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This needlecase was inspired by the Textile Collection at Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire, amassed by the late Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth (1886-1907) whose family had owned Gawthorpe since the 14th Century. Miss Rachel, as she was affectionately known, was a hands-on, practical woman with a strong sense of philanthropic duty. She took an active role in many charitable endeavours, including the founding of the Girl Guide Movement in NW England, which she felt would do a great deal to educate and empower young girls. From childhood, she was a keen embroiderer and lacemaker and collected over 30,000 examples from around the world.
The needlecase includes motifs from some of the embroideries in the collection, focussing on the Silver Fish, representative of the highest honour given by the Girl Guides movement, in recognition of her work. The colours are also inspired by her; green, for the green ink she used to write the labels for her collection, and shades of mauve and white, the colours of the suffragette movement. Miss Rachel may not have been a Suffragette, but she spent her life standing up for the rights of women and encouraging them to fulfil their potential. For me too, this symbolism has meaning; learning embroidery gave me the ability to use a traditional craft skill, associated with women, to develop a career and a business.
For more information about the Gawthorpe Needlecase, see the kits pages.