North East Region

Embroiderers' Guild

~ Sharing opportunities for creativity and discovery ~

Regional Competitions

Regional Day : (Olga Stokes Award) & (Margaret Howe Award)

Regional AGM Challenge

All members of the Region’s branches are invited and encouraged to enter a piece work on a given theme for a specific competition. Each of the pieces have been uniquely designed and stitched by an individual member of the Guild, or as a group collaboration for a set competition.

Guild members who live in the North-East, but are not members of an individual branch should contact the Regional Secretary by email for information to become eligible for these competitions.

Two major judged competitions are held annually at the Regional Day in May, each is based on a given theme. There is the Members’ Challenge in which any technique or combination of techniques may be used but a strong element of stitch is required. The second competition is usually a Named Award which has more specific criteria and is an award in recognition of the work done by highly regarded members. Occasionally the Regional Committee will set a Branch Challenge to encourage collaborative working. For 2019, the Olga Stokes Award was suspended in lieu of the Branch Challenge "Wallpaper for the Web".

From 2019, a third Regional Competition is being introduced, known as the Regional AGM Challenge. Members of branch within the North-East Region are eligible to enter a piece of work. The works will be on display and judged at the Regional Annual General Meeting in October. Guidelines set out the entry requirements for all pieces of work and judging.

Competition Guidelines are available below.


For 2019 we are continuing our theme of Sustainability and Recycling, therefore, members are encouraged to reuse materials. We all buy inspiration bags to help with branch or regional fundraising, but they then often lie neglected in our stash... This year get them out and use them!



Regional Day Members’ Competition Award Information

Our two named awards are usually held in alternate years:

x1. The Olga Stokes Award

In the early days this competition was set for a particular article of Christian church furnishings, for example a burse & veil, or a pulpit fall. However, we are now a more inclusive society with many different faiths practised in the UK. We would like to attract the inclusion of more diverse entries to encourage the celebration of many faiths, thus, we have been more general in our titles and expectations.

In this competition the judges will continue to look for 'Quality of design and the ability to demonstrate technical skill with a clear religious link'.

Entrants are expected to attach a short description of how the article is related to their choice of faith.

There are very few restrictions on stitching technique or materials used but there may be size restrictions. The main 'rules' are (a) that it should have been completed since the previous Olga Stokes award (i.e. usually within the last two years), and (b) that only one entry per member is allowed.

2. The Margaret Howe Award

This award is for 'a piece of traditional hand embroidery’. Please read the guidelines on criteria for the type of embroidered item or size restriction for the current competition, but any hand stitching techique will be acceptable. Margaret was fond of good traditional stitching and that is what is required.

Items for this competition should have been completed within the preceding two years and not have been entered for a previous Embroiderers' Guild competition. Only one entry per member is allowed.



Winners from Previous Regional Day Competitions

The 2018 inspiration for the competitions was TWINCHIES. With a great variety of twinchies on display there was a very tough decision for the Judges!

The winners from left to right below: 'Twinchies Squared' Lesley W from Durham City. 'Single Twinchie' (the Margaret Howe Award) Ann C from Richmond & Leyburn. Members' Choice (and runner up in Twinchies Squared) Melita B who is a joint member of Durham Branch and Richmond & Leyburn Branch.


Regional Day Competition Awards 2017

xThe Regional Day judges were spoilt for choice when they looked at the entries for the 2017 Members’ Challenge ‘Contrasts’. Ione D (from Richmond & Leyburn) won the first prize and the two runners-up were Lesley W (from Durham City) and Elaine D (from Richmond & Leyburn, who also won the Members’ Vote).

The Olga Stokes competition ‘Darkness & Light’ was won by Hazel McE (from Newcastle Branch) which is shown above.


This link opens the gallery page with a selection of entries for both of these competitions from 2017. You can see more images of the embroideries on our exhibitions and gallery page.