Embroiderer Gay Eaton with her book, Ukrainian Whitework,
and an array of embroidery items she has given to Otago
Museum. Photo by Peter McIntosh
Dunedin is the embroidery capital of New Zealand,
embroiderer Gay Eaton says, and she hopes that giving some of
her works to Otago Museum will help raise awareness of the art.
She was humbled and ''very happy'' that the museum had
accepted the collection of 17 pieces of needlework, spanning
more than 70 years, and two books she had written, titled
Wessex Stitchery and Ukrainian Whitework.
Mrs Eaton is a key figure in New Zealand embroidery, a
recipient of the New Zealand Order of Merit and past
president of the Otago Embroiderers' Guild.
She also founded the annual Wanaka Embroidery School, which
attracted 300 participants, including at least 20 from
abroad, when it celebrated its 30th anniversary earlier this
Part of embroidery's appeal was that it was so diverse and
that ''so many different things'' could be done through it,
Embroidery was often the ''Cinderella of the arts'', and its
creative contribution often badly underestimated.
Dunedin had a strong tradition in literature and the other
arts, and should also be considered New Zealand's embroidery
capital, she said.
The Otago Embroiderers' Guild was active in the city, and she
believed more high-quality embroidery could be seen in public
places here - in churches, and other settings, such as the
Dunedin Hospital chapel - than was the case in other New
Museum curator humanities Moira White paid tribute to Mrs
Eaton's ''creative flair and superior technical skills'' and
said the museum was ''honoured to add such a striking
collection'' to its own textiles collection.