Drawing and Stitching at St Margaret’s

Posted on May 16, 2016

The sixth drawing and stitching workshop led by Marcia Teusink and Rosie James took place at St Margaret’s on 21 March 2015.

“We had yet another great group for the DMAG Drawing and Stitching on Saturday, this time at St Margaret’s. Curator Christine Waterman introduced everyone to fascinating stories about St Margaret’s in WWI and then showed us the museum’s collection of embroidered postcards which had been sent back by a local soldier to his family. (Wish I could remember the family’s name.) The floral patterns and text on the cards inspired our morning of drawing from flowers. After a quick walk to check out what was growing in Pines Garden, everyone dove into drawing symbolic plants, such as rosemary and forget-me-nots (for remembrance) and laurel (for victory). After lunch Rosie showed us her vintage stitching patterns and lots of floral fabric scraps which everyone proceeded to develop into yet another set of amazing bunting. Thanks to Christine and DMAG artist-in-residence at St Margaret’s Nicole Mollett for joining us, and to everyone else who came as well!” (Marcia Teusink)

This series of workshops is getting very popular: One of the regular participants said “I think I may be a groupie of the drawing and stitching!

As the theme of the workshop changes every time, participants signing up for several sessions have an opportunity to learn a range of different drawing techniques.

Here is some more feedback:

Drawing workshop:

The best thing about the workshop:

  • Reconnection with some aspects of drawing practice that I have got out of the habit of using.
  • Great venue. Will visit again. A potted history of St Margaret’s and a deeper understanding of the Homefront. 
  • The chance to continue improving my drawing and look closely at flowers.
  • The explanations of the negative space drawings

The most surprising thing:

  • How liberating it is not to waste time making too many decisions but to plunge into using the things that you find in your hand.  At first I was disappointed that the museum only held a small number of items related to WW1 but that turned out  to be the best thing about it – the narrow focus was actually a considerable advantage.
  • That I quite like drawing negative space and could see that can be made of it and want to do some more work with this. 
  • The role of St Margaret’s in the hostilities

The most interesting thing:

  • That there are fabric dyes in felt pen form – never used them, very versatile
  • The use of flowers on postcards in the war
  • About the Australian airman

Other comments:

  • The meld between drawing and how it fed into the stitching session was particularly well matched on the day. The narrow focus on plant subjects made it easier to focus on our drawing techniques.
  • Fantastic tuition and development of the theme. Well organised. It is good to go to a workshop that you don’t need any materials for. Also one that is funded. 

Stitching workshop:

The best thing about the workshop:

Tried out some products that were new to me.

  • Learning new skills and textile applications
  • Great venue. Will visit again. A potted history of St Margaret’s and a deeper understanding of the Homefront.
  • The knowledge and experience of Rosie
  • Meeting other people, Meeting Rosie James

The most surprising thing:

  • Inventiveness is increased by limiting the number of choices one makes about what materials to incorporate. 
  • The shinaegins that went on in a small village and the bravery of individuals
  • How easy it can be to design and stitch drawings
  • Did not know the museum existed in St Margarets

The most interesting thing:

  • How massively popular embroidered mementoes were in the war period – the fact that they were being sent from places of horrendous carnage to the home front as a form of comfort.
  • That I like rhubarb and lemon drizzle cake and I can stitch without bondaweb. 

Other comments:

  • Thank you again guys. Brilliant workshop and all bunting different again.  Great tuition, freedom to explore ideas …. 
  • The two events were advertised as separate, but are best done together, as the stitching event very much followed on from the drawing event.

Photos by Marcia Teusink and Rosie James