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The Secret Life of Aprons


Sun 22 Mar 2015, 11:00am–12:00pm

Where: MTG Century Theatre, 9 Herschell Street, Napier, Hawke's Bay / Gisborne

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • The Secret Life of Aprons: $10.00
  • Additional fees may apply


Listed by: MTG Hawke's Bay

Come and hear this inspirational woman speak about her passion.

Remembering a bygone era

Part of the stunning With Bold Needle & Thread exhibition showcasing the collection of vintage needlecraft “rescuer” Rosemary McLeod is an apron lovingly embroidered in the 1930s yet probably never worn.

The exhibition is at MTG Hawke’s Bay until 29 March. The apron is one of a group of 12 embroidered by the same maker. Some were never completed after the embroidery was done, says Rosemary, who bought them as a lot from a dealer at an auction in Auckland. The apron pictured reflects the popularity of fancy dress parties for adults in the 20s and 30s, and themes of the exotic in movies and romantic fiction at a time when few New Zealanders could afford to travel overseas.
Perhaps best known as a columnist and commentator, Wellington-based McLeod describes herself as a “rescuer” of vintage needlecraft, from tea towels to toys, doilies to dollies, rag rugs to aprons. Most came from op shops over the past 35 years, others from Trade Me and friends and readers who know of her collection. She says her collection reflects women’s hopes, dreams, beliefs and financial realities during decades when life in New Zealand was undeniably tough.

McLeod's first textile history book, Thrift to Fantasy, won the history category of the NZ book awards in 2005. Some work in this exhibition was made by her for her second book, With Bold Needle and Thread, which includes vintage projects to make today.

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