Newsletter — August 2020

I would like to begin this month by saying thank you to all of you for being such wonderful, supportive people. The Instagram page is looking lovely – quite festive – with all the super things you have been making over the years.  We really did celebrate International Embroidery Day.  Now to think of something special to do next year ;-). Thank you too, for your support, virtual and actual of one another.  I know there is a lot of building up and helping those of our members who are struggling one way or another, and you have really done what you could under the limitations we are living with at present.  You are a lovely group of people.

A few of us have been meeting every fortnight on Zoom and we were thinking that actually, living through this pandemic with its new demands and challenges is something of a once in a lifetime event.  Even if we will have other pandemics, (and there are plenty of pessimists who seem to think so), this is the first time in 100 years that we have lived through something which has affected us as globally as this one.  Values have completely changed, and our perception of strong nations and weak nations has been turned upside down.  Weaknesses in our society have been exposed, and the strength and endurance of the human spirit has been expressed in some wonderful ways.  We felt that living through this needs to be given some sort of expression, and that we need to mark it in some way.  Accordingly, we have come up with the following:

Lockdown Project — open to all

We would like everyone who does embroidery (and we are not limiting it to this group only) to contribute to creating a small piece of embroidery which our Zoom group will put together in a frieze which will be exhibited at Ighali, when we hold it next year.  We will then look for other places to exhibit it, and hopefully find a permanent home for it where it will speak to those who have lived through it, or to those who come after us, for some time.  Eventually the “pandemic” character will fade from memory, but then, we want a piece of art which will speak of our craft for years to come. I hope you can catch the vision too, and will want to be part of this.

This is what we are looking for:

  • The General heading – at the moment– we can tweak this later:  “2020 – The View From the Inside.  Experiencing  Pandemic”
  • Each member produce one piece of embroidery which expresses her experiences of this period in our lives.  
  • The material should be a light coloured even weave (white is preferred, but we are aware that people may not have this in their stash).  
  • It can be either linen or cotton as long as it is of fairly good, durable quality.  “Threads” have some good quality stuff, (open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 10h00 – 12h00) some of it still old stock at a reasonable price, but you don’t have to buy anything if you already have something that will do.  Should anyone have absolutely nothing in their stash, Danny has said her son and/or husband are willing to buy what you need and deliver it to you if you are unwilling to travel (thank you so much Danny!).  However, ordinary fabric is absolutely fine.  We cannot use canvas of any sort, and Aida is difficult to fold and attach to something else, so PLEASE don’t use those.  They are also too heavy in comparison with most other material. 
  •  Each piece needs to be 25 centimetres high by as long as you want it, up to 80 cm long, with an extra 2 cm border all round so we can sew it onto the holding fabric. You can make it a small square, or you could make it anything up to 0.8 metre in length.  The HEIGHT is important (25 cm), because it needs to match its neighbours.  You may also fit in more than one piece –  like four bookmarks in a row, or six miniatures on your piece if you want to, as long as the finished product is within 25 cm in height. You are asked to mark the boundaries of your picture, either as an embroidered frame around your work, or to tack where the picture ends so we can centre it properly when mounting it. The frieze will look something like this:
Each block represents one piece of work. We hope to have enough pieces to need three rows of frieze, so please join in this project if you can.
  • Any depiction of your experiences of this pandemic is valid.  Any embroidery stitch or technique, any subject matter, internal and abstract, or a picture of a scene, or a tribute to medical staff, any additions such as sequins or beads, ANYTHING that expresses your experience and conveys it to the public.  You may submit up to five pieces, and each piece must have your name (or artistic identity) and the initials of your organisation embroidered in small letters at the bottom right of your piece.  You want to your admirers to know where your work is, and for this to be recognised by those who come after you!  As they come in, we will display them on our Instagram page.
  • We would love it if Thusani or any other upliftment group can be included.  It’s important that all sectors of the population can be represented. Any other embroidery group you belong to would be very welcome to participate, and if your great-great granny is keen, or your great granddaughter’s Brownie group would like to be part of this, please let them! 
  • The time limit for this is by the 15thJanuary next year.  That allows us to work at piecing it together while it’s summer and we can work in the open air with suitable distancing if we are still in lockdown.  Hopefully, by then things will be a little more under control. 
  • When you finish your piece(s), since we are not meeting at the moment, you can submit them in one of three ways.  
  1. Deliver it to “Ribbon Fields” embroidery shop, which is situated at 14 Pierre Road, Bordeaux in Randburg.  At the moment hours are 10h00 – 12h00 on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, but Sue Clegg says she is considering opening on Saturdays too. Give her a call 082 338 4312.
  2. Deliver it to “Buttons and Bows”  at shop 31B Cramerview village, 277 Main Road, Bryanston. They are open Monday to Friday 09h00 to 14h00, and Saturday 09h00 to 13h00 (the shop is at the back of the centre).
  3. Send it to Postnet Victory Park, and make sure the recipient is marked “Margaret 082 880 9229” and they will phone me and I can pick it up. (Just make sure the Postnet you send it FROM is reliable.  I have had very mixed experiences, which is why Victory Park is the one I use.)
  • Advertise this to everyone you can think of. I will be sending something that can be printed out as a flyer so you can advertise it along with these instructions to your WhatsApp group, your local Spar or wherever Lockdown allows you to go.  And START SEWING!

