Friday 31 August 2012

Coptic Weaving at West Dean and Coningsbury Gallery 20 November - 1 December 2012

I am very excited today because I am just about ready to leave for a weekend course of Coptic weaving at lovely West Dean College. Bliss. I first fell in love with this weaving technique about 15 years ago when I saw these Wissa Wassef Art School tapestries for sale in Primavera in Cambridge and I quite rashly bought them both. I have been totally fascinated by them and their makers ever since, visiting exhibitions at The School of Oriental and African Studies in London and elsewhere. So, my fingers are itching to begin! You might be interested to know that there is an upcoming exhibition of Wissa Wassef tapestries at the Coningsbury Gallery, 30 Tottenham Street, London W1T 4RJ between 20 November – 1 December 2012. The exhibition is open daily including Sunday from 11am – 6pm. If you would like to request an invitation to the private view on 19 November 6pm - 9pm click here. To see images of the exhibition click here.

Thursday 30 August 2012

The Textile Society AGM & Conference * London * 2-4 November 2012

Last year the Textile Society's AGM and Conference in Oxford was packed - and no surprise it was seam to seam interest. The conference venue for this year is going to be the Wellcome Collection Conference Centre - it is directly opposite Euston station. However, this state-of-the-art venue only seats 80 delegates, so book now in order to avoid disappointment. Click here for more details. This is the programme for the Conference weekend:

Friday 2 November
Morning Visit to Central St Martin's archive with the curator Anna Buruma
2.30pm Registration
3.00pm AGM
3.45pm Tea/coffee
4.00pm Mary Schoeser in conversation with Sarah Campbell
7.00pm Conference dinner at Ciao Bella Italian Restaurant, Lamb's Conduit Street, London WC1

Saturday, 3 November, Wellcome Conference Centre
10.00am Registration
10.30am Welcome Brenda King, Chair
10.35am Session One
Mary Schoeser: Boswellian Pratice? Writing about makers and making.
11.15am Tea/coffee
11.30am Session Two
Dr Myriem Naji: Domesticating the western market: contemporary weaving production in the Sirwa (Morocco)
Gavin Fry: Characteristics of Practice: Embroidery as Data
12.45pm Lunch
1.45pm Session Three
Elizabeth Brimelow: (title tbc)
Prof. Anne Morrell: What do I look at to make what I stitch?
3.00pm Tea
3.15pm Session Four
Jennifer Sturrock: (title tbc)
Liz Harding/Kay Swancutt: A Critical Reflection on a Working Philosophy
4.45pm Summing up

Sunday, 4 November Visit to William Morris Gallery

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Open House Reception at M. Finkel & Daughter * 29 August 2012 * Pine Street Philadelphia

From 4pm to 7pm on Wednesday, 29 August 2012, you are invited by Amy Finkel to view both floors of the gallery filled with over 75 antique samplers from America and Europe, reperesenting schoolgirl needlework at its most interesting. There will be samplers priced under $2000 and of course will also have some very fine and rare examples that will range upwards. Whether you are a collector or an enthusiast, there will be much to see and enjoy. Light refreshments served.

I visited Amy some years ago when I was in Philadelphia and was completely enchanted by her and her beautifully chosen collection of samplers in store in the old part of town. Here you can see just a few examples.

And if you are unable to fly out, then you can always enjoy browsing her gallery on line - simply click here to visit.

Monday 27 August 2012

18th Century Samplers at Auction

Canterbury Auctions have four 18th samplers for sale at their next auction on 4 and 5 September 2012. The one you see above is Lot 651 and is a Queen Anne band sampler with the inscription: Mary Harmon wrought this in the year 1708. It is worked in coloured silks with bands of stylised floral ornament, alphabet and numbers on a fine linen ground and measures aprroximately 15ins x 8ins and is presently in a 19th Century ebonised and gilt frame. The estimate for this lot is £1,200 - £1,500.
Lot 650 is an Adam and Eve sampler from a private needlework collection. Worked in the reign of George II it is inscribed, Done by Me, Elizabeth Reed Aged of 11 years, June the 21, 1738. It is worked in coloured silks on a coarse linen ground with Verse 8 from Proverbs, Chapter 30. it measures 18ins x 10.5ins and has an estimate of £600 - £800.
Lot 654 is a George II needlework band sampler inscribed: Rachel Wenerill (?) born May the 6th day 1753. it is worked in coloured wools on a coarse linen ground with fruit, flowers, "GR" cipher and reference to Charles Stuart. Measuring 17ins x 9ins, it is in a modern gilt frame and comes with an estimate of £200 - £300.
Lot 661 is the last lot from Canterbury Auctions and is a George III needlework sampler worked by Elizabeth Miles in 1790,using coloured silks with repeating alphabet, numbers and stylised floral border to lower register. It measures 11.75ins x 11.75ins and has an estimate of £120 - £160. Click here to see details of all the Canterbury Auctions samplers in this sale.
The sampler above is lot 627 for sale at Fellows Antiques and Fine Arts Auction on 3 September. It was worked by Mary Coxon, aged 9 years 1765, and measures 13" x 12.25" (33cm x 31cm), with a later frame. It comes with another sampler by Caroline Sayer, aged 14 years 1834, measuring 17" x12.5" and the estimate for this pair is £100 - £150. Click here for more details.

