There has been a long tradition of needlework in Nova Scotia, as women sewed the clothing and household goods their families needed. To add a special and decorative touch, these items were often embroidered and embellished. These skills are still valued today.
So it is not surprising that there is an embroidery guild in Halifax, following in the footsteps of earlier generations of stitchers. The Stitchers of Nova Scotia was founded in 1978. The Stitchers included women who were interested in a variety of needle arts, including smocking and quilting, as well as hand embroidery. The members came together in "gatherings" to stitch together and to learn from each other. Some of the founders would probably be called fibre artists today. They included talented women like Bessie Murray, who designed the familiar Nova Scotia tartan 20 years before helping to organize the Stitchers of Nova Scotia.
As time passed, the Stitchers focused solely on embroidery and stitching. In 1989, when the Embroiderers’Association of Canada was formed, the Stitchers of Nova Scotia decided to become a chapter of EAC. The new national group had the same goals of encouraging traditional skills. They offered a bigger membership, teaching seminars, and a larger sense of connection between people with similar interests across the country.
A few years later, there were other chapters of EAC in Nova Scotia, so the Halifax group decided to change its name to one that was more descriptive of the group. The old town clock, one of the most recognizable symbols of the city, was incorporated into the chapter’s name and logo.
Today the Town Clock Stitchers has many members who share a love of needle work. Some of us are beginner stitchers, others are embroidery veterans. Some of us like very traditional embroidery; others add a modern twist to old techniques. We still gather together to share our pleasure in stitching and to learn from each other, just as our founders hoped we would.