Welcome to London West End WI

Friday, 21 November 2014

AGM and graffiti knitting.

This year's AGM was just a little different as with our change to being part of Middlesex Federation we also, for the first time, had independent people (Liz and Sarah) to oversee the election of the committee and president. But before all that it was a last chance for our wonderful outgoing president Pam to give her overview of the year.

And what a year it's been!

It was a year of changes with us briefly moving in to the main church for two months before finally settling back in to our old home of the Upper Vestry but now on a Wednesday evening. The craft club moved too! An experiment to see whether we would be better off in a dedicated location with good lighting, tables and tea was a success so we've sadly now abandoned the Seven Dials Club to spend the first Tuesday of the month lurking in Atlantis Bookshop on Museum Street.

Our talks of the year have been varied as we've seen the Dangerous Women, heard about the No More page 3 campaign, had a guided tour of our church by the inimitable Frank, learnt about campaigning from the Chair of the NFWI Public Affairs Committee, had a little holistic therapy, made paper birds, found out about the What I See Project and BeanStalk, died laughing trying to morris dance, met the chair of the Ghost Club, learned more about women in the Great War and even feminist art of the 1970s.

Meanwhile in craft club we've learned the art of tea bag folding, crocheted, knitted, done patchwork chrimble decorations, made earrings and jewellery stands and even made hats for innocent smoothies. Well, except for me, I admitted defeat and stuck to making pom-poms.

Some of us went on marches, we baked, we visited other WIs, planted or picked poppies and we even had a visitor all the way from Canada!

Out in the community we had cake stalls at Phoenix Gardens, supported the St George's Open House and did our bit at the Covent Garden Street festival.

Next up Jane gave us her treasurers report of the year and we were all glad that she could announce we had a small surplus of £17.10 for the year though that didn't include the takings from the Covent Garden Street Festival which falls in the next financial year. With a mixture of the chaos from us having to move evenings along with the strong competition at Phoenix Gardens it really has been a very good year.

The election...

Having gathered the names of the those that would like to be on the committee, Liz asked the members present whether they were prepared to accept them as a block, which they did! It certainly was easier than voting in each and every person. So, our committee for 2015 is:
  • Pam
  • Victoria
  • Helena
  • Kate
  • Jane
  • Claude
  • Jenny
The next task was to elect the president. Only members of the committee could be president and because of the process explained by Liz they had to be present to say whether they would be willing to take on the role, this sadly meant that neither Kate nor Jenny could be press-ganged voted on as they weren't they to agree!

With this explained the members were asked to write down their preferred nomination and from these we were left with a nominated list of three.

For the final step each of the three would be asked to write down whether they would be prepared to take on the role and give this to Liz the rule being that if two or more said yes then we would have a private ballot of the members to decide. I'm sure that Liz told me what would happen if we all said no but to be honest by that point I may have forgotten what the rule was!

Without further ado Liz read and announced each decision and finally proclaimed yours truly as president.

The final step is for the committee to appoint the other officers and we'll give you an update as soon as this is done.

After a brief ceremony to hand over the presidential badge we finally got on with what everybody really wanted to hear about...

Graffiti Knitting

The graffiti knitter was Deadly Knitshade, aka Lauren O'Farrell, a fabulous lady who had looked cancer in the eye and tweaked its nose. She explained that she stumbled her way in to knitting as she endlessly waited for treatment for Hodgkin's Lymphoma, he story is quite amazing and I really would recommend you spend time reading it on her blog.

Her talk moved on to how she first became a graffiti knitter and how, by chance she found she could do good with it and as it happens eventually make it her work.

What really struck me was the range of things that had been done as well as how many of the pieces that inspired her I'd also stumbled across. I certainly had the feeling that this was a story that had so much more to tell and I for one will be watching for her latest antics. Sadly as we'd turned the lights off so we could see the images that went with her wonderful talk I didn't take as many notes as I would have liked to have done! Or any really. But if how far we overrun by is a guide to how good a talk is then this was definitely a winner.

At the end of the evening we had the opportunity to chat with Lauren a little more as well as purchase one of her excellent books! We'll have to invite her back again...


As you may know we usually give our speakers a thank you gift of a teapot with a cosy knitted by Jane. The morning after the presentation I saw a wonderful tweet by Deadly Knitshade that included the Vine image of her teapot below that we are showing with with Lauren's kind permission.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Welcome to our new President!

Following our AGM on Wed 19th Nov, we are delighted to say that Victoria (on the left, below) is now our President, taking over from Pam after 3 years - both are in the pic below, at the ceremonial handing over of the Presidential badge. 

Sunday, 16 November 2014

About an AGM...

As our AGM is rushing towards us we thought it might be useful to explain what this is all about...

We start with a review of the year from our president, this being followed by a report on our finances by our treasurer. Following this there is a vote by members to select the next years committee, needless to say if you would like to be on the committee it's self nominating! Any paid-up member can join a committee regardless of how much experience they have, all we ask is that they can attend committee meetings as required, usually held briefly after the monthly or craft club meetings as well as joining in with the email discussions of various topics.

Once we've voted for a committee we vote for the officers for 2014/15 these include the President, Treasurer and Secretary. These posts are filled by the committee members and again only paid-up members can vote.

This year we will, sadly, be looking for a new President as Pam has had to announce she intends to step down owing to personal commitments and demands of work. If you are interested in taking on the role and would like to learn more then please get in touch via email or speak with Pam on Wednesday night!