Maggie Shaw

An appreciation

For many years The Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen Summer Show in Painswick was the highlight of Maggie's calendar.

Read Anne James and Colin Gerard's appreciation

The Retrospective

Thanks to everyone who attended the retrospective exhibition earlier this year at Stroud Valleys Artspace.

The exhibition featured many pieces on loan from collectors of Maggie's art. This helped to create an opportunity to document Maggie's world of abstract embroidery and painting. The task has just started and it could be a while before photos get titles and descriptions.

Here is a taster of what is to come.

The goal of the online gallery is to showcase Maggie's art in archive grade high resolution. You can take a deep-zoom in to see individual brush strokes and extraordinarily fine embroidered details.

The creative process

Hear Maggie in conversation with her friend and fellow Stroud artist Noela Bewry



There are enough of Maggie's sketchbooks to deserve a collective noun. They reveal her creative processes and contain plenty of hidden gems.

For the retrospective exhibition we felt that the sketchbooks best stay inside a glass case. But we did scan a few at 2400 dpi for the deep-zoom experience.

Cheekily we keep in the pages used for telephone messages and random doodles. You might have to skip a few pages before getting to the good stuff. But when you do, zoom in and enjoy the details that you might miss if flicking through the 20cm sized originals.

The embroidery

Maggie started in embroidery with landscape pieces. Over time her embroidery became more abstract.

The selection of pieces here are approximately 20 cm in size. Zoom in to stitch-level to truly enjoy them.

Creativity wise, Maggie used a Frister+Rossman sewing machine much like how Jimmy Hendrix used a Fender Stratocaster. This could be just as noisy late at night.

Knitted dolls

Maggie made knitting into an extreme sport with this series of miniature knitted dolls.

The early prototype dolls were about three inches tall, then, with knitting needles custom made from sharpened piano wire, the truly sub-miniature masterpieces were brought into this world.

Most were given away as gifts. Needless to say they were all kept. The dolls, teddy bears and clowns had a re-union at the retrospective exhibition. More photos are coming soon.

The miniature dolls always had knickers, petticoats and accessories.

Check back soon for the miniature dolls (less than 4 cm high) with miniature dolls of their own.


Due to arthritis Maggie had to move on from the embroidery. Painting became the new passion.

With art it is best to know the rules before you break them. Self-taught only gets you so far if you don't know how to mix paint. Hence Maggie became a student, completing assignments for her degree that weren't in the preferred realm of abstract art.

Maggie was better known as a teacher rather than a student. For many years she taught young adults at Stroud College and the young-of-all-ages in a private class of her own.

Rather than maintain classroom discipline with a rod of iron, Maggie kept her students focused by occasionally rewarding them with stories of Petal, the world's fiercest budgerigar. Needles to say, they were captivated.

Equally captivated were Maggie's friends, with wholesomely lurid stories of her students and what really went on during those overseas trips to Europe's cultural capitals.

Painting success

Maggie's paintings graced the walls of several galleries, notably including the Stour Gallery in Warwickshire. Sales from the Stour Gallery made a big difference to Christmas for many years in the Shaw household.

Maggie's profile at the Stour Gallery mentions that she was a finalist in the 2011 BBC 'reality TV' programme Show Me The Monet and that her sketch books were selected for the Sketch Drawing Prize in 2011.

Her appearances on the reality TV show have not made it onto YouTube yet, however her experience was not the brutal humiliation that normally goes with the genre.

Coming soon...

Currently the interactive gallery only has a small collection of test images. Many more photos are to follow.

Maggie did not use a digital camera or post updates to Instagram. Hence the photography project has just started. It has taken many attempts to establish how to bring high resolution photography to the web in a way that will stand the test of time.

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We might send you an email regarding Stroud Valleys Artspace Open Studios event some time in summer. If this volume of spam is too overwhelming then you can always unsubscribe from our particularly infrequent newsletter at any time.