Saturday, 3 December 2016

December meeting - It's Christmas!

Even though Christmas may still seem a long way into the future, as this is our December meeting, it's Christmas themed.

We have no speaker but instead work on a mini - project. In theory it can be finished in the afternoon, but with all the other things going on - Christmas competition, tea and magnificent Christmas cake, Bran tub, raffle, sales table, and plenty of chatter - not everyone finished what we were working on.

It was an ingenious little decoration or bag, made from triangles, and though I didn't finish mine in time (see above!) this is one that was completed.



The theme for the Christmas competition was Flora and Fauna. The winner is chosen by popular vote.


This cute little chap won the prize. Made by Carole, who said she had never won anything before!

In other news - the branch now has a facebook page. It's an open group,  so can be visited by anyone, with the intention of publicising our branch. If you're on facebook, find it here.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas. See you next year.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

November Meeting - The Guild Collection

Today's talk was given by Pauline Heywood, the current chair of our region.

Collection image from the Embroiderers' Guild website

Pauline gave an interesting and illustrated talk about the history and development of the collection held by the Embroiderers' Guild, from its inception in 1906 to its present location in Aylesbury today. She also showed pictures of some of the most important items in the collection, including some of the earliest items - Coptic woven fragments from the 6th to 10th century. The first item to be acquired in the collection was apparently a pair of kid gloves dating from approximately 1600.  Today the collection spans not only the centuries, but also the continents with articles collected from around the world. More information about the collection can be found here on the Embroiderers' Guild website.

In other matters . . .

Stitch club has restarted as part of the morning session. It is open to all members.  In December Pauline will be giving a demonstration of Free Machine embroidery and Chris will be giving ideas for working with layers of fabrics, and in January Eileen will be demonstrating what can be achieved with a soldering iron!

The December meeting is the Christmas meeting. We will be making a Christmas bag using triangles. Please bring Christmas fabric, usual sewing kit, embellishments and a Pritt stick.

We have also been approached by Susan Aldworth, an artist who is working on a project '1001 Pillowcases'
One of the works that will go on show at St Mary’s in York during The Dark Self exhibition in May 2017, is an installation of 1001 embroidered pillowcases, sewn by local people, community groups and schools.. anyone who wants to join in.
One Thousand and One Nights: I dream of… An installation based on the Arabian Nights, stories that were collected over many centuries from the Middle East and South Asia. The installation will bring together 1001 dreams and thoughts about what sleep is from local community groups, individuals and schools in and around York. They will embroider their dreams and thoughts onto the front of 1001 white pillowcases.
If you interested in this project please contact:
Susan Aldworth:
M: 07732 987 786


Saturday, 1 October 2016

October Meeting - AGM and Marion Anniss

Our speaker this afternoon was Marion Anniss, and her accompanying guest was a very friendly gnome. Although he is only about 12" high, he was the captivating subject for Marion's talk about the trials and tribulations of creating a 3D functional piece for City and Guilds.

Marion's Gnome
The gnome (he is nameless, and only known as 'gnome') proved to be made from a wealth of different textile techniques, and called upon Marion's skills and inventiveness. From the initial research into gnomes - she knew she wanted a friendly gnome - to discovering how to create articulated limbs, turn tights into heads, use a soldering iron to best advantage, and create painted toenails, the finished gnome was a showpiece of the wide range of skills learned on a City and Guilds course, and the talk was light-hearted, amusing and very informative.

In other things . . .

For possibly the first time, our branch AGM was held in the morning, rather than at the start of the afternoon. Chairman Kath stood down after eight years on the committee, with four of them as chair, but not before she gave us her report and a resume of the activities of the year - mostly all detailed here in the blog. She is looking forward to being an 'ordinary' member of the branch again and thanked all the committee members past and present that have supported her so ably over the years. Stevie and Caroline are also standing down. We now have Joint Chairs in Sue and Shirley, but are in need of a treasurer. There is a possibility the role can be split into two. Do let Sue or Shirley know if you are willing to take on some or all of this role. It is vital that there is a treasurer for the branch to continue.

