Watts Chapel

I’ve been wanting to visit Watts Chapel, in Surrey, for a while and this year, I finally got there. Wow!

The chapel is a Grade 1 listed mortuary chapel built by the artist Mary Watts and the villagers of Compton between 1895 and 1904. The terracotta panels on the exterior are made from symbols taken from Celtic, Romanesque, Jewish and Egyptian traditions. The exterior is very striking but I thought the interior was absolutely stunning.

The interior had been created, in low relief, using felt, rope and other materials which were then covered with gesso and painted in rich colours. The design incorporated many symbols representing ‘growth and decay’, ‘the light and dark side of all things’ and the circle of the eternal ‘without beginning, without end’.

On the Watts Gallery website you’ll find a 360 degree view of the chapel.

The cemetery in which the chapel is located is itself Grade II listed, with many of the graves designed in the Arts & Crafts style.

It’s certainly worth a visit and, while you’re there, you can also see Watts Gallery, Limnerslease (the house where Mary lived with her husband George Watts) and take a walk around the village of Compton.

Celebrate with stitch and collage

In March this year, I ran a workshop at the South East Essex Embroiderers’ Guild called ‘Celebrate with stitch and collage‘.

The idea was to make a greetings card using a mixture of paper and stitch to create a simple vase of flowers.

A mixture of patterned papers and text from old books were used to cut out simple flower and vase shapes. These were then glued to a greetings card and decorated using bold stitches using embroidery thread and embellished with buttons.

Here’s a small selection of the lovely pieces made…

Paper-cut greetings cards

I’ve started to make my own paper-cut greetings cards. I first got the idea from the book House of Cards by Sarah Hamilton which included artist Sarah Morpeth, whose work involves very detailed paper-cuts.

For the cards above, I began by tracing an outline of a design onto the back of a card, using a light box. I then found a pattern that I could use to ‘fill’ the shape, which I also traced onto the card. Using a sharp craft knife I cut out all the intricate pieces, which although it did take time, I found it very relaxing. My only problem was when I realised the tip of my finger had gone numb from several hours of cutting!