Browsing the past

Embroidery magazineOver the past couple of months I have had days on end when rest was needed.  I decided to occupy myself gently by delving into my set of the Embroiderers’ Guild magazines.

This has been a rare treat as I moved backwards through articles by and about embroiderers still inspiring me; debates on the the letters pages on still-hot topics – what constitutes embroidery? art or craft? traditional hand stitching versus machine? How can we preserve the skill base?

I had forgotten how fascinating and helpful are the first-person accounts of work being inspired and developed through to resolved pieces. Many of the makers write so thoughtfully about their whole creative process and  I often find this more valuable than critiques by others of exhibited work, as the authentic voice comes through.

The cavalcade of pieces reveals the gradually changing work of long-established artists – Jan Maries, Jan Beaney, Audrey Walker, Paddy Killer, Kate Wells, Eirian Short; any inclusive list would be too long!  It is proving a real exploration of where I started, what led me onwards, why I love embroidery so much.  I come across those I was students with and marvel at their later work; a telling personal account by a friend of teaching C&G design in adult education sparked memories of my own time as a student and teacher of C&G.

I don’t want to infringe any copyright so I haven’t included any pictures of articles – but if you want a visual treat, read through your own or try and get hold of some past issues. And what do you think of the content of the recent issues?

Personal profiles are fascinating. When Anthea Godfrey became Chair of the Guild in 1990 Constance Howard let us know that at one time she was the Director of a dance company that became Hot Gossip.  Who knew?