Exeter & District Embroiderers' Guild is a branch of the educational charity Embroiderers' Guild, whose remit is to build awareness of stitch and textile art, and to encourage, inspire and promote the achievement of excellence.

News & Info

Events in the South West

What’s on Nature in Art: http://natureinart.org.uk/ 16.01.18 – 18.03.18 Wildlife photographer of the year 20.03.18 – 15.04.18 The Harris Dynasty – 50 years of Studio Glass 27.03.18 – 22.04.18 ‘Ice Bound’ Darren Rees, sketches and paintings from the Arctic Peninsular

Newark Park, Wotton-under-Edge, GL12 7PZ https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/newark-park Newark Park is a National Trust property in the Cotswolds. This impressive hunting lodge was built in the 16thC on an escarpment overlooking a commanding view of the Cotswold countryside. Normal National Trust charges apply but National Trust members have free admission 07.03.18 – 16.04.18 Seasons in Silver & Thread An exhibition of textile art and jewellery inspired by the season at Newark Park by Rosemary Cochrane, Liz Hewitt and Louise Watson. No disabled access to gallery. Meet the Makers every Sunday. 09.05.18 – 18.06.18 Gordano Textile Artists’ Exhibition Twelve artists take inspiration from both the inside and outside of the estate. Opening Times for both exhibitions 11am – 5pm Wed – Mon (closed Tue)

Old Chapel Textile Centre – National Needlework Archive Main Street, Greenham Business Park, Newbury, Berkshire, RG19 6HW http://www.nationalneedleworkarchive.org.uk/old-chapel-textile-centre.html 01.02.18 – 22.02.18 ‘Quilts from the Archive’ – a selection of quilts from the collection at the National Needlework Archive 27.02.18 – 15.03.18 The SEW Embroiderers’’ Guild Members’ Exhibition – from Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and Oxfordshire branches 23.03.18 OCTC Fabric Sale 10.00 – 14.30hrs 06.03.18 – 26.04.18 Knitted Newbury – a project in progress. A display documenting work form the Knitted Newbury Knitting Group. This is heading towards the grand launch of the Knitted Newbury Picture on Saturday 07.04.18

Made by Hand – Cheltenham Town Hall 10 – 11 March 2018 http://www.madebyhandengland.org.uk/

Fashion & Embroidery – Birmingham NEC 15 – 18 March 2018 http://www.fashionembroidery.co.uk/birmingham/

Quilts Spring Show – Three Counties Showground 17 – 20 May 2018 http://www.fashionembroidery.co.uk/birmingham/

Craft 4 Crafters Show 12 – 14 April 2018

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You may be interested in the following program which was aired on Radio 4 on Tuesday 16th Jan at 11.30. It is called “Moving Pictures” and this is the summary from the website.

Ann West’s Patchwork

The Documentary, Moving Pictures Episode 4 of 6

Cathy FitzGerald invites you to discover new details in old masterpieces, using your phone, tablet or computer.

In episode one, stroll along the highstreet of a market town in Regency England – as imagined in a one-of-a-kind patchwork bedcover, held in the collection of the V&A Museum. This needlework masterpiece features tiny applique scenes of everyday life: children flying kites, chimney sweeps heading home from work, a fishwife off to market. Cathy FitzGerald asks if one of the little characters might be the maker herself.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3cswf9g. If you look for it on a smartphone or tablet, then you need to pick series 2.

It is available for over a year and was recommended by a member of the Bristol Branch.


Another radio program I have found is “A Needle Pulling Thread“. I haven’t listened to it yet, but the summary is fascinating. It is also available for over a year. This is a summary from the website.

A tapestry of fascinating stories about the place of the sewing needle in our lives. Sara Parker looks at what this powerful but tiny metal tool means to us at home and at work – in times of sadness and of joy.

The needle gives women the capacity to clothe their family or start a business. For the prisoner, embroidering a cushion in his cell provides both a way to earn a living and also a link with the outside world. To the mother who lost her son in Afghanistan, it offers a way for her family to come to terms with their grief through teddy bears made from his uniform. While for the World War One soldier, who learned to sew recuperating from injuries sustained in the Battle of the Somme, it gave a profession as a tailor.


As many of us lose the practical skills which our grandparents and parents took for granted, there is a revival of interest in all kinds of sewing. Some make quilts or cushions for those in need of comfort or for charity. Others want to sew for themselves – such as the 60-year old Blues musician determined to learn how to stitch his own unique waistcoat, or the teenager’s act of defiance making a denim quilt after her mother forbade her to wear jeans.

New technology matches the increasing sophistication of sewing machines – such as the QR code cross-stitched into the margin of a quilt linking to the maker’s blog, or shared online tutorials. While a sinister story from the National Archives in Kew reveals how Porton Down wanted to develop the sewing needle as a poison dart at the end of World War Two.


And then there is the TV program “A Stitch in Time”. I watched the first episode, and it was fascinating.

Amber Butchart explores the lives of historical figures through the clothes they wore.

The first episode is available for another 14 days.





xeter Embroiderers’ Guild Newsletter 25 August 2017

Well here we are with my last letter to the troops! There are a few points so make a cuppa and sit down for a bit!

