Past Exhibits

Past Exhibitions

Below are some of our more recent exhibitions, feel free to click through and look at some of the pieces we’ve had on display.

Straight & Not So Narrow - Running Stitch


Festival Exhibition - The Power of Stitch

Beauty & Purpose - Bags, Purses and Sachets

Patchwork & Applique

Recent Acquisitions

Threads of Life

Birds of a Feather

Timeless Treasures - Explore 175 Years of South Australian Embroideries

Asia - A Rich Embroidery Heritage

A Bouquet of Medieval Stitches

This exhibition included various contemporary pieces inspired by items of this period: a small Elizabethan style bag, a crewel work picture of a Jacobean scene, a goldwork hanging, a banner screen (fire screen) worked entirely in beadwork in the 1800s, a filet lace mat with a design of a dragon, another with a medieval scene and the altar frontal shown above.

Olive Braun

​Olive Braun’s outstanding talent as an embroiderer was recognised in the 14,600 prizes, 455 trophies and 78 medals she won at Royal and Agricultural Shows across Australia and New Zealand from 1930 until 1966.
Olive Braun was the daughter of Mr & Mrs Oliver Marshall of 171 Napier Terrace, Westbourne Park, Adelaide. She became interested in needlework in 1929 when she was confined to bed with rheumatic fever for 12 months. A friend of her mother brought her a linen cloth printed with a design of fruit, and the threads necessary to embroider the cloth.
In 1930, Miss Olive I Marshall won First Prize in the Semco Art Needlework Competition in “Section 3 – Coloured Embroidery, Previously Unsucessful and New Competitors” for her first embroidered supper cloth. 97 points were awarded and the prize was 10 pounds. A newspaper article of the time said that Olive won “falling only three points short of the possible hundred.”
The collection of more than 100 pieces of Olive Braun’s work, including this first piece to be exhibited, has been generously donated to the Guild’s Museum by her niece, Fay Oliver. It was a selection of these items which made up this exhibition.

Childhood - From Orroroo to Kalangadoo and Beyond

This exhibition traced the changing styles of children’s clothing from the 19th century through to the present, as well as the teaching and learning of embroidery and the sewing skills necessary for future life. A hand-made doll, ‘Rose de Peace’, also featured in the exhibition. The exhibits were mainly from South Australia but also from countries around the world.

The dresses, bonnets and other items showed the changing fashions as well as the wide variety of embroidery and needle-made lace techniques used to embellish these items. The earliest item was a Hollie Point bonnet from the early 1700s. Items in the exhibition showed the development of clothing for young boys from dresses, the same or similar to those worn by girls, until at least the 1930s, to smocked romper suits and an older boy’s 19th century hand stitched linen shirt.

The learning of needlework and sewing skills through embroidery samplers and plain sewing samplers, sewing cards and clothing such as aprons, dresses and bonnets made at home or at school under instruction taught children, generally girls through this time period, the skills to make clothing and items for the home or for future employment as embroiderers and/or dressmakers. Dressmakers looking for future employees, would on occasion approach the prize winners in the sewing and needlework sections of the Royal Adelaide Show and no doubt, the Country Shows as well.

Baby’s Bonnet with Hollie Point Lace

Ref.: 19992.087

Click on this link, A Stitch in Time for South Australia by Brett Williamson, to read the article, see images of the exhibition and hear an interview with the Museum Curator, Dianne Fisher.

Lace in Delicate Detail

Animal, Vegetable and Mineral

Interesting, unusual and quirky.
Discover the many materials sourced  from animals, plants and minerals used on embroidered textiles, including South Australian, throughout the centuries. These range from fish scales, porcupine quills, shells and animal fibres, to straw and plant fibres such as pina cloth, seeds, straw and wood, to metal threads, beads, mirrors and metal objects and amulets.

   A cream silk apron embroidered with flowers and leaves in silk threads in pinks, greens and red with couched silver and gilt threads. The apron is edged with gold metal thread bobbin lace.  A gold metal thread fringe has been added.
Ref.: 1986-010. Europe, 18th Century

Golden Thread - celebrating the Embroiderers' Guild's 50th Anniversary

The Golden Thread exhibition was launched in 2015 to coincide with the Guild’s 50th celebrations. The exhibition tells the story of how the Guild began, the people of the Guild and the story of embroidery. There are interactive displays – An audio to hear Guild members talking about their embroidery, techniques and involvement with the Guild, there are related artefacts nearby.  A visual loop of embroiderers showing various techniques styles, stitches etc.  This can be activated on specific themes depending on which button is pressed.  Take up the interactive challenge of putting in correct chronological order a timeline of embroidery samples.

History SA has shared the story of both the museum’s Golden Thread exhibition and the Guild members’ Golden Challenge exhibition on their website as well as photos of the recent launch of both on Flickr.


The Language of Flowers

Nature provides the embroiderer with endless amounts of inspiration. Our current exhibition celebrates the humble yet beautiful flower. You can see just a few examples of pieces on display here, but we would love you to come to the Museum to see how embroiderers over time have represented the flower using needle and thread.