There is a rare opportunity to glimpse inside one of Watford’s best kept secrets and enjoy the work of online textile arts group.

Zooming Sew & Sews are exhibiting some of their work at Cheslyn House, in Nascot Wood Road, which is rarely open to the public.

The house and gardens were left to the people of Watford by architect Henry Colbeck. He and his wife, Daisy, were keen gardeners and stocked the grounds with a variety of plants from their travels, making them a popular place to visit for photographers.

Watford Observer: Cheslyn House and gardens as captured in collage by Sian FenwickCheslyn House and gardens as captured in collage by Sian Fenwick

Zooming Sew & Sews meet online on a Tuesday evening led by local mixed media community artist, Sian Fenwick, and funded by Hertfordshire Community Foundation.

The group also get together occasionally in person for away-days.

The exhibition includes stitched postcards inspired by Cheslyn Gardens, a tribute to Mexican painter Frida Kahlo and works created from projects throughout the year.

There are also two lockdown projects on display; an isolation blanket, with contributions from 40 participants reflecting what isolation meant to them, and a display of embroidery hoops expressing how the artists felt about ‘emerging’ after the pandemic. These projects were facilitated by Sian and Ekky Archibong through ASCEND Charity UK.

Watford Observer: Sian Fenwick and Peter TaylorSian Fenwick and Peter Taylor

Watford mayor Peter Taylor, who visited the preview for the exhibition, said: “I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to help Sian and the Zooming Sew & Sews make this exhibition happen at Cheslyn, a beautiful venue.

“Together with Watford Area Arts Forum and Sian, we are engaging residents with local art and giving them a chance to express their creativity too."

The exhibition is on display in the main rooms on the ground floor of the house and entry is free.

It is open Thursday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm, and members of the group will be on hand to answer any queries.

Watford Observer: Isolation Blanket ProjectIsolation Blanket Project

Two workshops will also be taking place in the house:

Adults' Workshop on October 18 (1pm to 3pm): Visitors inspired by the textile exhibition, the house and gardens can create their own ‘Postcard from Cheslyn’ in hand appliqué, stitch and embellishments. All materials will be included.

Children’s Workshop on October 24 (10am to 12pm): Participants will be able to create a torn paper collage based on ideas from around Cheslyn. It is suitable for all children accompanied by an adult. All materials will be included.

The workshops are free. To book, email