Tuesday, 7 November 2017

November meeting - Corinne Young

Our speaker this month was Corinne Young. She was known to some of our members already, as she was one of the tutors at this year's Regional Summer School.

Her talk was a journey through her textile career, starting with gaining a degree in Textile Design from Bradford College, where her tutor was Diane Bates. After graduating, Corinne exhibited with the Society of Designer Craftsmen at the Mall Galleries in London, and as a direct result was commissioned to make several large hangings for the opening of Lord of the Rings the musical.

Passion flower (image taken from Corinne's website)
Corinne then started to make smaller more commercial pieces and revisited the botanical studies she had made as part of her degree work. This passion flower was an early piece. Corinne talked about the techniques and materials she uses to create the 3D elements in her work.

Further developments included these butterflies

Butterfly specimens (image taken from Corinne's website)

More recently her work has been fully three dimensional creating perfect little pots of auriculas.

Auricula theatre (image taken from Corinne's website)

Much of her work fits well in a domestic setting, and her home has been used for many photo shoots,  culminating recently with an article in the September edition of Country Living.  This has brought her intricately stitched pieces to a much wider audience, and it was a pleasure to be able to see these pieces up close.

In other news . . .

Next month is the Christmas Meeting. The theme is Shisha stitching. Please bring a usual sewing kit, and, if you have it, cotton perle threads, beads and sequins. Small wrapped sewing related gifts for the Bran Tub will be welcome. There will also be a raffle. The Christmas competition is for a piece of jewellery.

Jess Grady led a Young Embroiderers session over half term.


More pictures and further details can be seen on the Young Embroiderers page either by clicking here, or on the tab at the top of the page.

Our branch Triennial exhibition will be held 22nd - 24th June 2018, at the Tithe Barn in Poppleton, York. Further details will be published nearer the time. See the tab at the top of the page - 2018 Exhibition.

Friday, 13 October 2017

October meeting - AGM and Members' Reflections

Our meeting on Saturday, October 7 was our AGM. We welcomed two new committee members: Lilian Muir (treasurer) and Heather Cawte (secretary), and we awarded a bursary to Jess Grady.

Following this, we had a very interesting selection of short talks by members. Eight brave souls spoke for 5-10 minutes on an embroidery subject of their choice.

Jose Gledhill spoke about inspirational City & Guilds tutor, Jean Bowe. She read out a poem found by Jean’s husband after her death, a very witty look at City & Guilds from a student’s point of view. She couldn’t tell us who had written it, as there was no name on it.

The following speaker, Sheila Wade - who was sitting next to Jose - announced that she knew exactly who had written the poem, as it was hers! It would be lovely to be able to publish it here or on our Facebook page. Sheila spoke about how she became interested in modern embroidery through the TV series by Diana Springall, especially the projects from Julia Caprara and Jan Beaney.

Nikki Brown shared some beautiful pieces with us, which she had chosen because they reminded her of particular friends.

Pauline Twyman showed us her dolls in hoops, and told us about the Dolly Birds group and the Basic Babes competition.

Celia Ankers brought along some of the distressed and unfinished pieces of church embroidery she has rescued over the years. She is known in many churches now as “the lady who won’t let you throw anything away”! These are some of her treasures.







Josie Storey illustrated her fascination with the stitching and textiles produced by ethnic groups such as Native Americans, showing us pieces inspired by a visit to the Hancock Museum in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Jackie Shearman brought along a display about her glove making, which she has enjoyed ever since learning it during her time at Bath College.

Finally, Jean Graves told us about the Fair Trade movement, and what she learned from her trip to Vietnam, to look at the projects producing items for the Traidcraft catalogue.


Everybody enjoyed the speakers, and asked if we could repeat this kind of afternoon in future. It proved that we not only have a huge pool of knowledge and skills in our branch, but that these are on a huge variety of subjects.

(And I must add my thanks to Heather for providing the words for this blogpost, and Pauline for the images, as I wasn't able to be at the meeting. It looks like I missed a real treat.)

