She had been a good friend of Kath’s and explained they had completed their City and Guilds together and that Kath had been a member of the Embroiderers’ Guild since 1984, as well as a member of the Preston Threads group.
Kath enjoyed Wessex Stitch and had produced many lovely samples during her lifetime which we looked at later.
Chris explained that “Wessex Stitch was a technique that used a limited number of stitches combined in a great variety of patterns to give surprising decorative effects.”.
It was a Mrs. Margaret Foster (1843-1936) who had produced 300 pieces of work for her exhibition that had developed the idea of Wessex Stitch. At that time she was the only person doing Wessex Stitch. She had a vast knowledge of stitches and techniques like Elizabethan Blackwork and developed her ideas. She even wrote her own catalogue for the exhibition.
Little is known of Margaret Foster the person, but thanks to her sister who donated her samples to Gawthorpe Hall, her work is available for all interested stitchers to see.
It was through this fantastic resource that Kath was inspired to produce her own samples and panels.
Chris has used Kath’s samplers to make a book following the idea of Margaret Foster’s sample book with a stiff stay on the left hand side where the pages will be held together and the samples fastened to the pages with tiny pearl beads. As the pages of the book were passed around we were stunned at the intricacy, design and motifs that Kath had stitched.
- Knots are out.
- Join on and off very carefully
- Count carefully and check constantly
- Fabric must be in a frame- a hoop is adequate
- Plan borders carefully but don’t count
- Tack fabric centrally in two directions –work outwards.
As Chris finished Margaret recollected that Kath was always forward thinking and could turn her hand to many other techniques like her beautiful machine embroidery and cutwork. She also spoke about her being so valued as a member of the guild including leading workshops and was always willing to help, teach and advise other members about their work.
As we all looked at the samples closely some of Kath’s family showed us other work that Kath had produced for them including silver jewellery and tiny doll house kitchen implements.
Chris thanked Jack (Kath’s husband) and family as well as Muriel Driscol and Pat Fisher for the loan of work, materials, support, knowledge and expertise in putting together her talk and afternoon workshop.
Finally her son spoke on behalf of the family to thank them for inviting them to the meeting and how it had helped them to realise the intricacies of their mother’s work.
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Thanks to Chris for her very informative talk and workshop and the committee for the wonderful homemade cakes.
It was a lovely day and a wonderful way to celebrate the memory and exquisite work of Kath.