Ladies work at Japanese inspired Bunka punch embroidery before exhibition in February

A group of ladies at the Port Macquarie Senior Citizens’ club spend their Thursday and Friday mornings working on Japanese styled embroidery.

Originally from Japan, Bunka punch embroidery is a century old craft that crossed into North America more than 60 years ago, and has since made its way to Port Macquarie where two groups of ladies and gentlemen hone their craft skills in the Bunka style.

One such lady is Marjorie Frysztak who said that the art of punch embroidery is similar to colouring in a drawing, but instead of using a pencil with thread.

“We use a stringy rayon thread and while we do work to a pattern or picture we all put our own spin on our art.

“The punch embroidery is more relaxed than cross stitch or tapestry making but can be just as rewarding,” Mrs Frysztak said.

From a few months to over a year, the length of time to complete a piece depends on the complexity of the creation and how long you spend each week working on it, according to member Joy Stark.

“We only do our Bunka embroidery once a week on Thursday or Friday, but we are a social group so we probably spend as much time working as we do talking and solving the problems of the world.

“I think we all enjoy getting out of the house every week and coming and working on our projects, catching up with everybody and talking about everything from food to shopping,” Mrs Stark said.

The group are working towards an exhibition on February 1, which will display work from all of the group members, but as Pam Headland says, everyone puts their own touch on their work.

“We are all working on different pieces but even still, no two pieces are ever the same.

“There are also a number of other techniques that people can use which can change the appearance of the piece depending on what we want to achieve.

“The work itself can be challenging but it is rewarding to see it all finished at the end, especially if it has taken a long time to do.

“And we would love for more people to be interested as it is quite enjoyable,” Mrs Headland said.

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