Stitching Delights in Melbourne

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?

Embroidery House 1 VicEmbroidery House 2 VicEmbroidery House 3 VicEmbroidery House 4 Vic

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:

Machine embroidery  Embroidery House 7 Vic

 

Embroidery House 6 Vic

 

 

 

 

 

 

Embroidery House 5 Vic

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.

 

 

 

 

Embroidery House 9 VicSandra 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.

Embroidery House 8 Vic


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!

Exquisite Threads 3Exquisite Threads 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Exquisite Threads 5

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.

Wessex Stitchery

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.

Exquisite Threads 1Exquisite Threads 2

 

 

Here we have a Privy Councillor’s uniform from 1939, and an ecclesiastical cope made in 1853.

 

 

 

 

Exquisite Threads 6 Exquisite Threads 7 Exquisite Threads 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A waistcoat from the 1770’s, an evening cape circa 1924, and a pelisse and dress circa 1818.

 

Exquisite Threads 9 Writing box, circa 1665

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Emperor’s ceremonial court robe Qing dynasty, Quianlong period 1736-95 silk satin The Palace Museum, Beijing (Gu42311)

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.

Miss Fisher 1Miss Fisher 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miss Fisher 3Miss Fisher 5Miss Fisher 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miss Fisher 4

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.

Miss Fisher 7Miss Fisher 8

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Miss Fisher 9

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.

IWM 1More uniform goldwork.

 

 

 

 

IWM 2Would you believe this is made of paper?

IWM 4IWM 3

Ambulance officer uniform, and detail


Finally, the Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne, open all year, including the museum beneath, details here.

Shrine 1

There are textiles everywhere, including this copy of the Battle of Britain lace, circa 1942-47.

Shrine 2 Battle of Britain LaceShrine 3 Battle of Britain Lace

I’m sure I could have found more stitching delights, but only had a few days, and needed to come home for a rest!

Gail

Looking over shoulders 12

Hello everyone

It’s time for another blog post.  I’ve been slow to get up to speed, but that doesn’t mean that our Guild members haven’t been as busy and creative as ever.

Creative Stitches by Edith John

 

Judy Barton Browne was inspired by this book (available from the Guild library), to have a play with stitches, and create this sampler.

How many different “basic” stitches can you spot?  Look closely, and you can see where she has varied a stitch to give a different effect.

 

 

 

Stitch sampler by Judy Barton-Brown, detail1Stitch sampler by Judy Barton-Brown, detail2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stitch sampler by Judy Barton-Brown, detail3Stitch sampler by Judy Barton-Brown, detail3

 

So go on, start playing with stitches!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shona Phillips has created this happy little doll, and the brooches surrounding it are just some of the 90 brooches she was creating to give to all the female residents of a local aged care facility.  Shona didn’t want anyone to miss out on Mother’s Day, so she was powering along.  What a lovely thought!

 

Doll and brooches1 by Shona PhillipsDoll and brooches2 by Shona Phillips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Margaret Lamond was doing some experimentation, inspired by this book (also available in the Guild library), to create some stunning metal machine embroideries.  There was a bit of impromptu consultation around the table at a Monday meeting regarding colours to be used next.

 

The Art of Stitching on Metal by Ann ParrStitching on metal1 by Margaret LamondStitching on metal2 by Margaret Lamond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sandra Pollard‘s work in progress is a Semco linen vintage cloth, in which the areas have been coloured in using Hobbytex.  Sandra has decided to use Minnamurra threads in a different, and softer, colour palette, and her plans include having some cut out sections in the finished cloth.

Vintage Semco linen cloth by Sandra Pollard

Vintage Semco linen cloth detail by Sandra PollardVintage Semco linen cloth threads by Sandra Pollard

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quilted panel by Andrea Moore

Quilted panel by Andrea Moore

 

 

Andrea Moore‘s quilted panel is from a Helen Godden workshop, and incorporates fabric paint, appliqué, and free motion machine quilting.

 

 

 

 

 

Gloria Loughman‘s quilted panel comes from a workshop she attended in Fiji, and incorporates hand painting, Visofix and free motion machine quilting.  Don’t you think that the little village is lovely?  Gloria intends to add more embellishment.

Quilted panel by Gloria LoughmanQuilted panel detail by Gloria Loughman

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s all for now, happy stitching!

Gail

Diana’s Story Box

Hi again

As promised here’s the second box stitched by Diana Churchill. It’s quite a large box and covered in delightful detail.

