SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) – Steam Museum, Swindon

A group of Committee members met on Monday to visit the SAQA exhibition of quilts currently on display in the Steam Museum in Swindon.   

I was interested to see how the members of this group came from such a variety of countries and the only name I recognised was Maggie Harris who used to be a member of our group.

Below you can read about SAQA and the theme for this exhibition which was started during lockdown.

SAQA Swindon 15
SAQA Swindon 1
SAQA Swindon 11
SAQA Swindon 12
Maggie Harris' quilt
SAQA Swindon 19
Playing trains!

For those of you who have not visited the Steam Museum in Swindon, you have to weave your way through the various train related exhibits before and after reaching the quilt display so, needless to say, we all had a bit of fun playing at being train drivers!  The museum is a great day out for all ages with lots of interactive exhibits for everyone.

We all enjoyed looking at the quilts on display, discussing the techniques used and the choice of design.  

The exhibition is on display until 5 November 2023

Report by Ros

Photos by Ros

SAQA website:

Steam Museum website:

Vernice’s visit to Canada – quill work exhibition

Vernice’s visit to Canada – porcupine quill work – Peterborough Museum, Ontario, Canada

Vernice Canada 2023 2
Hannah McCue

In July I was visiting relatives in Ontario and one of them knowing of my interest in “craftwork”, took me to an exhibition in Peterborough Museum.  

The exhibition was entitled “To Honour and Respect: Gifts from the Michi Saagiig Women to the Prince of Wales, 1860”. The items on display were mainly Birchbark Quillwork baskets (called makaks) which were presented to eighteen year old Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later Edward VII). 

Vernice Canada 2023 1 Hannah McCue age 38
Hannah McCue

This is a summary from the exhibition’s catalogue, of the background to the giving of the gifts. An event with a definite purpose beyond gift-giving to a visiting royal.  

In 1859 when Queen Victoria was petitioned by the Canadian legislature to visit her subjects, she asked her eldest son to travel in her place. The official purpose of the visit was to open the new Victoria Bridge in Montreal and to acknowledge the close relationship between Canada and the Crown. The Prince was the despair of his father, who complained that his son was interested only in clothes, so the tour had the purpose of teaching the Prince “something of royal duties and diplomacy”.


One stop on his tour was at Rice Lake (in what was then a British Colony) where the indigenous people were the Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg who had a long relationship with the Crown including acting as British Allies during the Seven Years War,  the American Revolution and the War of 1812. They responded to the changing world around them in their own distinct way, retaining their language and their clans and their way of being in the universe. The Prince’s visit was thought to give the people the opportunity “of uniting in their expression of loyalty and attachment to the Throne and Empire”. However the indigenous people did not consider themselves to be British subjects, but to be Sovereign Nations allied to the Crown. To them formal alliances carried sacred expectations that each party would support and care for the other. Speeches and gifts given to the Prince carefully reminded the Crown of its obligations and responsibilities as an ally.


In anticipation of the royal visit, the Superintendent of Canada West visited his sprawling district to rally support for the occasion and to tell each community what they needed to do to prepare. The women of Rice Lake had a reputation as skilled artisans and may have been asked to create quilled birchbark gifts for the Prince.

Below are some of the exhibits.

The following is a shortened description of making the Birchbark Quillwork baskets…….


Collecting and preparing natural raw materials was part of the seasonal round and indigenous people knew the best times and places to collect these. The thickness of the Birchbark determined its use. Bark peeled in the Spring was heavier and strong enough to use for canoes; bark harvested in the early summer was thinner and used for mats and containers. Containers are made by first heating the bark over a fire or steaming it to make is pliable, then bending it into the desired shape and sewing it with basswood fibre or spruce roots. They made watertight cooking containers, bark buckets to catch maple sap, large shallow trays for winnowing wild rice and makaks or boxlike baskets in a variety of shapes to store maple sugar, wild rice and other items. Designs can be added to the makaks by scraping away the background to expose lighter bark underneath or by adding Porcupine quillwork designs. Across generations, the women learnt the skill of how to quill the patterns, plan shapes and designs and the repeated motion of bending and tacking quills as well as the modulations of colour and proportion. The baskets are decorated with both floral and geometric motifs.


These items were on loan to the Museum by permission of King Charles and are normally kept and displayed at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, so if you wanted to see them, you don’t have to travel to Canada!!

Thank you Vernice for sharing your visit along with the photos. 


Further research: 

Royal Collection Trust

Peterborough Museum

Michi Saagiig women

A spectacular Collection of Fashionable Clothes from 1700-present at Chertsey Museum – by Vernice

Last weekend I visited the Chertsey Museum where they hold the Olive Matthews Collection of Dress and Textiles. This collection is described as “A spectacular collection featuring many items of national significance. It contains over 4,000 men’s, women’s and children’s fashionable clothes dating from c.1700 to the present”. As a result they often have exhibitions relating to clothing and textiles.

