Embroidery exhibit to showcase diverse work

Love of craft ... Rebecca Kenny with the embroidered fabric doll house inherited from her late-grandmother, Valmai Ludemann, and some of her own works.

Rebecca Kenny has been embroidering for many years and this weekend will have seven of her craft pieces entered in the Braided Threads exhibit of the Ashburton Embroiderers Guild at the Ashburton Art Gallery.

The biennial guild exhibit officially opens tomorrow, from 2pm to 4pm, with guest speaker Jane Malthus, who is a dress historian, museum curator and lecturer at Otago University.

It runs until February 27 and features the Ashburton guild members never-seen-before embroidered pieces created since the last exhibit two years ago.

Embroidery is something the women in Rebecca’s family have done before her, and something her own daughter, now in her 20s, has also learned.

Rebecca truly picked up a love of the craft from her grandma, the late-Valmai Ludemann. She was also a member of the guild.

As a youngster Rebecca remembers her grandma was always working on something.

Special hoops were among the embroidery bits Rebecca inherited when her grandma Valmai Ludemann passed away in 2018.

When Valmai passed away in 2018, Rebecca received some of her embroidery bits. Among them were threads, fabrics and special hoops used to hold fabric in place while stitching.

Rebecca also has hardangers (or doilies), cushion covers and an embroidered fabric doll house completed by Valmai in 2003.

Hardangers, or doilies, are traditional items of embroidery.

The doll house was something Rebecca’s children played with as youngsters when visiting their great grandma. “It was a good way to use up leftover scraps (of fabric),” Rebecca said.

The 3D doll house was something Rebecca’s children played with as youngsters when visiting their great grandma.

The colourful 3D fabric piece when closed looks like a book. It has five embroidered rooms complete with miniature bullion knot-stitched pictures hanging on the walls and hardanger stitched cushions on seats.

Miniature bullion knot-stitched pictures hang on the walls and hardanger stitched cushions sit on seats.

Rebecca often starts the day with an hour of embroidery, and also does it at night.

She has also been known to take pieces to work to complete during her breaks.

“I’ve always had an interest in embroidery. It’s a nice relaxing hobby, and it’s quite nice to learn new skills,” Rebecca said.

As a member of the guild she also regularly meets with others who share the same interests. The guild have a Facebook page for those interested in coming along to one of their meetings. They meet four times a month.

Rebecca has made cushions, wall hangings, various Christmas pieces and gifts for others.

Some pieces are hangable and not all are framed behind glass.

Rebecca has made pieces fixed to a canvas backing and everyday use items such as the cushion covers.

While some projects go faster than others, and some seem to just flow, her favourite stitch is the bargello which is a simple, traditional stitch; repetitive and rhythmic.