Recent Meetings

On Saturday, July 21st, we had a packed house – again ! – made up from our own members, visitors from other EG groups and members of the public who had seen our publicity.

And we weren’t disappointed !


Bob talked about African beads, and how important they are for the survival of communities.

As you can imagine, there is no fancy technology here, and no state-of-the-art equipment.

They rely on a good supply of scrap glass, which is sometimes ground into powder. They have a simple mould , bead-size, which is filled with the powder then placed into the kiln, – a simple affair, more like a pizza oven, fuelled by any bits of wood and branches at hand. Don’t mention Health and Safety.

Green lager bottles and those beautiful Bombay Sapphire bottles make fabulous beads.

Sometimes, beer bottles are smashed and ground with a rock -not into powder, just tiny granules. After 8-10 minutes in the kiln, they’re ready. Later, they’ll be polished on rocks, with water.

Bob also showed us brass beads and plastic beads.

Magie and Bob had beautiful beads for sale as well as many other amazing items – baskets, fabrics , kits and threads.

We didn’t hold back when he had finished his talk, and it was time to shop.

I think everyone was fascinated by Bob’s talk, and we would definitely welcome them back to speak to us again.

The African Fabric shop will be at The Festival of Quilts @ NEC, Birmingham, August 10 – 13.

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On Sat. May 26th,  we had a very interesting talk from Cluny Chapman.

She told us that she had studied archaeology at university, and had clearly travelled to a lot of interesting sites. She combined this with her love of textiles, which had begun when she was very young, learning to sew with her mum and grandmother. Then, as an adult, she developed this further by doing an embroidery qualification.

Her work was beautiful, very detailed and really well done.

She had stitched a horse, based on cave drawings in France.

She had beautiful pots, stitched in Crewel work. The earthy colours were so realistic.

There was also a poignant piece of work depicting the Palmyra site, which has recently been destroyed.

She also showed us a photo of herself and her husband on their wedding day. She had made yards of lace to edge her veil.

And she had brought with her her children’s Christening dress which she had made.

With every item, she explained the inspiration behind it, and how she had sewn it.

She was a really good speaker, and everyone one of us appreciated her visit.

We hope to see her again.

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Our April speaker was Helen Winthorpe-Kendrick , who entertained us with a talk entitled ‘ Thread Rocks ‘.

Helen talked about her love of walking, and her natural surroundings.

This interest in rocks , crystals, geodes and limestone pavement was put to good use in her embroidery. She showed us some beautiful designs, inspired by the things she saw when out in the countryside..

It was inspiring to see how she developed her theme to create some beautiful work.

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We had lots of people at our meeting on Feb 17th, and there was a lovely atmosphere.

Ollie Burton, our speaker, told us about Art Nouveau, a subject that is very interesting to us as embroiderers. Lots of flowing shapes and curves, often using flowers and leaves – they’re all ideas we could explore in more detail.

Ollie didn’t have time to talk about every Art Nouveau artist. That will have to be another day.

He told us about the Art Nouveau shop in Paris, run by Siegfried Bing, which was an inspiration to many.

There was also Eugene Grasset, a pioneer in Art Nouveau who designed furniture, fabrics, ceramics and jewellery and later turned to Poster Art.

Hector Guimard designed fantastic Paris Metro entrances in the same flowing shapes.

And Lalique, a French glass designer who created pieces for Bing’s Maison de l’Art Nouveau.