This year’s exhibition by the Wairarapa Embroiderers’ Guild will be a hands on experience: “There will be a selection of threads and needles, and visitors will be able to try out some stitches alongside members,” says Guild president Jenny Russell. The exhibition, which is a biannual event, brings together work by embroiderers throughout Wairarapa. Pieces range from practical and craft items that have been embellished with embroidery and beading, to framed ‘fine art’ embroidery. The diversity of the medium is something that Jenny, who is also an exhibiting painter, particularly enjoys. “You can work in a traditional or contemporary style – or a mixture of both,” she says. There is room for many different approaches: “For example, I don’t like following patterns or counting out stitches, so I prefer to do completely original work, often using old techniques in a different way. Others like working to a pattern and they produce some wonderful results.” Jenny says the ‘fine art’ side of embroidery is getting more recognition and acceptance. Her own embroidery often runs parallel to her paintings, ideas in one area feeding into the other. The Guild welcomes beginners to its ranks: “We give people the opportunity to try out a whole range of techniques, and improve their skills.” The group meets at the Ranfurly Club, Masterton, and runs regular workshops and group challenges. They also encourage young people to join. The social side of the group is also important: “I’ve often seen things and wondered how to do that. The other members are always happy to teach you, then you’re away,” says Jenny. For more information on the Guild E: firstname.lastname@example.org or T: 06 379 8118.