Topic: Masterton Library Wall Hanging

Topic type:

Wall hanging produced by Wairarapa Emboiders Guild to mark opening of new Masterton Library.

When visiting the library many of you will have admired the Masterton Library Wall Hanging that adorns the Northern wall of the library. Originating from a request in 1981 for community groups to help furbish the then new public library, the wall hanging is a testament to the skills and commitment of the Wairarapa Embroiderers Guild. More than 121 embroiders were involved in producing the panels with many more volunteers assisting with the panels creation and hanging. Designer/coordinator of the project Liz Greville estimates that Guild members spent 100,000 hours working on the hanging.

Funding for the project came from donations from local businesses, clubs and individuals, plus a grant from the Community Art Council. Additional donations of fabrics, threads, buttons and beads were made via a collection box in the library. The wall hanging is an embroidered social history of Masterton and is made up of 102 individual panels each depicting a subject relevant to the borough and international events that had a bearing on the towns' growth. These range from the 1894 visit of an American lady hot air balloonist, to labels used by local brewers for their beer bottles, to the now demolished Centerpoint Shopping Complex.

The finished hanging is 23.4m long, 1.4m high, and coming up with a solution for getting it on the wall took a considerable feat of construction. This was achieved by inserting aluminium strips along the top and bottom of the panels which take the weight of the fabric and distribute it evenly. The hanging is also designed so that panels can be removed individually for cleaning or repair. The finished art work was unveiled on the 21st of May 1985 by Her Excellency Lady Beattie, wife of the then Governor General.

Thankfully Masterton District Library's connection with the Embroidery Guild did not end with the completion of the wall hanging. The library regularly plays host to visits by guild members who provide public demonstrations of their techniques and displays of their works. If you would like to learn more about the wall hanging we have the book Masterton Library Wall Hanging - a social history in threads available from the library. This provides a background to the wall hanging and a detailed description of the individual panels and the craftspeople who produced them. It may also be possible to have a staff member available to take you on a guided tour of the hanging, but a booking will be necessary.