Here’s the first side…

Side 1 of Large Embroidered Box stitched by Diana Churchill

and again from a different angle….

Detail 1 of Side 1 of Large Embroidered Box stitched by Diana Churchill

Now to side 2……

Side 2 of Large Embroidered Box sticthed by Diana Churchill

Side 3….

Side 3 of Large Embroidered Box stitched by Diana Churchill

and side 4

Side 4 of Large Embroidered Box stitched by Diana Churchill

And for those of you who love to look close up at the stitching and motifs here are some cute details…..

Detail 1 of Large Embroidered Box stitched by Diana Churchill

Detail 2 of Large Embroidered Box  stitched by Diana Churchill

Detail 3 of Large Embroidered Box stitched by Diana Churchill

Detail 4 of Large Embroidered Box stitched by Diana Churchill

and last but not least here’s the lid…

Lid of Large Embroidered Box stitched by Diana Churchill

Doesn’t it just make you smile and want to be a little kid again??!

Thank you Diana for sharing your awesome boxes and also Stewart (Bath) for the great photos.

Enjoy!

Carmen

Pat’s Solvy Landscape

Hi everyone

Today we’re going to share a landscape that Pat Bootland stitched on Solvy water soluble backing. This is the so cool embroidery that emerged when she dissolved the Solvy.

Trees in Landscape by Pat Bootland

Detail 1 of Trees in Landscape by Pat Bootland

I love to watch Pat as she works on these dense, free form areas of stitch such as the tree canopy and the undergrowth. It’s random purposefulness!

Here are some close-ups…..

Detail 2 of Trees in Landscape by Pat Bootland

Detail 3 of Trees in Landscape by Pat Bootland

Detail 4 of Trees in Landscape by Pat Bootland

 

Enjoy!

Carmen

Matthew’s Rug

Hi everyone

In this post we’re going to share a rug made by one of the delightful members of our guild Glenda Hudson. It has a really cool story.

Glenda made this rug for her son Matthew and it’s a combination of knitting and embroidery. The squares are joined by crochet while the backing is joined with a blanket stitch edging and held with ties. Some of the squares come from a pattern book put out by the Ku-ring-gai branch of the Knitters Guild NSW and the too cute buttons from Nikki Tervo Designs.

In her artist’s statement Glenda says:

My son Matthew has a great love of the Australian bush and its flora, fauna & birdlife. He works for Parks Australia as an environmental scientist. I made this rug to represent various aspects of his life.

Here’s the rug which is full of vivid Australian icons

Matthews Rug by Glenda Hudsonand here are the individual blocks. This first block show Matthew’s love of his pets and cricket. His dog Cherie was a very good fielder of the ball.

Detail 1 of Matthews Rug by Glenda Hudson

This next one has a cute koala

Detail 2 of Matthews Rug by Glenda Hudsonand this map of Australia shows the parks that he’s worked in. Glenda’s included a funnel web spider because her son had a close encounter with one.

Detail 3 of Matthews Rug by Glenda HudsonLook at this awesome block of Uluru

Detail 4 of Matthews Rug by Glenda Hudson

and these next lovely blocks of Australian nature

Detail 5 of Matthews Rug by Glenda Hudson

Detail 6 of Matthews Rug by Glenda Hudson

Detail 7 of Matthews Rug by Glenda Hudson

Detail 8 of Matthews Rug by Glenda Hudson

Detail 9 of Matthews Rug by Glenda Hudson

Detail 10 of Matthews Rug by Glenda Hudson

The windmill on this square really evokes the outback

Detail 11 of Matthews Rug by Glenda HudsonSome more fantastic Aussie designs

Detail 12 of Matthews Rug by Glenda Hudson

Detail 13 of Matthews Rug by Glenda Hudson

Detail 14 of Matthews Rug by Glenda Hudson

Detail 15 of Matthews Rug by Glenda Hudson

Detail 16 of Matthews Rug by Glenda Hudson

Detail 17 of Matthews Rug by Glenda Hudson

Detail 18 of Matthews Rug by Glenda Hudsonand a special tribute to Mathew’s beloved footy club St George/Illawarra

Detail 19 of Matthews Rug by Glenda Hudson

Isn’t it wonderful – it just makes me smile!

Hope you enjoy it too!

Carmen

Aussie Postcards


Hi everyone

In this post we’re going to share some more postcards from the 2014 Creative Challenge to re-interpret WW1 silk postcards. These all have an Australian theme which makes them very special.

