Thursday, 15 October 2015

Derbyshire panels

Three of us set off from Glossop on a beautiful autumn morning, heading for Chesterfield and the unveiling of panels depicting various aspects of Derbyshire that had been stitched by different branches of the Embroiderers' Guild in the county.  We were welcomed by Pam Keeling, the chairman of the East Midlands Regional Committee who had organised the morning along with departments within Derbyshire County Council.  We enjoyed a drink and a piece of celebration cake, listened to a poem that had been especially written for the day, and Pam had stitched a copy of it for the poet to hang on his wall.

Looking at the wonderful illustrations on the panels we could only wish that we had been involved in the project, but the day has given us ideas and contacts that we hope to follow up and do our own panel based on Glossop.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

The Staffordshire Hoard - inspiration for embroidery

This is the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold ever discovered and merits its own gallery in Birmingham Museum.  The collection of over four thousand objects was found in 2009 by a metal-detector user in rural Staffordshire, on a hill overlooking Watling Street, the old Roman road.

Sheila Conchie and Judi Brown visited the Museum a few weeks ago and felt very privileged to be able to see so many beautiful objects.  It is believed the hoard was hidden around 650 AD, by whom is not known.  Both Sheila and Judi felt that it offered limitless possibilities for textile artists, especially those wishing to design and produce gold or metal work.

Here is a computer-enhanced image of one of the pieces, believed to be a gold mount in the shape of a horse or seahorse's head.  The yellow lines suggest where parts of the item are missing:

This is a partly reconstructed piece, possibly fastened to the front of a shield or used to decorate a saddle, showing two birds of prey clutching a fish between them:

Not sure about this silver gilt object, but it is believed it may be a cheek piece from a helmet. Just look at the twisting animals:

This piece has been reconstructed by a modern master craftsman - doesn't it just shout 'goldwork' at you?

An amazing exhibition and well worth the journey to admire such intricately worked pieces which are over 1300 years old, showing extraordinary imagery and expertise.  And when you think that there was no machinery, no electricity.....  Master craftsmen indeed.

Monday, 5 October 2015

A new start for Glossop branch

After a huge amount of preparation, last week the branch held its first full meeting with the Interim Committee, who were formally voted in by the AGM.  We were very pleased to see eighteen members and three visitors, all of whom were enthusiastic and very much looking forward to the work we plan to do during the year.

At the meeting there were wonderful displays of members' textile work including the Travelling Books (eagerly awaiting their next journey), rust mark-making and numerous other items, including the sale of a wonderful selection of dyed fabric prepared by Christine Bardsley.

And a large box was provided for members to deposit their unwanted Unfinished Objects (UFOs). On the basis of 'put one in, take one out' the members took away someone else's unfinished work with the intention of reworking it - by fair means or foul - and returning it to the November meeting where all members will vote on the completed pieces to find the winner of the Rose Bowl.

This is a piece of rusted fabric artistically worked by Liz Smith,

and some more inspirational pieces.

Here are Monica's beautifully worked Christmas wreaths, which attracted a lot of admiring comments,

- and a wonderful selection of hand-worked cushions, watched over by two of the owls produced at last year's workshop.