Info for guilds

The main parts of the process involved in a panel are
• choosing a panel
• researching the topic and gathering images
• sketching
• design
• preparing the panel
• stitching

You can download and print the Guide for Guilds document (PDF, 1.8 MB) for a convenient way to read and pass around information within your Guild.



The background woollen cloth is grown in New Zealand and woven specially for this project by a small mill named Stansborough in Lower Hutt. Wool was the fabric recommended by conservation experts. The embroidery is being worked mainly in Appleton’s threads donated by the Otago Guild, and locally-produced Strand woollen threads.

The fabric is stretched and mounted for the design to be drawn on.


Choosing a panel to stitch

The long list of panel titles are about key themes and events in New Zealand history and culture. Go to the list of topics page to view the updated list.




The panel designs in progress are by local designers and illustrators Alex Gilks, Georgina Young and Daniel Mead. Others who have been helping with the design and research are Michael Findlay, Emma Francesca and Mishca Hill. The process takes time, involving research, sketching, and developing the designs before they are drawn on to the fabric. The guild is first sent sketches and notes about subject matter, then a sketch design, then a more carefully-worked design.



There are some visual elements that are consistent across all panels, such as a ‘legend’ (short text statement) framing the top and bottom, and small motifs to be stitched either side of the main image and in the corners.  The final size of all panels is 100 x 66cm.

It is then mounted on to a folding frame and couriered up or down the country to a local guild for stitching.



Then the hard work begins! The particular guild receives its mounted panel, along with printed colour versions of the design, and different coloured threads that could work well with the design.

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Stitchers are encouraged to interpret the design creatively onto the fabric, in terms of technique, detail, interpreting drawn marks into stitched marks or textures or fills.