Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Embroidery in WOOD?

Richard pointed out Karl Langerfield's newest Channel collection to me today - and we quipped that we would need to add a new line of wood shavings from caskets to my shop!

Take a look at how amazing wood shavings can be as an embroidery material.  Watch the movie on the site - it is georgeous.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Check Out Antiques Roadshow

Wow - it is Tuesday and I am coming up for air.  The robot team has their League Championship on Saturday so last weekend was a blur of activity.  Presentation editing, notebook digitizing/printing, editing summaries, scripts, and more robot work than I can shake a stick at.  Some kids did seven hours straight just on notebook digitizing.  They were a bit fried.  The robot had 'barfed its guts of gears out' when I got back from Sotheby's and it was looking really bad.  Some of the changes to get another function it needed had made previously done functions not work anymore.  Five steps back to get one step forward.  So they were all working feverishly.  Still way too much work for this week after school everyday than we are comfortable with.  By Sunday night, I collapsed into a chair and really didn't care that my beloved Patriots had lost.  I was just too exhausted.  Yesterday I spent it mainly in PJs packing silk wrapped purls into boxes and making that sound 'duhhhhhh' that says you are fried.

One thing that brightened the day was watching PBS non-stop while cutting the purls.  And I came up on an advertisement for this week's Antiques Roadshow (and others emailed me last night as well!) where there was an amazing embroidered cabinet on stand to be shown.  A piece of stumpwork was also in the mix - but I didn't see it on the video.  

You can watch it online.  The cabinet on stand is in the last five minutes of the show but there is a snip on the site too that I have linked.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Esther and Ahasuerus

This is lot 441, a stumpwork piece depicting Esther pleading with King Ahasuerus.  The close-ups below give you a view on how the textural parts of the piece were done.  This one is interesting as there is an attempt to show architecture in the main scene with the tent being placed under a portico of a building.

Lot 441, 20 January 2016-22 January 201,  Sotheby's

Lot 441 20 January 2016 - 22 January 2016, Sotheby's

Lot 441 20 January 2016 - 22 January 2016, Sotheby's

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Queen from Last Casket

I was asked in a question if the inner door could be shown for that last casket that was on sale at Christie's.  So here it is!

Lot 698 sale 10699, Christie's

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Back From NYC

Lot 215 - Embroidered Casket, Photo Courtesy of Sotheby's

Well it was a fast few days in NYC for the Sotheby's conference and continuing exhibition of Anita and Ervin's wonderful things.  They took up two full floors of Sotheby's New York building.  I think they did a lovely job of exhibiting the objects in room settings, often with backdrop pictures of the house.

Lot 215 - Embroidered Casket
Many old friends were there - Casketeers, collectors, needlework dealers, other historians and curators!  So it was quite fun to be running around and looking at objects together as well as reminiscing about the wonderful couple who put together such a fine collection.  The auction starts this morning and quite a few people have their wish list and paddles ready.

I want to show more of their collection - in case you haven't bought the catalog or viewed it online.  There is still time for a telephone bid here and there.
Lot 215 - Embroidered Casket

Lot 215 - Embroidered Casket
This casket is a conundrum and many of us were talking about it over and over.  The form isn't and yet is 17th century English.  The embroidery on the sides looks like caskets and yet the split stitch and directional shifts harkens to a slightly later feel.  The interior definitely look at once familiar and yet not.  It looks a bit continental with the green velvet and addition of bobbin lace edgings - reminding me of several Dutch sewing pillows, but who knows when that was added.  The blue interior contrasts with hints of pink interior that you see here and there when opening drawers.  It is a decent match to another that has been moving around the auction houses over the last decade.   For both, the sheer size and proportions of each is such that it can't be made up of panels that were for a 17th century casket left unfinished.  They just aren't the right size and are too large.  So they were purpose embroidered.
Lot 215 - Embroidered Casket

While lovely - still a conundrum! Maybe a new teacher/fabricator.  Maybe a later version.  The existence of two might bring more to light and we will have our answer!

lot 698 sale 10699 The English Collector, Christie's

lot 698 sale 10699 The English Collector, Christie's

lot 698 sale 10699 The English Collector, Christie's
lot 698 sale 10699 The English Collector, Christie's

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

What's In the Frostings Box?

Glossy box - the same size as a US Priority small mailer
The shipment of the first box in the Frostings Club went out before Christmas and I was excited to get it out there.  Because it was so close to Christmas - everyone instinctively realized that they should keep the contents of the box secret - me included - so as many people as possible could fully enjoy the experience of getting the surprise and opening it to find out what was inside.

This first shipment was exciting as I had a custom storage box made for the club and I bet most people thought the contents would just show up in a plastic bag.  Nope!  We all deserve something a bit special to keep our threads in.  The glossy box is covered in motifs from the 17th century and is magnetically closed so it will be useful long after the threads are gone.

Inside of Frostings Kit 1
Once opened, the box is full of 34 threads!  These have been curated to be useful for 17th century embroidery styles.  That isn't to say they aren't fun and can't be used elsewhere - but the idea was to increase the choices for all our embroidered cabinets, mirrors and the like.  Things I have seen under the microscope and had manufactured special or that aren't easily found in your embroidery stores.

