What’s new at Contrary Mary Designs

Okay so it’s been a while since my last posting, a long, long while, which is good for me because it means that I have been busy, but not for the website because you need to see lots of pretty pictures of lovely, lovely textiles and new designs.studio after low res

2014 was a busy year, I finally moved into my studio and started teaching workshops from home and made lots of new friends in the process and have infected a few more people with the quilting bug. The studio was opened to the public for one weekend in July and I met lovely people who were so interested in what I do.bettina's quilt 001 low res

A quilt was commissioned in August and what a fantastic journey it was, meeting someone who loves colour as much as I do and I managed to combine visiting friends in America with fabric buying for said quilt! I can’t promise that that will happen every time I work on a commission!

2015 is proving to be just as busy with new workshops in my studio, please e-mail me and I’ll put you on the mailing list.

The hobbies weekend at the Botanical Gardens (May) which is when I’ll be launching my kits. Yes kits of my designs so that you can have a go yourself. It came to me when I was speaking to a fabulous group of women out in Cygnhordy (north east Carmarthenshire) that there are so many ¬†women out there who live in very rural area’s, definitely know one end of a needle from the other and love to make things, one small problem hardly any shops that sell crafting stuff. I’m lucky I can buy enough on-line to get discounts on quantity and postage, but what if you want to have a go at ribbon weaving or crazy patchwork, start quilting or make a patchwork egg (yes you’re right the egg requires explanation, it’s one of the no-sew kits that I make up to demonstrate to groups) collecting bits and pieces is fun but can be extremely time consuming and how many people know that a cake board is an absolute must for ribbon weaving? My kits will have everything you need (except a sewing machine) to complete your project, nice clear instructions, all materials and specialist bits of kit if required, I think I already mentioned cake boards.

My studio will again be open to the public (part of Twyi Valley Open studio’s) for two weekends in July and some of the week in between, I’ll also be having a drop in workshop based on overprinting or painting fabric with some embellishment ideas during that week. This year I’ll be sharing my studio with my sister who is a print maker, I’ll post photo’s when we’ve arranged our work together, I’m really excited about how our work will “work” in the same space.

green necklace low res

Jewellery from Contrary Mary Designs, something I’ve been working on for about three years that would have been available in the shop much sooner but the photo’s were, erm, not very good? So I have waited patiently for a sunny day and have worked on new pieces and this is the result. My designs are inspired by vintage and antique jewellery, some pieces that I’ve seen in old paintings and some just from the beads themselves. I use semi-precious stones, fresh water pearls and glass beads and hardly ever repeat pieces. There is a whole range of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings that will soon be available in the shop but sadly the sun went in before I could photograph more.


green necklace fastening low res




tea and sympathy low resI’ve also been working on up-cycling fabric into art canvases and other pieces. I found some fabric that was going to be a kitchen blind about a hundred years ago, it features teacups and teapots in the most glorious blue and white, it was just perfect for embroidering and embellishment with beads. So armed with this piece of fabric I set about making up my own method of crazy patchwork using antique lace, buttons, vintage hand embroidery and salve-edges, in fact anything that I could get my hands on to make it pretty. I was given a huge amount of beautiful hand embroidered cushion covers, doilies, antimacassars, table runners and tray cloths that had all been used and loved. The embroidery was still exquisite but sadly the linen and rayon mixes had faded and worn, so I have carefully rescued the embroidery and incorporated them in to new pieces so this beautiful work can be enjoyed for years to come. This is also the foundation for one of the classes I’ll be teaching this year.

crazy bits 2 low res

Summer Days shoulder bag

Summer Days shoulder bag


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