January can make even the most energetic of us feel down in the dumps, however for our first meeting of the year, over 80 Embroiderers' Guild members arrived all bright and breezy and ready to face another year of stimulating talks and challenging workshops!
Four of our members – Patricia Matthews, Marianne Grime, Val Mackin and Marjorie Derbyshire had “volunteered” to “show and tell” their individual skills and techniques to the assembled group.
Patricia Matthews was the first to address the group – a daunting task at the best of times – however she soon had us chuckling as she described her Scottish Calvinistic upbringing, when anything home made had to be “sensible and useful.”
This included articles such as socks, crocheted blankets, hand sewn dresses and, horror of horrors, knitted underwear!
She had bought along several beautiful samples of her work, including a variety of small quilts, which had been Art Nouveau inspired, as well as samples of Honiton and Continental lacework.
Our next volunteer was Marianne Grime, famous amongst our group for her quirky waistcoats and belts, who relayed her story about how she became a hat designer, although there are those amongst us who might say a Mad Hatter!
It all started with Marianne searching high and low for a fascinator to match a wedding outfit. Having finally discovered the perfect match, it was posted from Australia at great cost, and upon examination Marianne realized how simple it would be to make her own!
Never one to hide her light under a bushel, and always one to bounce back, Marianne decided to design a fascinator for the Royal Wedding. This one was constructed of butterflies bouncing gaily from a hair band.
It would appear that Marianne spends a lot of time rummaging in the garden shed for wire when inspiration calls, and by her own admission, the poem that starts:
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me
Aptly describes her……….
Val Mackin was next into the firing line. Appropriately for our locality; Val lives on a narrow boat, which can create a few problems with storage. It would appear that the solution to this is to have “an understanding husband.”
After leaving the Navy in 1984, Val and her husband have shared a lot of interests over the years including Morris Dancing, Clog Dancing and Garland Dancing!
Indeed the inspiration for one of her earlier designs – a workbox with embroidered sides incorporating these hobbies was proudly displayed to our members.
Whilst completing her City and Guilds, Val used her interest in The Bayeux Tapestry and the Anglo Saxon period to construct a “pocket,” complete with a circular piece of horn sewn into the opening.
Val’s other skills encompass embroidery, knitting, crochet, felt making, lace making, candle carving and ceramics.
Val will be doing a “Crafty Chat” in the Fat Pigeon in Audlem on Thursday 2ndFebruary and will be at Reaseheath College demonstrating her vast range of skills over a period of six weeks.
Our final speaker was Marjorie Derbyshire, who encouraged some of our newer and less confident members by showing how her skills had progressed from early simple pieces, when she was a complete novice, to the amazing array of inspirational designs that she creates today.
The vast diversity of techniques that Marjorie showed in the samples she had brought with her was staggering: Glass coasters, jewellery, felt vessels inspired by the sea, needle punched felt, combinations of enamel on felt – the list was endless.
When Marjorie sat down we all gasped in awe and admiration for someone who had shown us that the road from amateur to professional may be long, but with huge determination it can be achieved.
You can click on the link below the photo for more photos of the workshops.
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