Newsletter — July 2021

Welcome to midwinter – or just after.  I hope you are all keeping warm and safe from the ills that are affecting our society at this time.  I also hope that your embroidery is providing you with that “Zone” where you can escape and forget everything that has to be endured at the moment.

Before we get on to Embroidery business, I have to let you know that we do come under the POPIA act, and while Toni and Jenni are going to send you all a formal notice about it when they have drawn it up, let me assure you in the meantime that 1) we will never give your contact details out to anyone and 2) if you do not want to receive these newsletters, or any other communication from the Guild, please let us know and we will remove your name and details immediately. Other details concerning this Act will be made known soonish.

Helen O’Hanrahan as asked me to remind those of you who have not yet done so, you please to pay your fees for this year if you can.  If you have any problems, please let her know.

The Member Fees are:

  • Under 60          R140,00
  • 60   –   69         R120,00
  • 70   –   79         R100,00
  • 80   –   89        R 80,00
  • 90 +                 Honorary

About the Eye of a Needle Covid project: thank you very much to those of you who have submitted your pieces so far. We now have well over 20 pieces, which even now will make an effective artwork. However, we know there are those of you who have not yet finished and with this current wave, we also know there are those of you who won’t or can’t leave your residences. Accordingly we have decided to extend the deadline until the end of AUGUST. So you have two more months to finish what you have begun, and if you are a super sewer and would like to make another one – please do. Jenni will be at the Roosevelt Park Recreation centre on the last Saturday of each month – the 31st July and the 28th August between 14h00 and 16h00, and you can hand your things in then. Thank you Jenni – you devotion to the cause is admirable. Jenni has also given a useful little article on how to look after your scissors which I have put at the end of this letter.

There are those of us who have been ill, and we hope you have recovered. Please be careful. Many of us will be ready for the second vaccine around now. I hope you all manage to get vaccinated. The sooner this happens, the sooner we will be able to meet again.

We also have some good news. The embroiderer’s Guild has three new grandchildren. Our little Rebecca was born last year, and is proving to be a feisty young woman. Hilary Walker’s Max was born about 4-5 months ago, and is growing into a very charming young man. Louise von Glehn became a granny for the first time last month with the birth of little Owen. Unfortunately he is an English baby, so Louise and Frank will only be able to see him when we are allowed to travel again. If there are any other babies or children you would like to tell us about, please let us know. You are allowed to brag! Otherwise, keep on keeping on. We will get through this, and we will meet again, hopefully sooner rather than later. In the meantime, keep well.

How to care for your Embroidery Scissors

  • After use, wipe the inside of blade surfaces with a soft dry cloth to prevent lint build-up.
  • Lightly oil scissors periodically at the screw assembly and between the blades at the pivot area. Remove any excess oil residue to prevent staining.
  • Avoid using force in cutting as it can seriously damage the blades and alignment. Struggling through a cut means the scissors are too light or too blunt for the job.
  • Handle with care and avoid dropping.
  • A qualified scissor expert should do adjustments and sharpening, when necessary.

Newsletter — June 2021

I hope you are doing well in this cold part of the year. In two weeks’ time we reach the shortest day, then we can look forward to Spring, to warmer weather, and, hopefully, greater vaccine availability, and also to our being able to meet again sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, because of the spike in infections in Gauteng, and those falling ill with Covid have now included some of our members, the committee has taken the sensible decision to cancel meetings for the time being. It’s sad, but it’s the only responsible thing to do.

This month, our condolences go to Mavis Scholes, whose son, Professor Bob Scholes died of a heart attack in Namibia recently. He was one of the world-wide authorities on climate change and sustainability, and this is a great loss to all of us. Our thoughts and prayers go to Mavis and her family.