The first one is by Jenny Clayton and features wonderful kangaroos made from bullion knots. It’s called Lest We Forget:

2014 Creative Challenge Postcard 2 by Jenny Clayton

Detail 1 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard 2 by Jenny Clayton

Detail 2 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard 2 by Jenny Clayton

The next two are by Gail Haidon and feature Australian flora. The first has the poignant title of Mother Dear and is a beautiful study of eucalyptus flowers:

2014 Creative Challenge Postcard 2 by Gail Haidon

Detail 1 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard 2 by Gail Haidon

The second is Birthday Wishes and showcases the lovely Kangaroo Paw;

2014 Creative Challenge Postcard 3 by Gail Haidon

Detail 1 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard 3 by Gail Haidon

Detail 2 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard 3 by Gail Haidon

Here are Gail’s notes for the background to these two postcards:

Inspired by watercolours painted by WA artist Rosetta Kelly (1864-1963) in memory of her son, Cyril, and the final card that he sent home, written on his 20th birthday.

And the next awesome postcard by Jan Hure also explores the themes of peace, hope and reunion through eucalyptus flowers. It’s called We’ll Meet Again:

2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Jan Hure

Detail 1 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Jan Hure

Detail 2 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Jan Hure

Jan describes her starting point for this design as follows:

Designed to reflect Australian themes in similar fashion to early ones depicting the nations the soldiers came from

Val Woodward has created this next postcard to evoke the very human emotion of hope for peace in the face of war and to celebrate the Australian Lighthorse:

2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Val Woodward

Detail 1 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Val Woodward

Detail 2 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Val Woodward

Val is a horse lover and this card was inspired by a family memento:

Finding a postcard from Egypt, dated Jan 1916, written by my husband’s great-uncle to his sister reminded me of those serving in the Egyptian campaign, particularly the Australian Lighthorse. Horses are not often mentioned in the remembrance of WWI

This next postcard by Kathy Pascoe has a very Art Nouveau and emblematic feel to it. It’s great example of ‘less is more’ and is called Australia is Home.

2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Kathy Pascoe

Detail 1 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Kathy Pascoe

Kathy’s creative inspiration came from both traditional and personal sources:

The idea came from silk cards on the Australian War Memorial website. I thought it was an opportunity to use one of the buttons I inherited.

Hope you enjoy these very meaningful and beautiful postcards.

Carmen

Badge of Honour

Hi everyone

Well after the last post which was super long here’s a very quick one.

In this post we’re sharing a wonderful postcard from the 2014 Creative Challenge Stitching Love and Hope to re-interpret WW1 Silk Postcards.

This postcard was stitched by Dorothy Brann and honours her grandfather.

2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Dorothy Brann

The central emblem of the postcard is the cap badge of his regiment – the Sherwood Foresters Regiment (1881-1970)

Detail 1 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Dorothy Brann

The symbolic elements on the badge include the Maltese Cross, an oak wreath and a white hart (large male deer).

Detail 2 of 2014 Creative Challenge Postcard by Dorothy Brann

This postcard is deeply personal, evocative and very moving.

Enjoy!

Carmen

Bird Cage

Hi everyone

I’ve just been looking through the awesome program of workshops & classes for the Embroiderers’ Guild of America’s Seminar 2015. It’ll take place from 28 October to 1 November in San Antonio, Texas.

One of the classes that caught my eye was a Bird Cage by Australian designer Gary Clarke. In the class notes it’s described as a needle accessory disguised as a grand Victorian 3D bird cage.

As it’s Australia Day later this month it’s great to be able to feature an Australian designer. We can do this because the super talented Jillian Bath has stitched this piece and her husband Stewart has taken some fantastic photos. There are some great close-ups of the needlework for those of you who love a really good look at the detail.

So here’s the eye candy

Bird Cage stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 1 of Bird Cage stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 2 of Bird Cage stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 3 of Bird cage stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 4 of Bird Cage stitched by Jillian Bath

Deatil 5 of Bird cage stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 6 of Bird Cage stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 7 of bird Cage stitched by Jillian Bath

Detail 8 of Bird Cage stitched by Jillian Bath

Exquisite isn’t it? Thank you Jillian & Stewart for sharing the beauty of this design with us.

If you’d like to read more about the EGA’s Seminar 2015 then go to their website here.

Take care

Carmen

Sashiko Sampler Quilt

Hi everyone

This post is specially for those of you who love Sashiko.

