In December 2011, Pat Costain, Secretary of The Mothers’ Union contacted Liz Brand, the Chair of the IOM Branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild to enquire if the Branch would like to design and makea new Diocesan banner for them; which would be housed in the Cathedral at Peel.
The Mothers’ Union vision for the front of the banner was ‘Christian Care for Families’ and they wanted the words ‘Mothers’ Union’ and ‘Sodor and Man’. They provided a sheet of photos of banners that they didn’t particularly like and asked for modern design ideas. There were minimal conditions, namely a requirement for the Diocesan logo on the back which is the outline of the Isle of Man and the Lonan Cross. Members were asked to submit designs for the branch meeting at the end of April 2012.
Several designs were submitted by members to the Mothers’ Union for consideration, who decided
that they really liked the bold, simple, modern figures and text on Helen Sargent’s design, but not the jeans pocket concept of the design. On 20th July, Helen Sargent provided a full sized paper pattern of both sides of the banner and stitched some samples to help decide the final design. In the meantime, the Bishop’s office came back with comments on the logo and the translation of Mothers’ Union into Manx. After discussions, with Mothers’ Union chair (Helen Parry) and committee members, a final design decision was made. The overall design specification concept was for clean, simple lines and a modern look. To this end it was decided to put simple tabs on the bottom with no fringe. A deadline of the end of March 2013 was agreed; as the Mothers’ Union had an important event at York and wanted to take the new banner with them.
The first meeting to start work on the banner was held on 11th September 2012, and weekly sewing sessions were held at Helen Sargent’s house until it was complete. Several members worked as outworkers, and later attached pieces of work to the banner, for example the Lonan Cross stitched by Kay Mc Kiernan . Work continued throughout the winter months with a dedicated team turning up each week to stitch. The banner was completed and handed over to Pat Costain, representative member of the Mothers’ Union on 15th March 2013 in time for the banner to be dedicated in St John’s Church on the 10th May 2013.
The banner front is made from a plain weave linen fabric. The font used for the lettering is Jokerman from Microsoft word. The letters are gold pig skin leather padded with felt and couched on with gold coloured thread. Mary’s dress is made from silk velvet and a gold leather cross. The other figures are made from cotton padded with wadding and stab stitched on. The reverse is watered moiré silk with the island made from Manx wool tartan and couched on with gold coloured thread. The Lonan cross is made from felt, silk and a selection of vary dyed threads.
Special thanks go to the following members of the Isle of Man Branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild, who not only donated their time and skills, but also materials. These being: Helen Sargent, Jean Taylor, Liz Brand, Sheila Dove, Sue Carine, Kay Mc Kiernan, Jean Shimmin, Marion Moffat, Dee Newson, Sheila Huxley, Janet Thompson and Janet Williams.
Handing over the Banner
|Detail of the front|
|Detail of the back|
|Detail of the Lettering|
|Detail of the back|
|Detail of lettering|