Recent Meetings

Our Open Day on June 15th was a great success.

There was a buzz of activity around the mini workshops, held by Liz Grainger, Carole Storey and Pauline Robson .

The tombola and cake stall were popular.

Here is a glimpse of the exhibition of members’ work on display.

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Local Textile artist, Donna Cheshire, came to tell us what is ‘ Critical for Creativity ‘.

She brought with her some of her own work which combined paint and stitch.

She explained how important it is to look at other artists’ work, and not just a passing glance !

We need a formula to make sure we learn and benefit as much as possible from art.

The 4 key words are Content, Form, Process and Mood.

Take, for example, Van Gogh’s  ‘ Starry Night ‘ painting .

Why is that cypress tree in the foreground ?

Why is the church in the centre of the scene ?

Why is the sky swirling ?

How does Van Gogh do it ?

What can we learn about portraying ‘ sky ‘ that we can use in our own work ?

Everyone enjoyed taking part in her talk . It has given us something to think about when we start our next new piece of work.

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Our October talk was given by visiting speaker, Lynne Hardy.

What is Blackwork ?               Where did it come from ?

We tend to associate it with the Tudors, but in fact it began much earlier.

It can be seen in the tessellating tile panels at the Alhambra in Granada.

This is the influence of the Moors, and early Blackwork is all about their geometric patterns.

Chaucer mentions Blackwork in his Miller’s Tale.

It might be linked to the Tudors due to Catherine of Aragon, who came from Spain to England to marry Arthur, and then Henry.

She was the daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella who expelled the Moors from Spain, although their influence lasted for a long time afterwards.

We know about Blackwork because it was documented in wills and inventories, and therefore valuable.

Style became less geometric towards the end of the 1500s, and we see the beginning of the use of metallic threads and spangles.

It would be worth having a look at blackworkembroideryblogspot for more information and inspiration.

And also, check out the design work of Chiho Ikeda on Pinterest, especially for the stunning portraits of Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe.



And finally, here’s a reminder of the amazing work done by one Newcastle embroiderer.

Marie Trippett designed and stitched this piece of Blackwork as part of her RSN course. It’s been shown on this website before, and certainly deserves another outing now.

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In September, we held our AGM.

We discussed our finances which, thanks to our conscientious treasurer, are beginning to look steady. We have tried very hard to be financially secure, and we are now seeing the results of our economies. Fortunately, we always have the valued support of our members.

We also talked about the success of our recent workshops.

Many of these have been led by our own talented members, and have been well attended. We hope this will continue.

We have 3 new committee members – Liz Grainger, Sue Bone and Carol Storey. They are all very talented, and I’m sure they’ll  have a positive impact on our Branch.

Our Chairman, Christine Hutchinson, stepped down from her role, and is replaced by Pat Sydor.


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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.

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