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Mrs Bowden’s top tip – NDS part 2

Mrs Bowden’s top tip – NDS part 2

Felixstowe Sewing School

Mrs Bowden’s top tip –

Needlework Development Series part 2


This is the second part of a little series about the Needlework Development Scheme which was started in collaboration with J P Coats Threads and 4 Art Schools in Scotland in 1934.  The NDS was temporarily suspended due to the outbreak of war but in 1944 The Glasgow School of Art resurrected it.  They approached the Scheme with a new determination to broaden the access to the amazing Textiles collection as well as developing teaching resources to use in educational establishments.
The Scheme commissioned the British designer Mary Kessell to prepare designs to be interpreted by embroidery artists in Britain, as the best needlework examples in the collection were foreign. The result was a touring exhibition of work by the Bromley College in London.  Here we have a beautiful photograph of Mary Kessell taken in the 40’s, she was born in 1914 and passed away in 2011.  Also pictured is a Kessell design for a Tea Cosy as well as a fantastic painting titled ‘Still Life under the Sea’ which she painted in 1960.
The NDS also produced a gorgeous variety of teaching resources which were widely distributed.  They aimed to encourage young people to develop their sewing and embroidery skills.  As a teacher I would have bitten the hand off the NDS to use these lovely books.  The lady who passed them onto me was so generous.  I am going to have them available for folks to leaf through at the Sewing School and will probably have them on display at the Festival of Fabric, 7th October 2017.
The scheme was disbanded in 1961 when funding was withdrawn, although it was recognised that the NDS had achieved its aims. The NDS had amassed 3000 textile items by this time, which were divided and distributed around universities, organisations and Museums including the National Museum of Scotland, the Embroideries Guild and the V&A.
Just look at all these busy bunnies!  Have any of you got some hidden NDS treasure or perhaps you remember using them at school or  have used them when teaching needlework and embroidery?  It would be more than lovely to hear from you!
Hope you have found this interesting and have a wonderful week.

Until next time,

in stitches,

Mrs Bowden x

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