About us

 


The
background image
on this page
is a detail of one of Sylvia's
more formal cushion designs
  Sylvia Cosh :: James Walters :: Sylvia & James

Sylvia Cosh

Sylvia began to crochet as a child at her grandmother's knee. In her twenties she was the director of her own company making trimmings and accessories for the fashion trade. After that followed a period during which she combined bringing up a family with lecturing, teaching in adult education, and freelance designing for magazines and yarn manufacturers. In 1986 Sylvia was featured in the J&P Coats film, "All in a Day", about crochet around the world.

Crochet Originals

At that time with a team of outworkers she also produced ready-to-wear collections of crochet garments for retail as well as her own one-of-a-kind originals, using brushed and loop mohair, cotton/rayon chenille and silk - some of them involving dozens of different yarns in carefully prepared shades, tints and textures, which she achieved by hand-dyeing all her own yarns. Some of the garments were sold in top London stores, but the majority were exported to the USA, Germany and Japan. When Sylvia was commissioned to do 'The Crochet Sweater Book', it was the favourite designs from these collections that she was asked to include, but in versions requiring ready-made yarns, so that people anywhere in the world could make them themselves.

Some of Sylvia's favourite things were her rich and exotic 'moth' capes and landscape coats, which may become sumptuous wall-hangings when not being worn, although she also had great affection for her cardigans and sweaters, which were similar, both in variety of texture and miraculous subtlety of colour

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James Walters

By contrast James did not pick up a crochet hook until he was thirty. Earlier he had almost by accident studied music for a short time in Heidelberg then, between various lowly administrative jobs at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and The National Theatre, he formed a modern dance company.

After that for five years he was general manager of a graphic design group and then in 1971, as an impulse-driven self-taught crocheter, he won a nation-wide knitting and crochet design competition, moved to a cottage in Wales and immersed himself in handspinning, natural dyeing and experimental crochet, whilst producing freelance crochet garment designs for yarn manufacturers. In the autumn of 1976 he participated in Pam Dawson's BBCtv series, "Knitting Fashion"

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Sylvia Cosh :: James Walters :: Crochet
(1977-2000)

Books and teaching

We met and began to work together in 1977 at the first of Pauline Turner's memorable Crochet Summer Schools in Morecambe, Lancashire. Despite always having lived at least 150 miles apart we managed to collaborate on various books and in addition we taught and lectured extensively in the UK at craft guilds and adult residential colleges, such as Missenden Abbey, as well as at Quarry Bank Mill (Styal, Cheshire), The Textile Arts Festival (Bradford, Yorkshire) and The Knitting & Stitching Shows (London, Dublin and Harrogate).

The Knitting Craft Group

For more than ten years we were closely involved in the activities of The Knitting Craft Group of the British Hand Knitting Association, promoting the teaching and learning of crochet, writing and designing resource material for schools and participating in workshops and in-service training courses for teachers.

James designed the "Knitterbugs" scheme for young knitters and was creative and technical director for the video, "SOFT OPTIONS: the Knitting Kaleidoscope".

Exhibitions, television

We exhibited at Foyles Gallery (London), Newport Museum & Art Gallery (South Wales), Rufford Craft Centre (Nottinghamshire), the Cirencester Workshops, The Pearoom Contemporary Craft Centre (Lincolnshire), at galleries in Surrey, Sussex and Hertfordshire and at art and craft fairs and festivals over a wide area

Our work is represented in the permanent collections of the South East Wales Arts Association and the Model Farm Folk Museum and Craft Centre (Chepstow, Gwent). It has been presented on television in several series, such as ITV's "Makers", "Work Box" and "The Good Yarn Show"

Workshop trips to USA, Australia and New Zealand

In recent years we spread our teaching wings across the USA, at Chain Link, the Annual Conference of The Crochet Guild of America (Somerset, NJ, in 1995 and Irvine, CA, in 1996, when we also led the Post-conference Seminar) and at The Fine Line Creative Arts Center near Chicago.

In Spring 1997 we were privileged to fulfil another long-standing ambition to go to Australia and New Zealand for a two-month workshop tour, starting at the week-long annual international conference, FORUM, held by The Australian Forum for Textile Arts (TAFTA), in Mittagong, New South Wales, and including "Wool Fever" for the New Zealand Spinning Weaving and Woolcrafts Society (NZSWWS) in Greymouth, NZ, and Cotton Expo, in Narrabri, NSW. In between we held workshops or talks/lectures for several groups, not only of crocheters, but also of creative knitters, spinners, weavers, dyers, felt makers … and whoever else was interested in " … the kaleidoscope of imaginative crochet with colour and texture."

In October and November 1997 we were also teaching at the 20th anniversary Spin-Off Autumn Retreat (SOAR) in Vermont and afterwards in New York for the Westchester Knitting Guild and at The Wool Room, Brewster, NY

From the end of 1997 we took a break, so that, together with Sylvia's husband, Barry, we could convert a chapel by a stream in a most beautiful valley in the very middle of Wales (where James now lives). Here we planned to develop all our crochet and video activities. It is still very much the plan to carry forward those intentions


More biographical information about Sylvia

An appreciation of Sylvia's life by her son, Nigel Cosh

'Reflexions' – an online exhibition of Sylvia's photographic double-images

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