Friday, 14 February 2014

A Welcome from Cherwell Valley

Eagerly anticipating the talk to come, on 'UFOs'
Welcome to our NEW BLOG, which we have launched, on behalf of our members, to tell you about our activities. It’s aimed at stitchers and  mixed-media textile enthusiasts of all ages and skills, no matter where you live. We hope it will interest and delight you, and that you will want to discover more. It's not intended to be a 'members only' site but one for anyone interested in art forms based on 'stitch'.

The marvellous work of Jane O'Brien
from her inspirational talk to us on
'Damask, Colour and Collage'
Non-members, and other readers of this Blog, are welcome to attend a talk or participate in a workshop as a ‘visitor’ with no obligation to join. Apart from organised talks and workshops announced for the whole year, we undertake a number of informal group projects  - though not everyone is obliged to do so. We are about to create a digital archive of members' work for presentation as annotated slideshows. We have also, for the last fifteen months, circulated an illustrated digitally-produced 4-page newsletter to members – three issues a year. So much is made possible (and at far less cost) with the arrival of new technology – technology that many of us use in our stitching as well; nixed-media is not just about canvas and paint!

One member's introductory page to the 'Textile Trails' project
Most recently, our Cherwell Valley Branch embarked upon a ‘Textile Trails’ adventure: a round-robin affair enjoyed by a dozen members in two groups, each with a substantial sketchbook into which we pasted the results of our endeavours – experimental or complete and based on whatever topic we chose.

Clever use by another member of printing on fabric, textile collage,
embellishments and hand-stitching
Some skilfully followed throughout the theme of the book owner, be it plants or travel or history, or whatever. The Trail travelled on a monthly basis from one stitcher to another, with some amazing results, until they came back home again. Some of us are continuing in 2014, re-organised and with new participants.

'Stitch & Share' bundles - everyone started with the same components
Then we hit upon a ‘Stitch & Share Day’ when we gathered around a large table, each with a treasure-bag of bits of fabric, two squares of muslin and a piece of batting, thread and buttons enabling each of us to create little 6”x6” quilted pieces that are being stitched into a double-sided zig-zag ‘book’ in a descriptive pouch – a lasting example of our work.

Photo-Collage 'Stitch & Share'
The images top left and top right of the Blog show us at work on that hot August day. But we were not just there to create a museum piece – there was an ulterior motive! With discussions taking place all around the country on the nature of the national Guild, and how we as members perceive ‘stitch and textiles’ in the modern world, we thought we might be more forthcoming if we discussed this topic with needle and thread in hand rather than sitting in serried rows. Results were enlightening.

So good to see youngsters taking an interest (this at the
Malvern Creative Crafts Show)
Nothing is static in this world: the Embroiders’ Guild is repurposing itself, and Cherwell Valley is expanding. Whether you are 19 or 90 (or younger or older) we are sure you will enjoy what we have to offer, including this new Blog which reaches beyond the branch itself, providing a growing library of resources that should be of interest to any stitcher. It’s early days yet, but the seed has germinated, the seedling blog is being lovingly nurtured, the better to serve its purpose.

For more details on our activities, please initially contact our blog author, Ann Somerset Miles  and we will forward your enquiry to the relevant Committee Member.