20 or more years ago Daphne Gick, (whom some of you will remember) and I signed up for the new Embroiderers’ Development Scheme – designed to help members who had taken C&G or similar and wanted to move on.
This involved getting together within a group periodically for discussions and guidance. We were with Sarah Burgess, who emphasised the need for us to “get out there” and promote/raise the profile of, embroidery/textiles to a wider audience and alongside other art forms. It’s always fascinating when we have our Stitchers’ exhibitions, to chat to people and discover how so many of the public value the opportunity to see what all our members can produce.
We discussed preparing a CV, and an artist statement initially. Then we discussed planning towards being able to give a talk, run a workshop and organise an exhibition.
Workshops are welcomed at most branches, so lovely to have an eager group of ladies all wanting to get good results – that was the main difference from teaching teenagers! and such a rewarding experience. Some of you came to my Or Nue workshop.
Daphne and I had not until then exhibited very much anywhere other than with the EG, so we decided to approach Middleton Hall. They had a lovely beamed ceiling gallery, but were only open at weekends, so visitors were limited. We had a rota of planned workshops too. However, it did give us valuable experience in recognising how much planning and forethought needed to go into preparing for an event on our own, advertising it etc.and we enjoyed chatting to the visitors. Daphne had even managed to get an article about us published in the local freely circulated magazine called Select.
I found it beneficial to join the local Art societies – Sutton and Lichfield. These offer the opportunity to exhibit twice a year and offer talks/demonstrations on painting and related subjects. We all need to use these skills when preparing pieces of work and I have found the demonstrations really helpful. The Societies often arrange visits to museums and exhibitions in London and elsewhere too. There aren’t enough stitchers in either of these groups!! and more would be most welcome.
Exhibiting anywhere often brings unexpected benefits – such as being asked to join another exhibiting group. This has happened to me several times – in particular being approached by members to join the Birmingham Art Circle, and RBSA. Following on from the latter, a member asked me to be joint exhibitor with another member in Bewdley in 2018 – showing some of my canal pictures and a new range of water reflections. Then, locally, there has been the Sutton Art Trail – which should have taken place again in June this year. This involves about 30 artists exhibiting in around 10 different venues for a Sat/Sun in June. Hopefully this will go ahead in 2021.
I think we all benefit and are encouraged from seeing the work of artists in other art forms – and in trying out ideas. So the sketch books we had at the beginning of the lockdown have been very helpful. I have to say I would not have thought of choosing some of the subjects, but having the time, I had a go and have found I could easily go off in another direction!