Melpark Tennis Club Embroidery Guild
I have been part of the Witwatersrand Embroidery Guild for about three years now. We meet twice a month at the Roosevelt Park Recreation Centre from 1:30 to 4pm, where we sew together and take turns to bring tea. This is an important community for many women, an opportunity to socialize and to get out of the house. Prior to the hard lockdown in South Africa in March, the Guild decided to begin social distancing and cancel all sessions until the threat of the pandemic had passed. Many of the members are high risk, and remain in strict lockdown.
The Roosevelt Park Recreation Centre has yet to open, and I wanted us to ‘occupy’ the tennis courts to demonstrate that these spaces are valuable sites of community engagement and connection. Given covid-19, we kept the group small. Petronella Mollgaard (Nellie) and Laura Tyler and I met at the Guild and often sit together for our sewing, chatting and sharing patterns, advice and even exchanging projects. For this project I wanted us to work together on conceptualizing and creating an embroidery, and include in our regular sewing chats thoughts about what our community centre means to us, and the importance of these spaces.
The embroidery serves as a kind of coat of arms for the little ‘Melpark Tennis Court Embroidery Guild’ that we created for a day. It includes a wreath of plants found around the tennis courts, such as red clover and Mimosa trees.