The Allsides Embroiderers have had a long and distinguished history on the island of Jamaica and 2017 marks one hundred years since the group has been in existence. All Sides was formed as a means of economic uplift for rural women. The thinking behind the group was that if materials were provided to women, then they could stay home and work and earn a living. This would allow particularly women in rural areas to take care of themselves and their families. The group also envisioned women who needed it, using embroidery skills to move away from physically and emotionally abusive relationships.
For many decades, the group was quite successful and work by All Sides women are in homes around the world. In recent years however, cheap imports and young people turning away from the craft traditions of their rural elders, have caused a crisis in the group. However, Mrs. Shirley Duncan is working to resuscitate and recuperate the craft traditions in a small hardy band of mainly Allsides women in the parish of St. Mary who continue to make gorgeous work. The Women of St. Mary group makes authentic Jamaican embroidery, crochet and hardanga works.