Lesley Brankin

Textile Artist

Author: Lesley Brankin (page 3 of 4)

Magical Venetian Mosaics

San Donato

Should you ever find yourself on the island of Murano in the Venetian lagoon, Italy do be sure to make time visit the church of Santa Maria e San Donato. Although the outside of this building is stunning in its own right (and is itself a fabulous source of patchwork design ideas), the star of the show has to be the beautiful medieval mosaic floor. Sadly when I visited photographs of the interior of the church were not permitted but the delight it gave me wandering around remains with me today.

Santa Maria e San Donato, Murano

Having injured my hand at the end of 2017 and unable to do any stitching I did not want to miss out of doing the latest Art Quilts Around the World challenge. With Google’s help I found an image of a section of the church floor and drew up a sketch. Using a light box I traced this onto prepared for dyeing calico (muslin to my American friends) using a permanent marker pen. I then spent many happy hours colouring in the design using a mixture of Inktense dye pencils (painted with aloe vera to activate them) and permanent marker pens.

I have finally been able to complete the quilt by simply free motion machine quilting around the main motifs using a mid shade of grey thread.

Jaipur Memories

Jaipur Memories

My hand is finally mended enough that I can  begin getting creative again. One of the first things on my ever growing ‘to do’ list was to finish off my rag  journal documenting my fabulous trip to Jaipur with Colouricious Holidays last year. I made two smaller versions as Christmas presents but didn’t manage to complete my own. This includes fabric samples from all our printing workshops, photographs, drawings, embroidered block prints, journal entries and all sorts of other ephemera collected whilst away. Feeling very satisified with myself although it is still likely be a few weeks before I am back to full stitching mode.

Sample Page – Jaipur Memories

Sample Page – Jaipur Memories

Sample Page – Jaipur Memories

More Mark Making

More Mark Making

Making marks with simple tools is addictive!

Media used : acrylic ink and water on rag paper (with gesso underpainting)

Tools used : old store card, Japanese paint brush and pen tops.


Pods (commissioned by Janome UK Ltd.)

Specifically commissioned, ‘Pods’ is designed to showcase the features of Janome’s new M-Series computerised mid-range sewing machines. Although completed last year, it is only now that the machines have been launched here in the UK that I can publicly share some imagery.  Over the years I have created many quilted pieces for Janome but ‘Pods’ has to be one of my favourites and I really enjoyed making it. I particular liked using the serpentine stitch – stitched here using a thick thread in the bobbin.

‘Pods’ as featured in one of the new Janome M-series promotional shots – doesn’t it look great?

Janome Promotional Imagery featuring ‘Pods’ (courtesy of Janome UK)


Making Marks

A belated Happy New Year. Sadly no sewing for me so far due to injuring my left hand at the end of 2017. Thankfully I am right handed and so am taking the opportunity to explore some ‘mark’ making. Acrylic ink and water on Khadi (rag) paper using a Chinese paint brush, old store cards, pen tops and a cardboard tube…..

Mark Making

Pop Art Penguin

Pop Art Penguin

There isn’t really a lot of explanation needed for my latest Art Quilts Around The World challenge quilt! It is what it is – a Pop Art Penguin. Why a penguin? Well simply that I have a love of these characterful creatures, they always make me smile. The design for this one is based on a photograph I took whilst on a birthday trip to a local bird world last year. The design for the background flash and stripes was adapted from an image called “Pop! Goes the Mouse – Mickey Mouse” by Carlton & Reis.

My quilt is made entirely using appliqué techniques – invisible machine appliqué (for the stripes), reverse appliqué (for the flash shapes) and bonded appliqué (for the penguin). Raw edges on the flash have been stitched down using a small blanket stitch and a fine zig-zag was used on the penguin himself.

The Pink City

The Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

Back in September my sister Christine and I travelled to Jaipur, India as part of a Colouricious Block Printing Holiday. We had a fabulous time not only trying various forms of printing and visiting some of the main tourist sights but  also being allowed a privileged glimpse into the non tourist side of India. With several thousand photographs to work from trying to decide just what to use as an inspiration source for my work has been very difficult. After much deliberation I have selected to initially work with images of the Hawa Mahal, an architectural gem located in the very centre of the Pink City.

Hawa Mahal – sample quilt

My first sample piece (A4 size) features a stitched section of the building plus some block prints (of course!) and stencilling. The hand stitched hexagonal fretwork picks up on a detail from some of the windows.





Cogs & Bees

Cogs & Bees

The theme for my latest  ‘Art Quilts Around the World Group‘ quilt was “Steampunk”

I had great plans to design a fantastical creature but got sidetracked by the wonderful shapes that cogs create! I already owned a selection of MDF ply cog shapes which I used to gelli print the background fabric. Next I had fun creating some ‘rusty’ cogs from thick Vilene and acrylic paints – these are stitched on such that they have a loose outside edge. Then came the addition of some of the smaller ply cogs and a few metal ones I found in a drawer. In that same drawer were some old keys and angel wings (isn’t it amazing what stuff we keep ‘just in case’?!) which for some unknown reason I was inspired to make little bees from. For a quilt which simply ‘developed’ as I went along I am quite pleased with the result.

Festival of Quilts

Yesterday ‘Big Brother’ was awarded first place in the Art Quilt category at Festival of Quilts, Birmingham. This is the first time I have entered this category so I was amazed to win!

Big Brother

‘Chuzenjii’, my other quilt at the show, was entered into the Pictorial class and received a ‘Highly Commended’ award – so not one but two reasons to celebrate!


Mary’s Garden

Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockle shells
And pretty maids all in a row.

Mary’s Garden

The theme for the latest ‘Art Quilts Around the World Group‘ challenge was ‘Nursery Rhymes’. For my quilt I decided to ‘ignore’ the darker side of this nursery rhyme (you can read all about this in Sue Zimet’s post) and take the words of poem quite literally.

It was the word ‘contrary’ which caught my attention i.e. ‘opposite in nature, direction or meaning’.  Behind the garden wall, Mary, whom I view as a young girl, perhaps of teenage years, shows her spiky, disorganised ‘other’ self.

Techniques used: Image manipulation and printing, rubber stamping and Inktense pencils, appliqué, fabric painting, stencilling, foiling (silver bells), machine quilting.

You can see the other group members’ quilts here.

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