with Members / Jane Bayes
on 02 October 2018
This year, after the AGM, the Branch members heard a talk given by Jane on the life of Elizabeth Walker. Elizabeth’s family had contacted Jane when she first became chair three years ago and told both her and Rosemary G of the work that their mother had done during her life time, centering on Florentine work. Mrs. Walker had become an expert in the technique, teaching it to WI ladies in Oxford and later to those in Claines, Worcester. She had also compiled an illustrated talk on the subject and been interviewed by local radio in the mid 70s. The members listened to the interview and appreciated what a force for inspiration she was.
The family had also loaned Jane pieces of work that their mother had done and, with this, she was able to illustrate the talk more fully. There was a footstool made from an old wooden orange box, a cushion done with Appletons’ wool in a linear design and several pictures done with straight stitch, amongst others. The one of a sunset in Scotland impressed everyone with its colour. However, the item which caught everyone’s attention was a table cloth worked in cross stitch with wool; it was bright blue with roses and other flowers. This was the last piece that Mrs. Walker worked on. There is a little book in which she logged all the hours that she stitched. Sadly, the last entry tells of her going into hospital, a visit from which she did not return. The piece remains unfinished which made everyone feel rather sad.
All in all, the talk was a fascinating glimpse into the life’s work of one lady who lived locally. She reached out to many people. The members were able to take home a “goodie bag” of some of the Appletons’ wool and canvas that the Walker family had donated to the Branch to encourage them to “have a go”!
Our many thanks go to the Walker family for sharing the achievements of Mrs. Elizabeth Walker with us.