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Three By Two

Ways With A Needle

March 17th 2023 – April 24th 2023

Three highly creative stitchers are combining to fill the studio gallery space with their works and ideas.

It is quite brilliant as it has been two years in the making hence the title.

There is a back story statement about the exhibition:

For the last two years three embroiderers, two in New Plymouth: Wendy Johnstone and Pravina Phillips, along with Hawera-based Felicity Willis, have challenged themselves to create embroidery based on the same set of criteria. 

The first year was a fortnightly challenge in which they used  a letter of the alphabet and a keyboard symbol to create a design  This produced some interesting and very different ideas and results. There were no rules – how each person interpreted the topic was entirely up to them.

Year two was a monthly word and this time they each had four turns at choosing a word and this again has produced varying designs. Once again, the challenge was to interpret the word in whatever way the embroiderer chose which led to amazingly different interpretations. 

The results of two years of playing, experimenting and creating will now go on show. Their workbooks will also be displayed alongside the embroideries they have created over the past two years. 

Here is a little bit of a background about Wendy Johnstone from New Plymouth who is one of the three artists in this exhibition.

Wendy Johnstone, New Plymouth textile artist is a member of Creative Fibre and the New Plymouth Embroiderers Guild( founder member)
Stitching and creating for many years now, she has attended many classes with both local, national and international tutors.
A former member of the ANZEG executive she has held the positions of regional rep, education and module coordinator. Study with the Embroiderers Guild of America she qualified as a Master Needlework Judge.

Wendy enjoys experimenting and creating and this challenge series with words, letters and signs has been both enjoyable and frustrating at times, but a lot of fun.

Pravina Phillips started her creative journey as a child with cross stitching over hessian and English Paper Piecing.   She then progressed to traditional patchwork, the old fashioned way using sandpaper as templates and trying to master the intricacies  of matching points and hand quilting using a hoop.  Some years later a whole new world opened up with the discovery of art quilts and contemporary methods of construction.  These days Pravina enjoys creating mixed media pieces and experimenting combining fabric, paper and stitch and dabbling with altered books and book making. A highlight of this ongoing journey for Pravina has been having works accepted for exhibition at the ANZEG Conferences and NZ Quilt Symposiums.

The third artist is Felicity Willis and these images are of some of her works in the exhibition:

Felicity Willis has sent a snippet of her CV:

Embroidery has always been a part of Felicity Willis’ life. She comes from several generations of embroiderers and lacemakers on both sides of the family. 

She has been a member of the South Taranaki Stitchcraft Guild since it began almost 40 years ago and is also a long-time member of ANZEG Extensions, Creative Stitches and Taranaki Creative Fibre and always enjoys the camaraderie and stimulus of ideas and creativity to be found in these groups. 

Her work often combines felt and embroidery and uses layering and lots of colour and texture to tell a story. Her workshop is usually a mess because she always has several pieces of work on the go at once. She often has to search for that special something that she knows is there somewhere!

Felicity has exhibited in many national and regional Association of NZ Embroiderers’ Guilds embroidery exhibitions and Creative Fibre exhibitions. She has also tutored at many guilds around New Zealand. 

She is also a former editor of ANZEG Threads and is the author of a book on New Zealand embroidery ‘The Decorative Stitch: 200 Years of Embroidery in NZ’.