Friday, 8 October 2010

AGM 2010

AGM 2010

September’s meeting was our AGM and time for our annual Rose Bowl competition where members vote for their favourite piece of work. This year’s winner was Margaret Steeden with a beautiful box. Margaret explained her inspiration for this piece:

“The memory sewing box was inspired by photographs I had of my parents after their deaths, some of which only came to light after the funeral when relatives found them amongst their own possessions. The images along with memorabilia were made into a collage, printed on to calico and them embroidered with appropriate designs pertinent to Emily and Bert's life together. The box was a faded discarded sewing box originally owned by my daughter so in true recycling mode it was given a new lease of life. The said mentioned daughter now quite likes the idea of having the heirloom one day!!!"

Margaret's memory sewing box

detail of box

detail of box

Margaret talking about the inspiration for her box

A truly stunning piece of embroidery.

Next month: Maggie Rubin talks to us on “Back to University”.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Gallery of Members' Work

Here are pictures of recently completed items by Catherine Leighton:

The first is a Christmas cushion, hand and machined embroidered with beads and other embellishments: a beautiful and timely reminder that Christmas is getting closer!

Catherine's second cushion is in silk in shades of coffee and cream, again machine and hand embroidered, made as a present for a friend's special birthday.

Really beautiful. Thank you for sharing them Catherine.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

African Cloths and clothing. A Visit by Maggie Relph

Beyond the ordinary, into the fabulous” – this is how Maggie Relph described African costume at our June meeting, the final one of the current season before our summer outings and September AGM.

Maggie brought a sales table full of enticing African fabrics, beads, kits and much more. She also brought vintage and modern African clothing, ranging from special occasion wear to everyday outfits. She finished her talk by showing us a pair of sandals made from car tyres – they weren’t comfortable but they showed the resourcefulness of the African people.

Dorothy models a man’s garment made from a single piece of cloth. Such voluminous outfits made from heavy damask and beautiful embroidery were not intended for comfort but to demonstrate the owner’s wealth and importance.

Maggie and Elaine hold up two North African kaftans.

Maggie holds the top of a formal Moroccan man’s outfit while Norma has the bottom half! Made from damask cloth, it is embellished with Cornelli chain stitch embroidery

Maggie holds the top of a formal Moroccan man’s outfit while Norma has the bottom half! Made from damask cloth, it is embellished with Cornelli chain stitch embroidery

Carole’s garment would be worn by a Muslim and therefore would be accompanied by a hat like this one. The hat’s embroidery would have been stitched by a man.

Dorothy and Betty wear modern smocks from North Ghana, each weighing about 2 kgs. The cream one is hand spun cloth. The construction method for each is different and quite complex. Maggie told us that a person would buy a smock in the market then take it to an embroiderer to be personalised.

Hilary and Maggie show off a patchwork suit made from tailors’ offcuts. These cheap garments would be given to religious people who live without money.

Wendy – Pat Milius’s daughter-in-law from New Zealand – volunteered to wear this wealthy Nigerian woman’s outfit called an Aso-oke. Made from stripcloth it has a top, a scarf, a wraparound skirt, headdress and shoes. It would be worn at ceremonies, weddings, etc. The owner would buy an expensive piece of cloth and take it to a tailor. The unhemmed scarf showed that she was so rich she had cloth left over from the garments, but it didn’t matter if it unravelled because she could afford to buy more.

Dorothy’s outfit from West Africa shows the skill of the tailor. He has used the printed pattern of the cloth to make a feature on the fitted sleeveless bodice. As well as the top and skirt, the outfit includes a length of cloth for the owner to wrap around her when sitting on public transport or on a bench, to keep the skirt clean.

An extremely interesting and informative meeting!


Pulled thread workshop

Pulled thread workshop

In May ten of us were treated to a day workshop on pulled thread embroidery by Dorothy Hodgson.

Dorothy started by explaining that in pulled thread work the holes were created by pulling the threads of the fabric together rather than by withdrawing threads in ,eg, hardanger. She then showed us the sampler which we were going to attempt. This drew gasps of amazement at Dorothy’s beautiful work and sharp intakes of breath at the thought of what was going to be required of us!!

                                                                   Dorothy's sampler

Dorothy was as ever a patient and inspiring teacher. We learnt, to name but a few, satin stitch, four-sided stitch, honeycomb stitch, reed border, step stitch, wave stitch and three-sided stitch!! Although there was a fair amount of chatter, most of the day passed in deep concentration punctuated only by whispered counting of threads and anguished cries when the ends of the rows weren't level!!

But despite the challenges everyone was very happy with what they produced, and gladly took their sampler home, along with Dorothy's excellent intructions, to finish it!  Many thanks to Dorothy for an excellent workshop!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Catching Up

Whilst we may have been blogless, we have not been idle. Here are reports from our meetings in February and April:

Quilts and beaded tassels

Our speaker in February, Elaine Peel, held us spellbound with the stories that are stitched into her quilts. She told us her quilts are well used, well washed and well loved and that each has lots of memories attached. She brought some of her quilts to show us, including the very first one she ever made, and spun her tales for us as she unfolded and displayed her work.

Elaine also buys old quilts, she buys them at markets, sales, etc, and she showed us three that she has rescued because, she says, “they need someone to love them and take care of them”.

Having once made a set of small tassels to decorate a quilt, she continued to experiment and devised her own methods of tassel-making. She realised that to make really decorative tassels she needed to learn how to bead, so she joined the Beadworkers’ Guild. Now Elaine teaches others how to make exquisite beaded tassels like the ones she brought to show us.

Recycling fabrics, April 2010

How refreshing to hear a newly-qualified young embroiderer tell us how she treasures fabrics from years ago, how they are better quality than most sold today, and how she spends hours in charity shops and jumble sales seeking them out.

Amy Senogles, our speaker in May, has a BA in Embroidery. When writing her dissertation she explored the reasons for the vast increase in poorly made, inexpensive fashion items. She concluded that developments in mass production during WW2 aided the growth of the clothing industry, whilst a growing teenage market with disposable income and a desire to follow the latest trends increased the need for such clothing. She told us that it is estimated that, between 2002 and 2007, clothing purchases in Britain increased by a third. On average each Briton now buys more than 50 new items of clothing a year!

Amy showed us her degree portfolio, for which she constructed garment pieces from vintage textiles (tablecloths, tray cloths, etc) and new suiting cloth. Amy pieced the fabrics together, then extended the existing embroidery onto the new cloth, creating a completely new design and has sold some of these ideas commercially.

She suggested three obvious ways of recycling: selecting old fabrics for their pattern or colour and making them into something else, such as cushions and bags; making a new garment from several older ones; using scraps and offcuts for patchwork or to make accessories such as buttons and brooches.

Amy now works for Salford Heritage Services as a Merchandising Officer, buying and commissioning work for sale in shops at various heritage sites. She is also available to give talks to branches of the Embroiderers’ Guild and other organisations.

Next time: a report on our pulled thread workshop....

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

This blog is the place to find the most recent news of the Macclesfield Branch of the Embroiderers' Guild. Come back soon for news of our most recent speakers and workshops.