New Year & I always get excited about the fresh start that a New Year offers. I have renewed vigour & all the ideas I've been hanging on to in my head can suddenly get put into action [don't know why I have to wait - just do!]. As you'll see from my latest newsletter, I have loads of workshops planned and plenty of exhibitions in the pipe line. But my BIG plan for the year is to write a Devore book - it's been in my thoughts for the last few years & I've distracted myself with other projects! Now I've told folk, I guess I have to do it!I hope to launch the book at The Festival of Quilts: it will work through from the basics of devore to some of the advanced techniques I've developed. There will be information on dying/double dying plus projects to follow & help you gain confidence.
If you've got any suggestions or things you'd like to be covered, do let me know.
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