Competition 2014 (Archive)

Regional Day Members’ Competition 2014: Be-Ribboned, Be-Jewelled and Be-Ruffed
Sponsored by Coats
Congratulations to our proud Winners at Regional Day
"Birds" by Jo Eades 
1st prize
Lincolnshire Branch
"Stone" by Naomi Coupland
2nd prize
Market Harborough Branch
"Lil" by Mary Willars
3rd prize
Northamptonshire Branch

Photographs of the pieces of work are in the Regional Day 2104 album in the Gallery.
Aim: to create a piece of textile art using hand or machine embroidery to reflect ‘Be-Ribboned, Be-Jewelled and Be-Ruffed’.
N.B. The work should not have been exhibited previously.

An Introduction : 

These three words could well apply to decorative embellishment in the world of textile art. The Oxford English Dictionary defines embellish as ‘to beautify’ or ‘to adorn’. A visit to the V & A or British Museum in London, The Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, or, indeed, similar locations throughout the country, will show us that human beings have over the ages and across the world sought to decorate themselves, their clothing, and the artefacts around them in some way or other. I never cease to be amazed at the skills demonstrated in the working of precious metals, the tooling of leather, the illumination of manuscripts and the making and adornment of textiles. These skills are not confined to the past. Every day we can see examples of the continued use of embellishment in the modern world. Both men and women still seek to increase their attractiveness, express their personality and individuality, and gain confidence through the clothes, jewellery and accessories they choose to wear. In doing so we are sending out messages to others relating to our status, interests, wealth, sexuality etc. We decorate and furnish our homes with the same intent. A higher percentage of these creations will now be produced by machine and with the use of modern technology but handcrafted work is still in evidence and much prized.

The Madeira Lecture for Regional Day 2014 is ‘16th & 17th Century Dress’ and will be given by Claire Thornton who is presently working at the London School of Historical Dress. The wealthy at that time were judged by the quality of the fabric and the cut and decoration of their apparel which would have been handmade throughout and accounted for a substantial part of their expenditure. The embellishment of the costume consisted of silk and metal thread embroidery on hand woven fabrics with the addition of precious jewels, beads and even ribbons. Ruffs of starched linen and of varying sizes were added at the neck in the 16th century and then later, in the 17th century, the look became softer with lace collars and cuffs. Portraits of monarchs of that time illustrate the beauty and richness of the costume. For examples use Google ‘Images’ of Henry V111, Elizabeth 1, James 1, Charles 1 and Charles 11. It will also provide pictures of dress during those times or refer to a book of historical costume. There are pieces of 16th and 17th century embroidery in the Embroiderers’ Guild Collection and some of these have been featured in ‘Stitch’ and ‘Embroidery’. Google ‘Images’ is a treasure trove if you require examples of relevant embroideries including black work and crewel work. 

The following are some ideas and suggestions to get you thinking:

So where is all this leading? Do not worry, the Competition does not expect you to replicate a piece of 16th or 17th century embroidery or, indeed, produce a piece of beautifully embellished and historically accurate costume, unless you feel inspired to do so! Textiles and costumes of that time should be seen as one possible source of inspiration for the creation of a piece of textile work where the art of embellishment is demonstrated. The media used is entirely up to you and you can work by hand or machine or a combination of the two. What you decide to embellish is your choice too. It can be 2D or 3D. It could be a handbag, a book cover, a jacket, a scarf, a panel, a doll/figure etc, etc. Traditional methods of embellishment may be your forte…..hand stitching, beading, sequins, gold work etc. You might prefer a mixed media approach using the huge range of materials and techniques now available. 

You could interpret the title in a more figurative way, taking the Beatles in their Sergeant Pepper phase, David Bowie , who has been the subject of a recent exhibition at the V & A, or even Dame Edna Everage as your inspiration.
I am sure a trawl through your own books on textile art or a visit to a library could well get you started. Don’t forget the internet too. These books are on my shelves and could prove useful: 

Handmade Bags, How to Design, Make & Embellish Beautiful Bags by Terence Terry

Embellish & Stitch by Valerie Campbell – Harding & Maggie Grey 

Stitch, Dissolve, Distort with Machine Embroidery by Valerie Campbell – Harding & Maggie Grey

Edges & Finishes in Machine Embroidery by Valerie Campbell - Harding

African Inspirations in Embroidery by Mary Sleigh

Inspired to Stitch by Diana Springhall

Creative Doll Making by Patti Medaris Culea

Creative Doll Making Couture by Patti Medaris Culea

New Ideas in Goldwork by Tracy A Franklin

Crewelwork Tracy A Franklin

The New Anchor Book of Crewelwork Stitches

Paper, Metal & Stitch by Maggie Grey & Jane Wild

Surfaces for Stitch, Plastics, Films & Fabrics by Gwendoline Hedley

Handmade Embroidered Bags by Jenny Rolfe

Beginners’ Guide to Embroidered Boxes by Janet Edmonds

49 1/2 Skirts by Alison Willoughby

Sheesha Embroidery – A Workbook by Surjeet Husain

Blackwork by Lesley Barnett

The word ‘Bling’ has entered our language of recent years and is now in the Oxford English Dictionary which defines it as ‘expensive, ostentatious clothing & jewellery’ or the materialistic lifestyle associated with it ‘one of diamond rings, flashy cars & champagne’.

STOP PRESS : I opened the newspaper this morning to see a photo of a participant in the Notting Hill Carnival. What a wonderful example of the art of creative embellishment which I am sure could be developed into a piece of stitching.

I hope I have inspired you to begin thinking of how you might interpret the title of our Competition. Think outside the box and enjoy. I am hoping that your response to it will be even greater than that for the highly successful 2013 Competition.

Hope this helps………… I am preparing to be BE - DAZZLED !

Janet Adams (Regional Day Committee)