The Northern Ireland Embroidery Guild’s 40th anniversary exhibition was sadly cut short by Covid-19. It was a major exhibition – 57 pieces of work from our own guild and 16 pieces from the Irish Guild of Embroiderers who were guest exhibitors with us for this special occasion. In the week that the exhibition was open to the public there were many visitors from as far away as New York, Australia and Cuba – and the visitors’ book pays testament to how well received the exhibiton was. Unfortunately, I know many of our own Guild members and the Irish Guild exhibitors were unable to see the exhibition before lockdown. Although digital images are always a poor substitute for experiencing textile work in all its texture and tactility, I hope this on-line gallery at least offers some visual treats and inspiration. The venue was Clotworthy House, Antrim Castle Gardens and the curator, Philip Maginnis, did a great job hanging the exhibition, balancing colour and size so the eye flowed through the exhibition with carefully considered focal points as punctuation. A challenging and skilled task – especially with a group exhibition. So I hope as well as browsing the detailed images of the work you also appreciate the gallery views showing the layout of the hang and the Guild bunting in situ.
Each piece of bunting represents a Guild member and celebrates the eclectic interests and wide-ranging skills of the individual, while the bunting as a whole celebrates the spirit of the Guild as a collaborative, creative, community. The Guild bunting was the focus of our first lockdown magazine and you can see each piece in detail in the Bunting issue (included at the end of this gallery).
Moyra Armstrong Memories of Sri Lanka The background image is a collage of sepia photographs recording the visits and wonderful memories my family have had over the years in Sri Lanka. Key memories of elephants, batik workers, Buddha, beaches and fishermen are recorded as individual travel tags, machine stitched in a variety of methods on various types of cloth. Continuing the theme of travel memories the external frame is a decoupage of stamps from many of the countries I have visited.
Fiona Bailie Notre Dame 1 – where the fire took hold The burning of the Notre Dame cathedral in April 2019. Machine embroidery, acrylic paint, coloured pencils, paper, lamination and wax crayons.
Fiona Bailie Notre Dame 2 – the Chimera’s lament The burning of the Notre Dame cathedral in April 2019. Machine embroidery, acrylic paint, coloured pencils, paper, lamination and wax crayons.
Lisa Carson Folk Flower Hand stitched embroidery on black linen. A sampler of stitches inspired by a folk art theme.
Lisa Carson Mini reflection Inspired by a workshop ‘Reflections’ led by Alison King, a visiting tutor to the Guild.
Judy Cinnamond Sunset
Anne Marie Connolly (Irish Guild) A doll given to me by my father
Elizabeth Craig Happiness Making this was therapy – remembering happier times when going through difficult days.
Pauline Crothers A Stitched and Coloured Memory
Elaine Daly (Irish Guild) The lonely sea and the sky Machine and hand stitching. Cotton thread overstitched by machine with coloured cotton handstiched down with shells.
Thelma Daly (Irish Guild) Childhood in the Country Cutwork, stitches fabric paints.
Jenny Dempsey Down the garden path Machine embroidery on painted fabric. project from a book by Alison Holt. The background was painted using silk paints. The flowers, plants, grass and stones are machine embroidery.
Jenny Dempsey (detail) Under the water Silk paints on linen. Free machine embroidery on water soluble fabric, hand stitch, beads and sequins.
Mary Doherty Memories of celebration on the banks of the Foyle Millennium fireworks over the River Foyle Peace bridge. Black velvet with hand cut block prints and appliqué fabrics, free motion and decorative machine stitch, accented with metallic paint and overlaid with black chiffon.
Orna Doherty Memories of Barcelona I took inspiration from photos taken during a visit to Barcelona in 2004 of Sagrada Familia cathedral. It is a mixed media piece, using a mixture of upcycled sweet wrappers, felt, organza and using machine embroidery to achieve a stained glass effect like the windows of the cathedral, inspired by the horse statues on the more modern facade.
Orna Doherty By the sea sampler A colourful hand embroidered sampler on Irish linen. The inspiration came from growing up beside the sea and all of the unusual textures and patterns of living by the coast.
Jenny Donohoe (Irish Guild) Botanic Encounter Machine and hand stitch on a recycled background
Jenny Donohoe (Irish Guild) Golden Woodland Hand stitched on embellished organza.
Anne Dowling (Irish Guild) Ballybunion Beach Needle-felted, fly-stitch throughout, memories of holidays.
