Earlier this year the Prospect Hospice in Marlborough approached Marlborough & District Embroiderers Guild to ask if they would be interested in creating a hanging for the new Outreach Centre of Prospect Hospice at Savernake Hospital in Marlborough.
Our member Margaret Heath, who had created and overseen the Upper Kennet Valley Embroidery, was asked if she would be interested in managing this latest project and kindly agreed. Margaret has now designed a triptych hanging with the theme of spring, summer and autumn and she showed her drawings and shared her ideas with a group of interested members at a recent Stitch Day. The hanging will be a mixture of hand and machine embroidery and it is hoped a number of members will contribute to the final work which will probably take about 2 years to complete.
We plan to record the progress of this project so watch out for more postings.
Report by Ros
Caroline Kirton’s talk on Monday was entitled “Telling Tales” and after a while it became clear as to why she had chosen this title. As a mature student after the birth of her three daughters, Caroline enrolled on an Access to Art course which led to a Degree in Applied Arts. During the course she researched the feminist artist Mary Kelly and her work influenced Caroline.
Using her family and their friends Caroline took a series of snapshots of teenagers which explored their emotions, their relationships, their thoughts and behind each picture there is a message and an appropriate title.
It all started when her daughter’s boyfriend was taken back to the States without saying “good bye” and you can see exerts from an email and see the despair in the posture of the young lad called "Lewis" below.
Many teenagers experience traumas in family life and as a result teenagers get a bad press so Caroline wanted to highlight the positive. "But I need it!", "You are ruining my life", "She is copying me" , "I think this will be OK for 6th form", "Just Chilling" and "My Mum's a proper weirdo" are amongst the chosen titles. As parents ourselves, many of us could relate to the topics which had been chosen.
From a practical point Caroline takes photos which she then draws out and enlarges. She uses bondaweb to position vintage fabrics to the background and screen prints of text often taken from emails. She amazed us all by saying that she does not use a frame or hoop when free machining and always stretches the finished work herself.
Thank you Caroline for sharing your techniques with us and for giving us a most enjoyable afternoon.
Report by Ros
Our branch was invited to take part in the annual Avebury Day on Saturday 10 September. This was a great opportunity to show our work and to promote the Guild. The wonderful hanging which our Young Embroiderers created for our exhibition earlier this year was on display and, as you will see from the photos below, children were encouraged to stitch into a sampler.
There were a great variety of exhibitors - to the left and right we had a vintage fire engine and ferret racing!
Thank you Vernice and Lindsay for the photos. Ros
Following a wonderfully stimulating talk on the previous day, Isabelle Jourdan led a one day workshop entitled ‘Wild Woman Weaving’ to a group of would-be needle weavers. As it turned out the title was not a misnomer!
Isabelle with her voluminous hair, bare feet, frantic hand gestures, dynamic personality and superabundant enthusiasm was truly ‘wild’ about her craft. Moreover by the end of the day our group of sedate and temperate stitchers had all become infected with her enthusiasm and were champing at the bit to invest some of their own personalities and creativity into their samples.
The day started with Isabelle showing the group how to attach the warp threads to the frame. This was more time consuming than at first appeared as each pair of threads had to be attached individually. She then demonstrated the basic needle weaving technique using a single background colour. Once the group had mastered this she provided instructions for six variations of the basic weave, using just one other colour of thread, which amazingly, resulted in the creation of some beautiful and potentially intricate patterns. At the end of the day Isabelle explained how to remove the sample from the frame, and gave suggestions about adding decorative finishes such as fringes, tassels, beads and feathers. The completed sample could then be hung on a twig or small branch to give it a rustic feel.
Although three members of the group were able to remove their samples from the frame, unfortunately there was insufficient time to complete the hangings. However, everyone had developed sufficient skills and knowledge to be able to complete these at home. More importantly, everyone had been inspired by Isabelle to unleash some of their latent creativity through the absorbing medium of needle weaving.
A great day was had by all!
Report and photos by Maria F
Thanks, Maria! Ros L
After our summer break we welcomed Isabelle Jourdan to speak about her great interest in spinning and weaving.
It started when she and her husband were running an olive farm on the Greek island of Lesbos and she visited a shop exhibiting local weaving. Each Saturday for the next six months Isabelle attended a workshop and became totally enthralled with the craft. A lot of her inspiration has come from Kirsten Glasbrook who has written several books on tapestry weaving.
Isabelle does not believe in conventional weaving methods but follows the simple approach using a basic wooden frame and not a loom - an old picture frame, an old window or door frames for large pieces. An embroidery needles to weave rather than a shuttle and she uses a knitting needle to knock the weft rather than the recognised tools. Isabelle used the expression "wild weaving" and in some of her work she does not start at the usual place, her weft threads do not necessarily go the width of the work and are often curved. Finishing adds an interesting dimension and she hangs her work on driftwood and uses a variety of wrapped tassels, beads and even feathers.
As a result of her introduction to weaving the next step was to create her own yarns and Isabelle passed round a basket of raw wools and finished yarns from a variety of animals - merino, alpaca, Jacob, Jacob cross and goat. She does not sell her work, she teaches her techniques to encourage people to use their own ideas, colours and wools to make hangings, cards, brooches and bookmarks.