We are really looking forward to what you will produce, and we hope to have something really special!

Newsletter — March 2020

Dear All,

Thank you all for waiting an extra week.  We have exciting news from our AGM and a committee which will take us into the rest of the year.

Three main points of interest from the AGM.  Firstly, Toni Olivier came and spoke to us about the progress of Ighali.  She is waiting for the final details from some of the teachers, then we will have a firm agenda and we can open it up to registration.  The only slight concern at the moment is money! If we get all 120 places taken up, we’ll break even, but there is very little slack, and any donations, fund-raising efforts on your part or other forms of getting in funds will be most welcome (and please don’t come with any more ideas unless you are prepared to carry them out.  We have had a plethora of ideas, suggestions, advice and instructions.  We need people to DO things.) Any amount is welcome.

Secondly, you will be glad to know that the charge for tea will not be raised.  It is still R2.50 per day – R10.00 per month for Tuesdays, R5.00 per month for Saturdays, and you have the option of paying in advance for the whole year.

Thirdly, there will be NO exhibition this year.  All our extra efforts will go into supporting Ighali and encouraging people to attend that instead. 

We are VERY grateful that the Guild has always had a committee of dedicated hard-working people who have carried our interests forward.  We welcome the committee of 2020 and assure them of our love and support, and look forward to an interesting year.

Our committee for this year is as follows:

  • Chair: Danny Wimpey (new on the committee)
  • Secretary: Hettie Moller
  • Treasurer: Helen O’Hanrahan (back on the committee after some years)
  • Tea: Sue Sylvester
  • Library: Agness Janse van Rensburg, with Diane Walker helping on Saturdays
  • Sales Table: Jenny Henning (new on the committee)
  • Saturday Rep: Fatima Bhaba (back on the committee after a few years)
  • Workshops: Carol Robinson, with Jenni Langford on Saturdays as before.

Danny, our Chair, has asked me to send a brief biography since she is relatively new to the Guild, and has probably not met most of the Saturday members. I think you’ll agree she has a most impressive background, and will serve us well.  Welcome Danny!

All the best for 2020, and Happy Sewing!

FROM DANNY:

As you may know by now, I was elected Chairperson of the Guild at the 2020 AGM. Many of you do not know me so to make things easier here is a brief bio.

I have just turned 60 and am semi-retired, although as often is the case, am busier now rather than less so. I live with my husband, 2 of my children and several cats, dogs, and parrots, in Parktown North. I am Jhb born and bred, grew up in Parkview, and attended Parkview Senior and Parktown Girls. I studied law at Wits and was admitted as an attorney in 1985. After practicing privately as a lawyer for 9 years I was headhunted to UJ to run the UJ/Alexandra Law Clinic, which I did for 14 years. After leaving UJ in 2007, I worked at FNB for some years before resigning to start working in another direction: writing and fundraising. I have been doing that since 2011. I work part time for several NGOs as a fundraiser as well as writing for PR clients and doing some editing and proofreading.

I love to exercise, walk and do Pilates regularly. I am also a member of a knitting group: St Francis Knitters. We knit baby things for The Baby Box, a project which delivers to new mums in several government hospitals in South Africa. I am a keen cook, reader and gardener. I also do a bit of  machine sewing but not as much as I would like.

I am looking forward to this year and hope to serve you all to the best of my ability. Please feel free to contact me, or chat to me about anything.

Best wishes, Danny Wimpey

Newsletter — August 2019

Exciting news!  Two days from now we will be exactly ONE YEAR away from the beginning of the first Ighali held north of the Karoo!  Toni Olivier has been extremely busy getting the initial organizing going, and has sent the following information:

The original concept was that of Via Laurie, chairlady of the Helderberg Embroiderers’ Guild in 2001.  The vision was a gathering of the Cape Embroidery Guilds, in order to share information and teachers.

The word “Ighali” is derived from the Xhosa word for “thread” and the idea was to host an Ighali every second year, opening it to guild members as well as the general public.

