AGM & Conference

13th April 2019

Guest Speakers: Michele Carragher & Vanda Campbell

Morning talk: 'The Embroidered Narrative: Costume Embroidery for Film & Television' - Michele Carragher

Michele Carragher gave a fascinating talk about her history and development as a hand embroiderer for film and TV. Starting from childhood dressing up Barbies, encouraged by her mum, she went on to the London College of Fashion, where she started to develop embroidery creatively, based on history, literature and theatre. Increasingly this was sculptural in form.

This led on to a period working in textile conservation, where she developed skills in mending and reconstruction, as well as developing her sources.

Mike O’Neill gave her first TV opportunity, ‘Our Mutual Friend’, starring Anna Friel.  His mentoring enabled her to take on increasingly demanding work, including ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘Elizabeth 1’, ‘Peaky Blinders’ and ‘The Crown’.

The experience of working on film stretched her, both technically and creatively, and she gave many examples of short deadlines, short cuts and long working days (and nights).

Her greatest selling point has always been her exquisite hand embroidery skills, honed through years of demanding projects and a strong passion for history and fantasy.

Afternoon workshop: 'A Brush with Nature' - Vanda Campbell

What a great afternoon: ”A Brush with Nature” and an opportunity to explore “gestural mark making”!  Vanda had brought a variety of mainly natural items from her allotment and resource store.  We had to create five brushes consisting of a handle, bristles and a ferrule. It was interesting to see that members’ personalities really reflected in their brushes.  There were colour co-ordinated sets, tiny sets, large sets, vibrant, muted… you name it, they appeared!

The next task whilst having a quick cup of tea/coffee and a piece of gluten-free carrot cake was to paint.  The first task was just to dry out each brush on kitchen paper, the second to try to paint each brush with another brush on the paper.  The culmination was to interpret your favourite brush with another brush in a detailed manner.

All in all, it was highly enjoyable.  Vanda was an amazing spirit, very encouraging and supportive.