Monday, 16 March 2015

.... a place in the sun.......?

In October of every year we notify our long list of Janet Bolton and Julie Arkell enthusiasts of their dates for the following year's workshops here, and within a very short time all places are filled.  However, altered circumstances sometimes mean that participants have to pull out, and disappointed as we are that guests we were looking forward to meeting will no longer be able to join us, it does mean a couple of people will now have the unexpected but guaranteed pleasure of being taught by either Janet (Narrative Stitches) in May, or Julie (Toys), at the beginning of June.  Spaces are for luxury accommodation only, but cheap flights are still available (the Euro is weak so more spending power whilst you are here).   For more details contact Susie as soon as possible so she can pencil you in.


But if you're looking for an opportunity to work quietly on your own project, away from the hurly burly of domestic chores and family responsibilities, our Bring Your Own Project week at the end of September may be just your cup of tea.  You'll have first class accommodation, shared use of our inspirational studio space, breakfasts and evening meals, transport as well as an optional daily Iyengar Yoga class.  We'll leave the rest up to your imagination.

If you haven't seen the latest copy of Uppercase Magazine we recommend you drop everything and run out to buy one immediately as this issue is all about textiles!  My initial training was as a Graphic Designer, and I have long been besotted with typefaces, fonts and scripts.  Add to this a fascination about the weaving process and hand-loom tapestry and Sarah Swett, whose extraordinary work is featured in the magazine, presses all the right buttons.   My only attempt at a tapestry a very long time ago was a spectacular failure so it may be that this variation of weaving is a) impossible to do on a hand loom, and b) difficult to teach over a five-day workshop; but wouldn't it would be great if we could persuade Sarah (or maybe you can recommend another suitable teacher?) to come over next year to lead a workshop?  We'll keep you posted!

As a postscript, there may be one or two of you who'd like to join us for an exclusive Yoga event at the end of June, designed for beginner, intermediate and advanced students.  This five-day intensive (with all the leisure attractions that our venue offers, plus a salon therapist available for treatments) is to be led by Liz Bolton of Silver Yoga, who trained as a teacher after 15 years as a Iyengar Yoga practitioner;  anyone interested in joining us at this beautiful time of year should contact me as soon as possible for more details as places are already filling up.

That's all for now folks

Sunday, 1 March 2015

.... did you know?.....

So did you know that coming up in Paris this month (goodness, are we in March already!) is a small but delightful textile fair called Aiguille en Fete Pro situated at the Porte de Versaille?  Not as commercial as some of the larger exhibitions we may be used to in London or the big cities, but well worth a visit for that reason, especially if you fancy a jolly in Paris before the spring crowds arrive.  In the past, my favourite regular exhibitor has been Craftica - not the most hi-tech or sophisticated company in the world but come an exhibition and they throw off their gloves and have buckets of one-off fabrics, left-over rolls and general haberdashery to thrill the enthusiastic stitcher, whether you be a dressmaker or patchworker.  Booking my train ticket now....

The extraordinary (and sometimes unsettling) crochet work of Cecile Dachary will also be on display at Aiguille.  I have long been an admirer of her work, and hope to have her lead a workshop for us one day.

As some of you keen knitters may have noted, this October we will be hosting the first Åsa Tricosa workshop.  Åsa Soderman has a wonderful blog chock-a-block full of brilliant knitting tips, patterns, mixes of colour and news, all illustrated with her impressively clear and beautiful photographs;  her joie de vivrepractically jumps off the screen.  You can find her latest, exquisitely stylish design - Ma Non Troppo, which, I believe translates as "but not too much" - uses her specialist, top-down technique, and can be found on Ravelry.  Seamlessly Clever, her workshop with us, has steadily been filling up as aficionados of her work get word, but we still have a couple of places remaining if you move fast.

For those of you more interested in mixed textiles and stitching, a place on Janet Bolton's workshop, Narrative Stitches, has become available.  Janet's workshop is always very popular so do contact Susie as quickly as possible to find out what accommodation option is available if you are interested.  Janet's latest book, Fabric Pictures, has recently gone to print and can be pre-ordered on Amazon. We suggest you put it on your Wish List as copies run out very quickly and soon become collector's items.

On the subject of fabric, I came across an interesting Californian cooperative of young and exciting textile designers called Cotton and Steel whose designs are probably more accessible to purchase if you live in the States.  However, well worth a visit to their website to get an idea of their unusual cotton prints and feel sure they would export to Europe if postage and tax aren't too prohibitive.

Happy March mending.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

.... boogie nights........

Those of you who have been followers of Les Soeurs Anglaises for some time and have either been receiving our newsletters or following our blog, might be a little intrigued to learn that we are adding a string to our bow this year -  a musical fête!.  In the past we have held the occasional concert in our wonderful studio barn with its superb acoustics, but as we recently became sponsors of Women for Women International UK, a charity which supports women facing violence, marginalisation, and poverty as a result of war and conflict, it is with great pleasure that we have decided to host a Fête de Boogie Woogie in July of this year, to raise funds for them.

The highlight of the weekend will be an exclusive Gala Evening featuring renowned American and European pianist/saxophonist, Deanna Bogart, and sensational 20 year old German pianist, Luca Sestek, (both recording artists) at a gourmet dinner created and cooked by Sven-Hanson Britt, 2014 MasterChef: the Professionals finalist.  To quote Jonathan McAloon of The Telegraph newspaper"When London chef Sven-Hanson Britt filled a glass teapot with consommé, you knew he deserved the Masterchef title. He has been by far the best throughout the competition, but in this moment he became the chef he was always destined to be."  

Accommodation, meals including the Gourmet Dinner and Buffet Sunday Lunch prepared by Sven-Britt, accompanied by great wines, vintage Champagne and Dessert Wine tastings, continental breakfasts and other meals, plus local transport is included in the price (fares to and from France not included); as well, of course, as all the wonderful, live Boogie Woogie music both at the Gourmet Dinner and at the public concert by the musicians the following evening at the nearby town of Riberac..  
Meanwhile, we are currently sponsoring a year-long WfWI training course in South Sudan, where two of the Les Soeurs team were born. As a business run by women, we are delighted to be supporting such a worthwhile charity as Women for Women International, which offers women survivors of war the training and skills to ensure a sustainable future, and our aim with the Fête de Boogie Woogie is to raise £20,000 for them to continue their work helping  women survivors of war to rebuild their lives.  We would particularly welcome any of our past participants, newsletter and blog readers who might enjoy an exceptional combination of great music, food and vintage wines, and it could be the perfect opportunity to introduce a partner or friend to our celebrated venue and hospitality whilst supporting such a worthy cause.  But be warned:  We can only accommodate a limited number of residential guests so don't leave it too late to book if you want to be sure of being a part of this special weekend.

There is more information about the Fête de Boogie Woogie, the artists, and incredible food and vintage wines that we will be serving, on our website but do contact us directly if you have any questions.  (Tickets for the Saturday night concert only will soon be available on Eventbrite.)