The first thing to say is that Betty’s funeral was a real tribute to her. It was lovely to see so many branch members there too. She would have loved it! I will be writing an obituary for Contact magazine so it would be great to have some of your memories please if not for the article, for all of us to share.

Next meeting

Our next meeting is on Saturday 9th September. In the morning we will have the AGM and election of a new chair and in the afternoon we will have Nina Fenner with a selection of new and old books and a talk on her processes. She said’ Haven’t you had enough of me?’  I assured her we could never have enough of her! It should be a good day so please try to come.

On the subject of a new chair I can assure you it isn’t the onerous job it has been in the past. So many things have changed it must seem that I have been bringing new missives to the table every month but things have calmed down considerably now that HQ has a permanent home and the staffing has settled down.

The chair:

  • gets emails from HQ and the regional committee, passes them to the secretary to put on the website and to Lynn to send out and reminds people to read them
  • chairs four committee meetings a year as well as the AGM
  • attends the Regional AGM or persuades someone else to.

The committee is an excellent one with lots of support and experience. Things have changed so that now we can adopt any model of chairing that suits. Previously the chair had to serve for 3 years but now it can be only one. It could be a job share with two people. This has been done successfully in South Somerset Branch. One branch has even had four people taking turns although this seems a bit unwieldy to me! We can even run without a chair because our committee is so good but it’s much better for communication all round if it’s one or two. If you want to talk about it with me please feel free to email or ring. I am aware that it might seem a bit intimidating talking in front of people but there are ways round that. We have a bell to ring for attention (I’m far too noisy to use that) or you could ask someone more confident to read things out for you. Everyone has their own way of tackling it so you just go with what makes you comfortable.


Most of you will have had an email about membership and renewals and some people might be a bit confused. Basically If you pay HQ by Direct Debit they will let you know they are taking £33 before the end of September to get the Early Bird price otherwise from 1st October it will be £35. Our branch fees remain the same at £18. If your HQ membership is by DD you just pay £18 to Lynn by cheque, cash or Bank Transfer. If you pay the whole lot, £51, to us you can pay Lynn by cheque, cash or Bank Transfer. We can do all this at the AGM or send a cheque to Lynn. She has all your membership numbers. If you need any other details please contact me or Lynn.


We have two dayschools coming up before Christmas

October 28th we have Valerie Hughes doing Screen Printing and on November 25th we have Diana Wright. Please speak to Pam Shead our Dayschool secretary about these to find out info or to book. Our dayschools are incredibly cheap and good value.

Other providers

New members have often asked me to recommend other class providers and I’m hoping we can get links on our website but there are two that I can vouch for. The first is our very own Sylvia Wray McCann. Her website is  (www.fabbeads.co.uk ) . I know that she has Jean littlejohn coming on September 19th and 20th in Babbacombe and she has two spaces so do have a look. The other place is Thimblestitch @Zoes (www.thimblestitch-devon.co.uk ) in Honiton. She has Gillian Travis coming on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd of September and she has spaces.


 The Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycrafts show is on 21st to 24th September (Thursday to Sunday) and we need your exhibits as well as stewarding please. Don’t think you are not good enough or you haven’t got things framed because what we want is a celebration of our branch with all different abilities and interests. Please bring your work in a bag labelled with your name and branch and a little description (so we know what to put back in). It doesn’t have to be a special bag; a sturdy carrier bag will be fine as long as it’s labelled. If you steward you get in free but need to have piece of work with you. It’s a way of engaging with people and works well so you don’t feel like a lemon! Be careful though, my first time I brought a piece to be beaded and it was a nightmare. I spent most of the time with my bottom in the air picking up beads! If you don’t want to steward but do want to come we have a special 2for1 code for tickets. I won’t put the code on here because it will be going on the website but just ask.

South West Region

There is a newsletter on the website and news of a course so have a look: (here )

 That’s it: my final newsletter and a pretty long one at that! In the next week you will get minutes of September 2016 AGM and an agenda for this year so do look out for it. Thank you everyone, Dee


Members Enjoy a Wonderful Spread of Food at the AGM




Textiles – Painting with the Needle at Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral’s latest display in the Open Treasure Collections Gallery is Textiles – Painting with the Needle. This is a unique opportunity to see exquisite textiles from the Cathedral’s collections, representing some of the finest church needlework from the last 1,100 years. Marvel at historic textiles, including the Charles I Cope commissioned for the visit of King Charles I in 1633 and the Bishop of Durham’s Coronation Cope, worn at the coronation of the last four British monarchs, and last worn by Bishop Michael Ramsay at Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953. Contemporary pieces add to this exciting exhibition from the Cathedral Broderers and a tapestry by Grayson Perry ‘Death of a Working Hero’ created for his recent Channel 4 documentary series Grayson Perry: All Man. For further information please visit www.durhamcathedral.co.uk or to arrange a group visit to Durham Cathedral and the special textile exhibition please contact visits@durhamcathedral.co.uk

Pictorial Machine Embroidery Workshop in South Devon

Sheron King is  hosting a Pictorial machine embroidery workshop by well known Linda Miller. This workshop is on 8th & 9th April at the Mad Hatter’s Studio. Cost £150 for the two days.  Sheron’s email is sheron@madhattersstudio.com  or see      https://www.facebook.com/events/1773611472857510/ .

