I had a few days in Melbourne recently, and had to share with you some delightful stitching experiences.
The Embroiderers Guild, Victoria – open day
It happened that the Guild was having an open day at Embroidery House in Malvern, so how could I resist?
I’m sure that embroiderers anywhere would be thrilled to have such a wonderful creative environment! Once I had overcome my envy, I was made very welcome by President Anne and other members, and joined the throng of visitors to admire the demonstrations of different machine and hand embroidery techniques. As seems to be the case with embroiderers everywhere, members were busy generously sharing their enthusiasm and knowledge, and here is just a small sample:
Sandra Warren Smith introduced me to the delights of Lefkara Embroidery, which is a traditional embroidery technique from Cyprus also known as Lefkara Lace, or Lefkaritika. Mmm, will have to investigate this one further, starting here.
Sandra told me that books on this technique are few and far between, so here is one by Androula Hadjiyiasemi. I will be checking our own Guild’s library, plus those talented members who do Hardanger and all kinds of drawn thread, needlelace etc..
I had to tear myself away, but not before buying a couple of things from the book sale (you can never have too many embroidery books). On the way out, I noticed that even the doorplates have embroidery, sigh. If you’d like to find out more about The Embroiderers Guild,Victoria, Australia, click here.
Then it was on to the National Gallery of Victoria, for the exhibition Exquisite Threads: English Embroidery 1600s – 1900s, showcasing examples of English domestic and professional embroidery from the NGV’s own collection, plus from private collectors, the National Gallery of Australia, the Melbourne Diocesan Historical Commission, and members of The Embroiderers Guild, Victoria. Non-flash photography allowed, yippee!
Used for apprentice embroiderers to learn stitches, as recording of stitches and patterns for domestic embroidery, then an important part of the education of young women, samplers in the exhibition dated from 1692 to 1932.
Sorry about the quality of my photo of this Wessex embroidery sampler, completed by Margaret Foster in 1932, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to digress into mentioning our Guild’s classes on WESSEX STITCHERY with Annette Dziedzic.
Please note that the dates have been changed for this class, now on 11 and 25 July, with preparation on 6 July, but keep checking our web site here any time you would like to check out our classes schedule. I hear that Robyn Duncan, our Classes Co-ordinator, already has an exciting list of internal and external tutors coming up for 2016.
But back to the exhibition.
Here we have a Privy Councillor’s uniform from 1939, and an ecclesiastical cope made in 1853.
A waistcoat from the 1770’s, an evening cape circa 1924, and a pelisse and dress circa 1818.
I’m thrilled to bits with the book from the exhibition, which gives background details of the items, embroidery history from different periods, and close-up photographs showing beautiful detail. I believe that this exhibition will not be touring, but will be on at the NGV International until 12 July, so if you can get there, it’s well worth a visit – see the details here.
Then I had to go back to the NGV International, to see A Golden Age of China, Quianlong Emperor, 1736-1795. On loan from the Palace Museum, Beijing, it included a selection of magnificent items from the collections of this emperor, and it was truly wonderful to be able to see both front and back of silk embroidered robes.
No photos were allowed in this exhibition, but once again the book gives excellent information and photography. Sadly, this exhibition finished on 21 June, but you can see more information here.
You thought I was finished? No way, read on…
Then it was off to the Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Costume Exhibition, at Rippon Lea House and Gardens, the National Trust property that is used as Aunt Prudence’s house in the TV series. People who are especially interested in the costumes for this series, based on the novels by Kerry Greenwood, will know that Marion Boyce, costume designer, and Every Cloud Productions, use collected vintage items to re-create the fashion fantasies of the late 1920’s.
Fans of the TV show will recognise these outfits from the latest series. There was also a behind the scenes workroom exhibit, showing how costumes were constructed, and genuine 1920’s accessories, part of Marion Boyce’s personal collection.
Yes, of course there is a book with detailed descriptions and gorgeous photos. But then it was time for afternoon tea, still in 1920’s character, in the stable building.
You’re in luck if you need time to get to this one, as it’s on until 30 September 2015, and will tour to other cities. For more information, click here.
And the WW1 Centenary Exhibition, on at the Melbourne Museum until 16 August, details here.
Ambulance officer uniform, and detail
Finally, the Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne, open all year, including the museum beneath, details here.
There are textiles everywhere, including this copy of the Battle of Britain lace, circa 1942-47.
I’m sure I could have found more stitching delights, but only had a few days, and needed to come home for a rest!