The exhibition I went to see was a small part of The Regency Wardrobe Collection from a Fashion House/Fine Art Studio called The House of Embroidered Paper. This establishment was formed in 2017 by an artist called Stephanie Smart who creates life sized garments and footwear using only paper and thread. She has developed the use of paper as a medium for garment construction with embroidered and applied decoration.

The full Regency Wardrobe Collection consist of 11 life sized outfits, 12 accessories, four wall hangings and an item of furniture.

The small selection on display at the Chertsey Museum were mostly pieces inspired by items from the Olive Matthews collection held in the museum.

If you are interested in reading more about Stephanie’s work, go to For information about the Regency Wardrobe specifically go to the Home page, choose Collections then Regency Wardrobe where you can click on any piece from the collection.

Quilling cap
Vernice Feb 3

Early 19th Century male frockcoat in the French style.

Materials: Quilling paper strips, FSC accredited paper tablecloth, tissue paper, greaseproof paper, Japanese rice paper, sewing thread and embroidery thread.

Vernice Feb 6

Women’s Pelisse with Skirt.

Materials: Accredited paper tablecloth, tissue paper, rice paper and embroidery thread

Vernice Feb 10

Woman’s Pelisse

Materials: Accredited paper tablecloth, Japanese rice paper.

Vernice Feb 13

Woman’s day dress

Materials: Accredited paper tablecloth, tissue paper, quilling paper strips, rice paper, crepe paper, embroidery thread, Watermark Koume white paper.

Vernice Feb 17

Shape inspired by 1720 woman’s shoe and the Indian Blue Peacock.

Materials: Cartridge paper, Quilling paper strips, embroidery thread, tissue paper, card, Aqua Bronze powder and lacquer.

Vernice Feb 20

Inspired by the pointed toes and low flared heel of late 18th Century shoes; in particular the Killerton House collection. Inside there is a hand drawn design to reflect the beautiful paper labels of the makers of shoes from this era which often contained a dedication, as per the shoe in Killerton House dedicated to the Duchess of Cumberland.

Materials: Quilling paper strips, wrapping paper, card, embroidery thread, gold card, lacquer, tissue paper and pencil.

Vernice Feb 24

Shoe inspired by square toed, flat style of shoe fashionable during 1830-40’s and the Bird of Paradise which was particularly popular with collectors and designers during this period.

Materials: Accredited paper tablecloth, tissue paper, cartridge paper, embroidery thread, card, pencil and coloured pencil.

Report and photos by Vernice C.

Thank you so much for sharing your visit with us Vernice.  Ros

Chertsey Museum:

Circles – August 2019

You may remember last year Lindsay S kindly organised a display of members work to exhibit at the West of England Quilt and Textile Show which takes place annually at the end of August at the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol.  “Take a line” was so successful that members were keen to take part in the 2019 show.

This year Lindsay asked members to create a piece of work using a canvas 20 cms x 50 cms and include a circle/s somewhere in the design.  The technique, topic and colours was completely up to the individual.  

Thirty two canvases were submitted and just look at the wonderful variety of techniques, themes and colours.

Left to right:     
Image 1                                        
Chris C – Paper Circles, Fiona H – Hurricane Irma, Clare R – On Another Planet, Sally J – My Garden 
Image 2
Jackie B – Sepia Seeds, Tase W – Freshwater East, Linda W – Crop Circle, Judy J – Have you got any “O”s? 
Image 3
Dawn V – Pewsey Vale Circles, Annie F – Mid Summer, Nikki VW – Dandelions at Sunset, Jean F – Maytime       
Left to right:
Image 4
Julie B – Hubble Bubble, Sue F – The Windmills of your Mind, Kathy P – Five a day!, Diana K – Raggy Orange
Image 5
Maria F – Triffids and Roses, Robina O – Circles in Nature, Ros L – Kaffe Galaxy, Hazel P – Patchwork Orange
Image 6
Stephanie N – Eddies, Lindsay S – Diesel, Lexie Bray – Champagne Fizz, Christine H – Blue Planets
Left to right:
Image 7
Yvonne M – Emeralds & Amethysts, Lindsay S – Paua, Ann K – Rhapsody in Blue, Rosemary C – Circles Sampler
Image 8
Marion R – Solar System, Ann K – The Hare and the Moon, Ann S – Rusty Boats, Susan V – The Eyes Have It!

Some of the comments from the visitors!
Image 1 – Diana & Stephanie, Image 2 – Jackie & Nikki, Image 3 – Ros, Lindsay & Rosemary

​A very big thank you to Lindsay for organising everything, for designing the stand and for co-ordinating the project.  You are a star Lindsay!

