About the Historic and Contemporary Textile Collection

The Embroiderers’ Guild of WA, a voluntary non-profit organisation, was founded in 1969 with the aim to foster needle art in its many forms and to ensure the traditions, part of our cultural heritage, are carried on for future generations.

In 1997 to assist its aims, the Guild established the Historic and Contemporary Textile Collection with embroidery, lace, related tools and publications, known as The Collection. Housed in a room at Guild House, the Guild’s State Headquarters in Alfred Cove, it is maintained by a small group of volunteers, Guild members, who meet fortnightly.

There are over 3000 items covering all eras, from Western Australia, Australia and overseas. Included are household linens, costume and accessories, art works and related items such as tools. The earliest object is Italian needlelace from 1660 and the latest a 2022 wall hanging from WA textile artist Marjorie Coleman.

The Collection is used by Guild members, tutors and the public for enjoyment, inspiration, teaching, education and research. Displays are held regularly at Guild House, libraries, community centres, and other venues.

A significant aspect of its policy is the education in the preservation and conservation of their precious/significant textiles. Talks, demonstrations and workshops are given at Guild House and in the community.

Drawer of bags

The Embroiderers’ Guild Collection reflects a wide variety of hand and machine made techniques which have been used in the home and for garments.  Not only European cultures are represented, but also those from all corners of the world.

Hand and machine embroidered lace are also well represented. 

In more recent years, The Collection has expanded its policy to include contemporary stitch based works created by Guild members or works created and exhibited by the wider textile community. 

Tools and equipment from a wide range of textile arts are also included, as well as an archive of patterns and magazines