Thursday 31 January 2013

Kims's Mirror from Ontario, Canada

This embroidered mirror backing wrought by Kim, displays an expert variety of needlework techniques. Most striking is the pretty floreate border composed of a garland of bullion rose and blue flowers, french knot and set pearl buds and laisy-daisy leaves. This floral concept has extended beyond the edges of the mirror and its looped picots suggest the rim of a woven basket. We are now looking down on the top of a basket lined with flowers. And look again, and you will see the central area has been meticulously over stitched to create a wonderfully basket-woven surface. Such a lovely conceit and so beautifully worked. I hope you are very proud of yourself, Kim in Ontario!

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Costumes of Bolzano

The museum in Bolzano has a gallery of charming traditional costumes from the 1700s and 1800s and here you can enjoy just a handful. The gentleman and lady above are from a remote village Meltina which is about 10 miles north of Bolzano as the crow flies, but many more by road.

The lady on the right with her distinctive white hat is from Guncina, on the outskirts of Bolzano while the gentleman is from Sarentino, a village in the mountains to the north.

The colourful couple above are from the Val d'Ega which lies to the south east of Bolzano and below you can see on the left a woman of Barbiano to the north east of Bolzano and, on the right, in a very important, somewhat masculine looking hat, a woman of Bolzano itself.

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Soon Be Valentines!

Helen Drewett is a textile and mixed media artist who lives in LIncolnshire, UK. Working with her own hand-dyed thread and fabrics, Helen mixes traditional stitches with a modern take for her greetings cards. These hearts cards I bought will make super Valentine's Day cards...sshhh!

The cards are a lasting gift in themselves and are mounted on stout single fold card, left blank for your special words. They are £6.75 for 3 cards. Just click here for more details or to buy your own.

Monday 28 January 2013

Free Give Away * Penelope Jacobean Embroidery

I was so excited to find this vintage Penelope catalogue and knew immediately it had to be shared as a free give away for Needleprint blog readers. You enjoyed one of the illustrations in yesterday's free jigsaw download and there are 52 images, many in colour in 36 pages.

The story of Jacobean embroidery is discussed set against images of historic works from the Victoria and Albert Museum.

There are also stitch descriptions and diagrams, ideas for fillings, and the sories of flowers and animals on Stuart embroideries. There is a lot to love about this booklet which is in pretty good condition, considering its age.

To enter the free draw for this magazine give away - just click on the flying angel below. The winner will be announced 4 February 2013.

Sunday 27 January 2013

Free Jacobean Jigsaw Download

Crewel embroidery in the Jacobean style enjoyed a big revival in the early half of the 20th century and Penelope was one of the main exponents. This design is from the Rutland Fire Screen and displays the typically curiously shaped leaves, trefoils and curling form that originated on early designs taken from East India Company imports such as palimpores. I hope you enjoy this jigsaw - and do visit tomorrow for a special free give away! 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 26 January 2013

Technology Wizardry at Cleveland Museum of Art

A couple of days ago the Cleveland Museum of Art opened Gallery One, a unique, interactive gallery that blends art, technology and interpretation to inspire visitors to explore the museum’s renowned collections. This revolutionary space features the largest multi-touch screen in the United States, which displays images of over 3,500 objects from the museum’s world-renowned permanent collection. This 40-foot Collection Wall allows visitors to shape their own tours of the museum and to discover the full breadth of the collections on view throughout the museum’s galleries. In addition, touchscreen interactives and the museum’s new ArtLens iPad application allow visitors to explore how works of art were made, where they came from and why they were produced. At every turn, technology is used to bring visitors back to works of art and to open multiple perspectives on the collection. In case you think this is a second rate experience, David Franklin says: It’s very important to us that visitors interact with real objects, rather than digital reproductions. We want visitors to look closely at original art works and to make personal connections to what they are seeing. ArtLens is a multi-dimensional app for iPads. Utilizing image recognition software, visitors can scan two-dimensional objects in Gallery One and throughout the museum’s galleries to access up to 9 hours of additional multimedia content, including audio tour segments, videos and additional contextual information. Indoor triangulation-location technology also allows visitors to orient themselves in the galleries and find works of art with additional interpretive content throughout their visit. Additionally, visitors will have an opportunity to dock their iPad, or one borrowed from the museum, at the Collection Wall. Visitors who use the Collection Wall to browse the collection can save their favorites to their iPad. These saved objects can then be combined into a customized tour, so visitors can direct their exploration of the collections on view in the museum’s permanent collection galleries. Curated tours by the museum’s director and staff as well as other visitors can also be found on the app.

