We started the day with Val Toombes explaining the 4 undyed silks in our packs - mulberry which was white, tussah not as white as mulberry, gum silk, and throw silk which was curly, soft, and shiny. We made silk sheets by thinly placing the 4 silk layers between 2 layers of bridal net, then wetted with water and after that textile medium. This was put to dry.
We then used a variety of dyed silks placed again between 2 layers of bridal net, wetted as above the put to dry. Some very interesting and colourful designs were achieved!
In the afternoon we blew up a balloon and after coating it with textile medium we made bowls by placing silks in layers across and around it resembling bad hair day wigs! We then took these home to dry and pop.
An enjoyable day for everyone!
Report by Diana K and photos by Jackie B
Thank you both for sharing your day with everyone.
Our speaker this month was Val Toombes. She enjoyed drawing and needlework classes as a teenager and made her own clothes at the age of 12.
In the early days whilst working aboard, Val’s husband bought her a knitting machine and she went on to design patterns. In 1992 she did a machine embroidery course at Farnham College where she became a Bernina fan. She then graduated on to the City & Guilds course at Godalming.
Val’s main interest is silk and she uses it to make paper, scarves, dresses, jackets as well as 3D vessels. She explained that she learnt to dye 10 different colourways for use in her work and loves strong vibrant colours.
Val brought along a selection of her work on display mannequins and passed smaller items around the room for members to look at.
Val enjoys exhibiting her work enters competitions regularly all over the world. She talked about a recent exciting occasion when her work was chosen to be shown in the World of Wearable Art in Wellington, New Zealand. Val also mentioned exhibiting at Ramster Hall near Chiddingfold in Surrey.
A group of members will attend a workshop given by Val so watch out for the posting.
Report and photos by Ros
It was an absolute joy to visit St Fagan's National Museum of Welsh history just outside Cardiff this month.
On a beautiful spring day two groups of us were fascinated by textile curator Elen Philips’s inspiring thoughtful guide to some of the special stitched items in the Museum’s collections. She even took us around the stores and introduced us to a group of embroiderers working on a hanging for the Tudor Merchant’s House, re-erected along with many other buildings from all over Wales. Elen also introduced us to the concept of museology - a relatively new study of how to present museum items in a variety of thought-provoking ways.
The newly extended and revamped galleries invited participation by visitors and I especially enjoyed the Gweithdy a new building celebrating making in many materials including stitch quilting and clothing.
A wonderfully rich and inspiring day!
Report by Clare R
St Fagen's Castle, gardens & relocated houses
Esgair Moel Woollen Mill - moved to present location in 1950's. The current spinner and weaver did his apprenticeship in the mill 30 years ago and now maintains all the equipment and makes woven materials which are sold in the shop.
1725 Silk damask dress hand embroidered with silver threads. Owned by Lady Rachel Morgan of Tredegar House. This dress is currently on display for all visitors to enjoy.
Below is a selection of items shown to us by textile curator, Elen Phillips
Photos thanks to Clare R, Vernice C & Ellen S.
There was a great hive of activity at the April Stitch Day. A group of members were busy on our long-term branch project, some were creating Flags of Thanks and others were doing their own work. Our extensive library is available to all members. Stitch Day is a great opportunity to chat to like minded friends and spend time doing what we all enjoy most, stitching!
Photos thanks to Vernice C.
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.
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/
* The Guild Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/embroiderersguild/
* The Guild Pinterest pages - https://uk.pinterest.com/theembroiderers/
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