My Sewing Group is Starting Up Again | Libbertine Vale - The Harm Chair

in #hive-1279112 months ago


Source Union Wharf Marina and Waterfront Restaurant.

On Thursday, I went out for tea with twenty-three members and friends of Aspects of Stitch, our local stitching and sewing group, at the Waterfront Restaurant in Market Harborough. It was the first time everyone had met up in person since the start of lockdown and everyone was very excited.

Well, there was a lot of gossip because there have been massive changes to the Embroiderers' Guild, the national organisation that the local branch was federated to. The Embroiderers Guild had hit hard times, ("it had been on a downward spiral for some time," whispered some members to me, conspiratorially and with relish) and the pandemic had all but finished it off, due to the way membership subscriptions are collected.

As a result, the Guild had changed its ways ("none too soon, either" said my whispering friends), and was focusing on key activities - looking after the National Collection, supporting graduates among other things. In order to reduce costs, the Guild was ditching supporting ("interfering" said the whisperers) the local branch network. Branches were able to continue if they wished, under their own steam, and could affiliate to the Guild as long as they had an acceptable constitution. The Guild would cover insurance for the first year, and local groups would still have access to the Guild's Folio collection.

It all seemed for the better, really, the Guild would concentrate on doing what it did best, and local groups had more freedom to run as the members wished. The committee had put together a special low-cost programme to take the group through September to the end of January, with an inaugural meeting in September to gauge support for a new, independent local group.

Well, there was a lot of backwards and forwards over all the news, and questions and answers and plenty of opinions about the Guild, all over a lovely three course meal in our own private dining room. I caught up with lots of old friends and met some new people, and shared lots of inspiration and ideas for sewing. I'm really looking forward to the group starting up again.


Source The private dining room upstairs at the Waterfront Restaurant. Menus. There was a gorgeous selection of food and the portions were enormous. I had soup followed by salmon and asparagus, there were also delicious puddings - Eton Mess, Chocolate Brownie and Gin and Lemon Posset (the favourite).

Since then, with renewed enthusiasm, I found some materials for a project (more about that in another post) and did some research about the Embroiderers' Guild and what they are up to now, including finding out about Libbertine Vale and the new ThreadIT global virtual needlework community.

Libbertine Vale


Source Embroidery by Libbertine Vale from an exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham, UK.

Libbertine Vale was the Embroiders Guild Scholar in 2019. She says:

My practice is multi-pronged and experimental but one thing that unites it is the desire to use interaction as a tool to the develop work ... For instance, ‘The Harm Chair’ where I asked people in social media how their social anxiety kept them in their chair rather than out mixing with their friends and received forty pages of responses within an hour, I then free motion embroidered these onto fabric and upholstered them onto a traditional armchair, embedding the emotion felt whilst using an object, onto the object. (Source)


Source The Harm Chair by Libbertine Vale, 2019. Libbertine Designs

I loved these ideas, I'm really looking forward to seeing some of Libbertine's work exhibited. There are lots of other inspiring artists included in the presentation for the Embroiderers Guild AGM (they start at Slide 9).

I'm so pleased the sewing group is starting up again!

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This post caught my attention. Honestly, I seldom do the tour since I was always in a hurry to catch-up while the signal is cooperating. This is a good idea. Thanks for the sources as well.

Lovely to see you @sarimanok. Thank you for your kind words 😍

I did not know you were part of a Sewing Group - that's pretty neat
And that arm chair - very niceeee

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I am a bit of a fair weather member, I have been going when it suits me 😍. But I think I will join now that it is becoming independent, I may even volunteer for the committee.
The arm chair is good, isn't it? She has another piece of work, an ironing board with a cover that says "bored flat".
How are you? Hope all is good.

Sounds like a fun time in a lovely spot no less!!! Glad that the tide seems to be turning there and people are able to live again!

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Yes, everyone enjoyed being out and seeing each other!

I envy you that you have the sewing group. I wish I had one in my area ... Ja but we have Needleworkmonday here on Hive :)

I didn't know your Wednesday Wellbeing Club. I definitely join it. Thanks for sharing the information in the end of the post!

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we have Needleworkmonday here on Hive :)

This is true! 😍

Love to see you at the Wednesday Wellbeing Club! 🤗


I am amazed how big your sewing group is, mine has 4 people and most I know of are in this size. Perhaps the guild organisation plays a role in this? Here sewing groups are mostly commercially run by a fabric shop or a seamstress, and sometimes by communal education institutions (the group I am attending). Guilds like yours sound both interesting and a bit frightening (it seems they are stopping innovation and initiate?), here these guilds are more chambers which mostly deal with regulations (DIN norms) education and trading.
I am so curious which project you have chosen for this new beginning in the sewing group. The dinner and the restaurant by all means look beautifully (the transparent tent at the outside of the restaurant is so clever for intimacy and covid avoidance).

And naturally I love the artist you presented, especially the dolls bag which says “clothes that make you feel fat”. I am still pondering how to change this… I would love to create a kind of modular clothes where you can add or subtract width and length freely so you feel comfortable (but sadly i am well aware that the “feeling fat” is more a feeling of inadequateness, of feeling sad or hopeless, fat being a container word for so many negative feelings.)

And all of the sudden I am rambling again :-DDDD Happy to read a needlework post of you
(Although I also read the health posts with great interest but am not convinced enough of my ability to change to participate)

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not convinced enough of my ability to change

You don't need to be ... just show up and comment. Come when you can, you are always welcome 🤗.

I believe there are fourteen "real" members, the rest are friends like me who prefer to pay £5 when we actually attend a session rather than the annual membership fee which included an amount that was sent to the Guild. We also have groups run by shops and adult education, but they are more classes or workshops with a set curriculum. They also tend to be focused on craft skills - dressmaking, home-wares, knitting and crochet, rather than having a creative/artistic element.

The Guild is national so I guess they have to have a set of rules that not everyone will agree with; we also have several Guilds - Lacemakers, Knitting and Crochet, Quilting etc - but all with falling membership. It seems they have found an accommodation, so I'm sure things will be fine. The local branch still has access to the National Collection of Folios - these are specialist themed packs of embroidery that branches can borrow for local research or to use as inspiration for workshops and projects. I think the folios are available for the cost of postage or for a small fee. That is a good resource.

The project will come soon ... 😁.

Yes, Libbertine is an interesting artist, I like her interactive approach - it has some parallels with your exhibition, I think? With clothes, I think a lot of it is about proportion. I ordered a close-fitting second hand jacket from Oxfam, it's soft (quilted exterior, fleece lined - so cosy) and shaped and fitted very well ... and I looked much slimmer in it. I think we need to understand more about how to play with proportions to achieve different effects. This video talks about proportions.

Nice 👍 enjoy your self

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Yah thanks

Thank you 😍

You’re welcome

So good to see normal life resume. Glad you all got to have a fabulous time together. !BEER

Sorry, out of BEER, please retry later...

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I agree - it was lovely to be out and about and you gain so much from being around other people. Hope all is well with you.