I have been asked many times why I started this project and it all began many years ago when I saw a television programme about the Bayeux Tapestry. It seemed to me, with a new Millennium imminent that the time was ripe to create a new tapestry and the 20th Century seemed an obvious and exciting choice.
After thinking about it for well over a year, I decided I had to do something about it. So I wrote to Coats Crafts UK, to ask if they would sponsor me for the fabric and to my surprise they thought it was a great idea. After several meetings with the Directors it was agreed, providing I could get 15 groups to start the project.
After what seemed to be an eternity, advertising the project in various magazines, I at last had my starting groups. But there were issues yet to be confronted - the fabrics arrived either the wrong colour or damaged and I had failed to realise the amount of time it would take to prepare the panels, with the fabric having to be cut and over locked and the outlines of the fashion figures transferred. This all took well over a year from the time the groups had said they wanted to be involved. Then to my horror, apart from three groups, all declined mainly because they had started other Millennium projects.
I found myself having to start once again begging to have items put into embroidery magazines. Fortunately in those days there were a few more Embroidery and stitching magazines about than there are today, but even so it is difficult to keep pestering for space. It took nearly 2 years to get back to my original 15 groups.
There have been many highs and lows in the following years, but we now have 68 groups either working on panels, over 30 of which have been completed and returned to me.
I do hope you or your group will find this project of interest and may take on a panel or have a go at working with Shirley Caddy. All the groups who have worked on panels have said how much they enjoyed the time spent on the embroidery or in some cases patchwork and lace making.
I've been asked to do an update on this site as it is rather out of date, at least on this page. The years since I wrote this have not been the best, with bereavement and illness within the family.
However, enough of gloom and doom, it has not all been bad and I can now say we have to find just another 15 groups. 85 panels have now been taken and I have had well over 50 returned completed.
At this point of time I do not have any exhibitions to take the project to, but I should have an article in 'Workbox' magazine in the near future. I have written to other magazines but having received no reply I must remember to chase them again.
Any suggestions for exhibiting the project I would be really happy to receive. Also if anyone has any contact with the Weekend Telegraph or Mail I would be most interested. Both papers have had articles about smaller projects and although I have written to both several times, I have not yet had a reply.
Sadly those who were hoping to work with Shirly Caddy will now be dissappointed as she has severe arthritis in her hands and will give up when the latest panel is completed. I do thank her for the time she has spent on her Panels.
I will post any more news about this project on the site as and when it occurs.
I'm sorry for the lack of news for the last couple of years unfortunately due to health and then a car accident.
Hopefuly I am now back on track , having updated some of the panels. I have been in touch with some of the magazines in the hope of some publicity as well as Womans Hour . I found it easier to get on a BBC chat show in Wales thanon English BBC although I am sure Womans Hour covers Wales.
As you can see from the date panel we only now need to get another 11 groups and I am hopeful that a group will be taking up a panel soon.
When going through photographs on discs I came across a couple of photo's from Alexander Palace many years ago, probably some of you may well have taken up your panel from this exhibition.
I will try to keep you more updated in the future,
© 2014 Embroidery of the Century