We also lost Mrs Oberholzer — long-time owner and manager of Threads, that one-of-a-kind embroidery shop in Linden. The house has been sold, but her two daughters are continuing from new premises in Linden. It’s number 60, 6th Street. To find it, come out of Arthur Bales’ shop, turn right, at the first corner turn right again, and it’s on the right hand side, the last block of flats before the shops on the corner. It’s one of the ground floor flats, the notice is on the outside, and Joan runs it on Tuesday to Friday mornings, and Elise on Saturday mornings. It’s bigger than the other shop, and they have increased their supply of embroidery wools. I suggest you phone before you go because on some days they are open from 10h00 until 14h00, and others until 12h00. The number is 082 344 2406.

Back to the Guild. We are very grateful to Hettie who has travelled more than the extra mile and left the onerous job of Chairperson, to take on the time-consuming one of the Secretary on the committee, a position she will have held of three years by the end of this year. She has to step down in terms of the Constitution, and we are very glad indeed that Toni (Olivier) Billings has agreed to take over. She will be in training alongside Heath for the rest of this year, and we welcome her as a ci-opted member on to the committee for now.

Our Covid project, “Through the Eye of a Needle” draws to a close this month. Some lovely things have come in, and we are looking forward to a splendid final work of art. Although we aren’t meeting at the moment, so you can’t hand them in at meetings, Jenni Langford will be at the Roosevelt Park recreation centre where we usually have our meetings, at 14h30 on Saturday 26th June to collect the last ones. If that is not possible, and you would like to hand your contribution in earlier, you can still leave them at Ribbonfields or Buttons and Bows and I’ll collect them from there. Please just send me (Margaret Place) a WhatsApp to let me know when you have dropped them off so I know to go and fetch them. A few things have come via that route, but the shops don’t always phone me immediately and I would hate you to miss the cut-off time. Download the form from this website and fill it in to accompany your piece of art.

Finally, Jenni Langford took notes at a talk she attended she attended and wants to pass on to all of us. Thank you Jenni!

Top 10 Tips to Improve Your Embroidery

Happy sewing , keep warm, and we look forward to your embroidery work on our project.

Newsletter — April 2021

First of all, may I wish you all a very spiritually happy month. Those who celebrate(d) Pesach, Easter and the beginning of Ramadan, I hope these ceremonies and processes fulfil all that they are meant to do, and those of other beliefs, or who don’t follow any particular belief, I hope you have had a peaceful time over this holiday weekend

I have some very exciting news this month, which will make it a very long letter, but first the bread-and-butter things:

I must apologise to Alice Per for not including her in our gratitude to those ladies who keep our Instagram page going. Thank you Alice, yours and everyone’s contribution is much appreciated.

I also need to let the Tuesday group know that Liora Weil is no longer going to come to our meetings. The period of Covid has been very challenging for her, and I believe her family have found a suitable, caring place for her. We will miss her, and also Busi and Pretty who looked after her so well. Both of the latter are now looking for another position. Should anyone know of someone needing full time carers, please let Tricia Leishman know.

Please keep working on your “Covid Eye of the Needle” pieces. We have had two submissions from non-Guild people as well, so news of it has spread. Please keep it going – we need a lot more contributions, and we want to see everyone’s work represented. It will be an amazing display when it is all done.

In addition, we are still a functioning Guild, and the rules of the constitution still apply. If you have not already done so, PLEASE PAY YOUR ANNUAL SUBS. Because of the unusual year we have had, we have moved the deadline date to the end of May. I am repeating the banking details. Since so many of us have been confused by the “your reference” “my reference” bits on the deposit form (me included!) please send Helen an email when you have paid, giving the date, the bank from which the money has been sent and the TIME when you put your contribution in so she can mark you off on the list accurately. It would also help to find a twenty-something to help you with the deposit form, so you have another capable foot in the digital age. IF YOU HAVE NOT PAID BY THE END OF MAY, YOU ARE SAYING YOU NO LONGER WANT TO BE A MEMBER OF THE GUILD, AND ARE ASKING US TO REMOVE YOU FROM THE MEMBERSHIP LIST. Please take note of this, and make the necessary arrangements in time. We don’t want to lose any of you.