Friday 25 January 2013

Jane Austen's Clergymen - 4 Lectures * Sarum College, Salisbury Cathedral Close * Begins 25 February 2013

Beginning 23 February from 7pm-9pm is the first of 4 lectures by John Cox which look at Jane Austen's ordained characters, how they contribute to the wit and wisdom of her novels, and how her own Anglicism may be appreciated in her fiction and letters. The entire series of lectures is £30 and includes refreshments.

If you don't know, Sarum College is one of the most beautiful venues in the heart of the ancient cathedral close of Salisbury. And do remember you can book this very special venue with or without meals and accommodation for your special events in the UK!

Thursday 24 January 2013

Samplers For Auction @ Tennants of Leyburn

It is always intersting to see what samplers Tennants of Leyburn have in their auctions. Their next auction is 26 January and here are just a few of the needlework items for sale - there are 11 samplers in all - click here for more details. The first is a very interesting school sampler from Ceylon. It is Lot 1232 and was worked by Jaffna Chunnakam sometime in the 19th century. It is in cross stitch with red threads and has alphabet and two elephants to the lower half, within a border, 38cm by 70cm. The estimate is £100-150.

Above is Lot 1230 Quaker darner worked on a linen in ground by Miriam Denton, dated 1785. In an oak frame it measures 33cm by 41cm and has an estimate of £100-150.

Lot 1226 is a framed Scottish alphabet sampler worked By Agnes Leishman, dated 1832. It measures 27cm by 43cm and has an estimate of £100-150.
If you explore beyond the samplers you will find Lot 1245 - a late 17th Century needlework picture depicting a dancing couple in a rural landscape, being accompanied by a seated flautist, with a church and water mill in the back ground. It measures 46cm by 43cm and comes with an estimate of £800-1200. Happy bidding!

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Spanish Samplers in the Round (or Rather Square!)

I have always wondered why there are so many Spanish sampler which are worked around the four edges of a square, it is such a distinctive format and pattern.
Perhaps in some way they were designed to emulate the Spanish table carpets that have a similar format. The example below is from Alpujarra in the deep south of Andalusian Spain.

Tuesday 22 January 2013

Does Anyone Know E Hornby Letts - Embroiderer?

I am forever rescuing lovely embroideries from charity (thrift) shops. It is a sad fact that when some people die, their beneficiaries seem not to value their needleworks. I came across a set of 5 pieces by E Hornby Letts while browsing in Salisbury just before Christmas. All the pieces were expertly designed and executed, but I could choose just one to save and this was the one. I was hopeful that I would be able to find out more since the reverse of the frame has the address and telephone number of the embroiderer, so possibly this had been an exhibition piece. However, attempts to make contact with the address or telephone number failed and so I am none the wiser. I do hope someone in the area may come across this image and will be able to tell me more about E Hornby Letts. The piece is titled Silver Birches and dates, I would guess from the frame, from late 60s to mid 70s. The clever strategies employed for the shading remind me of the work of weavers at West Dean College.

Monday 21 January 2013

Elizabeth's Mirror of Elizabeth

I hope you remember this mirror from the finalists of The Mirror To My Art competition. A loyal mirror celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II is so special. But what wasn't so apparent at the time of blind judging, was the fact that the maker's name is also Elizabeth. And Elizabeth is, appropriately, from Queensland in Australia. So the humour of Elizabeth gazing upon Elizabeth was lost unfortunately. The roundel of the mirror with the rim of round crystals on red, cleverly suggests a commemorative medal or coin. I love this dignified and at the same time homely representation of the Queen - this is exactly as she in our hearts. Though of course we now have to take into account her parachuting skills with Mr Bond! The sign of skill here, as in a consumate sketcher or cartoonist, is the minimal use of lines to convey the subject.

Sunday 20 January 2013

Free Jigsaw Download - Ferns Castle Tapestry

Yesterday we saw the Ferns Tapestry which is on permanent display in the visitors centre in the grounds of Ferns Castle, County Wexford, Ireland. Here you can see a composite of a number of excerpts from this fabulous tapestry which you can visit from 10am to 5pm (May to October) - guided tours take place daily. 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 19 January 2013

The Tapestry at Ferns Castle, County Wexford, Ireland

The Ferns Tapestry consists of 25 panels of crewel embroidery worked on Irish linen which depicts the history of the village from the Iron Age (around 500 BC) to the arrival of the Normans in the twelfth century AD.

The Tapestry was designed and embroidered by 25 women from the local community. They started in September 1998 and finished 5 years later, in June 2003.

