On Tuesday I left the tranquility of Appleby to travel to the medieval town or York, about 1.5 hours to the south west, to welcome twenty needleworkers and our star tutors Alison Cole and Meredith Willett for the second installment of our All England Tour series.
Meredith and I have had just over 3 weeks rest since the Scottish Highlands Tour (and what a tour it was, we know we have lots more to post about that!). I thought we would be exhausted but it's amazing how much energy you can muster when you're having pure, unadulterated fun in great company.
During this tour we will explore needlework treasures from North Yorkshire and down through the East of England, ending with a visit to Windsor Castle next Sunday. I am very excited to have the chance to introduce our lovely group, who have come from the UK, the States, Australia, New Zealand and Chile, to some of my favourite textile collections, country homes, and especially to other needlework friends and colleagues in this area.
After our welcome meeting yesterday when everyone introduced themselves and goody bags were distributed, the group was divided into two for classes with Meredith and Alison (I will begin teaching later in the week). The designs were revealed and everyone became acquainted with the materials and techniques used.
I am so excited to team up as a trio with these two incredible professionals once again. For Part I of this tour series you may remember that Alison taught the Gentleman's Nightcap, Meredith the Elizabethan Bodice and I taught Bible cover (which became the Shakespeare's Bird & Strawberries kit).
For this retreat Meredith is teaching a needlepoint design inspired by a historic design in Oxburgh Hall. We will visit Oxburgh next week to see the original (pictured above).
This year Alison has created an extravagant Gold Work design stitched onto a ground fabric of luxurious green velvet which we have had specially woven in pure silk for each student. This design is inspired by a historic piece in Hardwick Hall, which we will also visit next week.
Finally, my design is a bold Jacobean Crewel Work piece which replicates the embroidery on an impressive bed head in Burghley House. This design is set to become a kit after the tour and I can't wait to see what everyone thinks when I begin teaching in a few days.
Apart from classes we are of course enjoying some excursions and last night we went to the Georgian Mansion Fairfax House, for a private visit with the curator.
This morning we toddled off to meet curator Pippa Foulds to study the York Minster textiles followed by the Treasurer's House, again with textile specialists as well as our tutors on hand.
Sampler of ecclesiastical embroidery by the York Broderers in metal threads featuring Or Nue bird in metal and silk threads
On Friday evening we will hear about the Ackworth School Samplers from my dear friend Jacqui Hyman. Jacqui will then accompany us the following day for a private view of the samplers and to meet the archivist in charge of the collection.
Classes and informal stitching session as usual under pin each day as we get to know each other and look forward to the next 12 days! I for one can't wait!
Lots of love from all of us to Sheelagh who couldn't make it. Get well soon Sheelagh and see you soon.