Workshop Programme

Welcome to the Edinburgh Branch of the Embroiderers Guild.

Workshop Programme



Occasional full day workshops are arranged for members. These are led by expert tutors in the speciality.

The workshops run from 9.30 am - 3.45 pm & are held in Leith Academy school art department.


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Want to take part? email us for full details about joining our group





Saturday 21st October 2017 CAROL KEEPAX Elizabethan Inspirations

Taking inspiration from beautiful antique textiles of the Elizabethan era, you will produce a unique embroidered motif.


Saturday 18th November 2017 SUSIE WILSON Printmaking Workshop

Dry Point Printmaking - the whole process from designing and plate making to printing through the press will be covered & examples of work by artists e.g. Rembrandt and Morandi will be shown.


Saturday 17th March &

Sunday 18th March 2018 ANNE KELLY 'Folk Tales'

Using a variety of found shapes and paper cuts, we will produce a series of folk influenced printed fabrics in the first half of the session. These will then be overlaid and added to with lace, ribbon and stitch


Any old iron! - Experimenting with rusting techniques to make a sampling fabric book.

A Workshop with Maureen Shepherd.


A thoroughly enjoyable 2 days were spent with Maureen Shepherd exploring different ways to use rusty objects to create unique fabrics. Using vinegar and a variety of teas on both wet and dry fabrics a variety of small samples were created and carefully labelled to produce a lasting record of the experiments.

Thank you to Maureen for allowing us to share these examples of her work.

Below are a variety of images taken over the 2 day workshop.

A thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening time was had by all.

Reflections - exploring the nature of reflections to use as inspiration. A Workshop with Alison King


Design based workshops can sometimes be daunting for many of us and although at the start of our workshop Alison warned us that we would need to work hard to get through everything, this one turned out to be a lot of fun and tremendously inspiring.



We got down to work straight away by setting up 2 angled mirrors with a piece of patterned fabric pushed tight into the angle where the mirrors met, then using a viewfinder to help us focus on a small area, we were encouraged to draw our chosen area.


We then traced our drawing and transferred it to a polystyrene printing sheet, we also made a reversed version and used these printing sheets with acrylic paints to build up designs on fabric.


Throughout the day Alison taught us additional techniques to use with our basic prints and spent time giving everyone individual direction which was so valuable for us being able to go on to explore the techniques further on our own.

At the end of the class it was a revelation to see everyone's results and to get feedback from Alison, as one person commented the results were so varied that you wouldn't think we had all taken the same workshop - an indication of the design potential.

Sheila's Examples

Gallery below shows our work in progress and completed samples

Working on the edge - A Workshop with Sheila Mortlock

The workshop led by Sheila Mortlock was thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended. We painted, crayoned, inked, emulsioned, stamped, cut up and folded - great fun ! Sheila had two bottomless boxes with her containing endless bits and pieces for us to use and we took full advantage of the offer. At the end of our day we each had two folded books full of potential work much to our surprise and delight.

Sheila's Examples

Bags of fun with Indian inspirations - A Workshop with Toni Hanley

Our first workshop of the new session took place in October with Toni Hanley teaching us how to make small bags decorated with Indian motifs.

This was a lovely workshop full of colour. Toni brought with her part of her collection of Indian embroidery including a number of purses made at workshops. She had a book full of templates which we were able to use so we had a variety of shapes and designs to work from. Toni demonstrated stitches used in Indian embroidery and had a series of examples for us to study. Everyone enjoyed this workshop and although we didn't manage to complete a bag we went home with templates and partly worked pieces with the knowledge of how to finish them.

Ali had brought along many of her acquired vintage fabrics and haberdashery and showed us how to combine these with recycled papers, patterns and magazines and the items that we had been encouraged to bring along to create collaged samplers using recycled woolen blankets as the ground.

We started by selecting various elements and laying them out on the pieces of blanket trying out different placements to achieve what we wanted; once happy we were encouraged to photograph the layout so that we could remeber the placements.

Ali taught us techniques such as how to apply the items to the blanket and ways of transferring images and text to fabric as well as giving us lots of ideas about how to use various elements that we might otherwise have discarded!

It was wonderful to see how humble details such as buttonhole bands, scraps of torn up embroideries, used fastenings etc. added so much to the hangings.



The images shown below are examples of some of Ali's beautiful work that she brought along to inspire us. Please see Ali's website for a more extensive gallery of her work

Stories from the Sewing Box - Scrappy Sampler A Workshop with Ali Ferguson

Ali had us enthralled at our March meeting when telling us of her beautiful samplers made from recycled linens and haberdashery items so it was a special treat for those of us taking this workshop to learn in more detail about their construction.

It is always fascinating to gain an insight into the way artists work and Ali introduced us to the Mind Map; this is a very useful tool for getting all the ideas buzzing around our head onto paper so that we can begin to explore which ideas we want to develop further. Our starting point was the sewing box and we were encouraged to jot down thoughts and memories that came to mind, we all had stories about playing with button boxes as children or learning to sew from parents or grandparents, memories of garments made or treasured linens and the day was as much about sharing these stories as committing them to cloth.


Ali is a generous and inspiring tutor and offers this and other workshops at her 'Purple Thread Shed' studio.

It was lovely to spend a day in contemplative slow stitching and sharing memories; most of us ended the day with a 'scrappy hanging' that was finished or very near completion as you can see in the gallery below of our class display.