The Member Fees are:

Under 60R140,00
60  –  69R120,00
70  –  79R100,00
80  –  89R 80,00
90 +Honorary

The bank details are:
Witwatersrand Embroiderers’ Guild,
Absa Bank , savings ,
A/c 9362064660
Cresta 632005

NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS!

WE ARE PLANNING TO START MEETING AGAIN!

After more than a year, Danny and the committee have been in negotiations with Ina at the Roosevelt Park Recreation Centre, and we are able to meet once again, beginning in MAY subject to very strict Covid Protocols. So here is how it will work.

  1. What we MAY do

Starting from the 4th May (Tuesday) and the 8th of May (Saturday) we will meet as we always have, but the times have been slightly extended to give us space to carry out the various procedures which have become necessary. The Tuesday meeting will meet every week from 09:00 to 12:00, and the Saturday group will meet on the second and fourth Saturdays from 14:00 until 16:30.

  • What we MUST do

We will have to sanitise our hands before entering, and our temperature will have to be taken. We will wear masks for the whole time we are in the centre – they may NOT be removed. We will also have to fill in the sort of form you find at your doctor’s rooms or the pharmacy, where you make the declaration that you have not been in contact with any Covid sufferer and you yourself are not experiencing any Covid symptoms. To avoid crowding, these forms may be placed on your table, but more about this in the next newsletter.

  • What we will find when we get there
    • The tables will be separate with four chairs around each, and both Tuesday and Saturday will be accommodated in the hall. The tables will be spaced correctly, and may not be moved. ONLY FOUR PEOPLE WILL BE ALLOWED AT EACH TABLE. I strongly suggest that, if you want to sit with particular friends, you arrange this beforehand, and aim to arrive together. “Keeping seats” creates difficulties, and NOBODY will be allowed to fetch a chair and push in. Should the number of tables in the hall be full, then the overflow will have to sit in what was the tea room, where a few tables will be added.
    • While the centre will sanitise between meetings, the Guild committee has decided that, given the average age of our members, we will sanitise everything ourselves before each meeting. We also have to sanitise when we leave. If you want to leave early, I suggest you sanitise your chair and the table place where you sat. If someone else comes late, they will than have a clean place to sit at if yours is the only vacant place left. Too much is better than too little.
    • All the doors and windows have to be kept open, so if May is beginning to feel like the beginning of winter, please wear suitable warm clothing.
    • While the Centre will sanitise the toilets, I suggest that, since it is a public space, you bring your own sanitiser and clean before and after you use it. You don’t have to, but peace of mind is a nice thing to have.
  • What you will not find
    • There will be NO tablecloths. If you like working on a covered surface, you may bring your own tray-cloth sized piece to work on, but you are required to sanitise it before you place it on the table.
    • There will be NO TEA. The task of sanitising cups and plates and managing crowds around the urn are just not feasible at the moment. If you would like to bring a lunch box and something to drink in a flask or bottle (remember being in primary school?) you may, but there is to be NO sharing.
    • Just as you may not share tea or snacks, you may not share any embroidery things either. Please make sure you have scissors, pins, the right threads, enough material, and anything else when you come. You may not borrow from anyone, and you must say “no” if anyone wants to borrow from you.
    • There will also be NO workshops, no looking at one another’s work (unless you hold it up) and no helping or asking for help. All these lead to unnecessary contact, and rather than risk people “being careful” and then forgetting to distance, the centre is drawing the line to the right of acceptable. There is no reason why you should not arrange a Zoom workshop with someone between meetings if you need help.
    • There will also be NO sales table, for reasons similar to that concerning no tea. There will however be an opportunity buy what you need from Janis (details below).
  • What will still be there but different.
    • The library will be open for a limited time at each meeting. The number of people at the cupboard will be limited – details later – sanitising will take place before and after, so you may still borrow books. PLEASE return any books you may have taken out before Lockdown. No fines will be levied, but we do want those books back.
    • Janis is prepared to sell from her stock during meetings but it will be primarily online. She asks that you let her know by WhatsApp or email exactly what it is you want, eg “DMC 703, light yellowish green – two skeins”. She will see what she has in stock, will reply to your email with your list and the prices with each item and the total. You will either pay her online and submit proof of payment, or will bring said proof of payment OR the EXACT amount of cash to the next meeting where you will be handed your package and she will be/will have been paid. Payment arrangements you must negotiate with her. She asks you please not to phone her because looking for things with one hand and holding the phone in the other is awkward and very time consuming. Her supply of cloth is a bit limited, but all the rest is as it always was.
  • What we all MUST understand.
    • These arrangements seem to be very restrictive and rather petty. Please understand that, not only is Covid pernicious and very unpredictable, but we are meeting in a government-owned building. Those of you who were part of the last Exhibition will remember the run-around Hettie and the committee had, with measuring screens, and pre-wrapped biscuits and other such minutiae. Well, the same people are in control once again, and they have the authority to send round inspectors who, if they find something wrong, may close us down for an indeterminate period. We HAVE to comply absolutely down to the last petty detail. You can’t mess with these people.
    • Should there be a national or provincial spike in infections, or an infection in one/some of our members, both the WEG committee and the Roosevelt Park Centre have the right to cancel meetings until it is safe to return, and even if the country is not put back into stricter lockdowns, we may still feel it prudent to keep our members safe for a time. Please accept these decisions if they have to be made.
    • This probably doesn’t need to be said, but I will say it anyway. If anyone is not well or their spouse/child/domestic worker/elderly parent who lives with you is ill, please stay away until the nature of the illness is confirmed as NOT Covid. There are many of our members in the vulnerable age group, and we need to be more considerate than we would be in a restaurant or shop. In addition, if anyone is diagnosed with Covid within ten days of a meeting, or if their spouse/child/domestic worker/elderly parent is positively diagnosed, please regard yourself as in quarantine, and let the committee and anyone you associated with on the day, know your status, so we can do the necessary quarantining, and look out for possible symptoms in ourselves in time to keep us all safe. 