Anne Dowling (Irish Guild) (detail) Ballybunion Beach
Ann Fleeton (Irish Guild) In the Iveagh Gardens Memories of the roses in the Iveagh Gardens in the centre of Dublin. The Gardens are now open to the public. Hand dyed fabric, hand and machine embroidery.
Ann Fleeton (Irish Guild) (detail) In the Iveagh Gardens
Rosemary Frayne Seahorse Scraps of organza sandwiched between layers of dissolvable film and stitched. Embellished using a soldering iron and beads.
Rosemary Frayne Bayeau Tapestry Memoires of our first family holiday to France. Internet image printed onto fabric and hand embroidered.
Rosemary Frayne (detail) Bayeau Tapestry
Sharon Godden Tuscan Memory Mixed media, hand and machine embroidery.
Avril Halliday Inishkeel Inspired by memories of a favourite place in Co. Donegal. Painted paper collage with hand embroidery and a pen and ink drawing.
Avril Halliday Me and Rosebud with Auntie Betty Inspired by an old photo of me with my dolly and my favourite auntie. This piece was stitched on canvas using a limited colour palette. I had thought of sewing it in black and white like the original photograph but in the end I just couldn’t face using no colour at all.
Anne Hardcastle and Workshop Memories Variations on a theme A collage of printed motifs enhanced with a variety of embroidery techniques
Anne Hardcastle and Workshop Memories (details) Variations on a theme
Nora Harvey Tuscany The inspiration for this piece was a delightful holiday in Tuscany near San Gimignano. I have used a mix of machine embroidery, hand stitched embroidery, appliqué on a silk painted background called ‘Tuscany’.
Nora Harvey Little Thief My memories of childhood collecting frozen milk from the doorstep and discovering a little bird stealing the cream.
Carol Hawkins (Irish Guild) A homage to Klimt Free-machined Sulky Solvy. Coloured threads & Merino felt tops, overstitched by hand embroidered coloured threads.
Anne Jeffares (Irish Guild) Tracking the stars Winter night skies in Italy – a regular haunt for us. Screen and breakdown printed linen, machine embroidery using cotton and rayon thread.
Anne Jeffares (Irish Guild) (detail) Tracking the stars
Pauline Kiernan (Irish Guild) (detail) Grandmother’s Chair Story told to me about my grandmother’s claim to her home. Hand dyed fabric, machine embroidery, hand stitching.
Jennifer Lindsay Shibori Silk Butterfly Pleated shibori silk with beading.
Jennifer Lindsay Sewn with the flow Space dyed background embroidered and beaded.
Carolyn MacDougall Ammonite Memories of the Jurasic coast. Hand dyed silk usiing Procion dyes. Hand and machine stitch.
Joanna MacMahon Donegal Bog After a week of night duty, Joe and I travelled to Donegal in glorious sunshine to arrive at Bloody Foreland in dense grey, cold sea mist. We turned and headed up a bog road until we reached sunshine and spent a glorious afternoon, which was beautiful enough before the damsel and dragon flies made their dancing appearance. Mixed media, gauze, tissue paper, paint and stitch.
Joanna MacMahon (details) Donegal Bog
Irene MacWilliam Play 20 Technology – how many of these can you recognize? Stamped with home-made stamps, free machine work.
Irene MacWilliam Blowing in the Wind I remember enjoying blowing dandelion clocks. One idea led to another, the music is Flight of the Bumble Bee, also denoted on the kites. The bumble bees at the top are learning to fly in formation, like the Red Arrows but baby bee has not learnt his place.
Irene MacWilliam (details) Blowing in the Wind
Irene MacWilliam Blog Many write online bogs but I decided to do a fabric one. It was hard work making sure I did one square a day, though sometimes I had to keep a note and do 2 or 3 together to catch up; that was when life meant no sewing for a few days…. A sad state of affairs! Fabric painting / colouring / drawing with free machine work.
Irene MacWilliam (details) Blog
Margaret McCrory When Snow was Magic A photo of our driveway in the snow, divided into 6 sections, enlarged, stitched onto a backing fabric and machine embroidered with silver & transparent thread. Then I took a photo of my 2½ year old granddaughter looking up to the tree to see if she could spot the ‘tree fairy’ which I suggested might be there! No tree fairy, just the photograph of my granddaughter that I had hoped for. It was appliquéd with stitch on to the path with a shadow of grey organza.
