65 Years of Sewing - by Bernadette

Following the usual reading of notices and announcements, Julia welcomed all members and guests and went on to introduce our guest speaker for the evening, Mary Gamester.


Mary’s talk was entitled ‘65 years of Sewing’.  In fact, according to Mary it’s more like 70 years of sewing, but that just didn’t sound right!


As a child Mary was introduced to all sorts of crafts – sewing, knitting and crochet as well as making furniture from conkers and bells from milk tops.  At school she made samplers galore and felt animals.  At secondary school she was required to do sewing again when she would have much preferred to study another language.  She really didn’t like sewing very much at this stage of her life. 


After finishing school, she went to college to train as a teacher and she chose dressmaking (yes dressmaking!) and art as her chosen subjects.  She had a long and successful teaching career.


Mary showed us work from her early days right up to the work she is producing today, including  a beautiful girl’s smocked dress, an embroidered needle case, a patchwork bag made in the 1970’s, stunning waistcoats and dazzling bags, and a stunning quilt inspired on her travels.


Before retiring from teaching, she travelled to India.  Her travels invigorated her and became her inspiration for so much of the work that she showed us over the course of the evening.   


Throughout her life Mary studied various City & Guilds courses and continued doing so following retirement.  She delighted everybody with some of the wonderful pieces she made, in particular the Pageant of the Four Seasons quilt which quite literally took everyone’s breath away when she presented it.


Her current interest is in transfer painting and she showed us an example of her work in a delightful tulip quilt.  She has recently published a book on this subject.


Mary continues to sew.  She has been commissioned to make a pair of 1970’s style velvet trousers and matching gilet  for the Malvern Show I believe.  She will be using the vibrant images inspired from a trip to Uzbekistan.  She will not be making these items in a model  size 8 – she intends to wear them herself!!


I think everyone would agree that it was a very interesting evening and it was a pleasure to witness Mary’s lifetime in sewing.