The bursary which is available to members of the Yorkshire and Humber region was awarded to two people this year - Linda and Jane from the Harrogate branch - and will help them complete their City and Guild studies. They both brought some of their work to the meeting today, and will exhibit at our next exhibition (in 2018).

A detail from some of Linda's work


A detail from some of Jane's work

Stitch Club will be starting up again at the November meeting. It will be led by Chris, with her band of helpers. Stitch club runs in the morning from 10:00 am until lunch time. The aim is to teach whatever techniques are requested - so bring your ideas! The theme will be the seasons, making tiny panels in appropriate colours throughout the year. It isn't necessary to commit to every month.
If you'd like to be part of this, bring a basic sewing kit and threads and fabrics in appropriate colours - starting in November with Autumn. As these will be mini panels, you won't need big pieces of material!

There will be a sales table at the November meeting.

Young Embroiderers will meet in the October half term. There will be a Noah's Ark theme. Classes run on two consecutive mornings, and cost £4 in total. If you would like more details, see the Young Embroiderers page by clicking on the tab above.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Scam membership payment request

Some members may have received an email purporting to be from the Embroiderers' Guild via Paypal requesting payment of the Annual Subscription.

THIS IS A SCAM and has not originated from the Embroiderers' Guild.

Further information on what action to take if you have been affected is available from the Guild website by clicking here.

Subscriptions will continue to be collected as usual at branch meetings.


Monday, 5 September 2016

September Meeting - Carol Coleman

Branch meetings were back to normal this month, after a trip to Scampston Hall and the Big Stitch day taking the place of July and August meetings.

Our speaker was Carol Coleman. As she is a long-standing York branch member, she is well known to us, but her talk gave us an insight into the thought processes and methods she uses in her work.

Rockface (detail) Carol Coleman
Carol talked about her desire to create things, using anything that takes her fancy. She has worked with ring-pulls, fur fabric, painted (Tyvek) envelopes and distresses them if need be. Her tools include drills and needles and digital images which she manipulates to create a basis for her work.

She works in many textile techniques (although she expressed an exception to counted thread work!) but most of her work is free machine embroidery.

Carol loves a challenge, and recently was one of the Embroiderers' Guild members involved in creating an element for the Game of Thrones embroidery currently on display at Bankfield museum. This was a very interesting talk, that encouraged us to make time to experiment, and remain open to new ideas.

In other things . . . 

Last month, Josie S won the Chairman's award for Shadow work technique, and this month Diane M won the Ida Barber Trophy.

Next month the meeting includes the branch AGM. This will take place at 11:00am, with lunch available afterwards. In the afternoon the speaker is Marion Anniss. See the Programme for more details.

A reminder that the Region AGM will be at 10:00am on Saturday 8th October, at Scarcroft Village Hall. Bring a packed lunch.

Monday, 20 June 2016

June Meeting - Maria Walker

Our speaker at the June meeting was Maria Walker. She describes herself as 'a contemporary artist who explores the concept of embodiment and memory through a variety of media and techniques, but which often involve using textiles or which reference textile techniques and technologies due to their innate tactility and flexibility'.

Her talk centred on the Lightfoot Letters. A body of work which grew out of a collection of letters she found in a Cheshire antique shop.


The Lightfoot letters (image taken from Maria's website)
These turned out to be a set of letters written from a mother to a daughter who had gone to live with an aunt. The letters  were full of the details of everyday life and gossip, and Maria took selected phrases to use in her work.

Ada (image taken from Maria's website)
Then, with a curious stroke of fate, Maria met poet Angela Topping, who was the grandaughter of the letter writers. A collaboration started, and Angela was able to provide photographs of the subjects of the letters. This led to an exhibition of The Lightfoot Letters, which toured to several venues.

Maria uses many mixed media and textile techniques in her work, using scans of the original letters, photos and found items including skates and an old typewriter. She explores cut work, machine embroidery, digital printing and screen printing to create multi layered pieces of work.

