New Banners

With a couple of new members we thought it was about time that we changed the banners that head up our website pages.

We made them in the same way that we made the others. Each of us started with 2 blank heavyweight watercolour pages in a long thin format to suit the format of the banner. Then these were passed around each of the group until someone decided they were finished.

We had a few rules: only black & white and one other colour – unFOLD had to be written somewhere – draw or stitch.

I have put each of them in a small format in a thumbnail gallery in this blog so you can see them all as they are on a random shuffle for the web pages!

Which is your favourite?

Knitting & Stitching shows

Well we are all nearly ready for the KS show at Alexandra Palace (Oct 5 – 9). This time next week Christina and I will be hanging the gallery and as several of the pieces we have made are not standard works, this will be a challenge in itself!




Sarah’s pile of boxes looks remarkably similar to mine despite the fact the our work is totally different! I just have a journal to complete and some photos to mount – hopefully that will be done today.

We are also looking to recruit a couple more members to the group and will be using the exhibition as a way of starting a conversation with interested people. Come and chat with us or use the contact form to e mail us.

Do come and say hello – stand TG13 at AP and stand TG4 at Harrogate.

Must get back to my journal!

Lighthouse Walk

One of the fundamental elements of unFOLD is that we share experiences, and use these to help and inform our work. Today represented one of these events when four of our number took on the Beachy Head Lighthouse Challenge 2016. Initially started to fund painting of the Lighthouse; this now annual event is carefully timed to coincide with the right spring tides to allow walkers to circumnavigate the Lighthouse on foot, and raising money for local charities at the same time.

Lighthouse12 Say ‘cheese’ (sandwich) – if you haven’t yet had the chance to meet us, may I introduce (from left to right), Sally, Christine and Christina.

Lighthouse18The walk from Holywell offered up some fantastic views of the beach at Eastbourne …

Lighthouse14And then of Beachy Head itself …

Lighthouse15The Lighthouse, which was so fabulous close up I had to include two photos …

Lighthouse17 Lighthouse16

I picked up some more ‘pebbles with holes’ for my ever increasing collection, but pebbles dropped by the tides into little pockets in the rocks are always a happy find …

Lighthouse20 Lighthouse19

And then there is always one fellow walker that really knows how to do it in style (meet Tilly – unfortunately she doesn’t belong to any of us!) …


After a fabulous afternoon – time to get back to preparing for Knit & Stitch at Alexandra Palace / Harrogate Exhibition Halls.


From parts to a whole …

Some more photographs from the Matthew Harris Retreat at Studio11 at the beginning of June.

Christina started with a waxed paper umbrella …


This was dismantled into a surprising number of parts (these are only some of them)  …


From parts to a sculpture …


And then to one of Christina’s favourite methods of working – collage.


On the other hand Christine started with the foot pedal from an old Bernina sewing machine, and used the parts to start drawing on paper …


Then to fabric …


And then what next? Rinse the fabric in the sea, what else?



Where all three of us will take these initial germs of ideas still remains to be seen, but it will be interesting to see how such simple beginnings develop into pieces in their own right.

Matthew Harris Retreat

At the beginning of this month, three of our members attended a three day retreat with the lovely Matthew Harris at Studio 11 here in (sunny) Eastbourne. This course was open to individuals who have been lucky enough to study with Matthew in the past; and having enjoyed Matthew’s enthusiasm, drive and ability to push us beyond our comfort zone previously, we were all keen to rise to the challenge again.

Titled ‘From Parts to a Whole‘, Matthew started by getting us all to carry out the same exercises, but by the beginning of day two we were all doing completely different things … and with very different results, expertly guided by Matthew’s mentoring.

These are a few photos of my (Sarah) personal journey those three days.

I started with this tape measure, found in an ‘antiquities shop’ in St Leonards on Sea …


And after a few hours it looked like this …


And the next day …


And then …


Not quite sure where I will go from here, only time will tell (and I still have 100 yards of waxed linen tape measure that I haven’t even begun to explore.) But for the moment I (we) need to focus on work for our next exhibition; but I will be returning to these exercises and marks in due course.

We’ve got a new member!

We are delighted to introduce a new member to unFOLD – Vanessa Marr.

Vanessa’s work explores the domestic environment, in particular the objects and stories associated with it, from dusters through to fairy tales. Building on a background in design and the legacy of sewing passed on from her mother and grandmothers, she explores narrative and meaning through embroidery and artists books. (Down here on the south coast she is known to many as the ‘duster lady’ ….)

To give you a bit of a taster, here are a couple of Vanessa’s past projects …


Vanessa2unFOLD will be looking for more new members in the near future – so keep an eye on the blog for further information about how to apply.

Button Box Launch

This weekend saw the launch of the Button Box Project. We were very proud to welcome the author of The Button Box, Lynn Knight. Lynn visited Studio11 to see the project for herself, and then proceeded up to the Birley Centre for a well attended ‘in conversation’ hosted by our very own Christine Chester!

Lynn KnightLynn Knight (left) talking to Roz Nathan in Studio 11.

We had lots of visitors to Studio 11 over the first weekend of the Button Box Project….

Visitors 1

Visitors 2

…. and they joined with us in sorting and arranging some of the many buttons we had available ….

