Newsletter — December 2021

So here we are at the last letter of the year. It seems like forever since we met, and except for those few brief meetings earlier this year, we haven’t seen one another for a very long time. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. It appears that the renovations at the Roosevelt Park recreation centre are underway, at last, and, if everything goes according to plan, we should be able to meet again next year at around Easter at the latest. Let hope so anyway.

Hilary Walker has asked PLEASE if those of you who are not going away this December, would give a few hours of your time to sew up the pieces of the Covid “Eye of e Needle” project. They need to be hemmed with some lovely fabric which the team has found, and then placed on a background of the same material. This is a very arduous task when it is done by only one or two people, but if everyone does something, it will go much faster. It’s not difficult work, but it does take time.

An idea for Christmas – a woman took the pictures that her grandchildren drew for her (the stuff you keep on the fridge forever) traced them and embroidered them and made the finished work into a wall decoration as a Christmas present to the artist when she was old enough to appreciate the work gone into it. That might be an idea for you to take on if you are at a loss as to what to get children or teenagers for Christmas. I would love to show you a picture of it, but it was from a friend of a friend of a friend, so I don’t have permission to share it.

Jenni Langford has offered a special service to Guild members at this point in the year. If you need anything researched – how to do a certain stitch, information on a style of embroidery, where to buy what, or anything else embroidery connected, she will research it for you and give you whatever answers she can find. This is a generous offer, and for those of us who find trawling our way through the internet rather challenging, this is a wonderful initiative.

That’s all for now. There is not usually a newsletter in January, but if there is any news about when we can meet again, or anything else important, I will send out an interim letter. Until then, have wonderful holidays, spend time with those you love – even if it’s only electronically, keep well away from the Virus, and hopefully, we’ll see one another in the new Year.

A Christmas decoration by Mandy Kort,  from the Guild's 2016 exhibition.
A Christmas decoration by Mandy Kort, from the Guild’s 2016 exhibition.

Newsletter — November 2021

I must begin this month’s newsletter by remembering our dear friend Fatima Bhabha who died at the end of last month. She was the Chair when I re-joined the Guild after 20 years’ absence, and I could not have been made to feel more welcome. She took an interest in everyone’s work, and always had a bit of practical philosophy to share when the creative process became a bit frustrating as happens, even with embroidery! We had some lovely chats, and her work was always beautiful. She will be sorely missed, and we are grateful for all that she did for the Guild and its members. RIP Fatti, and our condolences to her family and numerous friends.

A selection of Fatima’s work from the Guild’s 2016 exhibition.

Further information about our “Eye of the Needle” project – the backing material has arrived and is waiting to be used to mount our efforts. Two of the working group are on a well-deserved holiday at the moment, but no doubt over the December period there will be some progress. We look forward to seeing the end result.

Last month Jenni Langford took a lot of trouble to collate a list of all available suppliers of embroidery materials. There is a new shop which has just moved to the Jan Smuts Avenue area. It is called “Moon and Son” and as yet has small amounts of wool, embroidery thread (mostly Chameleon) and quilting material. The delightful young lady who runs it is offering classes in knitting, crochet, quilting and embroidery – she did tell me the name of the teacher, and it sounded familiar, but I’m not going to write it here and get it wrong. Since the shop is new to the area, the dominant offering will ultimately be according to whatever the demands are. The shop is situated in the Valley Shopping centre, and if you come out of Clicks, turn RIGHT and it is tucked into the northern most corner of the centre. Go and have a look. The phone number is 082 728 8103, and I’m sure she would source anything you needed.

While we are talking about lessons, Colleen Goy is teaching again, at Ribbon Fields and at Buttons and Bows. Phone the shops concerned to get days and times if you or anyone you know is interested in upping their skills.

Danny has been in touch with the Roosevelt Park Recreation Centre to find out about re-opening again, but it seems as though the re-furbishment is nowhere near ready. We really don’t want to wait forever to begin again, and the committee is considering other venues. If any of you know of a possible meeting place which is within about 10 Kms of Roosevelt Park, has secure parking and also is big enough to allow for Covid protocols (and the WHO says we are only about halfway through the pandemic. We still need distancing, masks etc), please let one of the committee members know, or reply to this email and I’ll make sure it is passed on. Even if we meet only in temporary accommodation from the beginning of next year, it will be good to see everyone again.

A couple of years ago I was looking for embroidery groups around the country and I happened upon the South African artist Sally Scott, who does the most magnificent paintings of the country around the Eastern Cape. She also calls herself a “Fibre Artist,” which is like post-graduate embroidery and quilting, and some magnificent creative things are done by those groups of Fibre Artists or (Textile Artists, which is the better-known name), who create these things. At the moment there is an exhibition being held in Gqeberha (the old PE) and I asked for the brochure to be sent to me so you can see what sort of work is done. It has links with the Keiskamma project – you remember that project where a number of concerned people went to the area around Hamburg and taught the indigent women art work of various kinds. That excellent outreach is still going on, and you will see some outstanding samples of what they are producing as well. Apparently there are fibre art groups all over the country, and I am sure we can only benefit by seeing a slightly different approach to our craft. This is the link: https://gfiartgallery.com/current/.

Other than that, I hope you are finding that the heat, the exhaustion from Covid – (is it ever going to go away?) and the general winding down towards the end of the year is not stopping you. Perhaps now is the time to be a bit embroidery mad. Let’s see if you can be REALLY crazy and different. Who knows – you might be South Africa’s next great world-renown artist! We look forward to seeing your creations and bragging about you to all our friends.

Keep well and keep cheerful.