Newsletter — December 2022

Here we are, at the end of another year. It’s time to start thinking of the Festive Season and all that that entails, and it will soon be January when we are Back In Business. It seems ages since we all met, but we will be back at the Roosevelt Park Recreation Centre on Tuesday the 10th of January (from 09h00) and Saturday the 14thJanuary (from 13h00) to pick up where we left off some three years ago. Who would have thought it would take that long? Please remember to bring your R300 which is your annual fee AS WELL AS your tea money. No monthly payments for tea any more, and if you do the sums, you will see that the Embroiderers’ Guild is one of the few places where it is CHEAPER to belong to than before Covid. We would prefer you to pay online, and please put your name is BOTH reference places.

Please contact the Guild for its banking details.

The big thing about this year is IGHALI! Toni Billings, our Secretary is also the chair of the Ighali committee and she is very busy picking up from where we left off in 2019/2020. Below are two letters she sent out to some of us giving details of where she is in the process at the present time. 

Good day Everyone

I spent Sunday 6 November scouting out venues for IGHALI. I’ve narrowed it down to two from the six I physically saw, but I’ll be looking at others in the weeks to come. 

It is quite a challenge as I need to look for an affordable price; a location that is relatively central for everyone; available dates at the venue that will suit most of us; a terrain that will be manageable for everyone; good quality food and reasonable quantities; plenty of rooms that are suitable for those ladies who are staying overnight; the proximity to airports with shuttle services for those who are flying in from elsewhere; the number of breakaway rooms and the facilities in these rooms such as the lighting, space, electrical points, projectors and screens; a secure place for our vendors; a safe spot for the embroidery exhibits; and a good area for our gala evening. Quite a list of requirements I’m sure you’ll agree! 

I’ve also learned that I have to actually SEE all the facilities because telephone assurances and internet descriptions leave a lot to be desired. Hopefully, I’ll have found a suitable spot by the end of the year and then I’ll be able to let you know.

As to the date of the seminar, for now, I’m considering August/September 2023, but that date will obviously be determined by the availability of our excellent teachers as well as the venue. So, this too will be confirmed nearer the time. All I can say for now is save, save, save! This will be an event not to be missed and will be worth every cent.

If you have any teachers or vendors you believe will add value to our embroidery journey, please urge them to contact me so we can ensure that we have the very best seminar possible. I’ll also be contacting those who were kind enough to offer their help in 2020, so … be prepared ladies I’m coming for you!

As always money is in short supply so donations and sponsorships etc. are all welcome and we will gladly advertise the services of those who want the publicity. To the many ladies who have up to now contributed and donated their time, skills, materials, items to be raffled, tips, hints, goodies, suggestions and ideas, thank you, thank you, thank you. We would be lost without you! It’s so uplifting to know that we have a supportive embroidery family to depend on.

Until we chat again, take care and keep those scissors sharp.

And here is the second one. Please contact Toni directly if you can help in any way.

Good day All

Those of you who were part of the IGHALI 2020 group may remember that there was a seminar theme, which we’ve decided to keep. (You may have noticed my “subtle” hints at the end of my previous emails.)

For obvious reasons, “Cutting through Time” is now symbolic of the IGHALI journey we’ve taken, from the initial “proposed” date (pre-COVID) until we eventually meet in Gauteng. 

As a part of our IGHALI programme, we would love to hold a competition featuring your embroidered interpretation of this theme. Entries will be judged and prizes awarded at the end of the seminar. So ladies, get your thinking caps on and let your imagination run wild. I’m looking forward to seeing all your beautiful, inspiring creations on show. 

In the same vein, if you have any “scissor” related quotes, stories, history or other information that our delegates would find interesting, please share these with me. I want to create an enduring record of our thematic collaboration to celebrate our return to normality.

Another amazing feature of our IGHALI Gauteng programme will be the display of a remarkable imaginative achievement representing the last three years. The Witwatersrand Embroiderers’ Guild (“WEG”), of which I’m proud to be the secretary, was inspired to create an amazing COVID frieze, featuring incredible artwork by various members of our Guild. The theme of the project was the “Eye of the Needle” and the brief given to the ladies was to create an embroidered memory of their personal COVID voyage. The frieze reminds us of how a connection to embroidery brought many of us through this challenging time, so we felt it fitting that it should be shared with like-minded delegates at IGHALI Gauteng.

In conclusion, I’d like to urge you all once again, please save-save-save! This is going to be a magnificent event and you’ll be awfully sorry if you miss it.

Until next time, keep stitching and be happy. (No more scissor references here!)

This is going to get our embroidery off to a very good start! Thank you Toni for all that you are doing. 

And now for some (for me) sad news. I have thought for some time that this newsletter, fun though it has been to do, may be coming to the end of its time. I began it when the only means of communication was announcements before tea at the meetings, which meant anyone who wasn’t in the room, wasn’t at the meeting, was busy following complicated instructions, or whatever else, missed out on what was being said. The newsletter was a written copy of what we all needed to know and we could refer back to it when we needed to. During Covid and the non-availability of the Recreation Centre, it was a means of keeping us all in touch with one another. 

Now that we are meeting, we have, as has every other organisation, hit the ground running, and the newsletter probably doesn’t fill the same urgent need. We are all more able to cope with email and WhatsApp, and Danny Wimpey, our Chairperson is a superb communicator, both written and spoken, and sends out whatever you need to know immediately. Toni Billing is also very efficient, and will send beautifully written emails and other messages as soon as we need to know what she wants us to know. To keep information for a month so it goes into a newsletter is the slow way of doing things and not particularly efficient, and to have both periodic notices AND a newsletter is cluttering up your inboxes unnecessarily. 

In addition – and I took it as a sign – I have been offered work for the coming year, which doesn’t often come to people 70+ years of age, and I would really like to take it. It involves amongst other things, developing course material, and meetings often take place on a Tuesday morning and sometimes on a Saturday. My attendance at meetings will be sporadic for the first few months of the year, so I don’t think that I could do full justice to a newsletter which is an agent of communication. For the time being, Toni has undertaken to keep you informed of anything going on, possibly/probably in the newsletter format, and should things change in the course of the year, and you REALLY need the newsletter, we can always look at it again. Accordingly I am sending your email addresses to Toni and Danny ONLY, (and you already gave them to us and they are on our membership lists) and if for ANY reason you don’t want to be contacted any longer, please let us know immediately and your details will be removed from our mailing list. 

In the meantime, thank you to those who of you who have been so appreciative of my efforts. It was a pleasure to do it, and if it did something towards helping a group of wonderful ladies stay in contact, and motivated to practice our ancient art of embroidery, it will have done its job.  

Lots of love, and thank you.