Sunday 26 August 2012

Looking For Mary Wigham & Other Downloads?

I've had a few emails recently asking if the download for Mary Wigham is still available. The answer is: Yes! This is a free download, though we do ask you to consider making a donation to Ackworth School - you will see a donate button on the screen when you click on this download link.
Do remember to browse the all the free downloads - you can always do this by scrolling down the page here and looking at the items to the right - the link is just one up from the last of these. Happy Sunday!

Saturday 25 August 2012

Ony a Week Ago * Kaiserschmarren a Plate of All Your Christmasses and Thanksgivings on One Plate

I cannot believe it is only a week since we were in the Dolomites enoying the clear air, delightful walks and cable car rides, visits to fabulous museums and frescoed castles, not to mention the delicious food and incredible service and hospitality that you find all around this area - even up in the refuges at 2,500 metres, the cooking is sublime! Richard and I came down off the tops and stayed in the Val Gardena. From here you can visit all the 'tops' by cable-car - and at some of those tops you will find restaurants and cafes with great food and loungers for recovering! You can also explore the valley and its delightful towns by frequent bus.

We stayed here, the Lanzinger Garni, a family run hotel, personally overseen by the dynamic, multilingual, Martha Lanzinger. It was a perfection on a plate. A short walk to cable cars and to the bus-stop, a hop to shops and restaurants, yet wonderfully serene and quiet.

Rooms were roomy and impeccable.

And there was a different cake for breakfast each day. What was there not to like!
And, I am told it is just a heavenly in winter. I don't know why I am telling all this as we really want to keep the place a secret....sssshhhhh! But if you love places like this as we do, just click here for more information.
Dropping down to a refuge after a couple of days' of hard scree walking, we were both tired and couldn't work out what we felt like eating. So we chose something on the menu called Kaiserschmarren because I translated it a little wrongly as a sweet omelette - I thought it would be nourishing, easy to eat and would appeal to R's sweet tooth. We had a plate each. Honestly, this was bliss on a plate. Forget Christmas Pudding, I'm Kaiserschmarrening forever now. It is a hot, fluffy pancake studded with rum soaked raisins and doused with powdered sugar and served with a hot plum or cranberry sauce. It is eye-wateringly delicious. And after we had finished and rested a while we were back up those mountains on Kaiserschmarrenpower! Click here for a recipe - remember to presoak the raisins in rum (or Earl Grey if you don't like the alcoholic kick). Better still, get someone to cook you one 2,000 metres up in the Dolomites. Rugs are provided on the chairs.....zzzzzz.

Friday 24 August 2012

Advance Copy of the Micheál and Elizabeth Feller Collection Volume II Arrived Today!

In a most undignified way, I confess, we have been celebrating the arrival of the advance copy of The Micheál & Elizabeth Feller Collection Volume II (but nothing to do with billiards, that famous British holiday activity, I hasten to add.) Unbelievable, it seems to me, after the years of hard work and focus, we have tangible proof that the book is in fact real - and so very beautiful. Richard and I feel very proud indeed - though we are merely midwives and not the parent, who is the author, Elizabeth Feller. So, huge, huge congratulations to Elizabeth who wrote solidy and magnificently into many nights, describing her samplers and their stories for you to enjoy. We had originally intentioned this book as two volumes as the content is massive, but decided by publishing it as one volume we could make it more accessible. So, this volume is best described as two books in one jacket - you will find full colour images of an amazing world-class collection of 400 samplers dating from 1700 where Volume I finished, plus pinballs, huswifs and pockets and 2 charts for samplers in the jacket. The books are on their way to our warehouse right now, taking in a few world sights on their journey to us by sea from Singapore. You will be able to buy the book through your favourite shops as usual. I'll mention just 2 now to help those of you in Canada and Australia. If you are in Canada, Traditional Stitches can take your order now, and if you are in Australia, then The Crewel Gobelin is one place to make your order.

