Wednesday, 11 June 2014

June Meeting & Felicity Howatson

June saw us with Felicity Howatson talking about her fascinating career in ecclesiastical embroidery. Felicity showed us a wide range of work and generously passed it around for closer inspection whilst keeping us amused with anecdotes and explanations.
Felicity, already a keen embroiderer, completed her first ecclesiastical piece after a long stay in hospital. She researched, designed and made priests vestments as a thank you gift for the vicar who had visited her throughout her 17 week hospital stay.  From this first piece Felicity received a list of 19 items from a neighboring vicar, the first of many commissions she received. She then had to learn about the stories, history and symbolism. Always ensuring that the finished items used in religious services are and enhancement and not a distraction to the worship.

For 15 years Felicity completed the embroidery all by hand but once she discovered free hand machine embroidery she developed this process and now works with a variety of techniques including using soluble fabrics to create work that she then appliques onto finished items. Felicity has seen many changes in technology,  the move from Irish linen to cotton fabrics and from designing and creating for an all male profession and the changes for female clergy.

Felicity explained her work with stories of commissions which have gone around the world including items Pope John Paul and Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu as well as a piece delivered to the Falkland Islands by Margaret Thatcher.

Heather has a close up look at an antique piece of Ecclesiastical embroidery
 so fine you need the magnifying glass to see the stitches

A Victorian item from Felicity's collection

Notes from the chair 

Best wishes to our secretary Clare Wilkins whose husband is ill

Our treasurer Anne Haigh is to pilot a new system for branch finances

We have purchased a collection of DVD's which will be available on loan to members.

July meeting will be our Summer Party, if  you did not get tickets tonight they will be available on the night when our speaker will be Greta Fitchett. Our special guests will be members of the young embroiderer's and we will see a display of their work.

Cocomad July 5th is also a library day Anne and Heather will be there so if you can't make Cotteridge you can still go along to the library.

The National AGM for 2015 will be at the Birmingham Library on April 11. the members challenge is 'All That Glistens' and the closing date is 30th January 2015. Further details are on Embroiderer's Guild Website (To register and log in as a member you need your membership number from your membership card. This is BIR (if Birmingham is your primary branch) followed by a number. Once you have set up a password you can use this to access the members' pages. You can put as much or as little information on your profile as you wish.)

This months stitch of the month is Stem Stitch.

Do you have any items you are looking after on behalf of the Guild - we are trying to build up a list of the resources we have so  can you please let us know at or tell Anne Haigh at a meeting.

A surprise birthday cake for the chair
For the Tolkien Project
Angela's blackwork serpent

Merial's picture of The Lonley Mountain

Betty's bookcase

And from the 'show and tell' table
Margaret Richards

More Blackwork beautifully framed from Angela Rowles

A collection of flowers for Heather's bouquet 

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