Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Christmas Social

Twice a year we hold a social evening instead of inviting a guest speaker. They are always fun evenings that involve a lot of chatter, a lot of laughter and a lot of tasty treats.

As usual, we held a competition; members were asked to make and bring a "Winter Postcard". The competition is judged by members leaving a coin beside their favourite entry; the one with the most coins wins. And the winner was …

All of the entries were lovely (I did not get names for the entries so please comment if you know who did which post card so I can give them credit).

We also held a light hearted competition on the evening. Each table was given a cone to decorate as a Christmas tree. It is interesting to see how differently each tree was. Our Chair ladies selected this tree as their winner.

After the raffle, all that remained was to wish each other a Merry Christmas and to look forward to meeting again in the New Year.

Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Magna Carta (An Embroidery)

6 November 2015 — 24 December 2015

Venue: Blackwell Hall, Weston Library


Magna Carta (An Embroidery) is a major new artwork by the acclaimed British artist Cornelia Parker that celebrates the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta in 2015. Fabricated by many hands, it replicates in stitch the entire Wikipedia article on Magna Carta as it appeared on the document's 799th anniversary.

Pope Innocent III stitched by Anthea Godfrey

The 13-metre long embroidery is on display in Blackwell Hall in the Weston Library. It was carefully hand-stitched by more than 200 people ranging from MPs and judges to activists and prisoners, and including musician Jarvis Cocker and privacy activist Edward Snowden.

The display is accompanied by a short documentary film produced by the British Library.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Introduction to Japanese Bead Embroidery - Workshop

What better thing to do on a grey and miserable day than to stay indoors and play with some shiny, sparkly beads? That is exactly what we did at last Saturday’s workshop, An Introduction to Japanese Bead Embroidery by Carol-Anne Conway.

We worked on a Dragonfly scissor case that is designed to use a selection of stitches that form the foundation of all bead embroidery. Some of us simply wanted to learn the techniques, so worked on a doodle cloth. For those who wished to complete the embroidery at home and make it into a scissor case, by the end of the day we had learnt all the techniques we needed.

© Carol-Anne Conway

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

11 November 2015, Carol-Anne Conway - "Learning Japanese"

We have established a practice of inviting, at least once a year, one of our own members to deliver the monthly lecture. Carol-Anne Conway has been a branch member for 15 years and thanks Oxford’s extensive range of guest speakers for introducing her to Japanese embroidery.

© Carol-Anne Conway

Prior to joining the Guild, Carol-Anne taught herself to embroidery using kits and magazine articles. Upon joining Oxford branch, she took every opportunity to attend workshops and discover a wealth of techniques previously unimagined by her. Although Carol-Anne enjoyed every workshop attended and always learnt something new, over time the most important thing she learnt was that she enjoyed hand embroidery above and beyond any other form of textile art. When, in 2004, Margaret Lewis gave a talk on Japanese Embroidery, Carol-Anne knew instantly that this was a technique that she wanted to learn. Little did she know that there were 46 techniques, taught over 10 phases, and that she would still be learning Japanese embroidery and Japanese bead embroidery 10 years on!

© Carol-Anne Conway

During the talk, Carol-Anne told us a little about the history of Japanese embroidery which developed from Chinese embroidery that was introduced to Japan by Buddhist monks.

The main part of the talk focused on Carol-Anne’s own experience of learning Japanese embroidery and the phase pieces she has stitched. Her presentation included detailed pictures of each of the techniques and we discussed the similarities and differences between Japanese and European embroidery.

© Carol-Anne Conway

In addition to the traditional silk embroidery, Carol-Anne has been learning Japanese bead embroidery and the talk concluded with a look at her bead work.

© Carol-Anne Conway

Sunday, November 1, 2015

What's on in November

Following a talk on Japanese Embroidery in 2014, branch member, Carol-Anne Conway enrolled on a 5 day course with the speaker. Since then she has immersed herself in pursuit of learning the art of traditional Japanese embroidery and beadwork.

© Carol-Anne Conway

"Learning Japanese"
7.15 pm on 11 November 2015
at Iffley Village Church Hall, Iffley, OX4 4EG.

