At our AGM this month, we enjoyed pop-up exhibitions by each of the three sub-groups: Traditional, Mixed Media and Thursday Workshop Group. We also saw work from the Introduction to Goldwork course, as well as other work that members have done over the year. Cobi also set up a table of Vivienne Proyer’s work for members to see.
The business of the AGM was conducted swiftly, with a report from Annette as outgoing Chair of the group, and a report by Valerie Robinson, Treasurer and Membership Secretary. Annette stood down from the committee, and the group gave grateful thanks for everything she has done for the group over the last few years. Other members of the committee all remained in post: Pam Reeve (Secretary), Valerie Robinson (Treasurer and Membership Secretary), Maria Griggs (Programme planning), Jane Robinson (Website, FB page and Publicity), Margaret Borbone (Newsletter and Fabric sales). Two new (or rather returning) committee members were elected: Jane Baskerville, and Anne Turner.
Scroll down to see work in the pop-up exhibitions. Let me know if you would like your name added to your work. Click on the photos to enlarge them.
Thursday Workshop Group
Mixed Media Group
Other work by members
Viviane Proyer’s work
And finally, it was a good chance to have a chat and catch up with other members. All in all, a celebration of a positive and busy year.
What a lovely afternoon stitching during our April sit-and-sew meeting. Jan Angove demonstrated silk-ribbon shading, and a large group of members joined her for that. Jan had hand-dyed the silk ribbon in advance, so each person’s piece will be unique. This is an example of a finished piece. There was a peaceful buzz of conversation all afternoon. Isn’t it lovely to stitch in company? There are more photos of the afternoon below. Annette reminded members that the AGM is next month, and we would like more people on the committee. It would be fine for a new committee member to join us without taking on a specific role, so that they can find out how things work before deciding if they want to take on more. One of the main things is to have new people with new ideas. The role isn’t too time-consuming; usually one committee meeting per month, and additional roles only if you want them. Don’t be put off if you’re a new member: many of us on the committee were roped in very soon after joining. We would also welcome any long-standing members who might be interested.
Thanks to Cobi, I have had an opportunity to photograph some of Viviane Proyer’s beautiful work at her home. The photos here give a small taste of her varied talent; her work is a feast for the eyes. The purple and gold piece show here was one of Vivian’s City and Guilds assessed pieces. Look at the detail! If you scroll to the bottom of the images, you will see a photo of the Worthing Town Panel which Viviane masterminded. The Worthing Panel (below) can be found in the entrance of Worthing Hospital. Viviane coordinated many detailed contributions from members, which were combined into her design. There is so much detail in the panel that it deserves a whole news post in its’ own right. Photographing it during the day wasn’t very successful due to the lights in the WH Smiths shop oppositive which cast reflections on the glass (which is why it is shown here at a strange angle). I will go back another time after 8m when the shop is closed, when I hope to get some better photographs that show the details. In the meantime, here is a ‘taster’.
Eileen Amos was a member of our group for many years, and members will have read this tribute to her in our newsletter, written by Jan Angove. Rather than squeeze photos of Eileen’s work into the newsletter, we thought we would put them here on the website so that members can see them at a better resolution, and remind themselves of her talent.
Jan wrote: I met Eileen in 1985. She ran a group “Dressmaking for the Blind” at Northbrook College. She needed an extra pair of hands so I volunteered. As our ladies had limited sight our task was to think of ways to make paper dress patterns usable by highlighting notches with textured stick on dots, checking the layout before the fabric was cut, and threading machine and hand sewing needles, as well as undoing the occasional seam! I learnt a lot about how to fit clothes from Eileen, she was a superb dressmaker. The group ran for many years and was fun as well as providing a meeting place for ladies who shared a love of sewing. The finished garments were worn with such pride.
She made some of the examples of sewing techniques for books on dressmaking produced by Ann Ladbury in conjunction with her TV series in the 70’s. Sarah, Eileen’s daughter says she and her sister Karen modelled some of the children’s clothes Eileen made for Woman and Home magazine. There were many clients for whom Eileen would make beautiful clothes. She also made garments for the weaver Geraldine St Aubyn Hubbard, a textile artist based near Chichester. The cloth (silk, cashmere and wool) was woven, then passed to Eileen who made it into loose fitting couture garments destined for London boutiques. This partnership lasted many years.
After Eileen gave up some of her dressmaking she turned to hand and machine embroidery on silk which she had painted, producing exquisite pictures and bags. She was a member of the Embroiderer’s Guild for many years, and of Pizazz and exhibited with them. Eventually mobility issues meant she had to give up attending meetings.
Over the years I kept in touch with Eileen and we would meet occasionally for coffee and a chat about all things “sewing”.
