Maggie Shaw – An Appreciation

Maggie became a member of the Gloucestershire Guild of Craftsmen as an Embroiderer at a time of change and experiment in Embroidery. Whilst remaining a craft it moved from a well established tradition to experimentation in design and ‘Art’.

Maggie was part of this change.

She was encouraged to join the Guild by Mary Youles, an Embroiderer member of the Guild.

Maggie’s embroidery was fine and beautiful and always in wonderful colours. She had an innate colour sense which  pervaded everything she did.  There was a short period when she made beautiful small 3D pieces from things she had collected: shells, stones, drift wood and put them together with  an unerring sense of form, colour and detail.

Her work was much admired and purchased by the public and members of the Guild. Many of us continue to enjoy Maggie’s work purchased at Guild exhibitions.

Maggie was responsible for organising several Painswick exhibitions with Mary Noble, and she seized on the opportunity for the Guild to exhibit at the Swansea Arts Centre. She was responsible for organising and designing the exhibition that was successful and of great quality.

Maggie was always quietly encouraging, efficient, sensitive and innovative.

From its founding in 1933, the Guild always held an annual exhibition at the Painswick Institute and held exhibitions in other venues such as Chipping Campden, London (Foyles Bookshop) and Norway.

However the Guild had never had a permanent centre or gallery until in 1999 the Guild explored options for a permanent gallery or office. Fortuitously the then Painswick Institute, now Centre, vacated space and, prompted by Tony Davies, a former Guild Chairman, the Guild negotiated a lease on the space as the first Guild Gallery.

Maggie, ably assisted by her husband, Peter, made the Gallery a reality. It opened in 1999 and she continued to manage the Gallery for the first two years and set it on the path to success, even if the footfall in Painswick was modest. Members were incredibly grateful for Maggie’s inspirational Gallery exhibitions and the sale of their work.

Sadly she contracted Reactive Arthritis, an illness that affected her fingers, and had to stop the fine work demanded by her embroidery, and she left the Guild. She then went on to obtain her degree in Painting and was both an admired and collected painter based in Stroud.

Maggie was also an inspired teacher of textiles and later of painting at the Stroud College, School of Art. Her work with students at the college was outstanding, as she had a gift of getting on with young people, and they always loved her.

Maggie had a great sense of humour and was a really amusing raconteur; she could make ordinary and odd things sound interesting and funny. Deeply admirable was that she never complained about her health problems, huge though they were, and was always interesting and interested in everything. Just two weeks before her death she was visiting the Alexander Calder exhibition at Hauser and Wirth, Somerset.

Maggie died on 27th August 2018 and will be much missed.

Prepared by Anne James and Colin Gerard