Have Your Say

14th June 2019

In issues #184 and #185 of our newsletter we spoke about diversity and nature vs nurture. This week we share some of the conversations these topics sparked with the Inspirations Community…

Joyce McKee

‘I have been an embroidery lover all my life. My mother stitched Fancy Work and I still have some of her pieces. Her father did not approve of this activity so most of this was done in her bedroom with a pillow at the door to stop him from seeing the light still on into the wee small hours of the morning! When it came to my turn, it was thought the material and threads were too precious to be wasted on a child and so I was denied this stitching experience until well into my later life when my own children were no longer babies.’

‘I started with many classes and eventually settled into surface stitchery, with Mountmellick and crewel becoming my favorites. Many pieces were stitched, and a learning process began, eventually leading into needlepainting where I was free to use any colour and any stitch I liked thus breaking many of the rules I had previously learnt. This really became my passion for many a year. Then a friend asked if I’d like to try something new and so began my next journey – that of Nuido Japanese Silk Embroidery with its strict needles, frames, threads, rules, methods and disciplines – no makeup, no hand cream, no teaching aids (unless Japanese) and no talking in class. How different from needlepainting!’

‘Diversity or the lack of it was to the fore and I have had many discussions on how these forms of embroidery from the East and the West could ever meet.

But, as I have learnt more and more about both forms, I can see that they have more similarities between them than I could ever have imagined.

The methods of stitching in one could improve the other and what seems like division is not really division but rather misunderstanding.’

Shirley McCallum

‘I am a social worker in schools helping primary school children whose learning is challenged in some way. At one of my schools we have started MAC day Friday where children get to choose something different to do. I do embroidery with a group of six girls. For most this is their first experience with needle and thread. It has been, and continues to be, a total joy for me. Several of my girls are back for more this term and one girl just finished her first project. She is very proud of her beautiful work and is inspired to continue.

I just love how good my girls feel about their stitching as it is a love I have had for a long time.

I will keep nurturing my charges as long as they want me and I will stitch to the end of my days, God willing!’

Dorothy Pascher

‘It’s so fitting that I would be writing about my love of embroidery at the start of Mother’s Day weekend. My mother nurtured me into my love of all things needle and thread. She began teaching me when I was five years young on a stamped embroidery potholder. My mother died when she was 43 and I was just 13. In my later years I joined the EGA in Dallas, Texas and was privileged to be able to take classes from some of the most talented teachers from the USA and beyond. My mother’s love and her love of embroidery that she shared with me are the most precious gifts that I will always treasure as it always keeps her closer to my heart.’

Deanna Kerr

‘One way I nurture my love of embroidery is through my subscription to your beautiful magazine Inspirations, my purchase of some of your beautiful books and the purchase of several of your gorgeous kits! I also enjoy your weekly emails and I always love to see what others are doing on your Facebook page.

 I embroidered as a child and young adult and am gradually getting back to stitching through several surface design workshops I have taken in my area with a local group I belong to. I have acquired all the tools I need to set up a studio or workroom and am looking forward to retirement within the next year so I can immerse myself in handwork and fiber arts. I enjoy the meditative aspect of stitching, appreciate the expertise and skill involved in producing handwork and want to do my part to keep fiber arts alive, including passing on an interest, appreciation and skills to the next generation.’

Pat Armour

‘This past weekend I was honoured to teach a class at the Sudbury District Quilting and Stitchery Guild in beautiful Sudbury, Ontario. 14 lovely women joined me over two days, some to try crewel embroidery for the first time and some to revisit the technique. We shared tips, laughs and an appreciation of stitching. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer group. The piece, Peggie’s Floral Fantasy, is named for my mother who got me started some 55+ years ago in embroidery.

So, did I inherit the love of the threaded needle from my mother and grandmother or was it just that I picked up needle and thread as we were always encouraged to keep busy?

It feels so natural to me I’m leaning to the nature side, but nurturing is certainly just as important. Thank you for your thought-provoking article. As always, the debate will no doubt continue!’

Pat’s Crewel Embroidery Class | Sudbury District Quilting and Stitchery Guild

Joan Clark

‘My mother, who died two years ago at the age of 90, was a sewer by nature. She was the third of four sisters and the only one who could sew, knit, embroider and draw.

I’m an embroiderer and sewer by nurture, particularly sewing. I would sit for hours watching my mother make dresses for herself and for me.

I would ask all the ‘why and how are you doing that’ questions. While she did some embroidery and of course smocking, I learnt to do that mainly through my paternal grandmother. My paternal aunt was also a sewer and embroiderer and taught domestic science and sewing as a career. So, I’m lucky as I inherited that talent from both parents! Now, because of computers and fabulous sewing/embroidery machines, I digitise designs to sew onto clothes and priests’ vestments. I have two daughters, but only one can sew. I just wish I could sew more hours into the day!’

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