Elizabeth Ashurst MSDC

Stitched & Constructed Textiles

About Elizabeth
Liz is a textile and mixed media artist using silk, dye, paint, paper and stitch to create both abstract and symbolic wallhangings, panels and silk scarves. Light, colour and energy are the key influences in her work which draws its inspiration from her sketchbooks, photos and travels in Britain and Eastern Europe. She has work in private and public collections, including the Diana Springall Collection.
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Changing landscapes, and the impact of technology and transport on our natural environment inform Liz's thought processes. She has a particular interest in gardens and the wild forests and flora of Poland with its Baltic coastline. As a regular visitor to the country for the past twenty years, part of her exploration has been its history, culture and folk art and the influence of Russia, its near neighbour.

Liz is sometimes asked how her travels in Eastern Europe and Russia have changed her art practice. Her reply is this: 'Alongside my camera I have always kept a small black book for notes and sketches, this has become a record in words and images of my journeys, of people, places and artefacts. As well as sharpening my observation and noting the transformations which have taken place since the collapse of communism, I have expressed my concern about the expansionist policies of Russia and the strategic importance of the port of St.Petersburg.' (Fabrications, Robert Phillips gallery, Walton-on-Thames 2015 and The Lightbox, Woking 2022. See www.lizashurst.co.uk/mixed media

Liz has been particularly drawn to the paintings of Monet and Van Gogh for their use of colour and brushstrokes, which are not dissimilar to stitches. To achieve maximum saturation and luminosity, she hand-dyes habotai silk to create her own colour palette. For her wallhangings she uses the dyed silk and matches it to the local colour of the flowers and foliage. She then tears it into strips and stitches it onto a ground of rug canvas to create a rich, tactile surface. Sometimes she uses the dyed silk as applique combined with hand or machine embroidery for her smaller panels. Liz's silk scarves are a synthesis of all these ideas, each one is original and intended to give light, colour and energy to the wearer.

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  • Certificate of Education with main subject Art, Cambridge Institute
  • Diploma in Art & Design, Goldsmiths' College, London
  • Certificate in Film & Design, Middlesex Polytechnic, London
  • City & Guilds Certificates in Embroidery Parts I & II , Chelsea and Goldsmiths' Colleges, London
  • TESOL certificate, Trinity College, London


  • Society of Designer Craftsmen; Council Member 1992-95
  • New Embroidery Group; Chair 2007-14
  • Textile Study Group, Associate member
  • East Surrey Embroiderers' Guild (co-founder); President 2000-14
  • Embroiderers' Guild, Life member
  • Oriental Rug and Textile Society
  • Fabrications

Solo exhibitions

  • 1991 'Changing Elements', Dartington Cider Press Centre, Devon
  • 1989 'Changing Elements', The London Ecology Centre, Covent Garden.

Selected exhibitions

  • 2022 Broderers' The Art of Embroidery, Bankside Gallery, London
  • 2021 Society of Designer Craftsmen Excellence, Oxmarket, Chichester, West Sussex
  • 2019 New Embroidery Group Colour Works, The Sunbury Embroidery Gallery', Sunbury-on-Thames
  • 2018 New Embroidery Group Fifty Years on! Goldsmiths' College (Constance Howard Study & Research Centre)
  • 2017 New Embroidery Group, Knitting & Stitching Show, London & Harrogate
  • 2016 New Embroidery Group, Oxmarket Gallery, Chichester, West Sussex
  • 2016- Fabrications, Robert Phillips Gallery, Walton-on-Thames & The Lightbox, Woking, Surrey
  • 2015 Society of Designer Craftsmen '25 x25' Mall Galleries, London
  • 2014 New Embroidery Group, Hall Place Bexley and Oxmarket Gallery, Chichester, West Sussex
  • 2013 International Miniature Textile Triennale, Lodz & Gdnia, Poland
  • 2012 New Embroidery Group, Knitting & Stitching Show, London & Harrogate
  • 2010-14 Inspiration from Afghanistan travelling exhibition in U.K and Europe
  • 2009 Sampler-Culture Clash a national project with David Littler, London Printworks
  • 2008 New Embroidery Group, Knitting & Stitching Show, London & Harrogate, Rufford Craft Centre, Nottinghamshire, Rye Art Gallery
  • 2000 Surrey Artists Open Studios annually to 2013


  • Primary & Secondary schools, Art & Design and residencies
  • Adult Education classes, teaching and verifying for the City & Guilds certificates in Embroidery
  • Lectures & workshops for branches of the Embroiderers' Guild, Spinners, Weavers & Dyers, throughout the U.K, New South Wales and Melbourne, Australia
  • Workshops and summer schools for Missenden Abbey, Bucks, West Dean College, Sussex,National Gallery, London, City Literary Institute, London, Art societies and my own Reigate Studio
  • Residency 'Year of the Artist, 2000' Fishbourne Roman Palace, West Sussex


  • 1984 Gertrude Jekyll, Gardener & Craftswoman by Michael Tooley, Michaelmass, contributor
  • 1979 Natural Dyes , Pictures without Paint, Focal Point Filmstrips
  • 1978 Complete Book of Needlecraft, Embroidery section, Marshall Cavendish
  • 1977 Embroidery, by Mary Gostelow, contributor 1977
  • 1976 Collage (Gold Hands) Marshall Cavendish
  • Numerous articles for Embroidery magazine and the New Embroidery Group newsletter
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