Thursday 23 August 2012

Chawton House Library's Appeal for Help with Sampler Conservation

Chawton House is home of Jane Austen’s brother, Edward and was occasionally occupied by Frank Austen and his family. The Library has this sampler in their collection and are raising funds to restore it. It dates from 1830 and was stitched by Mary Pennington aged only 10 years, as Instructed by Mrs Stubbs. The Pennington sampler is an asset to the Library as they seek to contextualise the education of the period and C.18 women’s literature held here; its maker’s proficiency at age ten speaks volumes about how she filled her time, her accomplishments, tastes, and her interests. The sampler also sits alongside portraits of accomplished women of the period, and re-values work produced in the home by placing it alongside work produced professionally by writers and painters. If you would like to help them with any donations to fund this project, then do click here to go to their fund raising page. Thank you very much.

Wednesday 22 August 2012

Historisch Museum of Bevelanden - Sampler Calendar

What a delight to come back from holiday and find this wonderful sampler calendar waiting for me! Thank you very much, Erica - dikke knuffel!

The calendar is good for any year and is wire bound with one page per month - that means 13 lovely samplers to admire - and is sold by the Historisch Museum de Bevelanden at Goes. The price is 10.95 Euros and postage and packing will be extra. To obtain copies just contact the museum by clicking on this link. Above and below you can see sampler pages!

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Due to Cancellation - One Place Available for Stumpwork Course in Bath * 4 & 5 October 2012

Due to a cancellation one place has become available for this sold out workshop with Lesley Turpin-Delport and Nicola Delport-Wepener. These designers, stitchers and authors of Embroidered Flora and Fauna are holding a 2 day workshop in stumpwork and related dimensional techniques in Bath at the home of Lynne Roche (the maker of those fabulous dolls) on 4 & 5October 2012. Click here to request more details. This is certainly going to be THE needlework workshop of 2012! Below you can see a fabulous piece Lynne designed and made after a recent visit to Venice - it captures all the luminous open sky and lagoon with those wonderful gothic buildings - and the gondolas.

Monday 20 August 2012

Winner of the V&A Sampler Book Draw

It seems like just the other day we were making our way through a 9,000 foot pass and down to this welcoming refuge in the Dolomites - so please forgive me for being a bit lagged at the moment. There are so many interesting and lovely surprises in this stunning part of northern Italy - can't wait to show you.
Please forgive the late announcement of this draw - I am delighted to tell you that the winner of this week's draw for the V&A Samplers Book is Linda Connors from Texas. Many commiserations if you didn't win this time - but we shall have another draw soon!

Sunday 19 August 2012

Erica's Token of Love - Free Jigsaw Download

This is one of the images taken for that gem of a book - Tokens of Love by Erica Uten. The book has 24 patterns for Quaker pinballs for you to stitch or knit - complete with full, easy to follow making up instructions. Click here to see more. To download the jigsaw - Click here next Click Open, then click the .EXE file name and click Run, when you see the jigsaw puzzle, click Play Too many pieces? Try clicking on Trays on the top tool bar to create any number of resizeable trays to sort your pieces ........ you can also click the Cheat button and watch the puzzle solve itself! The software is by David Gray designer of Jigsaws Galore - the powerful jigsaw player and creator for Windows.

Saturday 18 August 2012

Shaw Antiques Devon, UK - Marriage Bed-Hanging for Mary Queen of Scots

Whether or not you can visit the glorious west country for a Devon Cream Tea or not, you can always enjoy Shaw Antiques of Devon on-line. Sometimes they have the most amazing textiles for sale like this fragment of a needle-worked bed hanging, circa 1600. It is profusely decorated with foliate designs incorporating a wide range of flowers. These flowers include Thistles, Irises, Fox gloves, Aquilegia, and possibly Cobbae Scandens. There was an old inscribed label stuck to the back which reads as follows: “From Holyrood Palace. A portion of the bed hangings worked for Mary Queen of Scots on the occasion of her marriage with Francis of France embroidered with national emblems of both countries (the) fleur-de-lys, thistles, etc.” This label was removed during conservation work on the piece but is available. There have been conservation restorations and it has been mounted on stretchers with an added later green surrounding border. It measures 49" square and is priced at: £5950. For more details click here.

Friday 17 August 2012

Punto Madama Caterina De' Medici

Caterina De' Medici is typically associated with a strong and to-be-feared persona. And yet, for much of her life, she was adrift and powerless. In that process she must have learnt quickly! Aged just 14 she was married to the second son of the King of France. As luck would have it, her husband succeeded to the throne as Henri II, but again as luck would have it, he and his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, marginalized her completely. Henri II died before his weak son Francis II had attained majority, and Caterina, by some deft costume changes - always dressed in black - created a more assertive character for herself and assumed the role of Regent. Her first two sons died young - but she did have three, and her third son Henri III survived her, taking her advice throughout his reign.

It is from here that a stitch very much resembling, and sometimes mistaken for, double-running stitch is named. Like double-running stitch, this stitch presents a clean design on the front and the reverse of the fabric - usually burato - which allows it be used for decorative edges to cuffs and collars, as well as for decorative household items such as napkins and other cloths. Below, in the video you can see how it is worked. Click here to see the instruction books for Punto Madama.

