Embroiderers' Guild NSW - 60 years and still going strong!

We chat to the President and Events Coordinator of the Embroiderers' Guild NSW on the eve of their Craft Up Late event.

Congratulations! You are celebrating 60 years as an organisation. Please share with us a little about the Guild and how you will be celebrating this momentous occasion?

In this, our 60th Anniversary Year, we have continued to teach, learn, exhibit and share with our over 1,000 members throughout NSW. After years of preparation, dedicated volunteers, generous donors and supportive members we have redeveloped our building at 76 Queen St Concord West. Our Introduction to Embroidery Course, the Creative Correspondence Course, and many workshops brought together our members and visitors to stitch and learn traditional techniques in our own contemporary ways. In July the launch of the new Contemporary Stitch & Design course marked the beginning of our 60th year. In spite of redevelopment issues we have continued to exhibit throughout the year.

‘The Anzac Postcards Exhibition’ has continued to travel around NSW. It started in Concord in April 2015, with historic postcards from members and our Collection. Then members designed and stitched new postcards in memory of family and friends to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli Landing. These new postcards will continue to travel until they are exhibited at 76 Queen for November 2018.

Our ‘Order & Chaos’ Exhibition at the Craft & Quilt Fair in June illustrated to all visitors, our members’ skill in creative, contemporary design.

Our 2017 Margaret Oppen Exhibition ‘Diamonds and other Treasures’ celebrated our 60th anniversary with over 40 entries. Winners were announced and their work displayed on 22nd September. Prizes were awarded by Rachel Neeson at a small function for contributors squashed into our new unfinished shop space. They were toasted with Champagne as workmen continued on an adjoining floor far into the night.

What can audiences look forward to as part of your Sydney Craft Week event program?

We have hit a rather large snag with the building work and it has put a stop to some of our plans. We are still having our talk for ‘Craft up Late’ with champagne and canapés on the ground floor level and it will be a top event. Mary Brown is our art and stitch tutor, she is passionate and loves to share her knowledge.

- Guild Events Coordinator Val Tomlins

Glenn Barkley ceramics. Photo by Leeroy T

We hear you are opening a new purpose built gallery space?! Tell us more.

We are very excited to be adding six Gallery spaces to our building, two large workshops, one with wet area, also smaller learning spaces, doubling the size of our Library and Collection Rooms. There will be a lift to the large meeting room and lunch room on level 2. Unfortunately our Galleries, Level 1 and 2 will not be ready for Craft Week. But watch our website  As soon as we have the full use of the building we will hang the advertised exhibitions, ‘Order & Chaos’, ‘Margaret Oppen Competition’ and in December, ‘Different Directions’ by Carolyn Sullivan and Cathy Jack Coupland. We have more exciting and inspiring exhibitions planned for 2018 in both traditional and contemporary techniques.

What kind of events do the Guild host and how can people get involved?

We are a member organisation who welcome all who are interested in the Art, Design, History and Techniques of Embroidery. Our Guild Accredited Tutors and visiting Tutors offer workshops, courses, classes and correspondence courses to suit all needs. Our volunteers have created and maintain a Library of over 5000 books and magazines. Our collection has been created by members over the 60 years and is used by tutors and members to learn more about techniques, fabrics, threads, design and fashion. Our volunteers organise exhibitions and social events and monthly groups meetings for various techniques or interests.

What do you love most about embroidery?

Going into that ‘zone’ of ‘stitching to your heart’s content’, the amazing things I have learned over my 20 years of membership and the fascinating people I have met.

- Guild President Wendy Schmid


Head along to the Guilds Craft Up Late event, as part of Sydney Craft Week:

Embroiderers’ Guild NSW

For Craft Up Late, the Guild will be hosting a talk by Mary Brown. ‘Embroidery Surprises in Contemporary Art’ will include a presentation on the unexpected appearance of embroidery in contemporary art exhibitions as well as looking at curated exhibitions in Australia and internationally which are specifically about stitch. (RSVP essential, 9743 2501)

When: Wednesday 11 October, from 5pm

Where: Embroiderers’ Guild NSW, 76 Queen Street, Concord West


Images: Courtesy Embroiderers Guild NSW, Photography: Catherine Lees; Val Tomlins.