I’m sharing a Sashiko Sampler Quilt designed and stitched by Jennifer Zanetti. It’s a large quilt that would easily fit a Queen size bed and is an absolute tour de force. Here it is hanging to give you an idea of the size:

Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

It’s full of detail and in real life the visual effect is that the Sashiko Samplers seem to ‘float’ on the surface of the quilt.

Sashiko

The word Sashiko means little stabs or little stitches.It is a traditional form of Japanese needlework that evolved in the Edo period (1603-1867).  In this period there were sumptuary laws that delineated class lines by defining what people could wear. Only the nobility could wear silk, bright colours and large patterns. Commoners (merchant and peasant classes) could only wear homespun fabrics dyed with indigo.

Cotton was imported and beyond the means of ordinary people. So they spun cloth from hemp, wisteria and paper mulberry. It’s thought that the original fabrics had a loose weave and the warp and the weft provided linear patterns for the running stitch. At this time cloth was a precious commodity because it was time-consuming to produce so it was imperative to find ways to conserve scraps of old clothes and re-purpose them.

So the origins of Sashiko are utilitarian and developed out of necessity. It was used to strengthen cloth, quilt layers together to create warmth and to mend and recycle worn out clothes. The indigo dye was durable and thought to repel insects and snakes.

The Sashiko patterns also had a spiritual significance e.g. where the threads of stitches cross over is called the me which in Japanese means ‘the eye’. These ‘eyes’ protected the wearer and in the museum examples of the garments worn by fishermen and farmers you can see that they are densely stitched with Sashiko patterns and hundreds of ‘eyes’.

If you want to read more about the history of Sashiko there’s an interesting essay here by Michele Walker who has worked with the last generation of women to practise Sashiko in Japan.

You’ll find a really useful set of tips on Sashiko plus a great listing of other resources here.

Sashiko Samplers

Now for a closer look at those  Sashiko Samplers and some awesome eye candy. Here’s a striking combination that deploys the Asa no ha pattern between two fans:

Detail 1 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

and closer

Detail 2 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

This next one is a variant of the Schippo tsunagi pattern

Detail 3 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

While the next block is a more complex variation of the same pattern:

Detail 4 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

and this is for all of you who love to look at the stitching in detail:

Detail 5 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

The last in the indigo series of Sashiko blocks is this Maru-Bisha-Mon:

Detail 11 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

The variation in the blue is due to the light sources in the room. On the quilt block it’s a uniform colour.

The indigo blocks are balanced in the quilt by a series of Sashiko Samplers in white with an added decorative theme. Jennifer has added a stitched bird to all of these white blocks.

We’re starting with  the  Hana-bishi pattern:

Detail 6 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

and then on to the Nowaki pattern:

Detail 7 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

and then the Hana zashi pattern

Detail 9 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

and this pattern which I haven’t been able to identify:

Detail 10 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

The final white block has the Seikai-ha pattern with a quilted panel as contrast:

Detail 12 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer ZanettiThere are also Sashiko quilting elements in the design which create a visual and textural effect:

Detail 14 from Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

Detail 15 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

I really haven’t done this quilt justice as the overall design is incredibly intricate and complex. Jennifer’s choice of fabrics complements and in some cases echoes the Sashiko samplers. The geometry and spatial configuration of the blocks alone deserve a blog post.

But I have picked out one of the many decorative blocks in the quilt to share with you as the end note for this post:

Detail 13 of Sashiko Sampler Quilt by Jennifer Zanetti

Enjoy!

Carmen

Hydrangea Melody

Hi everyone

Today I’m sharing a really striking piece of wool embroidery beautifully stitched by Gail Haidon. You may remember Gail’s Bayeaux Tapestry panel featured here.

This particular design is called Hydrangea Melody and is from an Elsa Williams Heritage Collection Kit. I love the pop of colour from the blue and mauve shades:

Hydrangea Melody stitched by Gail Haldon

Detail 1 of Hydrangea Melody stitched by Gail Haldon

The blending of colours to create a dappled effect is just awesome. Not to mention the Whitework tablecloth.

Detail 2 of Hydrangea Melody stitched by Gail Haldon

Detail 3 of Hydrangea Melody stitched by Gail Haldon

Detail 4 of Hydrangea Melody stitched by Gail Haldon

And now for some close ups……

Detail 5 of Hydrangea Melody stitched by Gail Haldon

Detail 6 of Hydrangea Melody stitched by Gail Haldon

Enjoy!

Carmen