My own page in Stroud life placed on Wednesday 16 Jan 2013.

Extracts taken from the article:

I’ve seen many sheds in my time. Some contain a collective feast of discarded objects, bits of metal, unwanted toys, while others are an inspiring hub of creative chaos where artists are free to move in playfulness and exploration.The Sewing Shed has the freedom aspect of the latter but has a soothing effect on those who enter.There’s an order to textile artist Martha van der Laan’s work space. It’s what I would describe a safe environment in which to discover, take risks, push creative boundaries and allow what is within to be expressed without risk of judgment.

It’s here in the Sewing Shed at the bottom of the family’s garden, where Martha’s inspiration gleaned from nature, geometric shapes or the material and techniques used, is allowed to develop into whatever creative form she feels inclined to produce.It’s done in a relaxed unpressured way, which I admire. And it’s this quiet confidence and calm approach which no doubt encourages individuals who perhaps have had a love/hate relationship with the needle or sewing machine, to have a go.Examples of what they can achieve are all around themas they work. Images of homely domesticity, child like drawings and nature are carefully drawn in stitch using one of her trusted sewing machines and bags comprised of recycled materials are carefully constructed so that they become a textile painting,where colour and textures are in balance and the composition considered.

Martha helps create a textile tool kit to enable others to fulfil their creative potential and she does so in such a warm, encouraging way which many leave wondering why they ever feared the sewing machine they locked away for so long.

Article reproduced with permission of Stroud Life.