Arranging 1Arranging 2Arranging 3

… this first phase of the Button Box Project will be running again next weekend. So come along and join us for some button fun; Saturday and Sunday, 23 & 24 April from 11am – 5pm at Studio 11.

The Button Box

Two members of the group have recently read the fabulous book, The Button Box, by Lynn Knight.  Lynn believes that every button has a story to tell and her book traces the story of women at home and in work from pre-First World War domesticity, through the first clerical girls in silk blouses, to the delights of beading and glamour in the thirties to short skirts and sexual liberation in the sixties.

It was while sharing excerpts from this book that we found ourselves talking about homemade outfits worn in our ‘younger days’, and we thought we would share some of these with you!


Taken in the late 70’s, I must be about 14 in this photo, which means I probably made this Clothkits outfit myself.   Clothkits provided everything you needed, including thread, zips etc. (all perfectly colour matched) to create an outfit with the minimum of fuss. There was no need for paper patterns as the designs and cutting lines were printed directly on to the fabric.



It is 1972, I am 10 years old and dressed to go to my first school disco. I always thought my mother had crocheted this outfit, but I recently learned that it was in fact made by a friend of hers, and without the benefit of a pattern. My mother had initially taught the same friend the basic crochet stitches and she was hooked (pun fully intended) and she then proceeded to crochet many presents for family and friends.

Unfold Christina2


This photograph (together with fabric sample) shows my sister and I ready for the Boxing Day fancy dress competition in 1964. Sue is Andy Pandy and I am Gypsy Rose Lee. The silk fabric for the skirt and matching headscarf came from my father’s parents and was bought before the second world war; we think early in the 1930’s. A few yards still remain on the roll stored in my parents’ loft, but I’m told the moths have found it.



My Mum was an exceptionally good seamstress and I had lots of hand made clothes that were always of a really good quality. She did venture into the land of Clothkits as well liking the ready printed fabric – this was the late 60’s and early 70’s and the patterns were very floral and flat graphic style. I hated Clothkits almost as much as the hats!

Unfold Christine1

Unfold Christine2

The Button Box is the  inspiration for the latest project from the artists of unFOLD and we are organising two activities to coincide with Eastbourne Artists Open Houses 2016.

The first is based on based on button collections. We are asking members of the public to bring along their own button collections; to share the contents and the memories they evoke. The images and words collected will be used to inspire and generate future art works.

The second event is an afternoon with Lynn when she will talk about her inspiration for the book: her grandmother’s button box and the domestic treasures she discovered within.

Lifting The Lid on The Button Box: An afternoon with Lynn Knight – 2pm on Saturday  16 April 2016 at the Birley Centre, Carlisle Road, BN21 4JR (next to the Towner). Tickets:  £3 available from the Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre or via e mail:

Share your button collection – 11am to 5pm, Saturday 16 & Sunday 17 April and Saturday 23 & Sunday 24 April at Studio 11, Old Printworks, 20 Wharf Road, BN21 3UG (close to the station).

For further information or to donate any unwanted buttons, please contact or

Walk and talk at the Birley Centre

We rounded up the exhibition at the Birley Centre with a ‘walk and talk’. We each chose a piece of a work; talked about our inspiration and took questions from the crowd (it was very well attended and yes, it did seem like a crowd). The increased numbers in the gallery meant that the collaboration table saw a lot of action.Blog3

For one week we all collected things off the beach and streets, and a selection of our found items was on the table. Visitors to the exhibition were encouraged to create mini pieces of art; either inspired by, or using the round items. (Some visitors were more enthusiastic than others!)


The resulting images were cut down into 3″ squares and we will be using these to inspire further works for our next exhibition in October.


Some of us will be working on another collaborative art project as part of Open Studios in April, inspired by Lynn Knight’s book, The Button Box.

Exhibition Success

Just one more weekend to get to see our exhibition at The Birley Centre, Carlisle Road, Eastbourne.

We have had a terrific time at The Birley, chatting with people while we are stewarding, and even getting them to have a go at mark making and printing with our ‘curious objects’ (an on going project for our next exhibition at Knitting & Stitching shows in the Autumn!)

The exhibition has been really well received and we have had 100-120 each weekend visiting, and some people have come back for a second viewing, often bringing friends with them!

For those of you who can’t get to see the show, here are a few pics along with some of the very lovely comments left in our Visitor book:

“Beautiful work varied and good to see textiles making it on to the walls of galleries.”


Sally Skaife – Noughts & Crosses

“I felt very inspired by the exhibition. I can’t wait to explore new textures and patterns”


Sarah Welsby – To Thine Own Self Be True


Sarah Welsby – Ramblings

“A gem of an exhibition raising interesting questions about the boundaries between drawing, painting, sculpture, writing & textiles.”


Christine Chester – Rusty Memory

“Great exhibition – the work depicting dementia is particularly interesting showing in art, the way memory fades and how the reaction to the person with dementia fades and changes as well.”


Christina Ellcock – Small Landscapes

“Wonderful collection of creative collages.”


Work by Sarah Welsby & Sally Skaife

“Really interesting work. I like how the pieces from the different artists hang together – very well curated!”

Many thanks to all who have visited – don’t forget our Artists Walk & Talk on Saturday 30th January at 11.30.