We were fortunate that Maria was able to bring lots of her work to the meeting and we were able to see these techniques up close. It was a really interesting talk, and showed how a small starting point for inspiration can turn in to a magnificent and thought provoking body of work.

Other things . . .

A reminder that there will not be a July meeting at the Folk Hall. Instead, there will be a trip to Scampston Hall to see the Capability Brown exhibition. The aim is to meet in the Conservatory at Scampston at 11:30am.  If you are able to offer a lift, or would like to have a lift to Scampston, the plan is to leave the Folk Hall at 10:30am. Please contact Kath if you still need to make arrangements.
There is an entrance charge to Scampston Hall. This is a link to their website.

The August meeting is on 6th August and is the Big Stitch Day from 11:00am to 3:00pm. The meeting will be open to the public, and there will be no admission charge for members or visitors that day.  Bring some work to do! Hopefully this will be an informal meeting with an opportunity to meet friends and share ideas. Lunches and tea will be provided as usual.

The Shadow work competition will be judged at the August meeting.

And a reminder that the Ida Barber Trophy will be judged at the September meeting.







Wednesday, 6 April 2016

April Meeting - Harriet Lawton

Our speaker this month was Harriet Lawton. She may have already come to your attention with articles in the May/June 2013 and Sept/Oct 2013 issues of Embroidery Magazine. These magazine articles showcased Harriet's work for her BA in Embroidery from Manchester MMU and featured the installation of large 'ceramics' she made for the new Manchester School of Art building.

Harriet Lawton: Cafe Gallery installation 2013
 (image taken from her website)

Harriet's talk gave us a whistle stop tour of her time at Manchester, and how her career has developed since graduation. She talked about her love of objects and collections, and how this has been a major theme in much of her work. In her second year, she looked at the Japanese tradition of Kintsugi, where repairs, rather than being made invisible are accentuated with gold. Harriet took this into embroidery by mending broken ceramics using voile and organza with insertion stitches, darning and faggoting.

Harriet Lawton: Hand-Stitch Perspectives, Japanese Kintsugi Plate and Teacup
(image taken from her website)
This led on to working with the ceramics directly, using water jet cutters to cut isolated motifs and borders from damaged plates to create new works and installations.

Harriet Lawton: Circular Edge Composition
(image from Harriet's website)

Harriet realised that she was becoming a Fine Artist rather than an Embroiderer, although her work still draws heavily on textile techniques. For her Cafe Gallery installation, she digitally printed images of ceramics onto shiny fabrics which were then bonded to many layers of vilene, creating pieces that on first inspection appeared to be ceramic, and she brought examples of these techniques for us to look at - and touch!

Since graduation, Harriet has had a residency in Madrid, has her own studio, and teaches both here and abroad. She is currently working with the Gawthorpe Textiles Collection on the project 'Cataloguing Padiham' inviting local residents to record their impressions of Padiham. An exhibition at Gawthorpe Hall will open later this year.

This was a really interesting talk (accompanied by lots of samples and work to look at) and highlighted how contemporary 'Embroidery' can be.


Other things . . .
The Coach trip to Manchester for the Guild AGM on Saturday 7th May 2016 departs from the Folk Hall at 7.30am. Judith Johnson will be 'in charge' on the day as Sue is taking part in Pocklington Open Studios and is unable to join us. There is no meeting at the Folk Hall that day.

The usual July meeting has been replaced by a trip to Scampston Hall to see the Capability Brown exhibition. Please let the committee know if you are available to car share. Further details later. If you are planning to visit Scampston independently, please note we have been advised it is closed to visitors on Friday 10th June (although this doesn't show up on their website here)

As we are not having a proper July meeting, we have added an August meeting on 6th August. This is the Big Stitch Day. See the Programme page for more details.

Library. We will be having a stock take of our library books at the August meeting. Please return all your borrowed books at or before this meeting.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

March Meeting - Hayley Mills-Styles

Well... it seems that tomorrow will be April, and so this blog post on the March meeting just sneaks in to the month.

