Birmingham Branch has had another very successful year and again this is due to the hard work of the committee and the enthusiasm of branch members. Thank you all so much for your support and encouragement. We have continued to grow and we see attracting new members and sharing enthusiasm for stitch, as an important part of our work. Our times at the Library on the first Saturday of the month make an important contribution to that. There have been significant national developments this year and we were pleased to exhibit some pieces at the national meeting held in Birmingham this year and supported the result of the vote. More important consultation is about to begin; please say what you think and help the guild develop in the best direction.
We have enjoyed a stimulating programme of workshops and meetings. This year’s A Tale of Two Members featured Meriel Hutton and Janet Lee who had varied stories and allowed us to share their wonderful work. We had a talk about colouring fabrics from Edwina MacKinnon and heard about the history of buttons from Jennifer Swindells and our Christmas competition this year is inspired by that. We have had member’s sessions including one on canvas work and have also used those sessions to kick start new initiatives including Travelling books which the branch has taken to with enthusiasm and Tactile books for visually impaired children, led by Elizabeth Parker. Our summer party featured great cakes from Angela Rowles and a talk from Stevie Walker. Some of us were able to have a weekend in Westhope with Stevie in September which was a great success. Our workshops have been well attended, a messy and fun day with Art Van Go and Tag making with Angie Hughes both very successful and a very recent gold-work day.
We completed our Tolkein Wall hanging and have again been involved in CoCoMad, the local park festival in July where we had a stall selling kits and finished items and providing a chance for others including children and their parents to join us in stitching. This was fun and also helped to generate funds for the Branch. Some of our branch members have been published or are about to be in Stitch, June Parkinson, Angela Atwood and Tina Francis. We are very proud of them. We have just started working with a group in Washwood Heath with some of our members helping them put together a hanging from elements of work they have been doing together.
We have started a DVD library and are lending out stamps and encouraging members to share equipment with others. The blog continues to thrive and that and email are really useful ways of communicating to each other and to others outside of the branch. http://birminghamembroiderersguild.blogspot.co.uk.
The planning group for the Regional Day (Heather, Meriel, Tina, Margaret, and Clare have been working hard planning for Saturday 18th June 2016 at Portway Lifestyle Centre, Oldbury. Huge thanks to them and soon branch members will have the chance to join in the preparations, making tags for the Goodie Bags. http://westmidsregionalday.weebly.com/ is the website for the Regional Day. Please make sure you have the date in your diary and get working on the competition ‘Within Your Footsteps: within 1000 footsteps of your front door’ and the YE/JETS competition is ‘Garden Details’.
Ruth Dugdale has taken over the leadership of the YE group with the ongoing support of Janet Lee. Ruth will do her own report but on behalf of the committee I would like to thank her and Janet for their ongoing commitment to young people and stitch.
Our monthly meetings continue to be well attended and the raffle led by Lorna and helped by all of you, goes from strength to strength. We are grateful to all of you who volunteer for a range of things including the tea and coffee. I am personally very grateful to all of the committee members and looking forward to working with Janette as well next year. Everyone on the committee makes a real contribution, planning the programme, greeting members and looking after new arrivals, managing our finances and membership, delivering on the blog and making sure we are all kept informed and receive important information from the guild. Clare and Heather also attend the regional committee and do fantastic work on our behalf. What I love best about the committee is that we all like and care about each other and have fun – what more can you want? Clare is also our liaison for the Capability Brown Project happening soon.
We are looking forward to next year with a varied programme and the challenge of the regional day. Please keep coming forward with ideas and suggestions and with new challenges for us all.