ELIZABETH ALMOND, designer and embroiderer
A conversation with Christine at Empress Mills, Colne led to the following;
“You are interested in all aspects of needlework would you be interested in writing something for our Blog?” Since I am more than happy to talk about any aspect of embroidery I willingly agreed.
I live in Bolton, Lancashire which was once the heart of the cotton industry but I have worked as an embroiderer, lecturer and tutor throughout my career. I am especially fascinated with blackwork, whitework, counted thread techniques, quilting and crochet. I have taught classes in community education, given talks and day schools to groups throughout England, exhibited, worked to commission and created charts and custom-made kits of my designs and have also embroidered for a number of London businesses during my career.
Working with the problems of aging and embroidery, selecting suitable equipment and materials is an integral part of my work. I ran an “agony aunt” column for needleworkers for some time and found that there are ways round most problems if you know who to ask. I publish on a regular basis on magazines such as “The World of Cross Stitch”, “Just Cross Stitch”, “Cross Stitch and Embroidery” and “The Gift of Stitching” where I write a monthly column.
Islamic architecture and geometric patterns are major influences on my designs and I have travelled extensively throughout the Middle East and Asia finding inspiration for my most recent work.
Day schools and talks on aspects of Blackwork, Whitework and Monograms under the heading “Monogram Magic” are available for 2013. These involve all aspects of embroidery and quilting and can be adapted to suit specific groups.
Talks and workshops on embroidery can form an important part of an embroiderer’s development and are often attended by students with a wide range of skills and abilities.They not only provide an opportunity to share ideas and expand on previous knowledge, but also provide both students and teachers the opportunity to work together in a convivial and constructive atmosphere.
New students are not only motivated by the tutor, but by the work of other students and whilst it is fun, the participants usually want to achieve something worthwhile and as the day progresses, I have often found that silence reigns as embroiderers concentrate on their individual projects. At the end of the day, everyone looks at each other’s work and for me the most satisfying comments are “I didn’t think I could do that!” or “I could get hooked on this!” and to be asked back again the following year makes it very rewarding and I know then that I have achieved my objective!
If you have never participated in a needlework group, investigate your local area or consider joining a “virtual” needlework on-line class. These can be a wonderful experience linking people around the globe with a common interest. I cannot stress highly enough the importance the Internet can play in connecting individuals and expanding knowledge and friendships. There are so many excellent web sites available at the click of a mouse and a wealth of information available from highly experienced tutors who are willing to share their expertise.
With such an excellent business and website as Empress Mills nearby, even difficult to find fabrics can be obtained and “Yes!” I found my Mountmellick Fabric & Specialist Threads.
The Empress Centre is a haven for craft and sewing enthusiasts. Part of a working thread mill, the large, well-stocked shop, houses the wide variety of threads manufactured on site as well as an abundance of accessories, craft supplies and gifts.