Even though this is difficult, it is wonderful that we can meet should we wish to. There will be another newsletter before we meet again, and anything further that needs to be decided will be communicated to you then.

Until then, keep safe, and keep stitching.

Newsetter — March 2021

The year is rushing by. It is exactly a year since we last met over tables and with tea and chat and the library and Janice and Sue’s pop up shops, over in Roosevelt Park. We have learnt a lot – particularly about how to communicate via the internet. We have lost two dear friends, Myrna and Leone, but we have made so many more by our interactions with one another. In addition … we are just less than four months to the deadline date for our “Eye of the Needle” project. Some work has come in, and we are looking forward to what other people are doing. But it’s also true that many of us are in a rather restless place at the moment. The end of the pandemic is in sight (on a very far horizon) and we are very tired of constantly looking over our shoulder at those who are too close/not wearing masks etc. While some of us have been meeting in small groups, “the vulnerable” are still being careful, and meetings as they used to be aren’t happening yet. It’s very easy to fall into a state of ennui so I am including an interesting link to a site which tells us how to motivate ourselves to get on with those UFOs which sit in our houses just LOOKING at us! (it’s a crochet site, but the suggestions work just as well for embroidery) Here is the link:

https://shar.es/aoAheT

I think we should take time to thank Danny and the committee for keeping us going over this difficult year. There have been lots of ideas, and we are all glad that this committee is continuing for another year. We will also send Helen O’Hanrahan a virtual bottle of Whiskey for cutting swathes through the jungle of our online banking ignorance. Thank you Helen, and I hope, if you have not yet managed to match donor and payment, that at least you have shown a profit.

