Friday August 07 2020



Village Art & Literature

A welcome to the world

Posted on October 20 2012 at 12:03:56 0 comments

One of the postcards

Hopwood-based artist Paula Hamilton views some unusually arty postcards.

There is a most exquisite exhibition of 3,000 small wonders now on at the Artrix in Bromsgrove but, alas, it is about to finish on November 4! 

Briefly, a creative person belonging to the Embroiderers’ Guild, with the Cultural Olympiad in mind, had a good idea back in 2010 – which was to ask 300 UK groups from the organisation to complete a set of postcard-sized artworks based on one of 200 countries represented in the Olympics. 

These spectacular mini artworks were to depict the culture and life of each sporting nation.

The countries are arranged from A-Z, Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, and show the national flag and map of each, as well as embroidered images of national costumes, flora and fauna, local food, industry and decorative elements. 

My knowledge of geography is not a strong point and there were several countries represented that I had never heard of. I wondered how a tiny country like Tuvalu had been allocated to the Cotswold group for interpretation or Sweden given to Basingstoke.

I should have known that it was all conducted fairly by drawing the names from a hat at random.

The most local branches of the Embroiderers’ Guild to take part were Bromsgrove, Birmingham, Solihull, Stourbridge and Worcester, but groups from the north of Scotland to the southernmost parts of England all took part in this extraordinary project.

The word “embroidery” is misleading as it brings to mind old-fashioned, staid ways of stitching. The work in this exhibition uses silk paints, inks, collage, machine stitching and every sort of hand stitching from stump work to beading and more arty things that I wasn’t able to identify. 

This exhibition, entitled Stitching a Welcome to Athletes of the World, is in its fifth and last viewing space at the Artrix, having previously been on show in Much Wenlock, Edinburgh, Plymouth and London. And it was Alvechurch stitcher Janet Lee’s idea to show the works at the Artrix.

She had support from two other Janets – Janet Malloy who is Chairperson of the Birmingham Branch and yet another Janet who helped showcase the exhibition. At one point I felt as though I was in the Monty Python sketch about the Aussie Bruces.

However, you don’t have to be called Janet to join the Embroiderers’ Guild. There are 10,000 members in the UK and overseas with many belonging to the 195 branches throughout the UK. You can find out more about the Embroiderers Guild and find your nearest branch at

There is also a network of Young Embroiderers Groups. I met Louise Burn who runs a group for Young Embroiderers at Avoncroft Arts Centre, working with young people from six years old upwards.

She had some delightful examples of creative work completed by the youngsters she teaches – simple projects like gingerbread men, dolls and purses to really intricate pieces of stitchery completed by the older children using diverse methods of textile decoration.

If a young person you know is interested in creative stitchery, contact to find out more.

The December Art Bus
I didn’t realise that I should, apparently, be thinking about Christmas until I happened to visit Solihull this week and noticed Christmas decorations in the shops. The only Christmas-related date I have put in my diary is a free Christmas event: THE ART BUS.

The promo says “All aboard! Take a ride on the festive Art Bus on Saturday December 1 and be transported between Birmingham’s finest art galleries, while enjoying some complimentary mince pies.

“This free bus will take visitors to the Ikon Gallery, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts at Birmingham University, the RBSA Gallery (Royal Birmingham Society of Arts), Eastside Projects and mac (Midlands Arts Centre) Birmingham.”

The bus runs from the Ikon Gallery in Brindley Place (B1 2HS) and does a tour of the galleries mentioned all in one day, without the worries of public transport or parking: simply hop on and off the Art Bus as it travels between each venue. Better than a visit to Santa’s Grotto.   

For further details call Ikon Gallery on 0121 248 0708.

Please get in touch if you would like me to write about an art event near you. Contact me via The Village or at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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