The Joy of Stitch

An Afternoon with Sue Dove

Sue Dove at the “Coffee, Cake and Stitch” Event, May 2013

I meet Sue Dove in 2002, when I had started my A level course in Textiles and she was running a drop-in session at her studio in Hayle. I experienced Sue as a very intuitive teacher, who aimed at supporting student in their way of expression, never imposing her own way and approach. Sue’s own work defies to be easily categorized, for me it is to  strong, colorful and individually: one can detect influences from the Fauves, Expressionism and Folk Art. Her work no matter which medium she uses , may it be stitched on canvas, sculpture in fabric and stitch, mixed media, paint or print, speaks of a great joy of Making. Looking again at the wide range of her work it brings home to me, that I admire her strength not to be pigeon-holed.“Sue Dove is an artist, teacher, curator; she paints, stitches and prints;She was head of HND Textile Fine Art of Cornwall College and runs ‘Art for Health’ and ‘Alternative Doll’ workshops. She graduated from Liverpool School of Art in 1974. After travels in Cornwall, Morocco and ten years living in Australia, she settled back in Cornwall in the mid nineties. Her book, ‘Painting with Stitches’ is available from”  (From: Often over the years,when we met at various places and events, we often would have a laugh, because we would have some kind of “needlework” in our bags! Making is a way of life for Sue, once she told me about wrapping yarn around cord as part of her sculptures while waiting for the bus! We both are often asked, how we find the time for this “time consuming” activity, and the answer is we do, where and whenever we can. Sometime ago, I had told Sue about my project ” Time and Stitch” and also the follow up ” Coffee, Cake and Stitch”. Not only was she happy to contribute and take part in both projects, she also agreed to the meet me for an afternoon to talk about Stitch and Creativity. Even so our work is very different, we both share one particular aspect:

“The Joy of Stitch”

An Afternoon with Sue Dove

Sue Dove
Sue Dove

So today Sue joined me for Tea and Cake and a very good conversation. Typically for her, as soon as she sat down, she took one of her Stitched Pictures out and started, talking and stitching, so did I!

Work by Sue Dove
Work for the Unit 11 Show at Morvah Schoolhouse 2012
The Small One - work in progress
The Small One – work in progress

I asked Sue if she remembered when she started to stitch/embroider and why; Sue said, after her graduation, she specialized in Weaving, then she found it challenging and impractical to carry on when she started a family and needed a way of working, that was more portable and allowed to work in small but often moment and Stitch offered the perfect solution. It was fascinating for me because I developed Embroidery as a medium from similar experience, initially haveing a small child and needing matreial which fits into life. In the process I developed a deeper appreciation for work with yarn, needle and cloth. Sue and I have in common a deep to pick up something yarn related everyday, carrying it with us. Sue showed me the part of her current project, she had finished during a meeting of the St. Ives Society of Artists’s meeting. Sue’s work is related to Folk Art, Art Fauve, Expressionism and she translates her ideas fluidly into drawing, oil pastel work, Paintings and Embroideries: she said that she very happily sells her paintings and drawings but find it hard to let go of her embroideries as they carry so much of  her life in them. I whole heartedly can empathize with this feeling! Sue also said that the process of stitching, the repetition of movement, the feel of the yarns and threads are a great pleasure. This deep joy comes out for us in our work and we feel we can communicate it with those people who can connect with our work.  There is a tactile quality in the work which we cherish and want to share.              


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.