The Saturday WhatsApp group has been going for some time, but Hilary Walker initiated and runs the “Switch on Stich on” group which includes everyone, but many of the contributions come from the Tuesday group. Hilary was also the brains behind the “Eye of the Needle” project, and she is the one who is taking herself off to Roosevelt Park every last Saturday of the month to collect our contributions, although I believe there are others who help her there. She really has been a significant player in this difficult year. When we know who they are, we will also be able to thank those who will be putting it all together. Thank you too, to Mary Lou and Merica and Robyn who have been/are keeping our Instagram page going. What an amazing display! And how good you all have been for keeping on keeping on, with lovely work, happy thoughts and altogether maintaining the spirit of the Guild. It is truly a privilege to be part of this exceptional group of people, and even more so, to serve under the exceptional leadership of our Chairlady, Danny.

So, not much else at the moment. I hope you have made the most of whatever Sales have been happening, and if any of you are getting down to charitable knitting/crocheting/sewing to help the many who are really struggling as a result of this hard year, that you may find joy in your giving, and that you don’t have to stay up TOO late to fit in the embroidery you really want to do.

Have a good month!

Newsletter — February 2021

A belated happy New Year to you all in this first, official newsletter of 2021. I hope you had a nice festive season, and that you managed to have some quality time with those closest to you. Let’s hope we are at the beginning of the end of our exile, and that face-to-face is on the horizon, even if that horizon seems to be very far away as yet. Well done to all of you for keeping things going and creating beautiful things in a time of anxiety, sadness and huge stress. You are totally awesome people!! (if this was a phone, I’d have some sickly emojis here)

Those of us who got involved in the debate on the WhatsApp group, we decided unanimously to pay our dues for this year. Many of us are paying for the privilege of belonging to other online societies, and the frieze project, if it is to become an heirloom with a long life, will need mounting using materials of top quality. That will have to be paid for. As things are going, with no other Covid curved balls, we should be able to meet again some time at least in 2022, and there will inevitably be things we need to do to make our meeting place nice again. Who knows what we will find when we open up after two or so years? Accordingly, our treasurer, Helen O’Hanrahan has sent a list detailing the amounts you need to pay and the banking details. Please let us have these as soon as possible, and put your own name as reference so we can keep track of who has paid. Any problems, please let Helen know.

The Member Fees are:

  • Under 60     R140,00
  • 60-69 R120,00
  • 70-79 R100,00
  • 80-89 R 80,00
  • 90+   Honorary

The bank details are:

Witwatersrand Embroiderers’ Guild
Absa Bank
Savings account
A/c 9362064660
Cresta 632005

Some sad news. Those of you who came on Tuesday will remember Leonie Pybus, a quiet person who was always there with something pertinent and helpful to say. Unfortunately she has lost the battle with cancer and died early on the 1st February. She was an intelligent woman and very perceptive, and often knew just the right thing to say to encourage you and enable you to see things differently. May she rest in peace. We will miss her.

Last Saturday, Hilary Walker went – in this rather grey weather – to wait at the Recreation centre to receive pieces from you for the frieze. So far we have five pieces, two from Dot Gibbons, one from Helen O’Hanrahan, and two from Mary Lou Kingaby. Not a frieze yet, but so far an awesome flag!!!! I know there are many pieces in the pipeline, so we look forward to some wonderful contributions, and ultimately a final product which will be of great artistic and historical relevance.

We look forward, this coming week, to the ONE HUNDREDTH BIRTHDAY of our oldest member (by about two months). We wish Helen Paton our very best, and hope she has a wonderful day, and her family will be allowed to visit her. She has, apparently, moved to Elm Park, and with this revolting Virus has had to be kept apart from the world of people who could infect her and others who live there. Should we decide to do anything as a Guild, we will certainly be told on the WhatsApp group. I am sure we are the only Guild in the world which has, (along with Helen Bird) two active 99 year old members. God willing, we’ll be the first with two centenarians.

Interim Newsletter — January 2021

I hope you all had a happy holiday season, and that you did manage to get some carefully and safely contrived time with those closest to you. The Covid Project committee has been listening to you, so they met and have changed a few things around the dates and organisation of our special project. I hope this takes the pressure off a bit, and you can enjoy what you are doing for a bit longer. Please note there is a new Covid Project WhatsApp group specifically for this.

