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Margaret Oppen Competition Winners

With a theme of 'Diamonds and Other Treasures' the competition has ended and the winners are......

Margaret Oppen Competition Information

Margaret Oppen was one of the founders of the Embroiderers’ Guild NSW Inc. She always enc..

Fine Needlework and Lace Group

Meetings: 10.00am-3.00pm on last Sunday of each month
Contact: Lynda O’Reilly   Tel: 02 4261 3786   Email: lyndaor@yahoo.com.au
Meets at: to be advised
  Note: our normal premises in 76 Queen St, Concord West NSW 2138 are currently being redeveloped into a 3 story 'Centre of Excellence' for Embroidery. Our new location will be published soon on this page.

The Fine Needlework and Lace Group is a Special Interest group within the Guild. It is a self-help group with members each contributing knowledge and experience, our passion for embroidery, ideas, questions, humour and delicious morning teas. The group meets on the last Sunday of each month 10 am – 3 pm in the Guild rooms. This year we are very pleased to be celebrating our 5th birthday in October. Visitors are always welcome on an occasional or regular basis.

We have a program of topics and each month we share our works in progress, finished heirlooms and new purchases (books, magazines and other treasures). Members volunteer to present topics and we occasionally invite specialists in from outside our group.

The group aims to study and stitch various fine needlework and lace techniques using inspirational collection pieces, library material, pieces from personal collections and the group’s current work. The group studies different topics at each meeting allowing the members an opportunity to experiment with different stitches, threads and fabrics, sharing and learning from each other as they go.

Our study topics for the group vary greatly and are chosen each year depending on the interests of the group. In 2006 we learnt about Chikan, Ayrshire and Dresden lace, Hedebo, Slovakian Cutwork, and Maltese Star Hardanger. 2007 saw us studying lace identification, torchon lace, underwear, Puncetto lace, monograms, Antique hem stitching, needle weaving, Mountmellick, filet on mesh and Latvian embroidery. In 2008 we were thrilled to view christening gowns from Lyn Weeke’s collection, Cathy’s Galati’s heirloom Italian embroidery collection, and studied Reticella, strawberry scissor fobs, Romanian Point braids, Sumptuary laws, and centre lines and grids. In 2009 we studied Armenian, Oya/Bibila, Princess Lace, Sicilian embroidery, Teneriffe, Branscombe, and we had talks from Joan Brackley and Hattie Suma on their OIDFA and European Textiles – Italia Invita conference trips. So far in 2010 we have studied woven picots, tassels and Hairpin crochet. Future topics this year are Reticella and Ayrshire.

Fine Needlework in the Embroiderers’ Guild

Fine embroidery has been an important part of the Guild since its inception over 50 years ago. Miss Roma Field left a wonderful legacy of traditional embroidery and her book A Lifetime of Embroidery shows an astonishing diversity of traditional techniques. Another influential fine embroiderer was Merle Glover. She preferred traditional embroidery in all its forms and designed her own pieces and taught for many years, passing on her enjoyment to countless students.

Exhibitions and Prizes

The Fine Needlework and Lace Group have held three exhibitions of work, in Guild Headquarters in July 2006 and May 2010 and the 50th Anniversary Exhibition. The exhibitions have shown a large and diverse range of techniques and styles, with many examples being Royal Easter and Castle Hill show prizewinners. The group also sponsor prizes at the Royal Easter Show and the Castle Hill Show each year. This year in the Margaret Oppen Competition, Cathy Galati was successful with a third place with a reticella tablecloth and second-place went to Marie Laurie for an exquisite Borris Lace collar, using a traditional Branscombe pattern.

Tutors

The group’s interest in learning more about fine needlework and lace has led to members of the group organizing specialist tutors at the Guild. Maree Maher of Dublin Ireland visited Australia in October 2006 and taught the historic Irish embroidery technique of Montmellick Work. In 2007, members of the group were able to secure Christine P. Bishop as a guest tutor at the Guild. Christine is an experienced embroiderer, author, judge, assessor and lecturer, who has taught throughout Australia and New Zealand. Catherine Barley of the UK is a tutor of international renown, and has been teaching needlelace and stumpwork both at home and abroad for over 30 years. She taught at the 2007 Embroidery Festival of the Embroiderer's Guild NSW 50th Anniversary Celebration at Homebush. Gary Clarke who specializes in a diverse range of embroidery taught whitework and embroidery on organza and silk fabrics with single stranded cotton and silk threads. In 2008 the group was treated to a wonderful class in Reticella needle lace with Tina Miletta. Tina was born in Italy and began learning Reticella at the age of nine in a family-owned business. Ours was the first class that Tina has taught in Australia and she is now a grandmother!

Authors

We occasionally venture out to external events, which we did on 28 March 2010 when we attended the Australian launch of Marie Laurie and Annette Meldrum’s newly released book, The Borris Lace Collection: A Unique Irish Needlelace, published by Sally Milner Publishing at the meeting of the NSW Branch of the Australian Lace Guild.

The book was launched in Ireland, in the grounds of Borris House (an Irish castle) on the 25th May. Marie and Annette were invited to catalogue the Borris Lace Collection, housed at Borris House in 2007 and the book is the culmination of that experience and their ongoing research into the history, patterns and techniques of a forgotten technique.

Lyn Weekes’ work is published in Inspirations A-Z of Heirloom Sewing: Everything you need to know to create beautiful garments. It features machine and hand-sewing techniques, from basic to advanced to create beautiful heirloom sewing garments.

Marie, Annette and Lyn are enthusiastic members of our group.