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Saturday, 13 October 2007

Effie Mitrofanis' pieces at the 'A Gathering of Threads Exhibition', held (10 to 14 October) at the Southee Pavilion, Sydney Showground, stood out for me. Hung in the 'tutors' booth', Effie's long, diaphanous hangings sparkle with controlled creativity.

Many pieces elsewhere in the show were worthy of remark but the organisers didn't allow photos without specific consent, so I didn't bother. A great majority of items followed a traditional bent, including the gorgeous pieces by Sue Gude, whose passion for Japanese traditional needlework has encouraged her to study the discipline for over ten years.

Competition pieces by two women with Italian names also caught my attention and I wished to be able to snap away so I could send images to mum. I reckon she would have truly been engrossed by the variety of styles in the room.

Mitrofanis' skill is in combining areas of heavy work with plain blocks of solid colour. Her aesthetic is demonstrably Modernist, and reminded me of paintings of the sixties and seventies, where abstract ideas combined with organic elements to form a synthetic agglomeration of competing paradigms. It is in the competition of these ideas that the work remains fresh. Mitrofanis clearly has very strong ideas, otherwise she would not be able to work them out so coherently.

Other items on display indicated a similar aesthetic program but none equalled Mitrofanis' for vigour and flair.

I normally take little interest in needlework but a colleague's involvement prompted me to drop by on my way home from Ikea.

The Embroiderers' Guild NSW Inc. was established in 1957 as a branch of the Embroiderers' Guild London and attained independence in 1971. It has approximately 2000 members across the state. The Guild Rooms are located near Concord West train station. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the guild and an organiser told me they plan to hold an exhibition annually.

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