On Tuesday 14th March Rosi gave us a very comprehensive talk about her work as a batik artist, teacher, lecturer and author. She retired from teaching in 2013 and now lectures and teaches batik workshops throughout the world. Rosi is a member of the Sussex Guild, the Batik Guild and Craft Nova Scotia Canada. In 2022 Rosi was filmed in her studio for a feature on Bargain Hunt when they were filming at the Ardingly Antiques Fair. They filmed for two and a half hours for a four minute slot. Following the exposure on National TV Rosi was inundated with over 60 orders for her work.
Rosi told us that batik is a traditional resist technique of decorating fabric where wax is applied to white fabric to resist colourful dyes. She uses this technique to produce pictures that are often mistaken for watercolour paintings. Rosi started her talk by showing various batiks collected from around the world and explaining the various techniques used. As these were then passed around the room there was a “buzz” as everyone touched and discussed the various fabrics.
Rosi then demonstrated the technique by applying hot wax to fabric which works as a resist. She demonstrated different waxing tools such as cantings (tjantings), brushes and caps (tjaps). She then painted on the dyes. The waxed areas resist the dye and remain the original colour. Only unwaxed areas take up the dye. Start with the lightest colours, gradually building up the tones to the darker colours. The fabric has to dry before the next layer of wax is added. Once completed a hot iron is used to remove most of the wax and the item is then boiled or dry cleaned.
Rosi then shared a slide show of lots of stunning examples of her own work.
Several members have already attended a workshop with Rosi and others have expressed an interest in attending one. We will be looking at options for 2024.
Thank you to Pam for helping people to make embroidered hearts during our February sit-and-sew. Felt, threads and beads were provided by the committee, and anyone who wanted to join in could use Pam’s template to make a heart to their own design. There were some lovely works in progress.
The hand-stitch table was introduced in sit-and-sew sessions from the December meeting. This followed feedback from several people who had said that they weren’t sure what to work on for the afternoon sessions, including people who are beginners or feel a bit ‘rusty’ on their stitching, and also experienced people who appreciate a new idea to work on. We plan to have something similar at other sit-and-sew sessions. We would welcome ideas for subjects that would be suitable to do in an afternoon session and that don’t require much in the way of materials or preparation. If you would be willing to help beginners in this informal setting, please let a committee member know. Encouraging each other is what SCS is all about.
We were amazed by the stitched 3D pheasant that Gay made in the Mixed Media group. Caroline, Maria and Jane B led a couple of sessions making 3D creatures, and it’s interesting to see what different directions people took the project in. I hope Gay will forgive me for putting a couple of photos here. He is too magnificent not to be shown!
Members will have read the testimonial to Viviane in the recent newsletter, written by her good friend Linda Hoddy, and a previous news post on this website which included Viviane’s own description of her textile journey. The committee would also like to acknowledge the important contribution that Viviane made to the development of our group. Today, the day of her funeral, seems a good day to share this.
Viviane was a long-standing member of our group, and had a great influence on our history. The photo in the previous news post shows Viviane with other friends and colleagues who have also made great contributions to our group (left to right: Anne Turner, Viv Scrase, Linda Hoddy, Elaine Blaney and Viviane).
Viviane joined the group many years ago and she became a committee member, then Chairman. She was also our local ‘President’ of the Embroiderers Guild for many years. Viviane was very influential in setting up the Embroiderers Guild Regional Committee, which acted as a communication channel between different groups across our area and organised regional activities. The former ‘Region’ is still going strong (as Stitch Together) and organises things like online courses and summer-schools, so Viviane’s influence extended beyond the end of the Embroiderers Guild. Viviane was always a passionate advocate for the EG, and always encouraged members to think about the positive things that the EG did, for example in preserving the textile collection. At our meeting in November 2018, she gave a talk to members on the history of the Embroiderers Guild, describing the origins of the national organisation and the local branches. Viviane was very disappointed when the national Embroiderers Guild and the local branches ‘parted company’, as she had always believed that the national guild and the local branches were good allies. Despite this, she stayed involved and enthusiastic when we re-formed as the new SCS group.
In 1998 Viviane was asked to stitch a new pennent for the Worthing Mayoral car and in 1999 she was asked to stitch a new flag for the car, both of which she did on behalf of the Embroiderers Guild. The photos here show the Mayor thanking Viviane for her work, a newspaper article, and the pennant.
Viviane organised and oversaw the creation of the Worthing Hospital embroidered panel, which I believe can still be seen in the hospital today. The collaboration and camaraderie that was created by making the panel turned into a long-term group, which became the Thursday workshop which is still going strong. We are hoping that Cobi can share details with the group of how it was designed and made.
Viviane was an accomplished embroiderer, who combined traditional skills with more contemporary approaches. It would be nice to show some of her work here, so if anyone has any photos they could send us that would be much appreciated.