Paula Armstrong

Textile Artist

I have plied a needle since I was seven years old, making doll’s clothes and canvas embroidery samples. That grounding in hand needlework skills, learned from my mother, has remained with me all my life.

I studied weaving during my Certificate of Education training, 1968-71. As a young teacher I joined the national Embroiderers’ Guild and learned ecclesiastical embroidery.

Constance Howard was creating a revolution in hand and machine embroidery at the time and became a major inspiration for my work. I have made church vestments and banners to commission.

After my Foundation course in Art and Design,

1994-5, specialising in Printmaking, I produced hand block-printed soft furnishings using my designs; but I gradually returned to embroidery

developing my interest in ethnographical textiles. I have built highly textured and collaged work using resist dyeing, mirror work, felting, fabric manipulation and hand embroidery. In 1997 I returned to weaving, concentrating on tapestry, a slow and exacting process. Having spent a lifetime gathering expertise in so many textile disciplines I am concentrating my energies on tapestry weaving as an art form. I am interested in combining it with other constructed textile techniques and embroidery.

Paula's oral history

As part of our Society’s Essex Craft Society Archive we have collected oral histories from our members.