I am not going to review all the threads in this blog as those who will sign up for the club (there are spots and boxes left) need a bit of surprise when they open it!  But let me show a few of them right now and explain what can be done with them.

Blue and Cream lacet braid
The first thing encountered is a packet of 13 different lacet braids in one yard quantities.  The top one is a multicolored braid made of cream and blue.  These little braids are really functional and once you start looking for them - you find them everywhere!  Not only can they be used as small drawstrings in tiny purses, but they are often seen as small ribbons attached to stumpwork figures.  Looped they embellish shoes, boots, collars, and the bottoms of breeches.  Look closely on the horses and camels and you will see all the bridles being made from these braids.

Pansy Posey Instructions are Free on my site.  The braids
are included in the Frostings Kit
Then, if they are placed edge to edge, you can whip stitch between two pieces and fold them back upon themselves while stitching.  This can make long loops to invent fabrics for use on figures, dogs ears, or even full posies of flowers.  Many little gathering of flowers made from these braids show up in casket drawers in collections.  I have already introduced a strawberry flower kit based on these braids and now the FREE instructions for a pansy made from the braids in the Frostings kit.  The 13 colors include many that haven't been seen yet in anything I have published.  I don't want to do too big of a spoiler... but next week there just might be a contest announced using these braids for Frostings Club members.

The next items you find are a set of three silk
Grey and white gimps to extend the Silk Gimp range of threads
gimps shading from dark grey to white.  These are needed colors to allow animals, including unicorns, and buildings to be better worked with couched gimps or gimps worked in needlelace stitches.  The white will also allow really lovely or nue skirts to be worked for stumpwork ladies by substituting the gold or silver thread with the white gimp instead.

Serpentine Silk Trim
A really special thread found in the box is a very, very limited edition trim (1 meter) that is all silk.  This trim is in a light gold/pink coloration and blends really lovely with samplers and our 17th century embroidery alike.  The trim is from passamentry and is not even 1/4" in height.  In stumpwork, trims like this were often used on clothes of the figures as well as on the edge of canopies and curtains.  I
also want to use this trim on the edge of sampler ornaments too.  I just wish I could get more of this!  There is a very thin silk covered wire inside that helps the trim hold its shape.  Easily couched down, the more you play with the trim, the more ideas for its use pop into your head.

Thick Striped Gimps
The last set of items I will show is a family of SEVEN thick silk gimps that are striped.  This type of gimp was found all over the grottos in 17th century pictures, mirrors and caskets.  They were couched down to fill the rock shapes and the stripe would give the impression of granite.  I love these gimps as trims to outline as well.  The colors range through a series of neutrals and other rock like colors that cross over into being appropriate for stems and flowers or even animals.  Once you start using them couched down around a figure - you will find them indispensable as they are weighty yet interesting at the same time.  Next week, a set of instructions for a really lovely project will be released to use one of these striped gimps as well as the threads in the box I am not talking about this week.  (a teaser...)

The last teaser is the other set of Free instructions you will find on my site for some of the contents of this Frostings Box.  A blackwork rose based on a drawing in Thomas Trevelyan's manuscript of embroidery patterns is now up for your enjoyment.  If you have the Frostings box - all you will need
is a piece of linen, a spool of Soie Paris in black (noir) and a needle!
Instructions for this design are available on my website

If you aren't a member of the Frostings Club - you can still join for this box and the next in the series.   There are about 100 left before they are gone!


Monday, January 11, 2016

Sotheby's Seminar

The seminar about Irvin and Anita Schorsch's collection on Monday, January 18th is open to the public.  The schedule is below:

Registration, 7th Floor 
1334 York Ave.
New York, NY 10021

Erik K. Gronning, Head of Americana Department at Sotheby’s

My Life and Times with Irvin and Anita Schorsch
Charles F. Hummel, Curator Emeritus at Winterthur, Wilmington, Delaware

The Schorschs and Hidden Glen
John Milner, John Milner Architects, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania


Silver and Jewelry in the Schorsch Collection
John Ward, Head of the Silver Department at Sotheby’s.

Early Baroque Seating Furniture of Massachusetts
Robert F. Trent, Independent Scholar and Upholster, Wilmington, Delaware

The Art of Mourning: The Material Culture of Mourning in the Schorsch Collection
Katie McKinney, Floater, Americana Department, Sotheby’s, New York


Masterpieces of the Schorsch Collection: Tour of the Exhibition Galleries
Erik K. Gronning, Head of Americana Department at Sotheby’s
John Ward, Head of Silver Department at Sotheby’s
Christina Prescott Walker, Director of European Ceramics Department at Sotheby’s

Ceramics in the Schorsch Collection
Rob Hunter, Editor of Ceramics in America, Williamsburg, Virginia.

Colonial Portraiture in the Schorsch Collection
Laura Barry, Juli Grainger Curator, Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia


Metals in the Schorsch Collection
Don Fennimore, Curator Emeritus Winterthur Museum , Wilmington, Delaware

Textiles and Needlework in the Schorsch Collection
Dr. Tricia Nguyen, Thistle Threads

Grace in Design: Masterworks of American Furniture in the Schorsch Collection
Erik K. Gronning, Head of Americana Department at Sotheby’s

Closing Remarks