Also a big thank you to members who went over to Bristol to talk to exhibition visitors about our wonderful work.  

Report by Ros
Photos by Ros and Lindsay

Take a Line – August 2018

Last year at a Guild meeting, Lindsay Sherwood came up with a great idea for showing the talents of members at the West Country Quilt and Textile Show held at the University of the West of England in Bristol from Thursday 30 August – Saturday 1 September.

The challenge was to create a piece of textile art in any colour and using any technique and materials, but with two provisos; the size of the piece would be 50 cms x 20 cms vertical and it would need some sort of line running through the piece 20 cms from the top.

Below are the 28 entries which were exhibited.  Click on any image and scroll through to see names.

Below helpers: 
Jackie & Lindsay                                Maria, Ann & Lindsay                Ros & Lindsay
​​ Stephanie,  Rosemary & Diana       Jackie & Ros
On behalf of the branch I would like to say very big “thank you” to Lindsay for all the organisation and hard work for this event.   

We are also grateful to Be Creative with Workbox for publishing Lindsay’s article and photos promoting our exhibition.

Report by Ros
​Photos  thanks to Lindsay

Summer Exhibition – June 2018

I have divided the images from our Summer Exhibition into sections, one for the overview and another for individual pieces.  I apologise to some members because, with the lighting in the hall and the fact that their work was displayed under glass, the images are not as good as I would have liked.   If anybody would like to send me a better image of their work I would be very happy to replace it and if I have omitted an image of your work I apologise and can easily insert it.

​The first few photos are of the organising committee, helpers and members demonstrating their various skills. 
Image 1 Amanda & Ann
Image 2 Christine H, Maria, Ann, Clare, Nikki, Margaret H & Susanne
Image 3 Ros, Ann & Clare (thanks to Sue from  See their website for the full article)
Image 4 Clare, Judy & Robina and a lady doing Turkey work (please send me her name someone!)

Overview photos of the display boards and tables.  The children’s project which Maria organised is under a separate posting before this one.
Individual pieces from the Summer Exhibition are displayed below.  I have not included any “Take a Line” exhibits on purpose, only an overview, because they will be posted in early September after the West of England Quilt and Textile Show to be held at the University of the West of England (UWE) on Thursday 30, Friday 31 August and Saturday 31 August.
Once more our grateful thanks to Ann S and her committee for making this Summer Exhibition 2018 such a great success and thank you to all our members who helped and submitted their work.

Report and photos by Ros


What wonderful imagination children have! Two years ago, a simple landscape background attached to a free standing frame was made by Maria Fraser for the Avebury Festival to encourage children to have a go at some textile artwork. The results were a few stitched flowers and clouds. It came out of storage for the exhibition last weekend and suddenly took on a new focus for the young would-be textile artists. Having seen the eclectic art styles adopted by the adults in the general displays, the children were keen to stamp their own individual creativity onto the work resulting in a wonderfully imaginative softly, cloud-strewn and sunshine-filled world where mermaids and whales share a virtual landscape with sheep, unicorns, horses and foxes! Of course, this is now no ordinary countryside scene, and  has been recognised as such by its new name – “The Magic Garden”- which was given to the work by one of the would-be artists Eva Fraser (aged 10), who is also a member of the Young Embroiderers’ Guild

2018 Summer Exhibition of Embroidery and Textile Art

Last weekend we organised a Summer Exhibition of Embroidery and Textile Art at Kennet Valley Hall.

When I have sorted all the photos of the event I will post them on this blog but in the meantime you can read the wonderful report from Marlborough News Online

People came from far and wide and it was great to chat to like minded people about the joy of stitch.  I must say it was a privilege to speak to Jan Messent whose work I have always admired and really exciting that she should come to our event.

A very big thank you to Ann S and her team for their hard work organising the weekend and to members who helped support the event by demonstrating, making cakes, taking the money, stewarding and of course to those who entered their work.

Report and photo  by Ros

SSAFA hearts to mark the centenary of Armistice Day 2018

Two members of our Guild, Eileen J and Fiona H have made hearts for SSAFA charity exhibitions around the country to mark the centenary of Armistice Day 2018. 

The first space used will be in The Young Gallery in Salisbury in June this year. 

Eileen’s heart is on the left and Fiona’s heart is on the right.

​Report and photos by Clare R

Chrisse Seager – West of England Quilt Show – November 2016

I visited the three day West of England Quilt Show yesterday in the exhibition hall at the University of West of England in north Bristol.  I wanted to share with everyone the work of Chrisse Seager who kindly looks after our website.  She had a number of quilts on display, some cushions and a beautiful quilted jacket.  Our congratulations for coming “runner up” for the Best in Show by a Professional – see centre image below.

By Ros