Tuesday, June 15, 2010

NDS Bulletins

The NDS (Needlework Development Scheme) was set up in 1934, the scheme was re-established in 1944 by the Glasgow School of Art to continue the work of what had been the Needlework Development in Scotland scheme that had been disbanded at the outbreak of the 1939-1945 World War. The Needlework Development Scheme was disbanded in 1961.
The Needlework Development Scheme was founded to revive the previous Needlework Development in Scotland Scheme. Its aims were the same: to improve the standard of embroidery in Scotland and to provide domestic science and training colleges, women’s institutes, and schools, as well as art schools with access to a collection of foreign and British embroidery. The scheme built upon its predecessor by extending its scope to gradually take in other art schools and colleges throughout the United Kingdom where embroidery was taught. Like its predecessor, the scheme was anonymously funded by J & P Coats Ltd who by encouraging embroidery also created a future market for their threads.

The scheme continued to acquire contemporary embroideries in a wide variety of styles. In the early years after the war the best needlework examples within the collection were foreign so in 1947 a leading British designer, Mary Kessell, was commissioned to prepare designs to provide a new challenge to embroidery designers in Great Britain. Her designs were adopted by and interpreted in stitchery by embroiderers from the Bromley College of Art. London. The results became a travelling exhibition.

The 1950s saw the extension of the Scheme into England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The collections continued to grow and by the time of the Scheme’s closure in 1961 had amassed over 3,500 embroideries. As well as the collection housed at the central offices, further collections were circulated arranged by country, type or technique, and included plain sewing. The central office also supplied a reference library, photographs of all the Scheme’s embroideries and coloured film slides connected to the circulating collections.
Between 1950 and 1957 exhibitions of the Scheme’s pieces were held through the UK, including the Festival of Britain in 1951.
The publications of the Scheme were central to the Scheme’s activities and aims. The two bulletins, And So to Sew and And So to Embroider published three times a year were issued free until 1958 until demand led to a charge being levied for orders of over 24 copies. At its height in the 1950s, the scheme spent the current equivalent (2003) of £1 million printing the bulletin and distributing it primarily to school girls as well as other interested parties.

The scheme came to an end in 1961 for several reasons. Coats Patons Ltd , formerly J & P Coats Ltd , withdrew funding for the Scheme but it was also recognised that the Scheme had achieved its aims. Guidence had been given to emboriders of all ages and standards on design and technique and had been shown where to find inspiration. The schemes collections were divided bettween museums and organisations interested in embroidery.
At specialistauctions.com i have a selection of NDS sewing and embroidery leaflets forsale from the 1950's

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