Here are some the banners we have made…
In 2002 I was asked if I would start a banner group for the church, I had never made a banner in my life but it was a challenge so, why not give it a go. I asked a few ladies from the Guild who did handicrafts if they were willing to help so with a great deal of trepidation 5 of us decided to try.
With a book as a guide we started our first banner which was okay then we made 2 others from the same book and as time went on we got more confident with what we were doing.
We gave up on the book and found other sources to work from, the website was handy as we found banners on line and as long as we didn’t make an exact copy we could make use of that, then there is the Bible itself with all the stories that are in it e.g. our Fishermen banner –Muriel thought that one up through the night—this is taken from a picture in a children’s bible, the last gift given to her daughter from her Gran, means a great deal to me as it’s a reminder of Mum- it’s amazing how ideas can pop into your head through the night do you not find that. When we were making the banner we couldn’t think what we could use. We were in Pitlochry on an outing with the Guild and we saw an angler’s shop so in we went and saw little fish that were used as bait so we decided these would do, the man was gob smacked when we told him what they were for but he gave us a good discount on them.
For our Christmas banners we can be spoiled for choice with all the Christmas cards with the nativity story on them. We have banners for Christmas, Easter, Pentecost Remembrance, Baptism, Bereavement as well as a good number of general banners, actually altogether we now have over 50 Banners and 4 sets of pulpit and lectern falls. We haven’t forgotten the children as we have wall hangings for them which go up in the small hall at Christmas time.
Since starting up in 2002 we have had more challenges thrown at us.
The year 2005 was the 50th anniversary of our church and we made 2 large banners to celebrate. the first one was a church family tree, for this we cut out leaves and the members of the congregation bought a leaf and wrote their name on it, adults and children, we then had the names embroidered over and they got stitched on to the tree, the names of the ministers who had served the church were put on the sides with the dates of their time with us. This was a fund raising project for our Jubilee fund to help towards our renovating the halls and entrance (which by the way was completed last year and is fantastic).
Our second banner was made up of the logos of all our organisations,18 in all and is also very colourful. Now these 2 are hanging in our new and huge entrance.
Along with a Welcome to Hillhouse Parish Church banner we made for the opening.
We were then asked by David if we would make a tree banner for Townhill Primary school’s 40th anniversary with all the pupil’s and teacher’s names on it done in marker pen so we didn’t have to embroider them there were hundreds of leaves and it was difficult to see each child’s clearly, they to be put on class by class and not to be outdone we then had to make one for Udston primary school’s 50th anniversary. David is chaplain to both of the schools. And these are now hanging in their brand new school premises.
By now we were 7 in number and Muriel had joined us. We sit there at the table planning, sewing, puzzling about designs and putting the world to rights and we have all become friends.
In 2006 The Hamilton Churches decided to get together and have a year of celebration. Various projects would take place in different venues. There was to be a flower festival, film show, a banner exhibition all culminating in a special service in Hamilton College.
Of course the banner group were given another challenge we had to get together a group of ladies from all the other churches to make a special banner for the celebration. A lot of these ladies had no experience in banner making either as only a few of the churches had their own banners but they were very keen to give it a try.
The first thing we had to do was to work out what to put on it, the logo for the event had been designed and we decided to use this as part of the design for the banner but we needed something more so with a lot of thought we chose touching hands, each hand having the name of a church written on it and meeting up once a month in a different church we got the banner partly made.
The exhibition itself was to be held in St John’s Church and all the churches that had banners lent a few to us for the display. It followed a year in the life of church festivals and we had the banner we were making on a table with the hands and sewing equipment so that anyone who wished could choose to put a few stitches in their own church hand the ladies and some men were very happy to have a go and this is how the banner was completed.
After the service in the College the banner was going to do the rounds of all the churches and they would keep it for a month and it would then move on to the next church. This took about 18 months to do the rounds
In 2009 Hamilton Old Parish Church was celebrating their 250th anniversary and were holding various events one of which was a display of banners. Her Royal Highness Princess Anne was to be their guest so once again banners from various churches were put on display. So they are well travelled.
2009 also brought us our biggest challenge until now, we were asked to do a workshop at a conference for the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women at Erskine Hotel. Women were coming from various parts of the world and there were to be different events taking place.
Not knowing how many people would be involved we had to prepare fabric for the background of a small banner we chose the small PEACE banner as the easiest one to do. We cut ribbons, had templates of doves and letters took scissors, needles, threads books, photographs and at 8 o’clock on a June morning we set off for the drive to Erskine. It came as a bit of a surprise to see how many women were there, all dressed in black tee shirts with a message on them saying “Why wear black on Thursdays” we stood out like a sore thumb in our light clothes, the exhibits on display were very interesting and colourful.
When it was time for our workshop we were surprised at how many women turned up, we weren’t going to have enough room and some of them just walked round having a look and went off to something else, those who stayed soon got down to trying their hand at making a banner with our help. Using the templates they learned how to cut out the letters and doves and how to put it all together. We only had an hour but quite a few got theirs finished and were very proud of what they had done so somewhere in the world a banner from Scotland would have been hanging on a wall. There were women from African countries, Canada, France, Wales and England. There was one lady from an East European country who asked if she could take all the little pieces of fabric left over and was so delighted when we said yes, her sponsor from Scotland said that these small pieces would be very precious to her. This was very humbling for us as we would have thrown them away as scrap and she looked as though we had given her something very special. Some of the ladies were looking at the books some were taking photographs of our photographs and asking lots of questions. A humbling experience and some of the ladies were calling us sisters they were really fantastic to work with.
After lunch we were invited to join them in a coach tour to Inverary, the weather was good (it was June ) and we set off. We travelled through Luss and alongside Loch Lomond and Marion Findlater who organised this day for us got us all singing “Loch Lomond” then on through Arrochar up the Rest and be Thankful and on to Inverary and they were all so impressed by the scenery. We had a short break with time to grab a bite to eat then it was time to head back to hotel and for us it was time to go home. We had a wonderful day with them all, everyone had been so friendly and happy to be there.
We hope you have enjoyed hearing about our exploits, and if you like a challenge and are looking for something to do join a banner group.