The home of embroidery and stitched textiles in

Durham City

Competitions & Exhibitions

Branch Events | Regional Events | National Events

Every year members are invited to submit new work (or work completed within the previous two years) for a variety of competitions and exhibitions. Below is a brief introduction to forthcoming events. Where further information has been supplied by the Regional Office or from the National Embroiderers' Guild, this can be found by clicking on the link. Examples of work produced for previous exhibitions can be found on the 'Gallery' page.

All images reproduced with permission of the owner/maker and are copyright. Please do not copy without permission.

Branch Competitions, Exhibitions & Events

In 2020, members were gifted a pack of threads and fabric with a stitching design by Tracy A Franklin. During the ongoing Covid-19 meeting restrictions our challenge was to create our own interpretation of the St Cuthbert's Pectoral Cross.

The gallery of worked pieces can be accessed from here.

We have created a virtual exhibition of other works finished or newly created during the Covid restrictions, which can be accessed from here.


Our 2019 members' challenge was based on the theme 'silver'. This is to tie in with our 25th anniversary in 2020.

The entries were very varied, demonstrating some excellent techniques and unusal materials with a limited colour palette. As usual the voting was anomymous. The winner was Penny W with her 'Silver Tree' and Shelia A with her 'Silver Anniversary'.

The gallery of all the entries can be accessed from here.


The 2018 members' challenge had a seasonal theme again. This time we asked you to create 'A decorated festive ornament with a cord for hanging'. There was an excellent range of traditional as well as a modern take on festive ideas submitted. The standard was extremely high making it a difficult choice for members to select the winning entry.

Here it is - Rona B's festive ornament (on the left) and the runner up by Diana B.

The winning entry by RB

the runner up by DB

And here is the gallery of all the entries.

The 2017 members' challenge entitled 'A seasonal postcard' brought a lovely array of cards with some very inventive ideas with use of mixed media and materials.

The anonymous voting at the December Festive meeting judged the winning piece to be that created by Roz B.

We loved the sparkly effect on the trees and french knots for the snow drift!

All the entries can be viewed on the Gallery page.

The winning entry for Festive Challenge 2017

Branch Exhibitions:

  • February 7th-27th 2019: 'Travels in stitch'. Greenfield Art Gallery, Newton Aycliffe, DL5 7LF.

Advance Notice for 2021 (dates to be advised, dependent on Covid-19 restrictions):

  • 'Durham in Stitch'. Branch 25th Anniversary celebrations throughout 2020: A panel comprising 48 stitched 10cm x10cm squares of our iconic Durham image. A collaborative project to be the centre piece of our celebrations. Information from the committee to follow.
  • 'Regional Day Branch Exhibition'.The Branch will be hosting the exhibition of works as part of our 25th Anniversary Celebrations.

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Regional Competitions / Exhibitions & Events

Further information about Regional events can be found on the North East Region's web site.

Regional AGM (October 2019) - A new competition for Branch members was announced recently. The aim of the competition is to encourage us to use those inspiration bags that we just love to purchase...

Here you can view and print the Competition Guidelines and entry form

You will need two forms if you are entering both categories.

Regional Competition Winners 2018

The Branch was well represented by entries for the 2018 Regional Day Competitions. We are delighted that our members Lesley W and Melita B were winners in the 'Twinchies Squared' category and 'Popular Choice' category respectively.

Winner of Twinchies Squared category 2018

Winner of Members' Choice category 2018

Regional Day Competition Guidelines for 2020

The North East Regional Day May 2020 was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Regional Committee have postponed this competition to a date when the next Regional Day can be safely held. Any entrant requiring Guild Insurance should submit an entry form by the date stated on the entry form.

The Members' Competition for the next Regional Day is ‘Bugs and Beasties'. More information will be posted here and on the Regional web site when available.

The Olga Stokes Award is the second competition for the next Regional Day. More information will be posted here and on the Regional web site when available.

For Future Reference:

The Margaret Howe and the Olga Stokes Competitions usually alternate each year.

Olga Stokes: In the early days this competition was set for a particular article of church furnishings, for example a burse & veil, or a pulpit fall.  However, more recently this was felt unlikely to attract many entries and so we have been more general in our titles and expectations.

The award is for 'a piece of ecclesiastical inspired embroidery' and the judges are encouraged to look for 'Quality of design and the ability to demonstrate technical skill' and a clear ‘religious’ link. In the past there have been items which have fallen into the description of 'for a religious purpose' which could include Jewish, Muslim or other faiths etc.  There are no restrictions on size or technique. The only 'rules' are:

  • that it should have been completed since the previous Olga Stokes award (i.e. usually within the last two years), and
  • that only one entry per member is allowed.
The Margaret Howe award is for a piece of ‘Traditional Hand embroidery’.  There is no restriction as far as size or technique goes, but Margaret was fond of good traditional stitching and that is what is required.  Again, items should have been completed within the preceding two years and only one entry per member is allowed.

Photography: The Regional Committee reserves the right to photograph any of the work submitted for the competition, for use in Guild publicity. If you do not want your work to be photographed, then please indicate this in the box provided on the form.

Entry forms for Regional Competitions

  • Entry forms and guidelines for both these competitions will be uploaded when available.

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National Competitions & Events

Winners from the 2020 Challenge from the Guild entitled 'My Favourite Things'. have been announced on the Guild's website. You will need to log-in and select Members' Challenge.

Congratulations to our member Lesley W, being awarded Highly Commended in the Margaret Nicholson Award (for best composition) with her piece Cinematic Escapes.

The details of the next challenge can be found on the Guild's website. the title is 'Exquisite Containers'.

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