Heavenly needlework

holy stitches
Whether it was a match made in heaven or merely a stitch in time, an upcoming exhibit will celebrate the long-running partnership between The Embroiderers Guild, Victoria, and an ‘incorrigible’ collector of ceremonial church garments.

The Holy Stitches exhibition will feature vestments and other church furnishings collected over a period of 20 years by the appropriately named Dr Guy Churchman, which have been expertly repaired and restored by members of the Guild.

Dr Churchman has collected vestments dating from the 18th century to the 20th century.

A number of items in his collection come from Italy and Germany and feature liturgical designs from the Roman Catholic tradition.

“They are gorgeous, very sumptuous, even though you can see they are worn,” Embroiderers Guild exhibition committee convenor Marian Cravino said.

Dr Churchman approached the Ceremonial Group at the Guild, which is a group of eight to 10 highly skilled embroiders headed by convenor Norma Bain, to bring the garments back to their original glory.

The Guild was eager to assist as part of its mission is to preserve textiles of significance and maintain needlework skills in danger of being lost.

The exhibition, which runs for two weeks from 25 May, will be a fundraiser to help thank the group for its painstaking voluntary efforts.

It will feature the work of renowned embroider Lesley Uren, who on one garment has restored a dove motif.

There will also be a pre-exhibition lecture on Wednesday 17 May by Dr Churchman and Ms Bain on the history, significance and meaning of the garments and the techniques used to restore them.

Ms Cravino said the Guild, which has membership of about 1500 throughout Victoria, is made up of all ages and caters for various types of embroidery, ranging from the traditional to more contemporary and creative expressions.

“It’s about fellowship, having similar interest and attitudes and looking out for each other,” she said.

For details go to: www.embroiderersguildvic.org

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