This month the branch enjoyed our annual Ploughman’s lunch, a lovely choice of cheeses and ham together with bowls of fresh fruit salad.
After lunch, member Vernice Church, continued her talk entitled “Textiles, the Taj Mahal and Tuk Tuks”. She picked up her journey showing us pictures of Udaipur, the amazing Jain Temple at Ranakpur, a step well and then Patan where they saw the double Ikat weavers. They visited the Calico Museum at Ahmedabad but unfortunately no photos were allowed so the images she showed us were taken from their website.
During Vernice's trip through Gujarat the group were given textile demonstrations, took part in workshops and had many opportunities for retail therapy. They were shown examples of Rabari work, saw Rogan painting by one of the only families who can still demonstrate this craft, attended a Kalamkari workshop and a block printing workshop.
Vernice brought along some of her purchases for members to see and we thank her for sharing her exciting experience with us.
Thank you for sharing some of your slides, Vernice.
Report and photos by Ros
Vernice made celebratory flags, Chris patched machine stitching together Margaret, Ann and Susanne stitched the Prospect project, Susan hand stitched and Clare printed poetry.
What a hive of activity!
Text thanks to Clare and photos thanks to Vernice
Congratulations from us all, Lindsay!
On Sunday at the Fashion and Embroidery Show at the NEC, branch member Lindsay S was the Visitors' Choice winner in the 2019 Madeira competition.
This year the challenge was entitled GLIMPSES OF ROYALTY and entrants were asked to create a rich embroidered piece inspired by royals throughout history – they could choose to capture Harry and Meghan’s romance, the grandeur of Queen Elizabeth, or even a Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt! With thousands of years of history to explore, there was a great choice and a wonderful selection of prizes to be won. It was supported by Stitch magazine with the Embroiderers’ Guild.
On behalf of all M&DEG members, congratulations Lindsay. You, and your work are amazing and a great inspiration to us all.
Nikki VW and Linda W also entered this competition and below is an image of Nikki's crown using recycled materials.
Thanks to Ann K and Nikki VW for photos
Very few of our speakers have had such a prestigious CV as Karen Nicol. Karen’s mother was a keen flower arranger and she was brought up with flowers everywhere. Flowers, animals and birds can be seen in the majority of Karen’s work.
Karen gained a 1st class BA at the Manchester College of Art and then went on to the Royal College of Art where she studied textiles. For many years she taught at the Royal College of Art and has been visiting speaker and artist in residence all over the world.
Karen kindly bought a wonderful selection of her work for us to look at.
Karen then went on to show us images of her work. A large number of them included animals, birds or flowers and ranged from dresses to bedding, table linen and even large animal rugs. She mentioned working for designers like Alexander McQueen, Jasper Conran, Givenchy, Betty Jackson and John Rocha. In time Karen decided to expand her horizons and exhibit and accept commissions under her own name. She started with an exhibition in London and one in Italy with the theme of lace skirts but has subsequently exhibited all over the world. In 2015 Karen was awarded the Royal Designer for Industry.
To our amusement Karen told us that her favourite machine was a 47 year old Singer. She sources a lot of her materials from car boot sales and jumble sales and is always experimenting with unusual materials.
This was a truly inspirational talk which opened up a world I knew little about.
Apologies to Karen for the quality of some of these images which were taken from her presentation. I now know how to adjust the brightness on the projector!
Photos and report by Ros
A group of young embroiderers, under the guidance of Guild member Christine Hill, created beautiful hand stitched and decorated needle cases.
Thank you Christine for the photo.
For the record, the February 2019 main meeting was cancelled due to snow.
On her table Judy showed us many variations of the "covered box". So many sizes, shapes, functions and colours. She set the bar high and certainly gave us all so much to strive for.
Judy gave us lots of instruction (collective and individual) and encouragement and slowly box construction progressed. Some boxes were almost complete by the close of play.
It was a thoroughly informative and enjoyable day. Well done and thank you Judy.
Report and photos by Linda W
Thank you Linda, Ros.
David Birks from Trowbridge Museum started the new year off with his talk entitled “1000 years of Warp and Weft”. He is the Learning and Outreach Officer for the museum which is closed for redevelopment until August 2020.
David started his talk by asking why the area of West Wiltshire (Trowbridge, Westbury and Bradford on Avon) was so important to the wool trade. We had downland for the sheep, rivers to wash the wool and later to power the machinery, and a good supply of Fullers Earth clay which was important in the finishing of cloth. Initially it was a local trade whereby white woollen cloth was woven and dyed and also raw wool was exported to Europe.
We were shown a basic loom with the warp threads weighed down with blocks which was superseded by the horizontal loom in the 12thC - this had a 7 year apprenticeship to learn the skill. By the mid 15thC it became a regional trade with a wool mark of quality issued by an Aulnager and clothiers responsible for the complete process from raw wool to cloth. Merino wool was introduced from Spain and this was mixed with English wool to produce checks, stripes and patterns. In the 17thC cloth workers from the continent brought new techniques and equipment
By the mid 18thC Georgian money-saving inventions were introduced - the Spinning Jenny, Slubbing Billy, Carding machines and Scribbling Horse. This was a period of industrial unrest as workers worried about losing their jobs due to these new inventions. At the beginning of the 19thC clothiers became very wealthy and the Kennet & Avon Canal was constructed to enable coal to be brought economically from Somerset. In 1860 the wool industry was at its peak. During wartime military cloth was produced for all sides involved but the industry lost out eventually to Scotland, Yorkshire and the continent ending locally in 1982. One of the last orders was for Mary Quant in the 1970s.
David concluded his talk by reading us the fines which were administered to the workers in the factories. They were a high proportion of the workers wages and appeared most unjust by our modern day standards.
Early each December we all enjoy a “bring and share” buffet lunch to start the festivities of Christmas.
This is always a memorable event with a wonderful spread of delicious goodies. After the meal we have a surprise speaker and this year Lynda Warren entertained us with her talk entitled, “He’s Behind You”!
From the title you can probably guess that Lynda Warren talked about pantomime. Lynda’s background is in the theatre where she worked at the Wyvern Theatre in Swindon first in the publicity and then in the costume department. She still works full time giving educational talks about the theatre, film and television.
She explained that pantomime first started in ancient Greece then came to Italy and France arriving in the UK in the 16th century. Lynda talked about Grimaldi, the Harlequin and the commedia dell’arte.
Over the years the characters have remained the same with the principal girl dressing as a prince and men dressing as dames. Modern pantomime has become very popular with television actors and pop stars taking the leading roles in traditional fairy tale stories – Dick Whittington, Jack & the Beanstalk, Aladdin, to name but a few.. A performance of singing, dancing, slapstick and jokes has entertained all ages of a family for years. There is always a background of good versus evil with the good fairy arriving on the stage from the right and the villain from the left. Audience participation has always been encouraged and the finale is usually a glamorous wedding or something similar.
Report and photos by Ros
Our November Stitch day was lead by Ann Smith when she guided members to make bespoke Christmas cards using printed papers. What a fun day and just look below at some of the fantastic results!
Thank you Ann for a great day.
Report & photos by Ros
Information in this blog is provided by branch members who have attended the meeting, workshop or event.
Marlborough & District Branch is a member of the Embroiderers' Guild, the UK's leading crafts association
* The Embroiderers' Guild website -https://embroiderersguild.com/
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