Lesley Brankin

Textile Artist

Sacred Spaces

Back in February I mentioned starting a new project based on a group visit to Coventry Cathedral.  Here is my finished quilt which  has its  first public showing this week as part of Stitch in the Middle’s ‘Sacred Spaces’ exhibition.

Down the Ages

My design started with three images, two taken in the Old Cathedral and one in the New Cathedral:

Coventry’s ‘Old’ Cathedral

Window Voids, Old Coventry Cathedral

Detail from the Baptistry window by John Piper

Playing around with overlaying, blending and edge detection software on my iPad (I used a variety of free Adobe Apps available from the Apple App Store) I created an interesting design which, when cropped, became the basis for my quilt. The  background calico was printed using acrylic paints and a gel plate before shapes cut from florists fibre fleece, painted Lutradur and paper laminated organza were appliquéd (bonded) on top. Once sandwiched the quilt was machine quilted to emphasise the shapes of the buildings and provide additional texture. My quilt is approximately 20 x 18 inches in size.

As well as ‘Down the Ages’ my little quilt ‘Old & New’ (shown a few weeks back) and a couple of my older quilts (also based on church architecture) will be on show alongside work by other members of the group.

‘Sacred Spaces’ by ‘Stitch in the Middle’ is showing until 27th October 2019

at Weavers Gallery, Church Lane, Ledbury, HR8 1DW (10.00am – 4.00pm)

Other  venues will hopefully be announced in due course.


Trying Something New

Sometimes the creative juices need a boost and what better way to achieve this than indulging oneself and attending  a stitch retreat?

I am just back from (a rather wet) Eastbourne having spent 4 days in the company of the fabulous Hungarian textile artist Eszter Bornemisza and 6 other like minded students. It was a  rare chance to explore some of the creative thinking and techniques behind Eszter’s amazing work and all without the distractions of everyday life to get in the way.

The first 3 days  of ‘Captured in Nets’ saw us stitching, embroidering, trapping, painting, dissolving and even melting various materials to create a sample range of exciting new textures and fabrics. Work was of course interspersed with plenty of cuppas, nibbles and not least a fabulous lunch courtesy of Christine, our amazing retreat organiser and host.

‘Captured in Nets’ – a wall of samples

Where I live!

Happy Accidents

The final day was spent bringing together everything we learn’t to create a piece inspired by our own interest. Mine is based on Polynesian Stick Charts and the designs of Napa barkcloth – this is still a work in progress so watch this space.

‘Captured in Nets’ – work in progress

‘Captured in Nets’ was a stitch retreat organised by Studio 11 Eastbourne

In Full Swing

Weavers Gallery has been buzzing with activity this week as we welcome lots of friendly visitors to our exhibition.  Open daily from 10am to 5pm until Sunday 15th September so still plenty of time to drop by, watch a demonstration or simply say hello.

Weavers Gallery, Church Lane, Ledbury HR8 1DW

Open 10.00am to 5.00pm

Free entry, sadly no disabled access (first floor gallery).

Sacred Spaces

Earlier this year I mentioned that I was  considering how best to approach some exhibition work to be based on Coventry Cathedral. Well despite other  things demanding my attention I am pleased to say that my quilts are all now complete and ready to show at ‘Sacred Spaces’ – an exhibition of work by members of ‘Stitch in the Middle’ (part of The Quilters’ Guild Contemporary Quilt Specialist Group).  I will have three pieces on show – my main quilt and two small A4 sized quilts, one as part of a Group Whisper Challenge and the second developing from a group meeting.  I will talk more about my main quilt in due course but for now here is one of the small pieces:

Old & New

‘Old and New’ combines imagery from both Cathedrals – the ‘figures’ are derived from the shapes of the window voids in the ‘Old’ Cathedral whilst the ‘Crown of Thorns’ and coloured blocks are inspired by the ‘New Cathedral’.

‘Sacred Spaces’ will showing from 21st to 27th October 2019

at Weavers Gallery, Church Lane, Ledbury, HR8 1DW (10.00am – 4.30pm)

with other venues to be announced in due course.

Back on Track

With Ledbury Poetry Festival now underway my  attention has reverted to  Herefordshire Art Week (September 7 – 15th 2019) and my exhibition with fellow Quartet members  Amanda Wright, Jill Exell and Cheryl Kirby. First on today’s agenda was to turn some little mixed media landscapes into art cards.

Landscapes of the Imagination

Weavers Gallery, Church Lane, Ledbury, HR8 1DW

Open 10.00 to 5.00, informal demonstrations daily

Sadly no disabled access (first floor gallery)

H.Art Website 

Ledbury Poetry Festival 2019

As in previous years I was invited to create a piece of textile work to show in conjunction with Weavers Gallery’s textile exhibition, held during Ledbury Poetry Festival. The theme this year is T.S.Eliot’s poems collectively know as the Four Quartets.