Tomorrow, Isabelle will be leading a workshop entitled "Frame tapestry weaving for beginners" so we look forward to hearing about it and to seeing members' samples.
Report by Ros L
During August Marlborough & District Embroiderers’ Guild have been taking part in the National Stitch day to demonstrate their skills, answer questions and promote the organisation. Members have worked in four locations around Wiltshire - Calne, Marlborough, Swindon and Royal Wootten Bassett.
Christine H organised a group of members and they hand stitched in the library at Calne. With Christine were Chris C, Diana K, Lindsay S and Linda W.
Photo by Christine H
On the morning of Wednesday 3 August, we stitched on the Turkey work for covering the replica 17C chairs at the Historic Merchants House, Marlborough. We were outside in the sunshine on the pavement in front of the house on market day and we had lots of interest from local people and visitors. We gave out information sheets about the historic house and the Embroiderers Guild.
Members: Audrey P, Rosemary H, Ann J and Hazel M.
Report by Audrey P
On Tuesday 9 August we had an enjoyable afternoon stitching, chatting and drinking tea in Cafe Art, Old Town, Swindon. Members present were Fiona H (left), Sarah W (centre) with guest Alli
Report and photo by Julie B
Royal Wootten Bassett
On Saturday 13 August, Susan P and I spent a very pleasant couple of hours in the library at Royal Wootton Bassett doing some hand stitching. We had a small display of some of our work, which attracted the attention of two ladies who sat and chatted with us for about 45 minutes. They may decide to join us at our next meeting. A couple of other ladies stopped to chat. We enjoyed the time we spent there and hope we raised awareness of the Embroiderers Guild a bit!
Report by Ann K
Thank you to all members who contributed to this event and for the photos and reports for our blog.
Lisa opened her talk by speaking about her 15 year background as a textile designer for the fashion industry, as well as teaching Sixth Form and University students. After completing an MA in Textiles in 2011 Lisa began concentrating on her own work and exhibiting with the Prism group of Textile Artists.
Prior to 2010 her work mainly comprised of etching and print making, but Lisa then moved onto fine art. She experimented with metal leaf, acrylics, paper and cloth. At this time Lisa’s work was influenced by the sculptures of Barbara Hepworth, with a theme of the vulnerability of children and the environment, using digital printing, collage and etching on embroidered cloth.
Lisa’s commission of The Nature of Mending project was inspired by the work of Anna Freud in relation to the children of the Kindertransport during WWII. During her research for this project, Lisa encountered many moving stories of some of those children who came to the UK and settled here. Some of the archived documents have been digitally printed onto cloth as part of Lisa’s installation for The Nature of Mending, showing how children who were “broken” by losing their families eventually were “mended”.
Lisa concluded by telling us about the piece of Textile Art purchased by the Embroiderer’s Guild depicting poppies, which was inspired by the work of Paul Nash, a surrealist painter who became a war artist in WWII. All in all, Lisa was a very interesting and inspiring speaker.
Thank you Ann K for this report. Ros
Janet's workshop was based on her new book and we were looking and interpreting the work of Vincent Van Gogh in hand stitching.
In particular the way he used colour. Samples include with yellows and using cretan stitch, green on red fabric stitching blanket and button hole, blue on red fabric with sorbello stitch, but to name a few. Our last sample was using neutral colours on a neutral background with a hint of colour using the stitches we had covered on the course.
Everybody's work was inspiring and very different from each other which helped us all explore the wonders of hand stitching which is a real triumph for Janet as I am a hardened Free Machiner!
Great 2 day workshop
Thank you Nikki for your report. Ros
Janet has recently received two awards. The medal is the City and Guilds Medal of Excellence which is an annual award. She was awarded it in the Tutoring Category for her work at Missenden Abbey since 1991.
The other award she won was the 2016 Broderer's Prize which was presented by Princess Anne at Buckingham Abbey. No medal this time as the prize is a cheque.
Thank you Vernice. Ros
We were delighted to welcome two guests (and potential members), Carol and Daphne, to our workshop making walnut purses.
Nikki Vesey Williams brought along many intricately embroidered examples for our inspiration and she expertly guided us through the delicate procedures needed to cover the two halves of the shells. Our choice of fabrics varied, the lighter weight being easier to manipulate and Daphne very effectively used lace from a wedding dress.
After covering and lining the pieces we then added gussets and drawstrings to gather the purse together. We were all surprised to find that the embroidery and embellishment is done at the end. Nikki brought along a good selection of beads, sequins and trimmings for us to use so it will be interesting to see how we decorate our tiny purses at home.
Nikki told us that walnut purses can be dated back to 16/17th century. They were sometimes given as gifts and often contained cloves to mask certain smells of the day. I think ours might contain thimbles or small items of jewellery.
Thank you Nikki for a lovely day.
Thank you Judy J for this report and photos. Ros
Information in this blog is provided by branch members who have attended the meeting, workshop or event.