The following are the decisions of the meeting held on January 10th, 2021

1. We will extend deadline of Covid project to 12th June 2021.

2. We would like to collect what embroideries have been completed up to this point so we have a good idea of knowing where we are going.

In addition to the collection arrangements at Buttons and Bows or at Ribbonfields, you may bring your pieces of work to:

Where :- Roosevelt Park Recreation Centre parking area.

When:- last Saturday of every month.

Time:- 14h00….

3. If some of you are struggling with what or how you could go about this,  we will help with inspiration for members who what to be part of project but don’t know where to start.

Some prompts:-

Google – thoughts, feelings, ideas, click on images –

For assistance please contact Robyn de Klerk. Robyn knows of design Apps and where to go to go to download designs etc.

Hilary is also happy to help with inspiration ideas and to assist in drawing simple designs for Guild members.

Ladies on subcommittee of “Covid 19 Lockdown Through the Eye of a Needle” are:-

Danny Wimpy

Robyn de Klerk

Jenny Langford

Hilary Walker

If in need to chat about this project etc PLEASE contact us.
(witsembroidery@gmail.com)

I hope this helps.  There will be an official letter at the beginning of February.

Newsletter — November 2020

I do apologise for not having sent this out last week. A dose of Lockdown-itis affected the way I read the calendar. However, this has given us a new opportunity to get some embroidery stock. 

I know there are some who are doing really well on their Covid Frieze project – this is so exciting! We look forward to the final work of art. Many people are designing their own pieces, but I know there are some whose skill lies in execution rather than in design, in which case some of our most celebrated teachers and producers will be showcased in this rather special way. 

We are still working in isolation, and it has to be that way at the moment. How lucky we are to be able to keep ourselves busy with our craft! Danny has been in contact with Ingrid Meyer (ingridmeyer@telkomsa.net) who has decided to close her shop and she has the following items for sale. Please contact her directly – this not a Guild project, but we are trying to give her a market for her stock. Details are in at the bottom of the list. 

Floss

  1. DMC stranded skeins ( full range of numbers)  @ R 6 .00 a skein
  2. DMC Perle in No. 5,8,12 ( limited numbers)  @R 20.00 a ball 

Fabrics

  1. Aida  8ct. 110 cm wide  R 120.00 p.m.
  2. Linda 27ct. 140 Cm wide R 140.00 p.m. 
  3. Yellow even weave  25ct. R 140.00P.m.
  4. Hunters green even weave 27 ct. 140 cm. wide R 130.00 p.m. 
  5. Dark Green even weave  32ct. 140 cm wide R 150.00 p.m. 
  6. Dark beige even weave 17ct. 140cm wide R 140 .00 pm. 
  7. Aida white / beige 110 cm wide R 150.00 p.m.
  8. Vinyl Aida 14ct. 78cm. wide R 200.00 p.m. ( it is for making 
  9. magnets, etc, craft cross stitch

To end with, I am including an episode from the series “Rosemary and Thyme” which you may remember aired a few years ago. In this one, embroidery features (a small role, but an important one). Enjoy!

Newsletter — October 2020

Not a lot of news this month. We have discovered that it will not be practical or wise to return to meetings at the Recreation Centre for the present, so we are creating ourselves as the best online embroidery Guild there is. Please keep your photos of your masterpieces coming to Robyn, Merica or Mary Lou, for the Instagram page and Hilary is still doing a remarkable job of managing the WhatsApp group. We have a facebook page as well, so we are really OUT THERE.

The committee has formalised the Covid project, and the flyer which the members designed can be downloaded. Please advertise this amongst all your embroidery friends, put copies in any shop near you that looks remotely like it sells needlework amongst its crafts. Many crafty people do more than one thing, so getting our flyer there is an important part of publicity. 

