The Embroiderers’ Guild stand at the Knitting and Stitching Show had a substantial exhibition – Decades.  Anthea Godfrey, the Guild’s Artistic Director, has spent much time and effort selecting pieces from the E.G. archive, to prepare them for this exhibition, to illustrate the development of embroidery throughout the twentieth century.

For this blog I have made a selection of pieces from the display which particularly interested me.

The oldest piece in this selection is a sampler of Wessex work by Mrs Forster. 

The stitched words on the panel, left, say:

 A little sampler for the month of May

Work’d while skies were warm and flowers were gay

And all good British people humbly pray

That peace with Victory be not delayed.

A small piece of red stitching dates the work – 4th yr of the gr! war

This panel would have fitted in beautifully with EAST’s Between the Lines exhibition in Autumn 2014.

The photos above show two details from a piece called Delphiniums by Beryl Dean (1911-2001) stitched when she was 15. (Unfortunately, the work was under glass so the images reflect the lights a little.)

Here are two more early pieces – a sampler (detail) by Nancy Kimmins and an unknown piece from the archive, Angel.

This machine embroidered mat was sewn by Dorothy Benson (1902-1977) who worked for the Singer Sewing Machine Company from the age of 14 until she retired in 1960.  During her career she wrote Your Machine Embroidery and also made samples of several designs by Rebecca Crompton.

I had to include this piece by Diana Springall, not only because she remains such an important figure in the world of embroidery, but because the bright orange canvas on which she worked cries out The Seventies, when every other car on the road was orange, as were the mini skirts and dresses we shamelessly wore!

This gallery shows more pieces:

And finally ……. The Kimono by Robin Giddings.

If you have enjoyed this taster of the Decades exhibition, Anthea Godfrey is giving a virtual talk about the display on Thursday 8th December at 7.00 pm.  You can find out more from the Embroiderers’ Guild or Eventbrite websites or the E.G. Instagram account.    

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