Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Great Grandma's Workbox with Felicity Howatson

On Monday, Birmimgham Embroiderers' Guild welcomed Felicity Howatson (of Solublefilm.co.uk) to speak about her Great Grandma's Workbox, an utterly beautiful treasure trove of embroidery history:
Great Grandma's Workbox with Felicity Howatson, November 2012 4
 
Felicity was a wonderful speaker, telling us tales of how the box started its life in the late 1700s with her great grandmother in India, being passed down through the family, with everyone adding their own precious tools to it. As she spoke, she handed round the items, letting us see them up close; a wonderful experience.
 
One of the treasures the box contained was this beautiful tape measure, with little kittens carved into it (in a technique similar to scrimshaw), still extending and retracting even after all this time.

Great Grandma's Workbox with Felicity Howatson, November 2012 13

Everything in the box was beautiful, as well as having a purpose. We would love to use bobbin covers such as these, designed just to make plain wooden bobbins look more attractive:
Great Grandma's Workbox with Felicity Howatson, November 2012 15

And these tools with lovely carved mother of pearl handles, acquired at various times (the button hook was used to fasten the many tiny buttons on Felicity's mother's wedding dress), yet looking so beautiful together:
Great Grandma's Workbox with Felicity Howatson, November 2012 21

She also brought some lovely textiles expertly worked by her family, and generously allowed us to look at these too:
Great Grandma's Workbox with Felicity Howatson, November 2012 11

To take a look at some more things in Felicity's workbox, press Play on this slideshow:


As her day job, Felicity is an Ecclesiastical Embroiderer, and she brought along one of her (very impressive) works, which is shortly to live in the V&A:
Great Grandma's Workbox with Felicity Howatson, November 2012 17

Felicity uses the soluble film that she has created quite extensively in her Ecclesiastical embroidery, for example to get accurate details on faces. It also works well to make 3D forms such as masks and bowls - Felicity shared a couple more of her soluble film projects with us, and we purchased some film and kits, to try out at home in future.



It was a thoroughly enjoyable session. Next month we are having a members workshop, making Mini Cushions with June. See you there!

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