Inspired by the common premise that each one of Eliot’s Four Quartets poems corresponds to one of the four classical elements:

  • Burnt Norton – Air
  • East Coker – Earth
  • The Dry Savages – Water
  • Little Gidding – Fire


‘Elements’ is my interpretation of the poems. Each piece consists of  hand dyed machine appliquéd silks and needle felted wools.


4 July – 14 July 2019

Weavers Gallery, Church Lane, Ledbury HR8 1DW

Open 10.00am to 5.00pm

Free entry, sadly no disabled access (first floor gallery).

Getting Started

Having been invited to participate in this year’s Herefordshire Art Week (September 7 – 15th 2019) I thought I really ought to get cracking on some new work. Being a selling exhibition  I am working at a  smaller size than usual with the idea that my work can be displayed framed and ready to hang.  Here are a couple of pieces of work in progress.

Midnight Sun

Wetlands I

I am continuing with my mark making experimentation using acrylic inks on calico or textured cotton backgrounds. Once painted the work is then backed with a thin wadding and machine quilted. Hand embroidered details add the finishing touches.

Should you be near Ledbury area during Art Week do please pop by and visit myself and my fellow members of Quartet – Amanda Wright, Cheryl Kirby and Jill Exell. We will be found at

Weavers Gallery, Church Lane, Ledbury, HR8 1DW

Open 10.00 to 5.00, informal demonstrations daily

Sadly no disabled access (first floor gallery)

H.Art Website 

Celebrating a Special Anniversary

2019 sees the 40th Anniversary of The Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles (QGBI) and I was flattered (and somewhat daunted) when invited to make a quilt for inclusion in a special celebratory exhibition entitled ‘Spotlight@40’. If that wasn’t enough pressure I was told that subsequently my quilt was to become part of QGBI’s permanent  collection. Having worked, on and off, on my contribution for the past 12 months I can now show the finished quilt.



The second and third lines of The Quilters’ Guild Mission Statement read

“We bring together quilters in a spirit of friendship and learning.

We promote quilt-making in all its forms across the UK”.

In the spirit of coming together, in this, The Guild’s 40thAnniversary year, I invited fellow  members of QGBI Region 11 to donate squares of cream/white fabric and provide a single descriptive word summing up what membership means to them. The squares were pieced together as a background and the tallied words featured in my ‘spotlight’.

Design Process:

I love experimenting with different methods of making ‘marks’ using acrylic inks and simple, everyday tools such as old store cards and cardboard rolls. Taking the word ‘spotlight’ as my inspiration I began playing with ideas that might represent beams of light emanating from a spotlight. My favourite experimental marks were then scanned into my computer and the resultant files digitally combined and manipulated. One image in particular appealed and when scaled up became the basis of my design.

Making Process:

Having pieced the donated squares together as a quilt background I was reluctant to put paint all over them in case something went wrong – after all I only had one set of squares!  Using painted Lutradur as an overlay layer provided the solution and also gave an interesting surface to work on. The radial lines were created using my ‘card scraping’ technique but I substituted a long ruler for a store card.

The circle is printed using the edge of a plastic plate and the overlay shadow regions are cut from blue floral mesh bonded using Mistyfuse.

The descriptive words were printed out onto T-shirt transfer paper, cut out and individually applied – the size of the text represents the number of members who cited that word.  Finally my completed Lutradur overlay was applied to the background squares using more Mistyfuse and the quilt top was complete.


After sandwiching using Hobbs 80/20 wadding with a complimentary batik backing, I machine quilted all over the quilt before adding lines of machine embroidery and straight stitching for additional interest.

Thank You

A big thank you to everyone who supplied me with squares, words and on-going encouragement and also to Doughty’s of Hereford for kindly supplying the background fabric and wadding for the quilt.


If visiting Festival of Quilts in August or the Knitting & Stitching shows later in the year, please do pop by the Spotlight@40 gallery and view ‘Belonging’ and the other quilts

The Start of Something New

With three exhibition pieces to produce, not to mention my also having agreed to participate in H.Art* week later this year, it really is time to get my act into gear. I am not presently able to share detailed design ideas for the exhibition pieces but I can reveal that one of them will be based on the wonderful architecture of Coventry Cathedral.

In particular I am drawn to the negative shapes created by the window frames of the old part of the Cathedral – some of them have an intriguing, almost figure like, appearance.

The question is how might I go about utilising these in a quilt design …

*Herefordshire Art Week



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