Our speaker was Hayley Mills-Styles. She describes herself as a Thread Artist, linking threads of narrative with the threads she uses in her work.

Detail of current work inspired by the coast
One of our branch members, who blogs as Hippystitch, has already written such an excellent post on the talk by Hayley that it is practically superfluous for me to write another account. Click here to read about Hayley's talk. (With thanks to Hippystitch for letting me share her post.)

In other things...
The committee would welcome donations for the Raffle Prize for Regional Day. Small, stitch related items would be much appreciated.

Also, a reminder that the April meeting is the judging of the competition for the best piece of work using a commercial design.

Normal blog service will resume next month (hopefully!)

Sunday, 7 February 2016

February meeting - Jacqueline James

Our speaker this month was Jacqueline James, rug weaver extraordinaire!

Jacqueline at work (image taken from her website)
Unfortunately, she wasn't able to transport her loom to the meeting, but she did bring many examples of her vibrantly coloured rugs - and a couple of monochrome ones too!

Jacqueline was born in the UK but grew up in the USA. She returned to the UK in 1982 and studied Constructed Textile Design at Harrogate College from 1985 to 1988. Very early on in the course she realised rug weaving was the thing she wanted to do, and started to specialise.

She was inspired by the work of Peter Collingwood and uses the 'shaft switching' techniques he invented to create reversible woven rugs. Jacqueline draws inspiration from many sources including nature, architecture and ethnic textiles.  Her love of colour was enhanced during a trip to India .

Wool rug
Initially she worked in wool, but then moved on to using a cotton weft and became proficient at dyeing the yarn to her or her clients' requirements, creating spectacular weft ikat designs.

woven ikat cotton rug

Jacqueline works to commission and has work in many churches, including an altar frontal in York Minster and Clifton Parish Church, York. She has also participated in York Open studios on several occasions, and worked as an artist with local schools.

She is very modest about her achievements, but she can't hide her enthusiasm and very obvious talent for creating the most wonderful rugs. It was a pleasure to see her talk and her rugs.

In other news . . 

Embroiderers' Guild AGM - Manchester 7th May 2016. In place of our normal meeting, the branch is hiring a coach to take us to the AGM. Sue Giles is arranging the coach, which will leave the Folk Hall at 7:30am. Cost will be about £15 depending on numbers.
Entry to the AGM is free, but you need to register your planned attendance. If you wish to attend the whole day where the speakers are Susie Vickery and Sian Martin, there is a cost to the day, which depends on whether you are wanting lunch or not. Full details and booking form are in Contact Magazine issue 41.

If you haven't got your issue, it is also available online from the Embroiderers' Guild website here.


You need to log on, to get to the information about Contact magazine and the AGM, by clicking on the (circled) Members' Room button. If you don't receive a printed Contact magazine, but are a member, check your account detail preferences. There is a drop down menu for choosing to receive a printed copy or an e-book.

Capability Brown festival.
Set up at Scampston Hall will be on 29th April
Contributions to the group project must be returned (completed!) to the April meeting to give time for the whole thing to be assembled.
Exhibition forms for exhibiting individual work are now available and must also be returned at the April meeting.

Friday, 1 January 2016

December Meeting - Christmas Special

Happy New Year!
I'm not certain where December went, but just in advance of our meeting tomorrow, I thought I'd put up some photos from our Christmas meeting.


We had a members' day, which is a really lovely opportunity to meet other members of the group and have a good chat whilst sharing a love of stitch.

Stitching away, with our branch chairman keeping an eye on us!

This year we had a mini 'round robin' where we all worked a small part of an embroidery before it was passed on to the next person at the table to add the next element.


To add a little extra challenge, each table was only allowed to use one stitch, so versatility and creativity were called for.

Fly stitch in various shapes and sizes


It wasn't all hard work!


There was cake - both fruit and sponge varieties, together with a bran tub and raffle, and the Christmas Competition.


This year the theme was 'A Christmas Parcel' and was won by Jose.