At the start of May, two of our members, Dorothy Tucker and Sheila Mortlock, attended this year’s presentation for the Embroiderers’ Guild Beryl Dean Award for Teaching Excellence in Embroidery and Design. The event took place in St Margaret’s Church, Lothbury, in the City of London right behind the Bank of England. It’s a lovely church and well worth a visit. It shows up in records dating from the 12th century although it was destroyed in The Great Fire of London and subsequently rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren. There is fine woodwork throughout and the church serves the financial area of London.
The Beryl Dean Award is in its third year and was started in the name of Beryl Dean to recognise the very best of teaching in embroidery. The invited guests were welcomed by the event’s host Andrew Salmon who introduced Muriel Campbell, Chair of the Guild and then last year’s joint winner Debbie Gonet who talked about the pleasure she gets from working with young students just starting on their textile career.
Anthea Godfrey, Artistic Director of the Embroiderers’ Guild, spoke at length about the importance of design in embroidery, coupled with the technical skill, views echoed by many attending. She also highlighted her own and the Guild’s concerns about recent announcements from the Department of Education who seem intent to reduce the teaching of art in schools. It was tempting to quote Winston Churchill during the early days of the last war when asked to cut funding to the Arts “Then what are we fighting for.” Whether that particular quotation is apocryphal or not it is surely a proven fact that everyone benefits from engagement with the creative arts.
The Beryl Dean Award this year was presented to Hannah Maughan, a lecturer at Falmouth University where she teaches textile design. Hannah studied at Birmingham and the Royal College of Art, specialising in embroidery and mixed media. There were also two Commendations this year. Carole Holme was commended for Embroidery Technique and Sonia Tuttiett was commended for Inspiration in the Community. Carole, Carole Holme specialises in Goldwork and Sonia, Sonia Tuttiett works with disadvantaged and other groups in the East End of London.
Before everyone moved to enjoy the splendid buffet Diana Springall spoke and presented a book to the winner. A lovely evening and a great event.