Message from Dee January 2017

Welcome back to a new year of escapism, learning and friendship. Aren’t we lucky to have such an interest?

The year ahead looks very exciting with lots of lovely new skills to learn or develop. There will be something for everyone and lots of support too. We are such a vibrant friendly group it’s a pleasure to come each month.

The website seems to be working really well but do remember if you know someone who is not on the internet to be a good techie buddy and let them know what is going on.


The show is on from 16th to 18th February at Westpoint. That’s Thursday to Saturday not Sunday. We will be working with South Somerset and South Devon branches and will be showing our Capability Brown work from Ugbrooke House. I appreciate many of you will have given your work away for Christmas or done something else with them but it would be great to have as many as possible up. If, like me, you made several pieces please bring a maximum of two named, labelled with Exeter EG branch and in a bag labelled exactly the same. Bring them to the next meeting please so that we can list and insure them for the show. We could also do with a couple more volunteers to steward on Thursday and Friday please.

Letter from Terry Murphy (collection-appeal-2017)

Attached is a letter and form from Terry Murphy asking for support for the cost of the museum and storage. Many of you make think that it seems a large amount of money and it is but we have been through an enormous amount of money saving changes with a massive amount of decluttering for this move. Previously we were paying an unimaginable amount for storing work and donations that were uncatalogued, in poor condition and with duplicated samples, sometimes quadrupled or more. We had expensive premises and a large staff. Now everything is stored in museum conditions, the staff is small, mostly part time and often working from home. HQ has done its part to make the Guild viable and now they need some help. Read what he has to say before you squawk and then let the committee know what you think. We have a committee meeting at the next meeting to discuss our position on this so we will have a discussion then.

Church Project

I know you’ve only just come down from Capability brown but we have another opportunity to show off our skills this time close to home. St Thomas Church is having a much needed refurb and would like to showcase our work with panels to do with the history of St Thomas. I mentioned it before Christmas  but do take a look at the suggested list of subjects. If you are keen please see me at the next meeting or email me. If you don’t want to commit until you know what’s required still have a look as we will need suggestions. See here for list


As you know because I am always banging on about it, In September I am stepping down as chair so I’d like you to give this a bit of consideration. We have an excellent committee who will still be in place and a lot of support. Before, you were required to take on the role for three years but now it is much more flexible. You can do it for a year, you can job share with a friend, whatever works for you. Now that things have settled down at HQ it should be a lot easier. It has been hard because of the changes, the CB exhibition but mostly because I was Regional rep at the same time so don’t do that and it should be fine! Talk to me anytime and I will be honest about it I promise!

That’s it, see you in February, Dee



We are aware of speculation on the future financial viability of the Central Guild or Head Office. We wish to make the position clear although much of the information on sources of income was included in the report by the Chair of Finance to the Guild AGM in May and subsequently published on the members’ side of the website.

It is correct that all the Guild’s sources of income are declining and some, books, have all but ceased. Only few years ago we were earning £30,000 from book sales but much of this has been lost to purchasing direct from Amazon and other on-line sources.

Our magazines are doing well, although sales have declined, albeit much less than other similar magazines. This is against a background of people spending considerably less on magazines than was the case 8 years ago. It is, therefore, costing much more to achieve the sales we have. At the same time the production  costs remain stubbornly high. They do not go down proportionately to the reduction in sales.

It is also the case that our administration systems have to cope with many different ways of paying with very limited support among members for payment by direct debit only. Processing and reconciling members preferred mainly manual payment options takes a large percentage of staff time.  In addition, we still have to use printed communications and, without members’ permission, cannot make the best use of on-line options.

Our membership is declining albeit much more slowly than was the case 5 years ago and we are doing better than many similar membership organisations. Smaller branches are finding it harder to continue and there is little appetite in many branches for attracting new members.

At the same time we need to invest in our future and, in particular, in attracting new generations of members and supporters.

This has led to us making significant changes.

  1.  Changing the way the head office works and how it provides services to members and branches. This will entail having a much smaller head office, more part time or contractor roles, and members of staff working remotely via on-line connections. Please see a separate announcement on the future location of the Guild’s Head Office.
  2.  Finding different ways to manage the annual projects such as the AGM, Members’ Challenge, Graduate selection and associated administration etc.
  3.  To further reduce our staff numbers. In addition,  staff had the option to declare their role redundant by virtue of the fact that the travelling distance to the new office at Bucks County Museum in Aylesbury would be too far.
  4.  To reduce the costs of our contracted staff and suppliers.

As a result of either 1, 2, or 3 we are sorry to be losing Jan Jardine, Annie Franz, and Olina Preston. They will be leaving us at the end of August. All have given many years service to the Guild and we wish them very well in the future.

 For further, more detailed, information on the changes that will come into effect in September please keep the 4-page centre supplement included in the next issue of Contact due to be with members by end July.