Recent Meetings

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.



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Saturday, May 27th

We enjoyed a really interesting talk from Kate Jackson , entitled ‘ Book-binding ‘.

Kate is based in Northumberland, and loves to make things with paper and cloth.

She’d brought with her all sorts of books, of all sizes, made by using all kinds of techniques such as Coptic binding and Japanese stab stitch.

Some books she could make very quickly, yet others might take a day to complete.

She uses them for shopping lists, to collect samples for larger pieces of work, as well as travel journals, packed full of photos and leaflets.

We all like to hang on to lovely greeting cards, so why not make them into a book ?

Kate was very easy to listen to, and she had lots of books for us to look at.

So instead of buying notebooks from the High Street, in future we’ll be making our own !

You can read more about Kate on her website.

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What a fabulous meeting we had on Saturday, Feb. 18 – partly due to us having a full house, but mostly thanks to our Speaker, Helen Poremba, from Felton in Northumberland..

Helen’s talent lies in Machine Embroidery, with subjects inspired by the colours and shapes of nature.

It’s important to her to spend a lot of time sketching first, and only then, when she is happy with her design, will she transfer it to fabric.

She talked about many other things too – how Art is important to Embroidery.

She mentioned well-known embroiderers like Rebecca Crompton and Constance Howard , both very gifted in Art and Drawing, who used their design talents in their sewing. It would be worth having a look at their work on Pinterest.

Helen also talked about the history of sewing machines, and how they have developed since the 1800s.

She had a display of her own sewing machines, 2 very old ones in beautiful wooden cases, some tiny children’s machines, and 2 slightly more up-to-date machines.

When these machines were in use, they gave such a comforting, quiet sound, much nicer than anything produced by a modern expensive sewing machine.

The room really came alive when Helen finished her talk and said we could try out her machines.

The atmosphere was so animated, and there was a real ‘buzz’ in the air.

Traditionally, our branch hasn’t explored Machine Embroidery very much, but after Helen’s talk I think there would be a lot of interest. Everyone was keen to ask her questions about it, and to find out about her workshops.

I would certainly have a look at her website

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On Saturday , Jan 21st,  it was time to get 2017 off to a good start with a fabulous buffet lunch.

The tables were beautifully decorated with flower arrangements made by Marjorie Bell.

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There was such a huge choice of delicious things to eat, provided by the committee.

Second helpings, anyone ?

We were entertained by The Store Strummers of Throckley, a ukelele band who led the sing-a-long.

There was also a quiz and a beetle drive.

We also held our Beattie-Harper Competition for a skilful piece of embroidery, recently completed.

The winner was Marie Trippett.

You can read more about her on our Competitions page.


Sat. Nov. 19th

We have just held another well-attended, lively meeting.

Our new members  seem to be enjoying our afternoons.

We have been given some lovely items to sell on our sales table.

These include some books which belonged to Anne Rand, a long-standing member of our branch, and a beautiful embroiderer, who very sadly died last year.

 Another member is having a good clear-out, with more to come !

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However, the main part of our afternoon belonged to our guest speaker, Claire Spooner.

She had travelled from Pateley Bridge to talk to us about “Millinery in Miniature”.

She talked about ladies’ bonnets and hats, and how fashions had changed from the late 1800s.

Claire used the words ‘extravagance’ and ‘opulence’.

How wealthy these women must have been ! Or their husbands !

Claire had brought lots of magazine or newspaper adverts from that era. Most of them in London –

Regent Street , Burlington Arcade etc where these rich ladies of leisure would have beautiful silk underwear made for them, or fabulous gowns.

As the years passed, fashions changed. Extravagant headwear became ‘sporty’ and ‘perky’,  just as the role of women itself was changing.

I wonder how many North-East women owned one of those little feathery ‘cocktail’ hats ! Not many, I think.

Claire was a very relaxed speaker, and had so many interesting things to tell us.

I think we all enjoyed her visit.

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We have just enjoyed a really good meeting on Sat. Oct. 15th.

7 visitors alongside most of our own members created a lively atmosphere.

Our guest speaker was Pat Ashton-Smith who talked about ‘A Sense of Place ‘.

Her theme was her love of landscape, and how it influences her sewing.

She loves to go out to the Northumberland countryside near her home early in the morning, taking photographs which inspire her textile work.

She explained how she adapts her photos , then uses a variety of techniques – quilting, hand and machine embroidery, felting, silk fibres, to create her beautiful  work.

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We now have 2 new committee members, Judith Dunn and Janet Holford. Having their added help made a huge, noticeable difference.

Long may it continue !

We usually have a display table of recently completed work.

Here are some photos of an on-going theme of Circles which will be assembled in a future project.

There’s more to follow !

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We held our AGM on Saturday September 17th.

It was lovely to see people returning for another year with us.

We also had 2 new members.

There was a friendly, relaxed atmosphere , and we had some open, productive discussions.

There were no entries for the Beattie-Harper Competition.

Someone suggested that they had simply forgotten about the competition because we’d all been busy with other things during the summer.

It was suggested that we move it to January, and the Members’ Choice Competition from April to July.

And we all agreed to this suggestion.

The subject for the Beattie-Harper Competition in January will now be ‘ Contrast’ , to tie in with next year’s Regional Competition.

We also talked about our branch’s 65th birthday next year. We’ll celebrate with a birthday tea and an exhibition.

65 is associated with Sapphire, so that will be our theme.

We’ll all going to let our imagination wander, and I’m sure we’ll come up with some fabulous stitching.