Visitors welcome £6.00

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

14 October 2015 - AGM

Chairman’s Report 2015

I would like to begin by saying I noticed that in Rosemary’s report last year (AGM 2014) she said that at the Christmas Social (2013) bloomers were made for 'Mrs Claus' and 'the more extrovert members modelled their group’s finished result.' I would just like to correct this to say that some of us were press ganged into the modelling!

Our branch has, as ever, been very busy and active over the last twelve months.

A reminder of some of the things we have achieved/taken part in/absorbed/enjoyed/listened to…
  • Katie Pirson who trained at the Royal School of Needlework
  • Yulia Badian, feltmaker extraordinaire, a member of Silkfelt - a collective of fibre artists interested in working with fairy tales, myth and folklore
  • Our first speaker of 2015 was our very own Wendy Hughes! A wealth of experience and variety.
  • Cherrilyn Tyler, intriguing us with her talk entitled ‘Pants’!
  • Claire Blackburn, whose homage to the ordinary was anything but ordinary!
  • Rosie James stitch-drawings
  • Karen Grenfell who combines with her love of hand embroidery and painting.
  • Last month we were intrigued by Bethany Walker an exciting young artist who combines fabric with cement to create amazing works of art.
  • A range of one-day workshops at Marsh Baldon, something to suit all tastes. And, at this point, a gentle reminder that at £27 each they are the most amazing value for money. Most 'professional' training days cost about £200/day + VAT, so we are exceptionally lucky to have access to such wonderful opportunities.
  • 'Dress a Girl Around the World'. Branch members made 31 dresses and one pair of shorts, a fantastic group effort, contributing to the 25,000 dresses created in the UK.
The Big Stitch on October 4th last year was just before our 2014 AGM, but it’s worth remembering that many Oxford EG members took part, helping to create the most fantastic day. Well done, and thank you to all involved.

The Young Embroiderers continues to thrive under the guidance of Jan Gilmer, Kate Medcraft and Eileen Humphries. Trish Leverett also helps out when she can. We are blessed to have such a committed team, and the group is enthusiastic. Thank you to all involved and if anyone would like to help out, even once in a blue moon, the YEG team would be very appreciative. I know they are currently busy working on felted pieces for the Blenheim Palace exhibition, and also for their entry for the next De Denne competition. We currently have ten YEG members, down from a peak of eighteen. Fifteen is a comfortable maximum and we are looking to replace some of the older members who have now moved on.

Oxford is a thriving branch of the EG, with numerous members who are regular, sometimes prolific, stitchers, including many who exhibit with more than one group of Textile artists. Enthusiasm is the key, and whether or not you stitch very much your membership is valued. Some of us stitch, some of us admire those who stitch and some of us do a little of both!

Since May we have all been looking forwards in the direction of Blenheim Palace as we work towards our contribution to the CB300 celebrations. Many of our members have visited the parks and gardens at Blenheim for inspiration, and, I hope, are busy creating wonderful pieces of work. Amanda and Alex, two Oxford EG members with too much time on their hands, have been involved in this nationwide project from the very beginning.

Our travelling books continue to travel and members enjoy sharing ideas and contributing to each other’s books. It is fun to spot the 'signature' work of our members and to have a collection of 'treasures' to look back on. The books have proved to be very useful as conversation starters - at our own meetings, at the Big Stitch and, last weekend, Alex and I used them to help engage people on the EG stand at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace.

It would be impossible for any of this to happen without our very committed committee! This was well illustrated last Saturday at the Morsbag Day. Nine members of Oxford EG spent the day chatting and stitching, making Morsbags for our Regional Day next April. Seven of the magnificent nine were committee members!! The other two, whose input was much appreciated, were Diane Rockett and Gaby Lloyd – a special thank you to them. We shared a lovely lunch too, and made 27 bags.

On the subject of Morsbags a special mention to Susan Humphrey who is undoubtedly our Morsbag queen, having made 24! Thank you, Susan.

Without our committee we would not have…
  • A fabulous blog
  • Members monthly email communications
  • Speakers
  • Workshops
  • Funds!
  • A warm welcome
  • A very informative info board
  • Teas and coffees
So, on behalf of all the Oxford members, we would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the success of our branch.

Karen and Elaine