It’s difficult to imagine that a dark, dangerous industry where men toiled long, hard hours deep in the bowels of the earth could inspire delicate works of art made from fabric and thread.
But that’s exactly what has happened with the stunning Mining a Golden Seam exhibition created by members of the Embroiderers’ Guild in the North East.
Running at Woodhorn between January 14 and May 13, it is the organisation’s first regional exhibition for five years. Both adult and young embroiderers from as far afield as Hexham and Wooler, Teesside and Tyneside, and Sunderland and North Yorkshire have enthusiastically translated their ideas into design and stitch.
Joy Bradshaw, North East Regional Chairman of the guild, explained the thinking behind the exhibition. “Many different strands of ideas have come together to create and inspire the pieces in the show.
“Our mining heritage in the North East is featured strongly: memories of communities and the life that was so familiar when the pits were part of everyday life. Beside these interpretations of a familiar but vanishing and changing world, come embroideries which mine the other treasures lying beneath the surface. These illustrate strata and geology – richly interpreted in stitch.”
Gold has always held a particular fascination according to Joy. She said: “The thought of golden seams inspires embroiderers, and it is a particular gift for those who enjoy using fabric and thread. We all love to include its richness in our special pieces and this exhibition has given an opportunity to celebrate and show it off in a spectacular way.
“The theme is also a metaphor for any type of exploration and searching that we may do when we dig into rich areas of the imagination: when we mine memories and reveal our individual passions – so there are unexpected and surprising ideas too, adding colour and excitement to the gallery display.”
Liz Ritson from Woodhorn is excited about the embroidery exhibition. “There are some gorgeous pieces of work in this show, and I’m sure all of our visitors will appreciate not just the obvious beauty of the embroidery, but the amazing skills and hours of dedication taken to produce the final piece.”