Not for nothing has the word “embroidering” assumed the figurative meaning of enriching life and experience by adding fanciful details.
Hand embroidery, the ancient art of queens and noblewomen, will be celebrated at Toronto’s Cathedral Church of St. James on May 27 beginning at 9:30 a.m. On that date, Dr. Susan Kay-Williams, chief executive of the Royal School of Needlework (RNS) of Hampton Court Palace, Richmond upon Thames, London, will deliver two lectures.
Dr. Kay-Williams’s morning talk will look at the history of this venerable cloth-enhancing craft, with its brilliant secular and sacred forms, while her afternoon lecture will address the evolution and social significance of colour in textiles. Her book The Story of Colour in Textiles (Bloomsbury, 2013) will be available for purchase.
Now an international centre of excellence, the RNS is a charity dedicated to the virtuosity of the needle. Founded in 1872 by Lady Victoria Welby, its initial purpose was to revive a dying art form and provide income for educated women who might otherwise be forced to live in poverty. Its first president was Queen Victoria’s third daughter, Princess Helena.
Tickets to the lectures are $60 per person and include lunch.
In conjunction with the lectures, May 27 the cathedral will launch an exhibit of First Nations stitchery, with pieces from across Canada, as well as the RNS’s own collection featuring embroidery, beading, quilting, button work and moose-hair tufting. This display will be open to the public free of charge from Tuesday, May 31, through Sunday, June 5, from 1 to 4 p.m. or by appointment.
The Anglican Foundation is a sponsor of the needlework event.
To obtain more information or to register for the lectures, contact the cathedral’s archivist, Nancy Mallett, at 416-364-7865, ext. 233, or [email protected]