Capability Brown Festival

Embroiderers' Guild Capability Brown logo

Capability Brown by Richard Cosway

The Embroiderers' Guild and the Capability Brown Festival 2016

2016 marked the 300th anniversary of the birth of Lancelot "Capability" Brown, a designer who changed the national landscape and created a style which has shaped people's picture of the quintessential English countryside.

Bowood HouseBrown's style derived from the two practical principles of comfort and elegance. On the one hand, a determination that everything should work, that a landscape should provide for every need of the great house. On the other, landscapes to cohere and look elegant. While his designs have great variety, they also appear seamless, confusing the eye into believing that different pieces of parkland, though managed and stocked quite differently, are one. His expansive lakes, at different levels and apparently unconnected, formed a single body of water as if a river through the landscape, which like the parkland itself, ran on indefinitely. The images Brown created are a deeply embedded in the English character as the paintings of Turner and the poetry of Wordsworth.

The Landscape Institute worked with the National Trust and English Heritage to highlight Capability Brown's work, co-ordinate celebratory events across the country and bring his name to a new audience. In the first ever celebration of his work, they joined with partner organisations to create the largest festival of its kind.

Bringing stitch and textile art to a new and wider audience is one of the core aims of the Guild. Acting on a suggestion from three members, the Guild approached the festival organisers with the proposition that textiles could add a unique contribution to these events. The Landscape Institute really liked the idea and welcomed the Embroiderers' Guild as a Festival Partner. The three members - Amanda Smith, Alex Messenger and Eleanor Jakeman, working with Guild HQ, organised this superb opportunity for members, branches and regions.

The Capability Brown Festival 2016 brought together a huge range of events and the Embroiderers' Guild was delighted to be a Festival Partner and contribute to the celebrations with a series of unique textile exhibitions at venues across the country. Using the landscape and gardens as their inspiration, members interpreted these using fabric and thread to create unique pieces of work. The 46 exhibitions attracted large numbers of visitors, in many cases attracting people to see the embroideries, who then discovered the wonderful Capability Brown landscapes.

Many of the pieces of work for the Capability Brown exhibitions created by Embroiderers' Guild members have been posted on the Embroiderers' Guild Capability Brown Pinterest page. Please click on the Pinterest logo to view them. Pinterest

The Embroiderers' Guild has received a letter of congratulations from the Capability Brown Festival Team and we are so proud to have taken part in this amazing project and of the fabulous work produced by our members. Here is their note:

Dear Alex, Terry and everyone at the Embroiderers' Guild

We cannot thank you thoroughly enough for what was your incredible contribution to the success of the Capability Brown Festival 2016.

The creativity, innovation and flair that your exhibitions displayed were often commented on and we were consistently impressed with their quality and professionalism.

We hope you also found the year to be worthwhile and enjoyable.

Best regards

The Capability Brown Festival Team

Capability Brown at Chatsworth - A Stitched Legacy - 1st February - 10th May 2017

Chatsworth HouseTextiles is an art form unlike any other. Like traditional artists, embroiderers use colour and form as a base but an entirely new layer of design comes into play when stitches are added. As the thread travels across the surface, stitches create paths which can direct the viewwer's eye, create a focal point, draw or deflect attention from a particular element and create a texture that is at once visual and physical. By using techniques as diverse as mixed media, felting, machine and hand stitching (to name a few), the artists produce unique and high quality pieces which can add another dimension.

Work by Catherine Leighton of Macclesfield branch

Work by Susan Taylor of Glossop BranchThe Embroiderers' Guild was originally formed in 1906 by a group of 16 ladies with the primary aim of maintaining high standards of embroidery. Today over 100 years later, the Embroiderers' Guild welcomes everyone with an interest in any area of embroidery and they continue to promote high quality work and design. Textile art now embraces the world of mixed media, print making and dyeing with rust, amongst others. The Guild undertakes and supports research into embroidery and past crafts and holds a renowned collection of fine examples of embroidery and costume which we display as widely and often as possible.

Don't miss the opportunity to see the Embroiderers' Guild's latest exhibition "A Stitched Legacy", a display of unique and specially created textile work based around the typically English scene of landscape and stately gardens. The exhibition is on show in the Carriage House Restaurant at Chatsworth, Derbyshire, located in the beautiful 18th century stable block designed by James Paine (whose tercentenary is celebrated in 2017).

"A Stitched Legacy" - Carriage House Restaurant at Chatsworth, Derbyshire from 1st February - 10th May 2017. For more information please visit their website

About the Author: Alex Messenger, The Embroiderers' Guild

A Tree Grows in Stansted Park!

Disease-free Elm at Stansted ParkFollowing the exhibition by Embroiderers' Guild members at Stansted Park, Rowlands Castle, Hampshire, a tree was planted in the Stansted Forest to commemorate the Embroiderers' Guild Capability Brown Exhibition. All the trees donated to Stansted Park are recorded in the "Tree Book" which is housed in a glass cabinet in the house for all to see this permanent record.

Perhaps the tree will have grown sufficiently to celebrate the 400th Anniversary of Capability Brown. It's got a bit of a way to go!

Here is some of the work by our members that was on display at Stansted Park

Work by Julia Little at Stansted Park exhibition Work by Valerie House at Stansted park
Autumn Log by Julia Little View towards Blenheim by Valerie House
Work by Carol Winter at Stansted Park Work by Jean Rook at Stansted Park
Autumn Folly by Carol Winter Stansted Park Bridge by Jean Rook

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