Episode 23: Stitched with textile artist, Matthew Downham

Matthew Downham with one of his bears

Welsh textile artist Matthew Downham always knew he wanted to be an artist, and when he picked up a needle and thread, he knew that was the medium for him. Matthew, who has exhibited his art in the United States, uses layers of stitches to cover teddy bears in his work. For him, the act of threading a needle and tying a knot is as much part of the art as the finished piece itself.

Matthew’s black sketchbooks

In this episode, Matthew shared with me his journey to becoming the artist he is today, which was interrupted by a prolonged period of anxiety. I’m very grateful to Matthew for speaking so openly about the struggles he has faced so far, and am delighted he shared his story with me.

Listen to Matthew’s episode by searching for Making Stitches on your favourite podcast app or via this link.

You can find Matthew on Instagram and via his website.

Make You Smile by RGMusic from Melody Loops.

Making Stitches Podcast is presented, recorded and edited by Lindsay from Postcard from Gibraltar.

Episode 21 : Keeping a Heritage Craft Alive with Gini’s Dorset Buttons

Gini’s Dorset Buttons

Until I watched last year’s Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas (in December 2020), I had never heard of Dorset Buttons before. That was until Louise Armitage (also known as Gini) created the most beautiful picture using five Dorset Buttons to depict the four seasons to clinch the trophy for the Handmade Decoration competition.

Gini’s trophy for Christmas Decorations Champion alongside her winning entry for Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas 2020

Dorset Buttons originated from the county of Dorset (the clue’s in the name) on the south coast of England and have been around since the 1600s. They were used to fasten items of clothing in the days before mass produced machine-made buttons were available and were worn by all sections of society even royalty.

Some of Gini’s designs

Gini first discovered the buttons as a 17-year-old student when she managed to trace a lady in Dorset, who was in her 80s at the time, and was the last of her family to practice the skill after it had been passed down through the generations. That lady agreed to teach Gini the basics on the understanding that she would keep the tradition going. Gini certainly did that when she introduced so many people to Dorset Buttons on primetime TV!

That winning moment on TV

I caught up with Gini in January this year, after the excitement had died down and the flood of orders which came through in the aftermath of the TV show had been dispatched. We had a great chat about her creative journey as well as her TV experience.

You can find out more about Gini by visiting her website and Instagram page.

A close-up of Gini’s winning design

You can listen to Gini’s episode here. Alternatively look for Making Stitches Podcast on your favourite podcast app and you will find Gini’s episode in the podcast feed there.

The music featured in this episode is Make You Smile by RGMusic from Melody Loops.

Making Stitches Podcast is presented, recorded and edited by Lindsay from Postcard from Gibraltar.

Episode 20 : Mapping the World in Textiles with Janet Browne, textile artist

Halifax, A Yorkshire town

Hello and welcome to the twentieth episode of Making Stitches. After two episodes almost exclusively focusing on crochet, our attention is turned to textiles and textile art in particular this time. Late last year I spoke to Yorkshire-based textile artist Janet Browne about her beautiful observational work which maps journeys she has made as well as townscapes, gardens and allotments.

Janet at her sewing machine

Like all of us, 2020 and the pandemic has seen Janet’s world shrink from the freedom of long car journeys to walks around her local neighbourhood and that has had an impact on her work. She spoke to me about her love of making, how she wasn’t able to create the work she does until this particular time in her life and how she finds inspiration everywhere – even in motorway traffic signs!

Starlings and Cornflowers

You can listen to Janet’s episode here.

Stockinger Lane Allotments

To see Janet’s work, please visit her website : https://janetbrownetextiles.wordpress.com/2020/08/18/janet-browne/ or find her on Instagram

A Journey from Wharfedale to Seahouses

Making Stitches is going to be taking a short break, but will be back soon. Please subscribe to Making Stitches on your favourite podcast app or follow Making Stitches on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter so you won’t miss the next episode.


The music featured in this episode is Make You Smile by RGMusic from Melody Loops.

Making Stitches Podcast is recorded and edited by Lindsay from Postcard from Gibraltar.

Episode 16 : Creativity for Mental Health with Emma Jones from the Vintage Sewing Box & Looking Ahead to Christmas with The Apex Singers

Creativity whether it’s music, craft or art has long been seen as having a positive impact on mental health, and after the year we have all experienced, it’s something many of us have had to focus on. This week on Making Stitches, Emma Jones from Vintage Sewing Box speaks about the benefits of focusing the mind on stitching and how that simple repetitive activity can calm the mind and our thoughts look ahead to Christmas with the Apex Singers.

Emma Jones from Vintage Sewing Box

Emma Jones says on her blog that she ‘loves sewing’ it’s been an important part of her life since early childhood. In this episode Emma not only explains how stitching has helped her deal with difficult times, she also discusses her love of English Paper Piecing and hand embroidery and has a truly lovely tale about a quilt dedicated to the memory of her Gran.

Mabel’s Garden – Emma’s quilt dedicated to the memory of her Gran
Emma with ‘Mabel’s Garden’ on display at the art exhibition

To find out more about Emma Jones’ work please check out her website: Vintage Sewing Box

The Apex Singers

Also this week, as our thoughts turn towards Christmas, we hear from The Apex Singers about a special Christmas Concert they are hosting online. The young vocalist group, which is based in Manchester, launched its first album back in March just as the UK went into lockdown and is now looking forward to performing together for the first time since that launch. Lydia Wonham from The Apex Singers explains how 2020 has changed the way the group has made music and how they now want to share their Christmas performance with as many people as they can online.

You can find out about The Apex Singers here and you can buy tickets for their Christmas Concert ‘Snowed in at Home’ here.

** YOU CAN LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE HERE OR BY SEARCHING FOR MAKING STITCHES IN YOUR FAVOURITE PODCAST APP! **

The music featured in this episode is Make You Smile by RGMusic from Melody Loops.

Making Stitches Podcast is recorded and edited by Lindsay from Postcard from Gibraltar.

Vintage Sewing Box