The Chelmsford Marquetry Group
The Chelmsford Marquetry Group came into being from a suggestion made to Alan Townsend at a National Exhibition held in Ipswich by a member of the Executive of the Marquetry Society. Due to his great interest in the craft, he was encouraged to start a group of like-minded people in the Chelmsford area. From an initial group of six people in Alan’s front room a Committee was formed and the Group was started in 1983.
The first venue for the Group was in the unheated Scout hut at Great Baddow Recreation Ground but this was found, in a short while, to be too small so the Group moved to Great Baddow Village Hall.
Within four years the Group was large enough and had enough expertise to take on the organisation of a National Exhibition. This proved to be a great success and it is fair to say that this exhibition was to be the turning point in that it made the Group financially sound and laid the foundations as far as future successes were concerned.
The membership increased. That, coupled with the fact that the village hall could not be booked consistently for the required evenings, meant that new premises were soughjt. Consequently a move was made to the present venue, Longmeads house (the Writtle Community Centre) where the Group has been for over 30 years.
Since then the Group has been privileged to organise five more National Exhibitions, one of which was the Marquetry Society’s 50th Anniverary. The Group has also forged links with other clubs as hosts and visitors, competing in inter-group competitions and taking part in very enjoyable social events.
The main idea of the Group has always been to get people of any level of skill to take an active interest in marquetry and enjoy the craft. While this outlook is not aggressively competitive, it has produced a large number of very proficient marquetarians who have gone on to win their far share of Society awards.
Thursday evenings usually sees around 20 or more of the Group’s 35 members turning up for their weekly marquetry fix and this together with the slow but steady recruitment of new blood keeps the Chelmsford Marquetry Group lively and forward looking.