Thursday, December 9, 2010

8 December 2010 - Christmas Social

The December meeting is one of the two social evenings we hold each year. This was not so well attended as most of our monthly meetings. I don’t know if this was due to the inclement weather or down to the Coronation Street 50 year’s bonanza. While Oxford has escaped the worst of the snow and ice that has wrought chaos on much of Britain, temperatures have rarely climbed above zero in the past week or more so it is not surprising that some members choose not to leave the comfort of their own homes. Those who did venture out were rewarded with a most enjoyable evening.

Alex had written a needlework themed cross word that was sufficiently challenging that no team was able to answer all the questions but judging by the groans, many of us realised that we should have been able to fill in at least some of the blanks.

After exercising our brains, we tucked into the lovely selection of food everyone had brought. A home-made cheese ball was a huge hit and judging by the comments that may be gracing a few party tables over the festive season. Thank you to Gaby and Ann for making the fruit punch this year.

Everyone was hoping their raffle ticket would be drawn first so that they could claim the home made Dundee cake. That prize went to Fiona who, despite much encouragement, flatly refused to cut the cake and give us all a slice.

The highlight of the evening was definitely the competition table. When it was suggested that we make inchies this year, most people responded with “what are inchies?” Well, judging by the entries, everyone not only found out what inchies are but had an absolute ball making them. Nearly every member who came to the meeting had made inchies for the competition and variety and skill on display was tremendous. No two sets of inchies were remotely similar. We were all crowded around the competition table for a very long time, admiring and exclaiming over them. The competition is judged by a coin vote and every pot contained several silver coins but the clear and deserving winner was this entry by Kathy Lin.

Congratulations, Kathy.

And in no particular order, here are the rest of the entries.

I'm sorry that the photographs do not do justice to the beauty of these little gems.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, everyone. See you in January.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

10 November 2010 - Anne Sillifant, "An obsession with trees"

Since retiring her teaching job as Director of Art at a girls’ independent school, Anne has been able to fully indulge in her enthusiasm for all aspects of art, textiles, embroidery and design. Trained at Goldsmiths’ and with 10 years plus teaching City and Guilds, Anne has developed a wide interest in both traditional and innovative techniques.

Tree print, courtesy of Anne Sillifant

Sampler gifted to Anne, courtesy of Anne Sillifant

Tree sculpture gifted to Anne, courtesy of Anne Sillifant

Silk paper sculpture, courtesy of Anne Sillifant

Vase, courtesy of Anne Sillifant

Her talk focused on the natural forms, particularly trees, which have been the inspiration for much of her work. Anne works both in two and three dimensions and often develops an idea into a whole series of work.Anne brought with her many examples of both her own work and that of her students and was happy for us to pass much of it around.

13 October 2010 - Alex and Karen, "Our life with Cherrilyn"

Alex and Karen were due to give their talk in February 2010 but the meeting was cancelled due to unusually heavy snowfall. They thought that let them off the hook but we had other plans and they were quickly rebooked to give their talk following the AGM.

Both were clearly nervous, but they had no cause for concern; they were among friends. They opted to speak alternately for about 5 minutes at a time. It was a format that worked well as we got to hear their stories in parallel. Each told us their first experiences of needlework, about coming to their first Oxford Branch EG meeting alone and receiving a warm welcome, then attending the first workshop that Cherrilyn Tyler gave for us way back in July 2001. Everyone enjoyed that workshop so much that Cherrilyn was invited to do another workshop, which Alex and Karen both attended. It was at that workshop that Cherrilyn invited them to join her for a masterclass. They both admitted that they were surprised and flattered by the invitation and more than a little daunted at the prospect and how relieved they were to know they would have a friend on board.

For their very first masterclass they were asked to bring something that inspired them. Cherrilyn then guided them through a series of exercises that focused on their inspirational item. Over successive weekend workshops they were encourage to develop their initial thoughts through to a finished article. Since that first meeting the group of textile artists mentored by Cherrilyn has continued to meet four times a year and exhibited several times.

Alex and Karen’s work is very different from each other, but as they said that is Cherrilyn’s gift - to help those she mentors to find and develop their own style.