Next weekend MTG Hawke's Bay is going embroidery crazy.

Set up in the museum foyer for the weekend will be a community stitching activity, designed by Jo Dixey.

Jo was one of only 10 students chosen worldwide to train at the Royal School of Needlework, Hampton Court, London, in the early 1990s. She went on to attain her City and Guilds qualifications.

Not long after, she moved to New Zealand and set up an embroidery practice: teaching, taking on commissions and designing pieces for exhibition.


Adding to her long list of accomplishments, Jo recently published her first book, Stitch People, a 20-project guide to modern embroidery techniques. The book will be available for purchase through the museum shop.

Jo's superb design for the community stitching project portrays six iconic Napier Art Deco buildings, including the 1936 Hawke's Bay Museum & Art Gallery entrance and the National Tobacco Company building, Ahuriri.

This activity is designed to allow anyone from experienced stitchers to beginners and those who have never tried to add some stitches to the overall work.

This is a child-friendly project with easy stitches and colourful wool. Members of the Hawke's Bay Embroidery Guild will be on hand to offer guidance and support.

Once completed, the panel will be presented to the city through the mayor's office.

This project came about through a philanthropic bequest from Marian Holt, long-time champion of the museum and keen embroiderer.

Marian, a Hawke's Bay local, attended Napier Girls High School and then trained as a nurse and midwife at the Hastings Hospital.

Her nursing qualification took her all over the world.

At the end of her career, Marian returned to Hawke's Bay to retire at Puketitiri.

The Marian Holt Trust, keen to honour Marian's legacy and acknowledge her contribution to the Museum and Hawke's Bay, approached Jo Dixey to develop a public embroidery programme.

For two days, Jo researched and drew designs from a selection of embroidery work held in the Hawke's Bay Museums Trust collection.

For embroidery enthusiasts, Jo is running two workshops, also next weekend, with unique designs she has drawn from the textile collection.

One workshop on the Saturday is for beginners through to advanced and based on some of our Indian textiles.

The second workshop on the Sunday is designed for intermediate to advanced, and is taken from a 17th century silk embroidery.

Jo has pulled out a detail of the background scenery to make a brooch.

During Jo's time researching the collection she was particularly interested in a rare 700AD Egyptian Coptic tapestry.

She used this as one of her inspirations, along with other textile pieces, in the development of four kitsets.

These range from kitsets for children through to adult embroiderers and can be purchased exclusively through the museum shop.

On behalf of the museum, we warmly invite you to come in and add some stitches to the community project.

If you are interested in learning more about the art of embroidery with an excellent tutor, we highly recommend enrolling in one of Jo's workshops. Fun and laughter guaranteed!

• Movie Preview: Kiwi Christmas, Century Theatre, Sunday, November 26, 10.30am. Join us for special preview of a new film giving Christmas a southern hemisphere spin, following Santa Claus on the run in New Zealand! $10 adults, $5 children (under 5 years free). Tickets available now at MTG or at the Century Theatre 30 minutes before screening.

• Stitch at MTG Hawke's Bay, December 2-3. Public stitching project available all day.

• Embroidery workshops with Jo Dixey, December 2-3, 10.30am-4pm, $50 per workshop. To book call MTG 835 7781 or email

• Deco Kimono: From the Jack C Richards Collection, a range of beautiful silk kimono from the era of Art Deco in Japan on display now.

• Gail Pope is curator, social history, of the Museum Theatre Gallery (MTG) Hawke's Bay.