Also, the committee has decided to keep the collection of our “Through the Eye of a Needle” Covid projects as we originally said. Please deliver them to either “Ribbon Fields” or “Buttons and Bows.” It would be helpful if you notify the Guild when you have delivered something there, so we can fetch it sooner rather than later. You may of course keep your work with you and submit it early next year nearer the deadline. By then hopefully movement will be a bit easier, and being mid-summer, will mean more of us are confident going out.  Other than that, keep on sewing! And keep on enjoying what you are doing.

Embroidery — going global since 1804

From about 1804 until 1844, schoolgirls at Westtown School, a boarding school in Pennsylvania established by Quakers in 1799, embroidered globes, both terrestrial and celestial. Used to teach geography in the early decades of the nineteenth century, real globes were expensive; thus, a stitched globe was an economical way for a young girl not only to learn her lessons but to practice her needlework.
When you’ve finished your piece for the Covid-19 Through the Eye of a Needle project, the patterns for embroidery designer Nancy Nehring’s globe can be downloaded, free for personal use, from PieceWork Magazine’s website. Photo by Joe Coca.

Newsletter — September 2020

Spring has sprung, and after a chilly few days at the beginning of the month, the weather is beautiful.  Now for the rain!

Since the last newsletter we said goodbye to our friend and Witwatersrand Embroidery Guild matriarch, Myrna Vandam.  We will become really aware of our loss once we are able to meet again, whenever that will be.  Her good humour, her interest in everything that was going on around her, her willingness to help anyone who asked, and most of all, her incredible skill in giving expression to the most wonderful pieces of embroidery art, are things we will always cherish.  Unfortunately we were unable to be at her funeral, but we remember her with great fondness and our thoughts go out to Ron and the other members of her family.  

The Covid Frieze is still going ahead.  The Committee has taken over the running of it since it belongs to the whole Guild and not just to a few of us, and a sub-committee will be duly put in place to run it on behalf of all of the members.  The name of the project has been decided by the WEG committee and is as follows:  

Covid19 lockdown: Through the 👁 of a needle 

Should you have completed any piece and would like to hand it in, you may still do at the shops mentioned in the original information, and I will make sure they are picked up.  Otherwise just hang on to them for the time being and the Frieze committee will let you know their new arrangements.  Please don’t forget to put your name and the initials of the Guild on it, and if you have used a pattern from a designer, please include that on your work – “Mary Jones Designer”  or if you have borrowed some ideas and parts of another design, please acknowledge that too – “Influenced by Mary Jones”  We depend of these designers for our art, and they need to make a living too.  Please extend them this courtesy.

A request has come from some members of the Guild, particularly now that we are in level 2.  While most of us are in lockdown, there are others who are working – some back at the office and others still from home.  Should you wish to speak with anyone, please send them a WhatsApp or sms and ask when it is convenient to phone.  Often Zoom and other meetings are taking place and it’s very awkward to have to reject a call or to have to tell someone to phone later. I’m sure it’s something you have never thought about, and you will be considerate of those who are employed. Otherwise we still have the WhatsApp group where ideas and information are freely shared.  

Please keep you photos coming in. Robyn de Klerk has taken over the job of managing the Instagram page, and there are some wonderful works, completed and still in progress, featured there.  It’s a good advert for our Guild, so please keep sending them.

Finally, Danny has asked me to include the following two messages from Ina at the Centre, and pertinent considerations about re-opening.

Dear members,

We have been receiving messages from Ina at the Rec Centre about the reopening process. I will duplicate the last two here:

The last one:

Good Morning Everyone, still no news, I will notify you on this chat the moment we are allowed to open. Please don’t get your hopes up by listening to gossip from groups at other centres. That will just lead to frustration and disappointment. The staff will do the Covid course next week and that will put us on the path to re-opening. Kind Regards Ina.

And the second last one:

Good Afternoon Everyone, we are closed again. OHASA did inspections at 2 Rec Centres and our Manager Annette Volschenk realized that none of the Centres complies.  
I will keep you up to date of any changes. 
Look after yourself and be safe.

