SW Regional Festival Day – 18 May 2013


Over 200 Embroidery Guild members representing 18 groups from the South West area gathered together for our annual Festival Day.  

There were two speakers, Cas Holmes and Patricia Godwin, a  large raffle, a lucky dip, competitions and displays.  
The winners of the ‘Superstition’ competition – 1st Lindsey  Sherwood (Red Sky at Night) Marlborough Guild, 2nd Jean Chisolm (Magpies)  Blackmore Vale Guild and joint 3rd Gloria Pugh (Bride & Groom) and Mary Clark (Every superstition) both from Malmesbury Guild.

PictureStreet furniture competition

Competition  entries from the host’s guild Christmas competition ‘Street Furniture’ were exhibited.

The Young  Embroiderers had their own display and competition which was on by Lottie and runner up, Emily.

PictureYr 10 exhibition

Under guidance of teacher Katie Griffin, textile students from Year 10 at St John’s School put on an exhibition. A project was organised for the Festival Day and students took digital photos around the school which were then printed on calico and then stitched – the results were amazing.

PictureAnna Nowicki and Jane Lemon

Festival  guest Jane Lemon, international embroiderer and creator of altar frontals at Salisbury Cathedral viewed their work and was delighted with what the students were achieving.

PictureYvonne Miles

There was an  exhibition of quilts from Urchfont Manor.  The new owner  gave them to  Marlborough & District Guild and our chairman Yvonne  Miles thought it was  appropriate for them to be displayed as many of the members at the Festival had attended courses at the Manor.


Display of Embroidery Guild colour samples

Retail therapy gave everybody the opportunity of  stocking up their store  cupboard and hopefully all the traders considered it a  successful  day.   Our thanks  go to Art Van Go, Burning Issues (Margaret  Beal), Chrome Yellow Books, Indian  Bazaar (Tiggy Rawling), Cupcake Cottons of Burford, Mulberry Silks (Patricia  Wood), Silk Sacks, Simply Sequins  and Winifred Cottage (Myfanwy  Hart).  A representative from Bernina was on hand to answer questions and demonstrate their latest sewing machine.

PictureTerry & Ann

Ann Hampton, the Chairman of the South West Region opened the day by  welcoming everybody followed by Terry Murphy, the Guild’s CEO who talked  about the past year at  headquarters.

PictureCas Holmes

In the morning Cas Holmes gave the Madeira sponsored lecture – Urban Nature.  Her work relates to the natural and built world and she uses found materials, domestic  fabrics and gathered objects in her work.  Cas told us of the time she found a Bernina in a skip and carried it home on the underground and was thrilled to find it still worked.  We saw slides of her  installations and she explained the inspiration behind them and their construction.  Cas emphasised the importance of keeping a sketch book and said she likes time to reflect on drawings before using them in her work.  She was also promoting her new book Connected Cloth to be printed in September 2013.

PictureSelection of hats

In  the afternoon Patricia Godwin from the Palm Court Theatre gave a talk  entitled “Anything Goes”.  She entertained us with her tales of Edwardian elegance to the roaring 20’s.  She was offered newspapers, magazines and periodicals by the owner of a stately home who also had an attic full of period clothes and accessories.  The Estate Agent recommended the price of £5 each so eventually she became the proud owner of a number of outfits.  As each garment was  displayed she read snippets from the papers relating to the time.  She had us all in fits of laughter as she read advertisements for Vaseline, articles about Edwardian meals, driving and one about kissing.  Each outfit came with its own accessories, stockings, hats, parasols and even a canary head and a motoring hat.

Next year’s SW Region Festival will be hosted by Exeter & District Branch in East Budleigh.


Colour Studies Folio – Email from Terry Murphy

Below is an email received by Yvonne Miles from Terry Murphy, the CEO of the Embroidery Guild:

Hello Yvonne,
I duly delivered the folio you gave me into the hands of the folio team of volunteers here at EGH. They were more than delighted when they saw the
contents  and thought and care that members of Marlborough Branch had  contributed to the  refurbishment. It easily matched the highest standard of  renovation work received in the last 18 months.
Nita Bailey, who heads the folio team, has just handed me a note asking me to include her thanks on behalf of the team to members in Marlborough for, and I  quote, ‘their time and expertise spent renovating and enhancing this lovely resource’.
Best wishes

“Board stitching” by Dale Armitage – May 2013

PictureDale Armitage

For our May meeting we had a most interesting  talk by one of our Guild members, Dale Armitage.
Dale was born and brought up in  South Africa and while she  was at school had the opportunity of going to the State Theatre in Pretoria, one of the  biggest in the southern hemisphere.  

PictureSome of Dale’s treasures

This early introduction sowed the seed for her love of the theatre and later she got work experience in their dyeing department.  Her first job for Bernina gave her a good grounding in sewing techniques for what was to come so she was well prepared when a position became available in the costume props department at the State Theatre. The theatre put on operas, ballets, musicals  and plays and all the backdrops and costumes were made “in house”.   They had wonderful stores of materials available and even their own wig and tailoring departments.

PictureDon Carlo costume

Dale explained that a designer would draw each costume for a  ballet, opera or musical and then she would be presented with a big plastic bag  of materials, braids, buttons, beads, feathers etc to enable her to make up the costume. 

PictureMaterials for Don Carlo costume

To begin with it was a big challenge but in time she grew in  confidence and was making masks, hats, tiaras, dresses and even “walk about”  character costumes.  Dale explained that her finished work would be checked thoroughly to make sure it was sturdy enough for rough treatment on the stage and she often used glue to secure her work.

Ballet costumes and tiaras
Dales workroom, full of action!  A feather head dress, a top hat and some tiaras.

Picture“Walk about” character

Dale felt she was a small cog in a big wheel and  was learning all the time but she obviously enjoyed her four years with the theatre before getting married and moving to the UK.  
What a talented lady and are very grateful that she shared her experience with us.