Cathy Davies, New South Wales Regional Meeting.
In November the Australian Quaker Narrative Embroidery : Friends in Stitches met in Silver Wattle for our annual workshop. Since then we met again in Perth at Australian Yearly Meeting. Patricia Wood, the co-ordinator of our Western Australia Regional Meeting embroidery group reported that :
The Friends in Stitches group was able to set up in a cool corner of the library and during the latter part of the week we attracted quite a number of participants eager to contribute a few stitches to one or other of the available five panels.
All found it relaxing and an opportunity for our creative Quaker community to enjoy conversation in between more serious pursuits.
Interstate Friends said they were happy that WARM stitchers provided a conducive environment to connect with the Narrative Embroidery project and many felt encouraged to take part, even some who claimed to be unable to sew.
There was also interest from a few Friends in writing some of the words necessary to accompany each panel.
We were proud to display the first completed panel from Cathy Davies (NSW) and she brings to our attention the need to consider adequate archival framing as more panels are completed.
On Tuesday 31st January Tessa Spratt flew to Sydney to join Cathy Davies in discussing with a Powerhouse Museum conservator specializing in textile preservation how to frame the panels in a way which will prevent their deterioration, keeping out moths and dust and also be light enough for us to bring them to each Australia Yearly Meeting. They recommended that we mount them onto acid free corrugated cardboard, attaching them with Velcro on a frame of aluminium ‘queblok’ tubes, and covering them with a lid of Perspex screwed into place. We believe, and sincerely hope that this will be far cheaper than the orthodox way of framing with wood and glass. We expect to have the first panels framed before mid-year.
Whilst Tessa was in Sydney we met with Audrey Wilson from the Kiama embroidery group to transfer the Kiama panel, designed by Alan Lawrence, from the line drawings onto the calico and then attach the calico to the woollen embroidery material. By the time Audrey returned to Wollongong it was fixed to the embroidery frame and the outlines of the line drawings were being placed on the background material. A great start to another panel.
There were no less than five panels in different stages of work on show when on Tessa’s third day in Sydney the first of a new group of embroiderers met in Wahroonga. They appeared not to be overwhelmed by the work involved and are eager to start embroidering! All we need are more panels ready to go.
There are groups in many parts of Australia who meet regularly. Friends in Stitches began as a way for individuals to be able to meet and get to know one another, and it serves this purpose admirably. Embroidery is a meditative process, and many men enjoy it as much as women.
We also are beginning to think about new panels needing to be researched and cartooned, and Charles Stevenson’s With Unhurried Pace clearly shows how much more we need to record about our fascinating and largely unknown or forgotten Australian Quaker history.