Creating portraits in stitches

Jane McMillan with an Ashley Bloomfield and Jacinda Ardern brooch she designed for embroidering....
Jane McMillan with an Ashley Bloomfield and Jacinda Ardern brooch she designed for embroidering. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Jacinda Ardern and Ashley Bloomfield brought a little star power to the Otago Embroiderers Guild open day on Saturday.

A brooch which featured stitchcraft portraits of the Prime Minister and director-general of health was among many projects attendees could have a crack at.

Brooch designer Jane McMillan wanted to create a work which marked the Covid-19 lockdown and the fact the country had got through one part of the pandemic.

I wanted to do something a little bit different and something that was topical. On such a small canvas, creating a reasonable likeness of two such well-known people was a challenge, she said.

It was difficult to get Jacinda looking right, she either had enormous lips or a very strange look, it was hard to make her look natural.

"Ashley wasn’t too hard, the glasses weren’t too bad although one of the lenses is round and one is square for some reason." Guild president Mary Flaherty said the open day had drawn a huge response and had needed morning and afternoon sessions to meet demand.

"It’s all about people finding out what they can do with needle and thread, which is quite an important skill." The guild has 130 members and people had travelled to Dunedin from the regions to take part.

Visitors from novices to experts tackled a range of designs by guild members.

"Embroidery became very popular during Covid. People found it a lovely way to mentally disengage from what was going on around them and create something quite beautiful to give to someone else."

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