Postal Pages for Young Embroiderers' Groups

Postal Pages Oswestry groupThis idea is an adaptation of the Travelling Books which many adult branches do and is designed to get youngsters stitching and sharing. Travelling Books are a form of “textile ideas book” and Alex Messenger (Artistic Director Young and Student Embroiderers) is looking for YE branches who would like to participate in a similar project.

For the YE leaders this project could provide the focus for a stitching activity. It doesn’t have to be the sole purpose of every activity – YE leaders could pick and choose as they wish. They are also completely free to choose what activity they offer to the children. Not every child in the group has to join in, although the idea might work better if they all do.

The idea (in outline) is this –

Each child who wishes to join in would be given an 8 x 8in book which is theirs to keep. As part of a YE activity they would create a piece of work which would be posted to Alex Messenger. Along with the piece of work they also send an “inspiration idea” that relates to it – a picture from a magazine, something that inspired the piece, a drawing, a poem, a photo, a sweet wrapper, a dried flower – it can be anything at all. They also enclose a label on which they have written their name, age and the name of the Young Embroiderers' Group they belong to. For each piece that Alex receives, she will post one back to the YE member. It will be a piece from a YE member in a different group. They can then put this piece into their book and gradually they would build up a book of “textile ideas”.

Some guidelines –

This is not a competition. The piece doesn’t have to be perfect or even fit the whole page; it can be hand stitched, machine stitched, printed, stencilled, collaged, fabric or paper, or a combination of any of these. YE members can be as reserved or adventurous as they like

It is understood that YE members might not want to create a piece and then not have something to keep or take home because it has been posted to Alex. Therefore, when doing the activity they could create two pieces if they wish – one to go in their book (so they have a record of what they did) and one to be posted. This could be done over two meetings if the YE leaders feel that would work better.

It doesn’t matter if the inspiration idea came first and then the piece was created, or the piece created and then something was found to go with it. For example, YE leaders might want to take in a selection of images of daisies so each child could select one which they go on to create in stitch. Or the YE activity could be applique flowers and each child brings in a picture of a flower they like. Or the activity is applique flowers and for the next meeting each child brings in something to go with it (we realise that is homework and they may forget so it might not be the best option!). We hope that as they get used to, and enjoy the idea of these postal pages, the children might bring in images that they would like to use and can talk to the YE leaders about how they might do them.

Postal Page by Isobel ChinhengoThe pieces can be posted in one “group” envelope using a Special Delivery or Signed For service – they don’t have to come separately. Then the same number of pieces would be sent back by the same method to the YE group leader.

The piece and accompanying “inspiration idea” do not have to be mounted onto anything but they do need to fit onto an 8 x 8in page. They can either be sent with double sided tape on the back (still with it’s backing paper on) or YE leaders can help the children stick the pieces into their book at the beginning of the YE meeting. Please do not use staples as they will affect the pieces on the next page.

The pieces can be textured or have beads etc on – it just means that the pages of the book will not lie completely flat when the pieces are put into the book.

The piece that is created, and the accompanying “inspiration” go on pages so they are shown side by side.

Please email Alex Messenger ArtisticDirectorY& if you are a YE Group Leader and some or all your members would like to take part. However, there is no reason why we can't extend this idea to include other young people who want to sew but don't currently belong to a Young Embroiderers group. The only requirement would be that they join YE. So if you want to encourage your children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews or anyone else to take up a needle and thread, this could be the way to do it. Alex is happy to send details to anyone interested. Please see page 39 of Contact, issue 44 for Alex's latest update on how Postal Pages is going.

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