I recently wrote a guest post for Fred Aldous, so I thought I’d introduce you to one of my favourite art shops!

Fred Aldous has been trading in Manchester since 1886, and while fashions in beards come and go, they have steadily supplied a truly astonishing range of art supplies. Time was when the Lovely Young Man wasn’t so keen on letting me go in unattended for fear I would spend all of the beer and cereal money on exciting sketchbooks.

In addition to selling some of my very useful supplies, such as hoops, mini canvases and Leuchtturm notebooks they have studio spaces where you can try your hand at laser cutting, borrow a photo studio or try their photo booth out!


If you’re not local, they’ve got a great online shop (but I can definitely recommend poking around in the shop if you get a chance, you can tell how serious your art supply addiction is by how far down the various sets of stairs you wander.)

Here’s a copy of my post, or follow the link to explore more Fred Aldous.

My name is Katy Bromberg and I create hand embroidered text art in Edinburgh as Misericordia.

I love you - I know hand embroidery - Misericordia 2013

I am very interested in the interplay between text and context; or what our experiences bring to our interpretation of a word or phrase. Particularly since communication is veering away from text which is shaped by our hands or voices, I want to explore the additional meanings that can be brought to mechanically produced words by font and colour.

Joy hand embroidered hoop - Misericordia 2012

I have chosen to present my work as framed pieces rather than, for instance, cushions or other housewares because I want my work to give text a value that is not utilitarian. There is so much text washing over us these days that I wanted to allow words to have the space to linger in the mind and on the tongue. The hoops and mini canvases from Fred Aldous give me a way to make less formal pieces while still giving each word or letter an iconic status.

I Love You hand embroidery - Misericordia 2013

I use hand embroidery for the same reason, it brings an analogue finish to what is essentially a digital form of communication. Working by hand also gives me time with each piece. Sometimes I feel like I am being guided by the piece more than being in charge of its creation. This lion had some very particular ideas about how he was going to present himself!

McGregor Clan Crest hand embroidery - Misericordia 2013

Even in my commissioned work, I can sometimes send subtle messages while still giving the customer control over their piece. For instance, I used the colours of the Suffragette movement in this baby’s name piece in the hopes that it would inspire courage and dedication to good causes.

Paloma hand embroidery - Misericordia 2012

Earlier this year, I had an exhibition at Trove in Levenshulme, Manchester. The work explored the relationship between food and other human appetites – love and money. The Staff of Life used fabric I had designed around the idea of endless consumption with fonts and colours inspired by currency.

Staff of Life hand embroidery - Misericordia 2013

Sweet Nothings demonstrated just how monochrome our favourite terms of endearments are.

Sweet Nothings by Misericordia 2013

Sometimes, it’s all about the font. Inspired by a friend’s love of mid-century modern, I decided to make a hipster sampler.

Helvetica hand embroidered canvas - Misericordia 2012

…and no discussion of the most perfect font can be complete without its antithesis – Comic Sans. (One to annoy the graphic designers.)

Seriously hand embroidery - Misericordia 2012

I’m always looking for new ways to encourage people to think about their words, I’d love to hear what you have to say!

Hashtag Unknown hand embrodiered notice board - Misericordia 2013  Hashtag Unknown hand embrodiered notice board - Misericordia 2013