About the Guild

From the Guild Collection: Silk Shaded Fish from a Royal School of Needlework Sampler (early 20th century)

The Embroiderers Guild is an Educational Charity dedicated to educating people of all ages about the world of embroidery – from the sheer pleasure of stitching to the design, creativity and production of unique inspirational works.

We work to:

  • promote and encourage the art of embroidery and related crafts.
  • encourage the creation of fine articles incorporating the use of, or associated with, embroidery.
  • educate the public in the history and art of embroidery.
  • undertake or support research in embroidery.
  • collect, document, preserve, exhibit and interpret examples of fine embroidery, which are of historical or educational merit, and to make such articles available to the public.

The Guild has a long history. It was founded in 1906, when sixteen ex-students of the Royal School of Needlework got together to found a society to ‘deal entirely with Embroidery, and with the first object of keeping up a high standard of work and design.’

In the years since, the Guild has continued to be a champion for Embroidery in all its forms, working to preserve its history, encourage its practice, and supporting generations of innovation and creativity.

Today, we find that – despite the growing evidence that stitching, and doing other craftwork is good for you – crafting and creativity are being left out of the school curriculum. College and university provisions are dwindling, Adult Education is on the decline and courses like City and Guilds are getting harder and harder to find. So, the role of the Guild is becoming more important and more relevant than ever.

Even though we are called a “Guild” there is nothing stuffy or exclusive about us! We welcome and celebrate embroiderers and textile artists of all ages and abilities, from the beginner to the expert: whether simply interested in looking at textile art in all its forms, learning to stitch, a lifelong practitioner, or a professional artist and teacher. Find out how to support us here.

The Guild Collection is an exciting record of embroidery from the 16th century onwards and is worldwide in its content from Britain through Europe to Asia and beyond. Ranging in date from Coptic times to the present day and gathered from around the world, these embroideries give insight into how embroidery has been made and used in the past and present cultures around the globe. Catalogued items also include designs, threads and needlework tools.

Our Signature magazine is Embroidery which has been in publication for ninety years and is still going strong. We have recently digitised the entire back catalogue of the magazine, along with its predecessor: The Embroideress.

Subscriptions to the magazine can now be extended to include full access to the archive.

We support Students and Graduates working in textile art through the award of grants and scholarships, including the Beryl Dean Award for Teaching Excellence in Embroidery & Design in Textile Art.

We also provide on-line events and workshops, and are currently reviewing our suite of on-line learning courses.

We are a voluntary organisation, and our activities are primarily delivered by volunteers.

As a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee, the Guild is overseen by a Board of trustees who are responsible for ensuring that the Guild complies with company and charity law, and that we do what our Memorandum and Articles of Association empower us to do.

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