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Goldwork Highlights Report

A centrepiece exhibition of over 90 goldwork embroideries plus a packed program of eighteen other events over two months.


Mary Brown

Accredited TutorGoldwork
Accredited JudgeSydney area

Photo Gallery
Blue LadyCornucopiaGold MedallionJapanese LandscapePink Lady
Shaded Fritillaries

Mary graduated with a Diploma of Art Education from the Newcastle National Art School and Teachers' College in 1969 and for 25 years was a Visual Arts and Ancient History teacher in Senior High Schools. Her practice as a Visual Artist during those years included many forms of printing and painting, but in the 1990s she became increasingly interested in textile art.

In 2000-2001, she went to England to do the Certificated Course at the Royal School of Needlework. Mary's silk shaded fritillary flower was used on the cover of the Royal School of Needlework's brochure in the year following her graduation. The Royal School of Needlework asked her to write about her experience as a CC student and on her embroidery career since her graduation, which appeared on their website for some time. On her return to Australia, Mary eventually resigned from secondary teaching to set up her own embroidery design practice, specializing mainly in goldwork embroidery.

Mary is an accredited tutor and judge for the Embroiderers’ Guild N.S.W. Since 2007 she has been running a series of Creative Goldwork workshops each year. In 2009 these workshops also included mixed media work. Mary has run workshops for the Victorian Guild, South Australian Guild and the Queensland Guild.

Effie Mitrofanis and Karma Victoria Baines invited Mary to be a mentor for the current intake of Proficiency Participants and to revamp the Intermediate Historical & Contemporary Course. Mary, like Effie and Karma, is absolutely committed to fostering originality and creativity in the work generated by Guild members.

In 2005 Mary was awarded a Highly Commended for the Contemporary Section of the Margaret Oppen Award and in 2010 was awarded 1st Prize for the same Award.

Express Publications have profiled Mary in their Cross Stitch & Embroidery Magazine twice and have published several of her designs in two of their publications.Most of these have been at the request of the editor.

Sally Milner Publishing contracted her to publish a book on gold work embroidery in 2005. Mary spent five months in the United States of America, Britain and Europe doing research work for her book. She made appointments with numerous museums and private individuals to closely examine gold embroidered costumes and textiles for her book. As many of the costumes and textiles in her book had not been published before, the museums were prepared to do new photography specifically for her book. The 208 page book, which is titled Goldwork Embroidery: Designs and Projects was released in Australia and worldwide in 2007. In the first half of the book, the reader is given a substantial history of gold work embroidery in Britain and France, plus technical information on the metal threads and how to use them. The second half features fifteen projects designed by Mary with visual and verbal instructions.

In 2006, Alastair Macleod, chairman of Hand & Lock, the prestigious embroidery firm in London, approached Mary to see if she would be interested in being the firm's liaison person in Australia during the preparations for its Prize Giving Conference at the Powerhouse Museum on the 5th November, 2007. Mary had become aware of the Prize that is offered to tertiary students internationally, well before she spent time at Hand & Lock's in 2005. Mary did not hesitate in taking on a role to support what she had always felt was a great initiative on the part of this firm. (For more information on the Prize and the Conference, visit the Hand & Lock website.) As well as liaising with heads of departments in Australian Universities and Colleges and with the Powerhouse team for Hand & Lock, Mary was one of the speakers at the Conference. As guest curator at the Powerhouse, she curated the Hand & Lock Exhibition which included archival material from Hand & Lock, Wendy Birch (nee Lock) and Catherine Walker (one of Princess Diana's designers) as well as the work by the three prizewinners.

In 2007 Mary commenced working as a sessional lecturer at the University of Technology, Sydney, delivering lectures and workshops in embroidery/embellishment to the 2nd year Fashion & Textile Design students. The Guild exhibited the work by Mary’s UTS students at headquarters in 2008 and 2010. Mary was involved with the collaboration between three UTS designers and members of the Guild in 2009. The embroidered works from this collaboration were exhibited in the UTS Tower during Fashion Week in 2009.

As far as her own creative practice is concerned Mary designs work for workshops, exhibtion, publication and has worked on commissions for Teknemodus (an architecture, art and design firm) and Macgowan Films.

Over the last three years Mary has travelled to the UK and to France to do research work on couture embroidery and the ateliers that serve couture and haute couture designers with the view to eventually publishing her findings on this subject.  

For more information phone the Guild on 02 9743 2501 or email: