What is more fun than planning a trip to an exotic location and then planning all the textile or embroidery sights to visit near your destination?   The ads in embroidery magazines from the country you plan to visit help to narrow down possible outings.   The internet is also a wonderful resource to help in this quest.   So armed with a GPS to guide me or even my new I pad with maps to follow as I walk along the street, I have discovered it is possible to venture anywhere and not get too lost!.

This past year I have had several travel embroidery adventures.   Last fall, my husband and I cruised from San Francisco to Sydney Australia on a repositioning cruise and then toured around Australia.   We started the trip with a visit to the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles and the Computer History Museum on the Google campus in Mountain View (equal opportunities here!).  On board the ship there was the knitting and crocheting group - so I crashed that group and brought along my needlepoint and Sashiko work.  It was so interesting to meet fellow needleworkers and share our experiences.  We even arranged a road trip (actually a ferry trip) to a patchwork and quilting shop and a knitting shop while docked in Auckland, New Zealand.  And of course, I stocked up on quilting fabric featuring New Zealand flora and fauna and have great plans of what I am going to make!

This piece is about 45 years old
This piece is new this year
It was so interesting to search for tapa cloth on each of the south Pacific Islands we stopped at.  I found tapa or kappa in Hawaii, Tahiti, Fiji, and Samoa.  Tapa is the name of a type of fabric made from the inner bark of the paper mulberry trees growing on the islands.  The bark is stripped from the outer bark and then beaten to soften the fibers and pound them together.  Designs are pounded onto the fabric and dyed or painted with native vegetable dyes in the traditional colours of black and rust brown. It was amazing to compare the designs throughout the islands and to compare the old designs found on museum pieces with the modern ones used today. 

In Australia, two of the trip highlights for me were the visits to the Country Bumpkin Store in Adelaide and the Embroiderers’ Guild of Victoria house in Melbourne.   The Country Bumpkin store has everything you see in their Smocking and Inspirations magazines: the fine fabrics, the exquisite embroideries and the wonderful heirloom sewing garments.  I had a tour of the Embroiderers’ Guild house and a short visit with some of the ladies stitching on their projects on the Sunday afternoon when we visited there.  How wonderful it is for the members of the state of Victoria to have a permanent meeting building with their library, classrooms and small gallery or display area.   I did leave a copy of “Embroidery Canada” for their library!  As the photo shows me with the copy outside the main entrance.

  













This is the workroom on the main floor – where members have gathered to stitch on a Sunday afternoon.  Notice all the embroideries around the room.  Each month a new series of members’ embroideries are displayed.  This month the theme for the pieces was flowers.   



Watch for the second instalment, which features the U.K.

Barbara Gilbert.

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The Embroiderers' Association of Canada (EAC) is a national non-profit educational organization whose purpose is to have a fellowship of persons who enjoy needlework and wish to learn and share their knowledge; and thereby to work towards maintaining higher standards of design, colour and workmanship.

Our aim is to preserve traditional techniques and promote new challenges in the Art of Embroidery through education and networking.
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