History

Reproduction of Mary Boggs Tremaine Reticule. View of each panel: Trout Lily, Pink Lily, Rose and Forget-Me-Knots (History Collection, Nova Scotia Museum). Tambour embroidery by Melissa Christensen

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 touch, these items were often embroidered and embellished.  Those skills are still valued today.  So it’s not surprising a number of embroidery and other guilds exist in HRM, following in the footsteps of earlier generations of stitchers.

The Town Clock Stitchers (TCS) dates back to 1978.  The original name was Stitchers of Nova Scotia and the meetings were called Gatherings.  Some of the original founding members were Evelyn Longard, Beverly McInnes, Bessie Murray and Sheila Stevenson.  Evelyn Longard was the first President.  Bessie Murray designed the familiar Nova Scotia tartan 20 years before helping to organize the guild.

In 1989 the group joined the Embroiderers’ Association of Canada (EAC) to take advantage of being part of a national organization devoted to needlework.  This national group had the same goals of encouraging traditional skills.  They offered a larger sense of connection with women of similar interests across the country.

The name change to Town Clock Stitchers came about in 1992.  As there were other EAC chapters in Nova Scotia 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 group’s name and logo.

Today TCS is a small but vibrant group of stitchers.  Some of us are beginner stitchers; others are veterans.  Some of us like very traditional embroidery; others add a more modern twist to old techniques.  We still gather together to show our pleasure in stitching and to learn from each other, just as our founders hoped we would.