Sunday, January 8, 2012

Embroiderers' Guild House in Walton-on-Thames

On my recent trip to London, I went to Embroiderers' Guild House to visit the EG bookshop, but I found that the bookshop is no longer open to the public (see my previous blog post).

While we were there my daughter Bronwyn and I were invited to have a look at the Beryl Dean Gallery.  I felt quite in awe when I saw work done by embroiderers of the stature of Constance Howard, Beryl Dean, Jane Lemon and many other well known embroiderers.There is a display too of exquisite work by members which pushes the boundaries in thought-provoking and creative ways and I would have loved to be able to spend more time enjoying it.

I was thrilled to see a fragment of 4th century Coptic weaving from Ancient Egypt among the treasures on display - its the tiny piece on the right in the photo below. Isn't it amazing to think that fabric can survive for over a thousand years and that we can still enjoy seeing it and appreciate the workmanship of those long ago textile workers who perhaps worked in very primitive conditions?

Part of the Beryl Dean Gallery. (Photo taken with kind permission.)
Before we left we chatted to some of the friendly but very busy EG staff. We heard a little about their trip to South Africa to see embroidery of a non Euro-centric nature. We also met and spoke to Terry Murphy, CEO of the EG, who has ties to South Africa and regularly visits Cape Town. What a small world we live in these days! Most of the EG folk we spoke to had crossed the African continent and visited our shores. Perhaps in the future we can meet up in Cape Town and share some of our embroidery that we do here.

Back into the freezing cold, even the locals were stomping their feet and rubbing their hands, and time for a pub lunch.

Were we glad when the fire was lit right next to us!

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