Saturday 25 March 2023

2023 Cake Reveal: Melsetter


Our pattern this year was designed by May Morris, embroidered alongside Theodosia Middlemore on linen with wool thread. The cake is a carrot cake with cream cheese icing, the birds and flowers rendered in royal icing. Enjoy the video!

Wednesday 1 March 2023

189th Birthday Lecture: “Gardening with silk and gold thread” botanical imagery in the work of the art embroidery designer May Morris

Lecture by Dr. Lynn Hulse 
Saturday, March 25, 2023
 Zoom at 3 pm EDT

*Lecture followed by a presentation of this year's birthday cake and toast

Embroidery design by May Morris (c1900) © National Museums Scotland

The development of the English cottage garden in the hands of the Irish horticulturalist and journalist William Robinson (1838-1935) had a marked effect on the textile arts during the final decades of the nineteenth century. Author of The Wild Garden (1870) and The English Flowered Garden (1883), Robinson rejected the artificiality and formality of High Victorian pattern gardening in favour of naturalised plantings of perennial shrubs and climbers. His revolutionary approach was reflected in the choice of botanical imagery featured in the work of many Arts and Crafts designers, including May Morris (1862-1938), one of the leading exponents of art embroidery. A constant theme in the work of May Morris is her love of English meadow plants and cottage garden flowers.
Throughout her life, she made detailed studies of plant life to familiarise herself ‘with all the possible peculiarities and diversities of such things.’ But like many other writers on art embroidery, she recognised that the designer’s work ‘should merely recall nature, not absolutely copy it’ (Decorative Needlework, 1893). May Morris’s approach to conventional design will be examined through her work for the embroidery department at Morris & Co. and her special commissions and gifts for family and friends.

Dr Lynn Hulse is a Fellow of both the Royal Historical Society and the Society of Antiquaries of London. She is also co-founder of Ornamental Embroidery, which specialises in the teaching and designing of historic hand stitch through workshops in museums, art galleries and historic houses across the UK. Recent exhibitions include The Needle’s Excellency: contemporary raised work at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (April - June 2017) and the Knitting and Stitching Show (2018), and The Needle’s Art: contemporary hand embroidery inspired by an early Tudor pattern book at the Bodleian Library, Oxford (November 2021- January 2022). Lynn has published widely on the development of art embroidery and is the editor of May Morris: Art and Life (2017) and The Needle’s Excellency: English raised embroidery (2018). She is currently completing a book on Lady Victoria Welby and the founding of the Royal School of Needlework.

Twitter: OEStitch