The aim was to hold hand-embroidery lessons of exceptional quality, from traditional to contemporary, and for these to be presented by skilled embroidery teachers.  In so doing, participating embroiderers would be exposed to educational, informative, constructive, inspiring and hands-on embroidery workshops.

Ighali 2020 is to be hosted at the Ekudeni Exclusive Country Venue in Muldersdrift, Gauteng from Thursday 6 August to Monday 10 August.  More details will be available soon, so we urge you to save the date and start saving for this awesome event.

We look forward to creating many new embroidery friendships in 2020!

Please, Please, Please let as many people as possible know about this!  Ighali virtually unknown in Gauteng, and there are many little informal embroidery groups and individuals who would love to be part of this.  Muldersdrift is not that far from anywhere in Gauteng, and I’m sure there will be those who would like to be day-visitors. Please start the advertising process now.

At the end of this paragraph, I have included a link to the Quilters’ Guild exhibition and conference held later this month at Heronbridge.  If you are planning to visit, please give yourself an extra half an hour to get there – they are re-building the road, and Heronbridge College is right in the middle of it all.

 website http://festival.quiltsouthafrica.co.za  for information

As regards workshops – Jenni Langford is enjoying a well-earned tour around the UK and seems to be having a wonderful time.  We look forward to hearing all about it, and learning new things from her when she returns later this month.

This month Carol Robinson is teaching the something many of us have not seen since we visited Granny in our childhood, although it is still popular, mass produced and on sale in various interior decorating shops in the country.  Cutwork – an example of which you can see below – is the new skill, and I think that the classes are full, but I am certain Carol will offer it again – we must just ask her nicely. It’s very beautiful, and we look forward to adding further creativity to our efforts. That’s all for this month.  I hope you have survived winter successfully, you are still sewing madly and with passion and enjoyment

Cutwork

Newsletter — July 2019

It seems as though we are hibernation this month.  There are no workshops, and some of our members have escaped the cold and gone somewhere warmer.  However, Ighali work has gone on apace, and some of the beautiful creations are depicted at the end of this letter.

Here are some quotations about sewing that you might find amusing – there isn’t a lot about embroidery, so I have chosen some about sewing as well.  Enjoy them!

Comparing science and religion isn’t like comparing apples and oranges – it’s more like apples and sewing machines. Jack Horner
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/jack_horner_560231

When I write sad songs, I feel like I’m sewing up a scar in me, and the outcome always feels so much better than when I write happy ones. Sam Smith
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/search_results?q=sewing

I love taking prints, embroidery, appliques – precious things that seem to be from another time – and using them to create a contemporary, new story. Alessandro Michele
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/alessandro_michele_866599

Keep warm, keep embroidering, and enjoy the pictures!

Newsletter May 2019

What an exciting week we are going to have!  The first attempt by Gauteng of holding “Ighali” is slowly but surely getting underway.  “Ighali” is a sewing-teaching-meeting-learning embroidery weekend experience which up till now has happened every second year in either the Western or Eastern Cape. At the initiative of some of our members, led by Toni Olivier, we are beginning to make plans to hold this event next year.  Toni will be at the Tuesday and Saturday meetings this week to tell you more about it, so I am not going to say anything more.  Please come and learn all about our biggest, most wonderful venture to date.

As regards workshops – Jenni Langford is not teaching anything new this month, but is available for anyone who would like help with unfinished pieces.  She says:

For May there will not be any workshops but you are encouraged to bring any WIP (work in progress) or UFO (unfinished items) you have problems with. Bring them along to the meetings and I am sure there will be someone who will be able to help or encourage you with your project/s. 

Sometimes we need help and/or encouragement when we have lost interest in a project we are/were working on.

One of the things our Guild has undertaken is to provide items for the “Goodie Bags” for each participant at Ighali.  Carol Robinson has designed and produced some blank felt needle cases to go in each bag.  We are asked to embroider some form of Mandala on each as one of our gifts to those who attend the Ighali weekend.  Carol  will be at both Saturday and Tuesday meetings to explain what is needed and to distribute those needle case kits she has already prepared. You are invited to take one and embroider it for the event. You will be required to provide your own thread – and Carol says you need either perle cotton or else 3 strands of regular embroidery thread.  Carol has made one already as a sample – see below – but you are free to design your own.

All the very best, and happy sewing!

Ighali 2018 — dates and venue announced

Ighali 2018 will take place from the 19th – 24th September 2018 in Constantia, Cape Town.

Ighali is hosted biennially and is open to guild members as well as the general public.

The aim of Ighali is to host hand embroidery workshops of high quality – traditional to contemporary – presented by competent embroidery tutors.

This gives all participating embroiderers exposure to educational, informative, constructive, inspiring and hands on embroidery workshops.

Download Ighali 2018 Brochure

Download Ighali 2018 Registration Form