Monday, 31 March 2008

The Sampler Guild

Just been reading the latest issue of the textile magazine Selvedge (issue 22), and tucked away in the back pages was a short article on buying and conserving antique textile samplers. The article mentioned The Sampler Guild, which I'd not heard of before, so I thought I better check it out.

The Guild is an international membership organisation, based in the UK and originally set up by Linda Haddon. It's a forum for sampler enthuisiasts to share ideas and information. So if that's might want to join the folk at The Sampler Guild. It publishes a number of reference books on samplers, and the "Sampler Directory of the UK" - to help you locate museums and other places with samplers in their collections. Find out more about the Guild by clickin here: The Sampler Guild

Selvedge is a fantastic magazine for all textile enthuisiasts. Find out more on their website by clickin here: Selvedge

Monday, 24 March 2008

So..back to the stitch

The original inspiration for this project came from the V&A publication "Samplers" by Clare Browne and Jennifer Wearden (see front cover of book above). I highly recommend it as a fantastic introduction both to the world of textile samplers and to the V&A's impressive collection. Also, as an introduction to the myriad of embroidery stitches - from cross stitch, and tent stitch to russian overcast filling (which sounds like some terrible dentist's treatment) and the detached buttonhole stitch.

Clare is a Curator in Textiles at the V&A and I'm delighted that she and the V&A have agreed to be collaborators on the project. Everyone involved will benefit enormously from Clare's expertise and passion for the subject.

I'm very priviliged to have been given access to the V&A's sampler collection and to see and learn more about them first hand. The idea is to use them as the starting point of the journey, when I bring all the collaborators together in a week-long workshop planned for May, later this year.

I'll be honest, on a practical level I know very little about the world of embroidery and its myriad of different stitches. I'm lucky if I can get a button I've sewn on to stay in place for more than one minute. So this is a real learning journey for me. I'm hugely impressed with the skill involved in the samplers i've seen to date and the talent, labour and devotion of the embroiderers. It is this skill, passion, and maybe even obsession, that i hope to celebrate, share and maybe even develop through the project.

Friday, 21 March 2008


We'll I can't go any further without giving due respect to the originator - DJ Kool Herc..clap your hands..stomp your feet
click here for link: DJ Kool Herc.

Sunday, 16 March 2008


A clip of DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist's Hard Sell Show at the Roundhouse, droppin' Apache on the 7". Respect to DJ Kool Herc.

Which reminds me, I'm working on the list of my five favourite breaks. No easy task!!!! Please post some of your favourite breaks in the comment section.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Pushin' Buttons

Hi everyone. Quick post to let you know that DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist bring their Hard Sell Show to the legendary Roundhouse in London tomorrow, 13 March. Here's a sample of the show at the Hollywood Bowl - Hard Sell

Also, check out their amazing Pushin Buttons set on the MPC's along with fellow dj Numark by clicking here: Pushin' Buttons

P.S> Love Cut Chemist's logo on the website.

Friday, 7 March 2008


Sampler 1– n. a piece of embroidery worked in various stitches as a specimen of proficiency (often displayed on a wall etc). OF essamplaire (as Exemplar)

Sampler 2 - n. a person who samples

Ref: Oxford Concise Dictionary 8th edition 1990

My second post, so I thought i'd explain a little bit more about the project. I have two real passions in life – textiles and music. Very seldom do those different worlds meet. It's very rare that I can have a conversation with someone in the textile field about an obscure 70’s funk break, or the joys of a piece of 18th century embroidery with my dj friends. They are indeed very different cultures filled largely with very different people.

Sampler is an attempt to bring those two cultures together – to see what might happen when these two cultures clash. The word Sampler is common to both cultures, but has different definitions and understanding depending on which culture you occupy.

When you think of a textile sampler you think of

From the V&A's Sampler Collection

When you think of a music sampler you think of

the iconic AKAI MPC 2000

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

In the beginning....

Welcome to Sampler - culture clash.

A project that attempts to bring the very different cultures of embroidery and dj-ing together, through exploring textile samplers and music samplers. I'll be working with dj's, spoken word artists, b-girls, embroiderers, museums, club promoters, music producers and curators of embroidery collections, with the end goal being the Sampler - culture clash event at the V&A museum in London. I've no idea what's gonna happen but the journey's gonna be fun. I'll introduce all the collaborators to you as we go along. Who knows, if it works we may even tour it to a venue near you.

Today is the first day of the project and I really hope that you will enjoy the blog, get involved by letting me know about your favourite breaks, places to crate dig, or send me photos of your textile samplers, or weblinks to the wonderful world of stitching.

You know sometimes you're sat in the pub and you think to yourself "that's a great idea!" and you write it on the back of a beer mat. Then you ask people to get involved and they say "yeh" and then you ask some people for money..and they give it you!!! then you think ..."oh s..t" i've now gotta make it happen - we'll that's where I'm at!!!

here's some links to kick things off..loads more to follow
1) embroidery samplers

2) music samplers - an introduction to the legendary AKAI MPC 2000

This stage of the project has very kindly been supported by the Crafts Council in the UK, through its new Spark Plug Curators' scheme. Check out the other winners of the awards at