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

AGM early meeting start

Hello! This is just a little reminder that, as the October meeting includes the AGM, we will be starting a little earlier than usual at 1:30pm 

Sunday, 3 September 2017

September meeting - Kay Dennis

Our speaker this month on the topic of Stumpwork was Kay Dennis. Or more accurately, our speakers this month were 'Team Dennis' as Kay's husband Michael is also an avid Stumpworker (if that's a word) and he spoke about how he became involved in this traditional and very intricate technique.

Detail of Kay's work
Kay learned to embroider as a child, and then a set of circumstances and ill health led her to discovering needlelace and bobbin lace. She then discovered the work of Barbara and Roy Hirst and, in her words, became one of their groupies. The Embroiderers' Guild website has a video showing both Kay's and Barbara and Roy's work. Click here to see it.  Michael became involved as he began making frames for Kay's and her students' work, and eventually became chair of the Guild of Needlelaces, by which time he was getting involved in completing the stitch challenges set by the Guild.

The talk covered the history of Stumpwork - raised embroidery - and how the faces and hands of the embroidered people were created, in addition to the needlelace used for clothing.


Over the years Kay has added more techniques to her repertoire, and paints completed leaves with silk paint to get the required tonal variations. Blackberries are beaded, and puff paste is used to create texture.

Sometimes the commissions Kay undertakes are particularly challenging and this Humpty Dumpty (Humpty Stumpy?) took many hours of work.


Kay and Michael's talk was very interesting, and amusing, especially her anecdotes about the nights spent at Lytes Cary Manor (home to a particularly fine stumpwork mirror) when she was teaching workshops. I might adopt her revised spelling from now on!

In other things . . .

Help is needed in the following ways

New committee members - as some existing committee members will be standing down at the branch AGM next month.

A new leader for Young Embroiderers, as Diane is reluctantly having to step down as leader after many years.

York branch is hosting the Regional AGM on 14th October at Scarcroft Village Hall. This means we need cakes, and people to help on the day. Please volunteer. We only have to take our turn once every fifteen years, so now is your chance!

Get in touch with Sue or Shirley if you can help at all.

And finally,

This month saw the awarding of the Ida Barber trophy. Ida Barber was one of the founder members of the York branch and was its chair for six years. She was also a Minster Broderer, and she specialised in crewelwork. She was a very encouraging person and was very keen for embroidery not to be seen as elitist, and several members spoke of how their love of embroidery was developed by Ida. Ida instigated a competition for the 'Best Original Design' awarded annually. This year it was won by Jane Hare for her hare.

Jane's winning hare




Monday, 31 July 2017

July meeting - Members' day and the Big Stitch

This month's meeting was different from most meetings in as much as we didn't have a speaker or a business meeting. What we did have as usual was a coming together of members and visitors who have a love of, or interest in, Stitch.
We spent the day working on our own projects ( or in some cases - mine included - talking about what we were doing, but not actually doing much of it ).
I took a few photos to give a flavour of the range of work that was happening.

Daisies by Jose

Part of the Stamford Bridge Tapestry project, stitched by Sharon

Fabric dyeing with resist by Pauline

A selection of very fine bugs stitched by Shirley

Detail of the Blackwork piece stitched by Isobel,
 which won the prize for the best piece of Blackwork
There is no meeting in August, but we will be back at the Folk Hall on 2nd September.


Saturday, 10 June 2017

June Meeting - Joanna O'Neill

Our speaker this month was Joanna O'Neill. She described herself as an Embroiderer and Quilter and said this was 'all encompassing'.

Joanna is a member of the Contemporary Quilt Group, a specialist group within the Quilters' Guild of the British Isles. Joanna's talk 'Bitesized' was about her journal quilts. To the uninitiated, this is a miniature quilt, often an A4 size. The advantage of working small is that the process can be less daunting than embarking on a full sized bed quilt.

But . . . as we all know, why think just one quilt when we could make twelve?

Joanna's talk centred on the Contemporary Quilt Group's annual challenge of making a series of twelve journal quilts; images of each to be posted online to a monthly deadline. To add variety, each year a new theme or size (or both) is specified.

