And So to Embroider

This was the slogan used by the Needlework Development Scheme on some vintage leaflets I purchased recently. I was particularly intrigued when I found out a bit more and found the background information below on the Glasgow School of Art website.

I will discuss the topic in more detail in later posts, once I have done some more research.

I have now the five booklets in the image below, the book ‘And So to Embroider’ and I have just sourced some of the leaflets which are being posted to me shortly.

Needlework Development Scheme Leaflets

In the meantime, can I just point out what the aim was of the Needlework Development Scheme “to encourage embroidery and to raise the standard of design in Britain”.

Just how powerful is that for a statement?

More to follow on this soon.


“The Needlework Development Scheme was a collaborative project between art and design education and industry. Originally established in Scotland in 1934, its aim was to encourage embroidery and to raise the standard of design in Britain. Financed by J. & P. Coats, the Paisley thread manufacturers, the Scheme was organised by the four Scottish art schools, Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Its collection of foreign and British embroidery was available to domestic science and training colleges, women’s institutions and schools, as well as art schools. By 1939, the Scheme had acquired some 900 embroideries but the outbreak of WWII closed the Scheme and the collection was retained by the four original art schools.

Glasgow School of Art was instrumental in re-starting the Scheme late in 1944. Its aims were the same as its predecessor, but expanded its remit to include other arts schools in the United Kingdom where embroidery was taught. In the years following the WWII, the Scheme became centralised and staffed with a qualified embroidery expert, a secretary and several practitioners. 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 The scheme was disbanded in 1961 when funding was withdrawn, although it was recognised that the NDS had achieved its aims.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 Glasgow School of Art, National Museum of Scotland, the Embroiderers’ Guild and the Victoria & Albert Museum”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s