Thursday 16 August 2012

The Stitching Museum Eibenstock Germany

Situated in Eibenstock, Germany close to the Czech Republic border is the Stickerei Museum which displays some very interesting stitching tools as well as stitched items. I was particularly interested by this multi-sewing machine set up driven by a jacquard paper tape unwinding from a spool (seen top right of picture) to create self-driven, multiple, identical embroideries. For more details of this museum, click here.

Wednesday 15 August 2012

Samplers from Robert Hirschhorn

About 15 minutes drive from Sloane Square in central London you will find Robert Hirschhorn Antiques with some delicious samplers for sale - in addition to lovely antiques.

Here are some examples for you to enjoy. If you are planning a visit, simply phone ahead for an appointment.

Click here to see more and for contact details.

Tuesday 14 August 2012

The Ragged School Museum London

If you are in London, don't miss out on a visit to the Ragged School Museum in Bow, London. When Thomas Barnardo came to London from his home city of Dublin in 1866, intending to train as a doctor and then become a missionary in China, he was confronted by a city where disease was rife, poverty and overcrowding endemic and educational opportunities for the poor were non-existent. He watched helplessly as a cholera epidemic swept through the East End, leaving over 3,000 Londoners dead and many destitute. He gave up his medical training to pursue his local missionary works and in 1867 opened his first "ragged school" where children could gain a free basic education.

The school was housed in three large canal side buildings and here there are several gallery areas which include a reconstructed Victorian Classroom and a Victorian East End Kitchen displaying its own collection of historical artefacts, all designed for hands-on inspection. This is a museum where you can sit at the school desks, use the tin bath(!) and experience what life was like for the Victorian poor of the East End of London. For opening times and more details, click here.
The Ragged School Museum

Monday 13 August 2012

Victoria and Albert Museum Samplers - Free Give Away Draw

Although published in 1960 with black & white photographs, this book is an extremely useful resource as well as being very collectable - it illustrates 90 samplers from the V&A famous collection - and it can be yours free - we shall pick a name out of the hat next Monday 20 August 2012. To enter simply click on the flying angel below.

Sunday 12 August 2012

V&A Sampler Book - Free Jigsaw Download

We'll have this V&A classic sampler book as a free give away tomorrow, but I thought you might like a jigsaw of the cover today.  However, sadly, this is not going to work for Mac users. Instructions: Click here next Click Open, then click the .EXE file name and click Run, when you see the jigsaw puzzle, click Play Too many pieces? Try clicking on Trays on the top tool bar to create any number of resizeable trays to sort your pieces ........ you can also click the Cheat button and watch the puzzle solve itself! The software is by David Gray designer of Jigsaws Galore - the powerful jigsaw player and creator for Windows.

Saturday 11 August 2012

Museum of Immigration Spitalfields London

As you know Spitalfields in London, home to centuries of silk-weavers and immigrants is one of my favourite haunts whenever I am up in town. At 19 Princelet Street there is a very special, though fragile, gem for you perhaps to visit.

Built in 1719 this 'brick messuage' became the home of the Ogier family, who had escaped from persecution in France. They entered the silk weaving trade and prospered mightily. As most Huguenots moved on, the elegant Georgian houses were sub-divided into lodgings and workshops. At 19 Princelet Street the attic windows were altered to let in more light for weavers to work, but later occupants of the house followed other trades and professions, including Mrs Mary Ellen Hawkins who used it as an industrial school, and Isaiah Woodcock who was a carver and gilder.

In the garden where the Ogier children once played, there is a rare surviving synagogue erected by the Jewish community in 1869. And 100 years later, up in the third floor attics, in 1969 a recluse, David Rodinsky, locked his door and … disappeared. The museum is not open every day. You can arrange for groups to visit for a minimum donation of £100 to help with the preservation of this important historical building. Click here for more details.

Friday 10 August 2012

The Schwalm Museum, Schwalmstadt Germany

In the old town of Schwalmstadt in Germany, situated about 100 miles east of Maastricht and 50 miles north of Frankfurt, is the famous Schwalm Museum which last year celebrated its centenary.

The history of the famous Schwalm whitework goes back as far as medieval times when it was worked by girls in convents. The work is distinguished by composite pattern forms which are infilled in a number of drawn and pulled thread techniques - Hohlsäume. The patterns themselves are rich in symbolism which has been passed down from generation to generation. Forms include the tree of life, hearts, flowers - especially the tulip - cups, vases, birds, circles and star shapes. It is interesting that these forms are also seen in Fraktur work, particularly of the Pennsylvanian Dutch (Deutsch).

The museum has a number of interesting publications which you can buy from its shop - see above and below. For more information, click here.