This month our featured SAGA teach is Judith Adams from eastern Australia. She has a website (www.statusthimble.com) where she sells beautiful laces, netting, buttons, etc. She was kind enough to answer a few questions posed to her via email. The following is what I learned from her answers.
Judith’s mother smocked for her when she was a child and she still has a size 4-5 dress that she wore. At the age of 11 or 12 she did some petit point embroidery. When she was pregnant with her daughter, Catherine, she lived on an Australian Air Force Base. Her husband was the Senior Dental Officer and she met another officer’s wife at the base who taught her how to smock. This prompted her to immediately buy a pleater. After about 5 years of smocking, Judith would take a pattern or plate and alter it to her own designs. She was a mathematics teacher, teaching children from ages 12 to 18, so she eventually transitioned from teaching math to teaching smocking and embroidery.
Judith teaches in the UK and USA currently and takes about 4 trips overseas each year. She taught her daughter how to smock when she was about 9 years old. At the age of 12, Catherine won the entire State Fair (Sydney Royal Easter Show) Arts and Crafts Grand Champion award. Judith designed a christening gown that featured lace shaped hearts, smocking, and other heirloom work, and Catherine did every stitch herself. There were about 250 categories, both for adults and children, including such things as lace work to wood work. A 12 year old girl was crowned the Grand Champion; it helps to have a great teacher!
Here are a few pictures Judith shared to explain some of the classes she teaches:
This is called “Bee in a Bonnet” and is inspired by our own Lone Star Smockers charter member, Bea Starkey from Fort Worth, Texas. Judith says that Bea purchased a vintage needlework pouch a number of years ago at an estate sale. Bea adapted it and created her own design. Judith stayed with Bea and Bob during her visit to Fort Worth and as soon as she saw Bea’s estate find and adaptations she said, “We could smock this!” Hence, the kit was created and features a Mother of Pearl bee button so there could be a bee in the bonnet. Just this past weekend Judith taught this SAGA class at The Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles in Berkley, California.
“Southern Stars” is Judith’s favorite smocked netting collar. It features 4 beaded cable flowerettes that appear to be cascading stars. She uses waves of beads to mimic the scallops found in the netting. After a 2 year approval process, this collar was her first SAGA approved class. The netting is backed with silk organza and both fabrics are pleated together. She had a similar collar published in Australian Smocking & Embroidery issue #29 called “Milky Way”.
The Bow Christening Gown was one of the first netting gowns made by Judith. A similar one was published in the magazine, Sew Beautiful in 1995. It has silk organza under the front and back bodice to support the weight of the skirt and is also pleated with the front skirt to create nice pleats.
This is “Lady Catherine” named after Judith’s daughter. She is a half doll series that Judith has created. It has netting pleated over a pink colored Swiss cotton so the pink color shows through the netting.
Guess who this lucky little girl is. This is Claire, Judith’s granddaughter who will be 4 in a few months. This dress was made in 2013 for the SAGA Design Show at Convention. She made a netting dress with beads and put a blue silk slip underneath. What a lucky little girl! Catherine and Claire live next door so Judith tries to only be gone 2 weeks at a time when she travels over to the UK or USA. She will be in Florida for the 2014 SAGA Convention and then will go to the UK in October 2014 for teaching purposes. For pleasure, she will be traveling to France this summer to see her son play in the World Inline Hockey Championships. No doubt she will have a smocking or embroidery project in hand between games.
As far as a favorite class, Judith says she loves teaching the “Painting with Ribbons and Beads”. She loves the oohs and aahs that come from her students when the wheels start turning and ideas spring to mind. Judith taught classes at the 2013 SAGA Convention in Frisco, Texas. The class I was privileged to take was the sequel to “Painting with Ribbon and Beads”. This sampler featured beautiful flosses, floche, beads, silk satin ribbons, and we did some smocking, faggoting, wheat stitches, ladder stitch diamonds, Van Dyke beaded stitches, attaching lace to smocking, and triple surface honeycomb stitches. Although I had never tried some of these stitches, Judith was expert at teaching them to the class. Here is the picture I took of Judith holding the finished product to inspire me to finish mine:
Judith was kind enough to allow me to take a few pictures of some of her other items that she brought with her to Texas. She taught a class on the smocked lacy pillow:
Here are a few pictures of some of her other items:
At the 2013 SAGA Convention, Judith’s beautiful dress won the People’s Choice Award. It was wonderful with lace netting and columns of beads over the blue silk. On behalf of the Lone Star Smockers, we thank you so much Judith for allowing us to use your pictures and participating in the interview for our blog. We can’t wait to see what you do next!