Margaret McCrory (details) When Snow was Magic
Connie McEvoy A Stitch in Time Over 70 years ago my grandmother showed me how to patch and mend. She gave me fabric scraps, threads and buttons and taught me running stitch. Background is distressed grey denim, hand embroidered and embellished with fabric and buttons from my grandmother’s button box.
Connie McEvoy I found Snow White 23 years ago I sat with my granddaughter as she created Snow White drawings while I held the crayons. Drawing transferred and the colour palette used. Basic backstitch for outlines and out of sync backstitch for the ‘colouring in’.
Carol Mackey Memories – Laced Landscape
Bernadette Murphy Johnstown Reflections An opera evening at Johnstown, Co Wexford. Silk, hand embroidered and appliqued.
Bernadette Murphy (detail) Johnstown Reflections
Cecilia Naughton Looking through the window Reflection on looking at a landscape. Machine stitching on embellished base of cotton, silk and linen.
Karen Nickell Defender of the Pink Pagoda Layers of memory past and present in the imagery and materials. All winter we watched a Mistle thrush defend the berries on the Pink Pagoda rowan trees – grown from greenwood cuttings taken by my father some 30 years ago. Recycled materials – the sky (wool) and berries (silk) are remnants from dressmaking projects and the branches are linen salvaged from Herdman’s Flax Mill in Sion Mills when it closed in 2004. Hand-stitch.
Karen Nickell (detail) Defender of the Pink Pagoda
Sylvia Nickell Landscape in stitch
Sylvia Nickell (detail) Intersecting sampler Overlapping lines and shapes filled in with a variety of hand stitches.
Sidella O’Brien (of illustrated manuscripts) From the Margins
Sidella O’Brien (detail) From the Margins
Niamh O’Connell Nana’s Flower Garden Free machine embroidery on soluble fabric and moulded to shape.
Lila Reid Green Pepper
Lila Reid Autumn Leaves Variety of machine embroidery techniques on hand dyed fabric
Heather Richardson A dress for Kathleen Inspired by the short life of my aunt Kathleen who worked in a linen mill. Linen & silk; hand embroidery & appliqué.
Heather Richardson (detail) A dress for Kathleen
Olive Rodgers Granny’s Workbox My grandmother’s workbox which I was given when she died.
Olive Rodgers (detail) Granny’s Workbox
Helen Sanlon Summer Fields This is a development from past work from my ‘Fields’ series but using primarily stitch – on a smaller scale.
Maggie Saunders Kilbroney Forest reimagined
Julie Smyth Our Samantha
Julie Smyth Past Times
Julie Smyth (detail) Past Times
Lois Stapleton Woven Dreams
Deirdre Stephens (Irish Guild) Lobster Pots on Inis Oirr Inspired by the landscape of Inish Oirr, the smallest of the Aran Islands. Silk painting, free machine stitching, collage.
Deirdre Stephens (Irish Guild) (detail) Lobster Pots on Inis Oirr
Sandra Streeter Ishtar Garden Coat Inspired by stories of the Ishtar gardens (Hanging Gardens of Babylon) created for Nebuchadnezzar’s queen who was homesick for the beautiful mountain gardens where she grew up. Patchwork of recycled cloth and hand embroidery.
Sandra Streeter (details) Ishtar Garden Coat
Vicky Tolson The Waning Moon The moon is stitched with beads and buttons, the buttons all being from my mother’s ‘button box’ so they have many memories for me. As a child I used to play with the contents of the button box and I also remember some of the buttons being on the family’s clothes.
Vicky Tolson Circles The appliqué is based on Dresden Plate patchwork but is stretched and offset. The piece is a mix of hand and machine stitching and the hand work is makes the piece almost like a sampler as many different stitches have been used. This piece is a ‘sister’ to a piece submitted for the previous NIEG Clotworthy exhibition in 2018.
Vicky Tolson (detail) Circles
Trish Webb Duffy (Irish Guild) Sisters So many black and white photo memories of my sister and I and lovely to bring stitched colour to one. Printed photo on linen with a variety of stitches and colours.
Yvonne Williams Magpie’s Nest Free machine embroidery
Yvonne Williams (detail) Magpie’s Nest
Yvonne Williams Yew Tree Free-machine embroidery
Yvonne Williams Standing Stone Ancient standing stones weathered by time in an ever-changing landscape. Needle-felted ground with machine and hand stitching.
Yvonne Williams (detail) Standing Stone NIEG-Magazine-Bunting