By Ann Evans
Photos courtesy of Rob Tysall, Tysall’s Photography.
You have to admire anyone who does needlework in all its many forms. I have difficulty threading a needle! But when that delicate handicraft is done at 1/12th or 1/24th scale, then it’s truly incredible. You have to remember that it’s not just the garments that are small, the threads, wool and materials are all scaled down to 1/12th of the original size or even smaller too.
After seeing some of the intricate work produced by The Miniature Needlework Society International at the recent Miniatura Show at the NEC, I just had to go along to the Forge Mill Needle Museum in Redditch to see the exhibition put on by some of the society’s members.
Sew Small runs from 12th March to 24th April 2016, and if you have an interest in needlework, then a trip to this museum will fascinate you. It’s actually the perfect venue for such an exhibition, as the Forge Mill Needle Museum was once the hub of the needle making industry with Redditch dominating the world needle trade. The town once produced 90% of the world’s needles. I’ll be writing about these atmospheric buildings very soon.
The Miniature Needlework Exhibition features around 300 items painstakingly created by over 35 members of the society, many of which have taken hours of intensive work to do. Amongst the exhibits there are magnificent carpets by Pauline Collison of Norfolk; Bobbin lace by Sylvia Hobbs of Kent; crochet work by Ann Miall of Northern Ireland; needlepoint tapestry by Jenny Furlong of Cambridgeshire, beadwork bags and hats made by Ann Clark and Lorraine Welsh who are both from of Northern Ireland, and many more amazing items all produced to 1/12th scale.
I talked to Carolyn Postgate at the recent Miniature Show about the exhibition, and she said she was overwhelmed by the response from members to exhibit their work. “It’s taken 18 months to organise, and we’re very grateful to the Forge Mill Needle Museum and Bordesley Abbey Visitors’ Centre for letting us hold our exhibition there. And we’re grateful also to Miniatura and Madeira UK Ltd for sponsoring us.”
In addition to the members’ work there’s also a beautifully furnished dolls house complete with a stunningly stitched garden loaned by Barbara’s Mouldings and beautiful furniture donated by Kim Sellwood on which the society members work could be placed.
Carolyn added: “The society was established in 1997 and we have members as far away as New Zealand as well as Europe and the UK. We run workshops on various techniques, we hold local meetings and we have a Facebook page so our members can stay in touch.
“The Society is there to encourage people to get started and to give help and advice. We publish booklets that have practical information on needlework techniques in miniature on everything from Macrame and Knitted lace to Crewelwork and Smocking.”
The Society has a permanent display which is changed regularly, at A World in Miniature Museum, Houghton Hall, Carlisle, Cumbria.
For details of the Miniature Needlework Society International, visit: www.mnsociety.org.uk
Next time we’ll be taking a look at Forge Mill Needle Museum and nearby Bordesley Abbey.