Biggin WI “brick”

The embroidered “brick” is now winging its way to Derbyshire House.  It will be interesting to see it alongside all the other bricks when the hanging is completed.


Our brick is mixed media – with fabric paints, embroidery and bead work.  Part of the design will be used for the cover of this year’s programme.

Next weekend (27-29 January) is the RSPB big birdwatch.  Apparently 500,000 people took part in last year’s birdwatch.

Click on the link to open a new window to find out more.  You can  download a pack as the response this year has been so overwhelming that the paper packs have gone.  The pdf packs are free to download but you do have to register on the website.  You can elect not to have any kind of mailing sent to you and it doesn’t cost anything. The website also has many ideas for enticing birds into your garden from bird cafes to setting up nest boxes.  Happy bird watching – think of me  next weekend in the kitchen with my mug of coffee counting the birds and keeping my fingers crossed that the wren and the gold crest who’ve been frequenting the feeder turn up rather than the peregrine falcon!




January 2018 – silhouettes and some very nice biscuits

14-10-2011 16;58;00.jpgIt was lovely to see everyone for Monday’s meeting and wasn’t it great that we won third prize in the federation prize draw? Fun raising seems to have taken off with the good news that our bring and buy after the AGM in November raised £70.00.

Thank you to everyone who remembered their subscriptions.  The brick is nearly ready to put in the post and the history of Biggin’s WI continues to grow.  Hopefully we will be adding a section to the website in due course as well as using some pictures of the finished image of the brick.

We considered where we might like to go in August with Lyme Park, Hardwick Hall and Tissington all getting a mention.  We would like to take a trip down Cromford Canal and there’re always the open gardens in Parwich at the end of June.

Our talk was about silhouettes: from royalty to the end of the pier.  Shades cut in paper or painted on glass, paper or porcelain were very popular during the eighteenth century. Catherine de Medici is the first monarch known to have sat for a silhouette, Marie Antoinette also posed and the British royal family not only posed for them but cut themselves making silhouettes a very fashionable thing to do. The image most of us have of Jane Austen is a hollow cut silhouette (a bit like a negative- the image is cut into the white background and then lined with coloured paper) made by her sister Cassandra. The other advantage was than anyone could make a silhouette if they had a light source, paper and a pair of scissor and that if you wanted one cut professionally it only took a few minutes and was the fraction of the cost of a portrait.  Over time and with the advent of photography, silhouette cutting became an end of pier entrainment but shades have never really disappeared from fashion and these days crafters can create them from die cuts.  It turns out that photoshopping images isn’t really that new at all – silhouettes could be trimmed to be more flattering than reality.

A number of us remembered one of Chatsworth House’s early Christmas displays using the silhouettes of Jan Pienkowski.  I even managed to find the photographs that I took in 2008 for this post:

During tea a number of ladies thought that it would be a good idea to have a go at cutting our own silhouettes whilst one or two others rather liked to sound of having a go at die cutting. Sounds like a plan to me!


  1. We are at the planning stage for our contribution to the Centenary display at Chesterfield in May.  Our theme is “tea during the 1970s and 80s.”  Do you have anything that we could use?
  2. Next month, February, we will be meeting for our delayed Christmas meal at Newton House at 7.00pm.  And don’t forget your secret Santa – or should that now be secret Valentine?
  3. If you didn’t vote for your choice  of 2018 resolution at our meeting in January it’s not too late to do so.  The voting slip is in the most recent WI magazine along with an outline of each of the proposed resolutions.


DFWI wall hanging – Biggin’s brick.

biggin brick wi 2The DFWI CENTENARY WALL HANGING PROJECT is a project to create a wall hanging.  The idea is that each group will contribute a “brick” to the hanging to celebrate 100years of Derbyshire Federation of WIs. The DFWI provided a rectangle of fabric. As a group we started with several ideas at the start of this January.

Ultimately we decided that we wanted to show different aspects of Biggin’s natural environment given that we live in the Peak National Part  and that Biggin Dale is part of a national nature reserve.  We began by handing the raw materials to Jennie, a very talented artist, who worked with fabric paints to create this stage of the “brick.”  Jennie had never worked with fabric paints before beginning this project and one of the difficulties was that the paint changed colour as she dried it with a hairdryer!

The next step is to embellish Jennie’s art with embroidery and beadwork – though we are all agreed it looks splendid as it is!