I have had some discussions with various members, informally, about the situation and the possibility of reopening. I know we are all anxious to get back to ‘normal’ whatever that may be. However, I think we need to be realistic. Almost all of us are in the high risk age category, and many of us have co-morbidities. This makes us vulnerable to a bad outcome if we do become infected with COVID. 

In addition, we would be responsible for safety protocols, sanitising, checking temperatures, keeping records etc. just as is required when you go anywhere. The Guild would have that responsibility as the council has no resources…That will mean money, as well as time and action by committee members themselves in a high-risk category.

Then there is the question of the hall. We have to sit, masks on, at least 1.5 metres apart – is that even feasible? Additionally, we would have to sanitise the hall before and after the meetings, make sure the tea and coffee etc, cakes and so on, is all safe. 

I really don’t think it’s doable for us.

I am terribly sorry, but right now we need to think sensibly, and long-term, for the health of our members. We are of course reassessing as we get information. We will let you know if anything changes, and if we have a time-frame for reopening the meetings. In the meantime, I encourage everyone to keep in contact via the WhatsApp group, and with your table, or in ZOOM or Google Meet meetings. And keep stitching.

Warm regards,

Danny

Have a wonderful month, and let’s keep on with the work we are doing.

Newsletter – July 2020

July is always a difficult month.  It feels as though winter is here forever, and we know that there will be at least two or three more cold snaps before things will begin growing again and we can look forward to warmth and blossoms and the hope that spring brings with it. The exponential rise in Covid 19 cases has added more gloom to this July, and it feels as though we have emigrated to a not-very-nice country where the quality of our lives is very much less than it was before and we are not sure if we aren’t some sort of refugee.  Creativity is a lifeline in times like this and we can be very grateful that we have these abilities and access to the materials of our chosen hobby.  Many medical people are working hard to get this virus under control and our prayers and happy thoughts are with them, as they are with those who are caring for the sick and those who are worried about loved ones, and those who have to return to work. 

As a result, we will probably not be meeting for quite a long time.  Everywhere you see “this virus will be with us for at least another year” and some say it will be even longer.  So it is business NOT as usual, but we are creative people and will find a way to keep our craft alive, and keep ourselves busy with it, and let us remember, people were embroidering since the Cro-Magnon days (about 30,000BC). A mere virus won’t stop this hardy, everlasting art form!  I will include a link to a very short article on the history of embroidery with the covering letter.

Our chair, Danny Wimpey has, as some of you already know, initiated and set up an Instagram page where we can display what we are doing.  In her own words:

Hi all, OK, our Instagram page is set up. Once or if you have Instagram, you can find it at @Witsembroidery. Anyone who would like to post, please send me the picture and I will put it up on the page while I sort out how to make posting more accessible for all of us. I am very excited about this. I think we should have some basic ideas about the narrative that goes with the pictures. Please give us your input. I’m thinking something like: type of work (eg blackwork, Jacobean, etc), name of the artist, a date perhaps when completed, size. Not too much but still, people can get an idea. Instagram uses hashtags to identify and classify the posts. Those we will work out over time. Please send me your pictures or let me know which ones from the group you are not keeping for the exhibition. ?? Please, no shyness or modesty. I know from my time with WEG that you are all great and super-talented. This is not the time to hide your light(s) under a bushel.

There are some lovely pieces there already – please look them up, become a follower of the page and let as many people as possible know about it.  If you have something to submit, please send the photos to Danny either on her phone, or email them.  Danny is the administrator of the page, so all entries must go through her.     

We DO exist as a Guild even though it’s in virtual space, and we will continue to do so.  In the meantime, let’s work on some REALLY OUTSTANDINGLY STUNNING pieces of art so that we can hold the

BEST VIRTUAL EMBROIDERY EXHIBITION – EVER!!!!!!!!

Regards,

Margaret

Below is the link to a short page about the history of embroidery.

https://www.fibre2fashion.com/industry-article/4135/history-of-embroidery