Mixed Media Approach to Abstract Design - A Weekend Workshop with Bobby Britnell

What a treat to spend a lovely Spring weekend in March in the company of Bobby Britnell. On Friday evening Bobby visited our Branch to talk to us all about her life and work; she illustrated her talk throughout by showing us many of her beautiful quilts and wall hangings as well as works using bark cloth. It was so interesting to hear about how the bark cloth is collected and prepared and how Bobby has incorporated other natural materials from Uganda such as banana fibres, rafia and dye pastes and created pieces so evocative of the environment.

Please see Bobby's website for further details of her life and work; you can also find more information about Hands Up For Uganda the charity set up by Bobby & her husband by clicking this link.

All work in the images below is by Bobby Britnell

The Workshop

Saturday morning saw a full group, including several guests from neighbouring branches, meeting for the start of a busy 2 day workshop focusing on abstract design.

Bobby started by giving everyone a sheet of A2 paper, a square frame template and a 6B graphite stick then got us going filling squares of tonal shading; the aim being to create blocks ranging from very dark to as light as we could get simply by varying the amount of pressure used. This exercise, and variations of it, certainly helped to familiarise us with using the graphite.

We moved on to practising these tonal exercises using simple pen lines - varying the spacing to create the desired tones.

Bobby demonstrated each step and guided us closely throughout; new steps and design elements were shown to us at a pace that we all felt comfortable with and our 1st day ended with us preparing small sheets of paper some with PVA and tissue paper and some with gesso ready to continue the next day.

We also looked at the work of artists that inspired us and at how the techniques we were learning could be used to interpret some of the lines.

It was immensly satisfying to return on Sunday & see just how much we had acheived already. As we continued working on design blocks Bobby broke up the morning showing us more techniques - using the graphite on our textured papers, using heat on fax paper, layering with translucent papers and extending beyond our squares, to name a few.

After lunch we were set a challenge, to begin working in a series; those of us that didn't feel ready for this challenge continued developing the other exercises, either way we all had a great deal of work to display at the end.

Design based workshops often fill us with trepidation but with Bobby's help we were all acheiving results that excited us and that we could begin to see leading on to more resolved work.

The gallery below shows work from this 2 day workshop

Thank you to everyone for their contributions

Apples & Pears - A Workshop With Moira Ann Dickson

Our November workshop was a very relaxing and enjoyable day spent constructing and embellishing 3-dimensional apples and pears.

Moira explained how a gift from a friend led her to develop the patterns for the fruit in a range of sizes and to explore different forms of embellishment. The beautiful range of samples Moira brought with her demonstrated the exciting potential and also provided a source of inspiration.

The lovely array of embellished apples and pears that Moira brought along to demonstrate the many options for embellishment.

Once constructed and stuffed the 3-dimensional fruit fit perfectly in the hand making for a very relaxing way to hand stitch. Everyone chose to do something different depending on the fabric chosen to construct the fruit; some fabrics required very little in the way of embellishment, others suited the addition of glitz and sparkle and some were a perfect background for a variety of embroidery stitches.

Everyone was delighted to go home with a complete or almost complete apple/pear and to have discovered a different way of working; the display at the end of the class was certainly impressive, testament to the warm and generous tuition from Moira and the individual attention shown to each participant.

Get Plastered! A workshop with Maggie Hickman Smith

This was a great start to our workshop programme and with a full class we were lucky to have a neighbouring classroom available as we certainly needed the space!

After a brief introduction Maggie described the technique of spreading a combination of plaster filler, PVA & emulsion paint onto fabric and making various marks into the surface. As we were shown the vast number of samples Maggie had so generously brought along we began to understand the potential and were eager to get started................

Work by Maggie Hickman Smith - such a wonderful variety

Getting down work

We were let loose to explore the possibilities and each produced numerous samples. Maggie made sure we were all getting on well and answered questions breaking up the morning with further demonstrations.

After a well earned lunch Maggie showed how the addition of colour could enhance our samples; the pieces were really brought to life with the colour highlighting the textures even on some of the less successful samples.

Everyone agreed this was a wonderful day; we all thoroughly enjoyed admiring each others work and went home with a mountain of samples inspired to explore this technique further. Thank you to Maggie who was so generous with her expertise and advice making this a hugely productive and successful workshop.


Do take a look at Maggie's website where you will find more wonderful examples of her varied work.



Saturday 31st October 2015 MAGGIE HICKMAN SMITH Get Plastered

Stitching and manipulating fabric using plaster and paint


Saturday 28th November 2015 MOIRA ANN DICKSON Apples and Pears

3D construction with hand stitching and beads etc



Saturday 18th &

Sunday 19th March 2016 BOBBY BRITNELL Mixed media approach to abstract design

Think differently about your work – a journey of discovery



Saturday 23rd April 2016 ALI FERGUSON Stories from the Sewing Box - Scrappy Sampler

A contemporary approach to traditional techniques





Workshops in 2014 - 2015

Bea Neilson Canvaswork – but not as you know it!

Sampling Morning- Tutored by Edinburgh members Kantha, needle felting and new stitches

Kay Greenlees ‘ Line Dancing’ (Design)


Workshops in 2013 - 2014

Isobel Hall Working with scrim vessels (mixed media)

Avis Moore and Hazel Reid The Kantha Queens -Traditional techniques for modern projects (embroidery)

Ann Ross Dyeing with plants (fabric dyeing)

Tracey Franklin Contemporary Whitework (embroidery)






From Canvaswork - but not as you know it!

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