Sunday, 8 March 2015

March Meeting - Chris Gray

Our speaker this month was Chris Gray. She brought with her many fine examples of traditional embroidery from Eastern Europe and further east in to Asia. Her talk 'Stitching Magic' was an introduction to the meaning and symbolism behind this embroidery and how this has influenced her work.

Traditional embroidery

She brought embroidered covers which would be placed over bedding to ward off evil spirits. She showed us how the same symbols, especially fertility symbols, were used in many cultures. We saw exquisitely embroidered dress bodices incorporating shisha mirrors, coins and cowrie shells.

Chris's collection is becoming more precious as, in places like Afghanistan, this traditional style is becoming rarer.

Chris is also inspired by the embroidery she collects to make her own work including protective covers which really don't look like a pair of knickers unless you happen to be looking at them out of the corner of your eye, as Chris joyfully related the tale of an onlooker being very perturbed by what she thought she was seeing!

Chris Gray - detail of large panel
 Chris explained some of her techniques - including how to turn wallpaper lining paper into something that looks like leather.
Chris Gray
 She uses traditional printing blocks and then embellishes, inspired by her collection of traditional embroidery.
Chris Gray
 She has also started making smaller pieces of work, including small book forms which she can keep in CD cases. The thinking being (she says) that she can maybe have a greater chance of working through all the ideas she has in her head if she works to a smaller scale.

Chris Gray
From the evident joy she gets from stitching and sharing her work, it seems unlikely that she will run out of ideas, but will continue to stitch to make a statement as she feels embroidery enriches lives.

Other things

Exhibition plans are progressing.
There was a request for easels or music stands to display work on at the exhibition.
Stevie is creating the list of stewarding for the exhibition. Please let her know if you can help with this important aspect of the exhibition.
Next month's meeting is at the end of March and will be making things for the exhibition. See the previous post for more details.
If you are 'upcycling' an item for the exhibition, take a 'before' photo to go with the finished item.
Stitched items for the exhbition raffle are welcomed. Chris Gray donated one of the small hanging squares similar to those pictured above, which was much appreciated.

New books have been added to the library including titles on Art Quilting, Crewel work, Applique and fabric collage.

Young Embroiderers next session is over Easter - the 8th and 9th April.

The Easter competition next month (28th March) awards a prize for the best work from a commercial design, so remember to bring your entries.

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