Wednesday, July 7, 2010

South East West Regional Day, Part II

Lunchtime gave everyone a chance to look round the traders and stretch their legs.

We had a raffle with lots of generous prizes from the traders, which seemed to go well, especially if you had a pink ticket.

Then the winners of the competitions were announced with our very own chair person, Alex Messenger, winning the ‘Rags or Riches’ section with a thought provoking denim piece, asking the question whether the people who make our clothes are paid fairly for their labour.

Second was Carolyn Walker and third was Liz Hykesman. Sadly, there weren’t many entries for the competition; it would be lovely to see more pieces on display? Does anyone have any alternative suggestions? Should it be more open or should we not a hold competition at all?

There was a separate competition for Young Embroiderers. The ‘Dolls’ competition for embroiderers aged 6-9 years, was one by Eleonor Surmin and Florence Cooper.

Florence Honey, Alison Mumford won the 10-13 years old competition. There were no entries in the 14-16 years section.

In the afternoon, we were all interested to hear Michael Brennand-Wood’s talk. We had to listen intently as he had a lot to tell us and spoke fluently and quickly. He explained that as a child, he spent time with his grandparents. His grandmother was a weaver and his grandfather was an engineer, so he spent time with textiles and in the shed with tools and wood and metal.

When he went to college he thought he would like to study Fine Art but then decided to switch into textiles as it was something of an unexplored area, and constantly tries to bring old skills up to date.

Although he found that many people involved in the UK Fine Art arena are very dismissive of pattern, he believes that pattern provides a visual language which helps to inform some of his work. His three main tenets are depth, translucency and structure.

He showed us many slides of his work from the 1990s, when he was exploring themes based on lace. Many of his pieces are large; two to three metres wide or more. It was interesting to see them hanging in galleries worldwide, even if they are not always hung as they are conceived to be seen. One such piece, consisting of five circles, was displayed in Japan ... in the opposite sequence to which Michael intended them to be.

He moved on to his more recent work, in which he started with Asian patterned textiles as a reference source and reproduced the shapes and colours by using Gerbera flowers, then had machine embroidered flower shapes made up. From there he started to reintroduce wood backgrounds, wire, lights and grids.

He has recently completed a piece of work for a community music venue in Bristol. It included many disc shapes covered in badges, embedded in the wall above a bar area. The discs were the size of various records, singles and CD, the badges all had the common theme of entertainers, such as Kylie Minogue. There were also LED lights set into the walls.


Olympic Project 2012

Jill Drury explained that the Embroiderers’ Guild will be involved in the Olympics by asking each branch to produce some embroidered Postcards of a particular country represented at the Olympics. The postcards can represent anything to do with the country, such as flowers, coins, architecture (and embroidery, surely.

There was a draw starting with Andover, who drew Iraq; Cherwell Valley drew Ireland and Patsy pulled out Yemen, for Oxford, so there is a challenge. The postcards will be similar to the rainbow squares, except postcard sized, mounted over card and laced at the back. The cards will made up into rectangles, with the top left postcard being the flag of the nominated country. Each branch was given an envelope with more details, so we will be hearing a lot more about it I’m sure.


Wolfson College was a special venue and everyone commented on how pleasant a setting it was. As Jill Drury predicted at the outset, it was a wonderful day.

Thank you to Sally Fulton for her detailed report of the day, and Ulrike Hutchins for the accompanying photographs.