“It is never too late to be who you might have been”
We welcomed 52 attendees at this month’s meeting, a huge record, with our membership outnumbered by guests.
We welcomed Zara Day to give us a delightful talk on her exquisite embroidery:
Zara completed a degree in textiles and fashion design, and worked in print and designs at Chelsea design centre, before she proceeded to retrain as a teacher, teaching for 16 years in secondary education. Teaching 3D crafts course, and how to start own business to women above 40 her thoughts became ‘why not do this myself?’
She joined the Embroiderers Guild, an embroidery group which had speakers once a month. Her first piece was using hand rolled felt. Progressing to combining different types of media together and interest in imagery or example layers of wall paper, which gives a sense of history. Once her daughters started school she began to experiment, she moved into her box room, started making mood boards and bought a Bernina sewing machine, which is good for drawing with stitches.
From the British craft trade fair at Harrogate to a book to craft fairs Zara then moved on to upholstery, with ideas of creating designs that cascaded across the design of the furniture being upholstered, using different sources for inspiration and hand rolled felt, more art work than functional seats.
Making products for Heal’s ‘Modern Craft Market’; John Lewis asked her to pitch work for the 150 year celebration at Peter Jones. As the creation of bespoke chairs did not work for the department store setting Zara chose the one off, bespoke path instead, contacting interior designers from Chelsea Harbour and started working with beautiful wool.
She wanted to make something different each time and used different techniques and stitching, hand stitch and free machine embroidery. Some chairs made by hand take up to 60 hours to complete the design.
From teaching design and textile courses she decided to go it alone, and eventually started making chairs and cushions for Firmdale hotels.
Zara now has a team of two, one who works on the machines and another for appointments.
All her work is now one-off pieces, with clients usually giving her a theme to work on the design. Most of her patterns are inspired by nature and she has now launched a new product using cork.
Covid brought business to a halt, so she adapted and taught a local group embroidery group, through Zoom. She now has 100 members and runs 8 courses, is loving teaching and has resurrected long lost projects. She has decided to donate some of funds from course 7 to Greenpeace.
For the future, she is enjoying teaching her ‘covid’ courses and looks forward to rebuilding her previous business and doing commissions again.
If anyone is interested in joining Zara on one of her embroidery courses you can contact her via email firstname.lastname@example.org
for our Zoom screenshot this month we are asking members to wear the colours of Women’s Suffrage (white, green or purple, or all three) and to raise their right hand to mark International Women’s Day on March 8th. Find more information on IWD and this year’s theme here
Book group will be meeting on Tuesday 16th March and are reading The Mistletoe Murder And Other Stories by P.D. James along with two early Sue Grafton novels.
Hackney Heroes Update
Lynn has now delivered over 250 goody bags to the Homerton Hospital. We are continuing to make the drawstring bags and there is a need for more lavender hearts so keep sewing sisters.
We are pleased to be announcing that together with the De Beauvoir Gardeners , we are planning a Spring Trail similar to the hugely successful and very popular Christmas Trail. Restrictions permitting we will hopefully be running a stall selling jams, marmalades, chutneys and bakes this time. Currently scheduled for May, watch this space for further information.