Lesley Brankin

Textile Artist

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Small Beginnings


After what can only be described as year of intense highs and lows, the start of 2019 has seen the shoots of creativity starting to sprout once more. It may not be a large piece of work (A4 sized) but ‘Rain’ is the first piece of work I have completed for a good while. Created in response to a group challenge on the theme of ‘weather’.

Something completely different …

Norwegian Memories

A few weeks back I spent a most enjoyable few days in glorious Devon at the home and studio of renowned weaver Susie Gillespie. The first two days were spent weaving on full size looms (all set up for us) – this was a first for me, but something I had always wanted to have a go at. My fabulous new friends and I were shown a number of techniques and then basically allowed to let our creative juices flow. I was going to make three small hangings from my piece but in retrospect have decided that I like the piece as a whole. The additional objects are treasures found whilst on holiday in Norway back in May/June. All the piece needs now is for me to decide how to  finish off the top – perhaps hung from another piece of driftwood?

The final two days were spent in the company of well known textile artist Alice Fox. We had a great time making our own natural dyes from foraged plants and experimenting with eco printing. Both are techniques I  have only dabbled with before , but am keen to explore further.

Little Bundles of Colour




Life has been a bit busy recently and I have not had chance to feature my latest quilt.  Another experimental mark making piece which reminded me of a cityscape, hence the title of ‘Metropolis’.  It was awarded 3rd place in the Art Quilt category at Festival of Quilts earlier in the month.

Metropolis (detail)



Sometimes, just sometimes, something wonderful emerges from the cooking pot!


1. Take a piece of calico, a few rusty items and a handful of  leaves from the garden.
2. Lay everything out on the calico, wrap fabric and contents up in a bundle and tie tightly with string.
3. Pop into an old cooking pot with a handful of tea bags and some water.
4. Simmer gently for half an hour.
5. Remove from pot and leave to cool overnight.
6. Open package, rinse well and leave to neutralise in soda ash solution for a few hours.
7. Rinse well, hang out to dry and finally iron.
8. Admire!

Ledbury Poetry Festival 2018

Each year, designed to co-incide with the annual Poetry Festival, Weavers Gallery in Ledbury hosts a themed exhibition of invitational work by local textile artists.  This year our theme was the life and works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Dawn to Dusk

I love thee to the level of every day’s

Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.

(from Elizabeth  Barrett Browning’s poem ‘How do I love thee?’)


The Wheel Goes Round …

28 June – 8 July 2018

Weavers Gallery, Church Lane, Ledbury HR8 1DW

Open 10.00am to 4.00pm

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

Eclectica shortlisted for Fine Art Quilt Masters 2018


I am delighted to announce that Eclectica has been shortlisted for the Fine Art Quilt Masters 2018, one of 23 pieces of work selected for inclusion in this prestigious exhibition at Festival of Quilts in August. You can see the full list of selected works here – I am in some great company.

This is one of a number of pieces of experimental mark making work which have evolved since my attending an inspirational drawing course led by renowned textile artist Matthew Harris at West Dean College early last year. It is not a quilt in the conventional sense in that I have layered, felted and stitched multiple pieces of painted  muslin onto a base of wool felt. Deliberately there is no backing fabric as I wanted the drape of the wool to be an inherent feature of the piece.

Eclectica – detail

Fish ‘n’ Chips goes on Tour

Fish ‘n’ Chips

Fish ‘n’ Chips is touring (2018-2019) with Contemporary Quilt’s ‘In Print’ challenge exhibition. Our first venue is The Forge Mill Needle Museum, Redditch and runs from 25th May until 8th July 2018. Other venues and dates will be announced in due course.

Monoprinted on calico using artists acrylic paint.  Transfer printed appliquéd transparent fabric and acetone printed  newspaper ‘chips’. Machine and hand quilting.

Weeping Window

During March and April Hereford Cathedral hosted the travelling Weeping Window installation, a collaborative piece by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper. A subset of the original Tower of London Poppies, created to commemorate the First World War centenary, this work captured my imagination.

Hereford Cathedral, Weeping Window March/April 2018

Hereford Cathedral, Weeping Window, detail

Still sticking with my mark making theme – this is an A4 sample piece I made in response.

Weeping Window

Weeping Window Detail

and more Mark Making …


The mark making experimentation continues – this time I have tried layering painted muslin to give depth to the image. When I made this I had no idea of a title but ‘Marshlands’ seems appropriate. I am not so sure about the formality of the gridded tied background quilting but I  love the zing which the Frosted Matt fluorescent thread adds! The finished sample is just 9″ x 7″ in size.

The End

The End

The latest Art Quilts Around the World challenge had me stumped so I did as I often do and turned to Google for help. Searching for images related to ‘Film Noir’ I came across an picture which demanded my attention – it was the book cover for “Film Noir: The Encyclopaedia” (ISBN: 9780715638804)

I was particularly drawn to  it the figure of a man walking from the dark into the light and the strong vertical lines of the building. I tried to create a similar silhouette myself and failed dismally to get anything as satisfying as the book image. Being aware of potential copyright issues, if I was to use such an iconic figure, I emailed the author Alain Silver explaining what I wished to do. Within 10 minutes I had received a response generously giving me permission (copied to the publishers) and offering a copy of the original full size image. Thank you Alain!

I didn’t want to copy the entire image so needed to decide how to try and obtain a similar atmosphere but in a different setting. I liked the idea of moving from a dark edge to a light centre – this reminded me of some image manipulation which I had done based on photographs taken whilst visiting an installation called ‘The Hive’ at Kew Gardens in London.

The Hive, Kew Gardens

The Hive – Internal View

The Hive – Photo Manipulated Imagery

I overlaid these with the book cover to create my design. Using Gimp (an Image Editor) outline versions of the layers in my design were created and subsequently enlarged to A3 poster size using Double Take. (Both packages are available as ‘free to use’ software for Mac OS systems.)

I used black and blue florists fibre mesh (backed with Misty Fuse to stabilise and facilitate bonding later) for the foreground fabrics – these give a softer look than a solid fabric. The ‘holes’ and silhouette shapes were cut out using a craft knife. A commercial grey mottled patchwork cotton was used for the backing and the sun stencilled onto this using inktense pencils (later overlaid with a piece of orange fibre mesh for additional texture).

The mesh was heat bonded to the backing fabric and a ‘bagged out’ quilt sandwich created. All of the main edges were stitched down and any large areas of the black fabric free motion quilted to aid adhesion. Finally some free machine embroidered ground vegetation was added.

The End – Quilted Detail

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