Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Textile community

....A real sense of community, with skills being handed on from one practitioner to another ... a strong sense of pride in the exercise of needle skills ... Edward Lucie-Smith on the art and craft community

I reread recently some of Diana Springall's fascinating book, Inspired to Stitch. I hadn't opened it for some time so I began at the beginning with the Foreword by Edward Lucie-Smith.

There is so much to relish in this book but, this morning, I was struck in the first few paragraphs by Lucie-Smith's comments on the power of the arts and crafts community and especially the commitment of the women practitioners to their craft and to those they stitch with even when the craft has low status.

For me, at the moment of reading, the thing that struck me most was his mention of the generosity of stitchers across the world in sharing and handing on their skills. This has particular resonance for me because I belong to a great group of embroiderers and stitched textile enthusiasts who meet regularly in Cricklade, Wiltshire, here in the UK.

The prime driver of this group is the willingness of members to share their knowledge and expertise. This they do month after month with obvious pleasure and to the great benefit of everyone. As a result, attendance at group meetings is astonishing and the enthusiasm is infectious.

We are currently preparing for an exhibition under the title Customs and Crafts - An exploration in stitch. This is to run in Lydiard House near Swindon throughout April and May. Further details will be available soon - but for now, we are finishing off and debating how to display our work. To whet your appetite, I'm including two small snippets of work from the group - neither of them mine this time.

Detail from a quilt
Caroline Goss
A 3 D vessel in construction
Ruth Hayman

We are beyond doubt a community and one whose support and encouragement is of great value to me and whose meetings I relish.

Without their support, and the encouragement I receive here through blogging, it would be a lonely and frustrating road.


  1. I think that one of the most heartening and encouraging aspects of the Internet is that it shows the great generosity of so many folks in sharing so much of what they know.

    1. It is generosity indeed and a great surprise and delight to me. I certainly didn't expect such support when I started out on the blogging road.

  2. Well said CS.
    Whether a coffee klatch or a weekly guild meeting, women need other women for camaraderie, sharing and sanity/support ;) I find it amazing that, through blogging, women share even when we don't even know each other … we reach out to each other.

    1. The friendship and support of like-minded women has been one of the great joys of my life. Now that I am retired it seems even more important to me and as you say the reaching out through blogs brings its own surprises, pleasures and support. One of the sadnesses though is that most of us will never meet as I suspect we'd find friendship if we did ... though I think the sharing through photos and writing has a quality all its own.

  3. I agree whole-heartedly with everything that has been said here. It is a real pleasure to connect with my blogging friends... imagine the coffee klatch we would have!!! And the fact that we are all around the world!! I am over run with exclamation marks at the very thought!!
    And thanks for the reminder about Diana Springall's book. I shall re-read it. And have you read The Subversive Stitch by (I think, I'm not at home to check) R Parker??? Another great read. And another reason to celebrate the support of like-minded women. We've come a long way! Bless you all!!

  4. What a lovely reply - A coffee klatch - a new word to me but I so get the meaning - that would be fun! I can imagine the meeting of minds from around the world. Meanwhile, there is blogging, a great substitute not open to women of the past. We are so lucky.
    I haven't read The Subversive Stitch yet - but it's now ordered from Amazon as it looks fascinating. I can imagine it may feature in a future post. Very many thanks.


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