A selection of the 2014 collection using space dyed fabric

... and all properly labelled!

We were treated to Joanna's collection of quilts - she's been an active member of the challenge for over seven years, so we had nearly a hundred quilts to look at. She explained how a theme developed as she worked through a year, and explained the techniques she used, often using Markal paint sticks and stencils. She also has a special love of the Heide Stoll-Weber space dyed fabrics (seen above).

A selection from 2015 - coloured crayon, white fabric and sketchbook images

Detail of a 2016 quilt, with an unexpected background fabric.
Joanna's talk was amusing, (who knew that discarded boxer shorts contained enough good fabric to be the background for 2016?) and very informative. It showed a method of working small and exploring lots of techniques within an over-arching disciplined framework. An idea that could easily be translated into many other embroidery techniques. A really interesting talk, with the added bonus of being able to see and handle so many quilts.

In other things . . .

The July meeting is our Big Stitch day. Bring along something to work on. It's also the judging of the Chairman's Challenge where the theme is Blackwork. Also a reminder that the cafe will be closed, so bring your own lunch if you are staying all day.

The Regional AGM is 14th October at Scarcroft Village Hall. We are the hosts this year, so an advance announcement that we would like volunteers to steward, plus donations of inspiration bags and cakes (which sounds like the important bit!).

The Guild has a stall at the British Woolshow at Thirsk 8th-9th July 2017. If you have pieces of work to display there (NOT for sale) please bring them to the July meeting.

AND ANOTHER PLEA FOR COMMITTEE MEMBERS. IF YOU THINK YOU CAN HELP IN ANY WAY, PLEASE SEE A CURRENT COMMITTEE MEMBER TO OFFER YOUR SERVICES.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

May meeting - Valerie Wartelle

Our speaker this month was Valérie Wartelle, from Halifax. Following a textile design degree course, Valerie spent the first part of her career working as a commercial designer, but following more study, eventually decided to enter into the world of creative textiles.

Heath Scarf - image taken from Valerie's website
Her chosen medium was fibres, initially wool only, but later incorporating silk and flax, and transparent fabrics . Her moody and sensitive landscapes were so popular, that she chose to become a full time artist, and a very successful one at that. Valérie explained her painstaking technique of the layering and mixing of fibres, and her gentle method of felting which enables her to carefully build up the effect she desires. We were entranced by both her work, and the delivery of her talk in a soft lilting French accent. From product design, into fine art, Valerie now finds herself producing product again. We were honoured to be shown the prototypes of large, digitally printed wool and cashmere scarves, which by the way the members were drooling over them, are certain to become a sure fire hit!

In other things . . .

The speaker for next month (June) is not as advertised, but will instead be Joanna O’Neill.

Regional Day
June 10th at Riccall. Tickets (inc lunch) £25 members. £30 non members
If you would like a ticket, please notify Sue Giles before 27th May. You can pick up your ticket at the June meeting or at the door on the day.
Summer School
There are a few places left on the Region Summer School.
Further details about both the Regional Day and the Summer School can be found in the Region Yearbook

For the June Meeting
Please bring contributions for our bag (being made for us by Jean Graves), which will be our raffle prize contribution at region day. New or handmade items please.

We would also like to see as many “Inspiration Packs” as possible please. So far we have one!

Sales Table
The sales table is proving invaluable in the management of our finances. Sharon and Christine would like you to have a good sort out, and provide them with some more stock please!

National AGM
Shirley and Celia gave reports on various aspects of the AGM. The report of the Trustees and other documents are available to be read in the members’ area of the Guild website.
Celia announced that Shirley had been presented with this year's Executive Award, given for services to the Embroiderers’ Guild, and read the citation. Shirley was presented with a splendid orchid in recognition of the award, and for which she wishes to pass on her thanks.

Cafe refurbishment at the Folk Hall
Please note that from July, there will be no cafe whilst refurbishment of that side of the building takes place. This is extensive and may last for up to 12 months! Members will need to bring lunch, including a drink. Soft drinks and biscuits will take the place of our usual tea and biscuits after the speaker.