To get from the chosen images to the final panel required several steps. Each panel was first drawn in pencil onto paper, to the actual size of the completed work. Then the colour codes were added and the picture was then transferred to the backing material by placing the material over a light box and tracing the image onto the material and adding the colour codes. The material was then pinned to a light wood frame ready for the stitching to start.
The tapestry is on display at the Visitors' Centre at ferns Castle, in Ferns, County Wexford Ireland. Click here for more details.

Friday 18 January 2013

Another Mary Wigham Proudly Joins the Ranks!

It is a few years ago now since we had the Mary Wigham stitchalong and what fun that was! But there are still more Mary Wighams out there in the making and every so often one of them comes knocking at the door to say hello to us. This spectacular sampler was stitched by Joke in the Netherlands. Joke says: Here is a picture of my finished Mary Wigham. I know I am way behind many others, but yet I am proud finishing it. It stiched on 40 count linen, a challenge to my eyes! I just wanted to tell you I enjoyed stitching and finishing. The initials I added are from my Dutch needlework friends. And you should be very proud indeed, Joke, this is a wonderful accomplishment - many congratulations!

Thursday 17 January 2013

Mercer Museum Sampler Collection On-Line

The Mercer Museum is in Pennsylvania and it has a wonderful collection of textiles to explore. Here you can see just a few. You will recognise lovely items from Westtown - including a stitched globe - and mucy more.

The founding of the museum was down to historian and archaeologist Henry Mercer (1856-1930) who recognized the need to collect and preserve the outmoded material of daily life in America before it was swept away by the Industrial Revolution. Mercer gathered almost 30,000 items ranging from hand tools to horse-drawn vehicles and assembled this encyclopedic collection in a system of his own devising. To enhance the collection's educational value, and to share it with the public, Mercer decided to design and build a museum to display the artifacts.

Searching on line you will find not only samplers, but also quilts and pockets, so do experiment with the search criteria you enter - you will have many hours of enjoyment. Each piece has a descriptive record associated with it which gives you more details and historical background when it is available.

Below is a delightful sampler worked by Mary Katz and is dated 1799. it is probable that Mary was 17 when she worked this sampler as it seems to imply that she was born in January 1782.

And the museum have a chart for this sampler priced at $7.50. Just click here to request your copy. And click here to go to Mercer Museum' On Line Site.

Wednesday 16 January 2013

Samplers For Auction @ Mellors & Kirk 9 January 2013

Mellors & Kirk have a number of simple samplers for auction this week - some in lots of 3 and 4 - so you can really indulge any possible prinitive urges. The first above is Lot 343 which is a very busy colourful sampler teeming with motifs. It appears to have been worked in 1837 and is signed S. A. Clarke Age 12. There are no estimates given for any of these samplers.

Lot 347 is quite a late sampler which recalls earlier samplers. It was worked by P. S. Pearson at age 13 and is dated June 21st.

Lot 348 is a most interesting gift stitched by Elizabeth frances Crocker for her Aunt Sarah. Dated April 17th 1823 it contains the verse On Hope

Lot 354 by Elizabeth Pullan is so typical of its kind.

Lot 355 above is one of a set of 4 small red and white wool on linen samplers that comprise this lot. This one worked by Beatrice Metcalfe when 10 years old in New Clee at the Hilda (Street) Board School. New Clee, with fine, middle-class terrace villas built along both sides of Cleethorpe Road in Grimsby, North Yorkshire had street names such as Albert, Alexandra, Humber, Sunderland, Trinity and Victoria Terrace. To serve this new community, Hilda Street School opened in about 1878 and St John's Church was established in 1879.  
Lot 356 comprise 3 early/mid 19th century samplers worked in blue monochrome, this simple one above with its decorative branching border was stitched by Mary Harriss and is dated April 11 1842. For more details about these samplers and to see the other samplers at auction, click here.

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Willeke's Marken Sampler & Threadwinders

Again it was another of those marvellous moments of serendipity that I came across Willeke's beautiful work based on designs from the Isle of Marken in the Netherlands. Here you can see a sampler of her work in progress. She has been inspired by this long-loved little guide book by Maria van Hemert published by Het Openlucht Museum.

Not only do I love Willeke's work - but I simply adore her way of using those lovely dolly-pegs as thread winders. What an inspired idea! We are so used to seeing these pegs with painted faces - perhaps we could personalize our threadwinders, too?

And see they can even be used for ribbon. To visit Willeke's blog which is just a total wonderful world of discovery, click here.