Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sampler Exhibition at Witney Antiques

Witney Antiques have announced their annual exhibition and it will be centered around samplers this year.

The exhibit is called Industry Taught in Early Days and runs from Monday, November 3rd to Saturday, November 22nd, 2014.  No word yet on one of their amazing catalogs for this year.

Witney is at 96-100 Corn Street, Witney OX28 6BU, very near Oxford so it is a do not miss if you are traveling in for the Ashmolean Exhibit!

Tricia

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Paper and Embroidery - The Pulp Fashion of Isabelle de Borchgrave

I love works in paper and I love embroidery - so we have to love the art of Isabelle de Borchgrave which mixes phenomental papers and fashion.  How someone can make paper look like embroidered silk... just wonderful.  There is a lovely pinterest on her work as well as a documentary to drool over!

This is paper!
She has done pieces for temporary exhibits as well as museums all over Europe reproducing time frames as early as the 16th century all the way through to modern times.  The works her referring to 18th century France are particualrily  yummy!!

Tricia


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Unusual Stumpwork Picture

Very unusual arrangement of scenes that could almost be framed
by casket sides instead.  National Trust
I was looking at pictures tonight to wind down after two straight days of robot coaching (having so much kid energy to direct can be pretty exhausting).  It both makes you feel alive... and old.

So I came across this piece and I found it really unusual in its design.  First, the four corners have been treated like little vignettes with their own 'sets'.  Architecture and details that you don't normally see on pictures but might on the side of a casket.  If those of you out there are interested in the Esther story and the scene around the table - there is a nice drawing in the upper right corner.  The other item I find fetching is the
A more typical treatment with castle at top balanced by the grotto.
Flowers in the corners and birds/beasts to balance out.
National Trust
castle in the bottom left.

If you stare at it long enough, you will see the turkey in the piece!  Quite a few things to make one look twice.

Check it out magnified on the National Trust website.

Now contrast that with a more typical stumpwork picture, another one from the National Trust collection.  This one also has a tent stitch slip in the center but the corners and cardinal directions have more predictable content.  Really nice to see the contrast.

Building big metal robots.  Nine lanky
teen boys in a small area with nuts, bolts
 and rivet guns all over!
How many little robot kids can
fit on one small couch while
analyzing the robot missions in a
huge projected spreadsheet
So I need to take a hot soak and get some sleep - tomorrow there are work sessions by the robot kids too... My house looks like a war zone.  Caskets in the dinning room, boxes of kits everywhere, I am about ready to do the Winterthur pack and robot pieces and empty chip bags are everywhere.  And to top it all - the robot challenge this year has 140 whiffle balls that fall out of a structure onto the field.  Yes - 140 whiffle balls rolling around the house right now.  (Our testing of methods to get the balls into the tubes for scoring was totally hilarious - 10 people throwing them into the air to see if the 'shooting' method had merit.  Think I will have to repaint the darn walls again!).  And a whole tour of lovely needleworkers to show up in three weeks.  Gotta find a place for these robot parts to hide away!

Ok, these walls were only painted four
months ago.  Oh well.  
I have a lot of work on my plate in the clean up.  I am my own worst enemy.  I had the little guys go through an exercise in goal setting -- and so they plastered the walls in my hallway with post it notes - things that they want to do in their life.  Was so cute and so illuminating about their inner thoughts.  We are going to continue the exercise next week - trying to teach them about thinking big for their life and how to break dreams down into small goals to try to achieve on the way to big ones.  I was thrilled to see that every one of the 9-yr olds had 'go to MIT' on their list.  'Invent something that changes the world' was one of my favorites too.  And funny to see how many of them want to start a company with a teammate.  Cool.  I want some stock options kids!  Payback for the investment in the startup of you.

The funny thing was about fourteen years ago, my husband and I did this post-it note exercise ourselves.  It is a very illuminating exercise, focuses one on what you are doing now and what you really want to be doing.  One of the things on my list was 'make a casket'.  We are almost there!

Tricia


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Was this a Casket Side?

Sometimes I do a bit of surfing to see what is out there - looking for more examples.  It can take awhile to turn up something new.  Here is a piece of stumpwork that doesn't read as a project but I think seems like the side or back of a casket.  What do you think?

You can see some close images of the piece on their site.  Or take it home for about $1000.

Tricia

Monday, September 29, 2014

Stumpwork Panel with Close Photos

This site has a nice piece that has been conserved (note the long threads tied down north-south).  But there are lots of close pictures.  Click on a picture, then hit the little four arrows in the bottom right and you will see the picture up close and can tell what threads and stitches were used.

Tricia

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Where have you been?

I know some of you have been wondering where the blog went all summer!  Long Story - and humorous too in a 'glad that's not me kinda way'.

Well, my husband changed his job a little over a year ago and is able to take time off on his own schedule - working for himself.  Previously he was a high-tech start up guy and that meant a few short, high intensity vacations scattered around (this man doesn't vacate - he adventures).  But after 20 years of the fast life at work, he was a bit burnt out and needed to slow the work pace for a bit.  BUT he can't seem to slow the adventure pace - he just has time for it now!

So last year and this one he poured his heart into planning a few very long adventures abroad (hard to say no as he points out I can mostly work anywhere).  Before kids, when we had time we did a lot of backpacking around Europe - which is how I started all this embroidery research.  We never stopped - not even for infants (did you know German grocery stores don't sell diapers?).  But he hasn't quite learned that there are other ways to travel (elevators in hotels?  It means you are spending too much on a room).  Wife can't drive a stick?  Well it is too expensive to get an automatic - she will learn on the autobahn in a 20 km traffic jam.  I did put my foot down years ago and refused to carry the luggage on my back anymore.  But he won the battle on number of bags (as a family of four we still only have two).  I won the right not to wash my underwear in the sink and dry wet socks on my feet at night.  He has the same sweater in 24 years of vacation photos (Note to self - burn that thing!)

We go to amazing places.  Don't get me wrong - I love seeing the world.  But kinda wish the travel wasn't so much on the 'edge' because when you travel on the edge, things happen.  I never know what to say when I return looking ragged and people gush about the places and how refreshed we must be. I am dumbstruck about what to say - I just want to crawl into bed for a week.  Friends who really know us, line up to hear the 'latest stories' and laugh like crazy over a glass of wine.  My father usually picks himself off the floor laughing and reiterates his original statement after our 1-month 12-country honeymoon -"If I had known, you wouldn't have taken my daughter!" (Of course they have joined us twice now - just to see if my outlandish stories were true.  They were - but my husband did upgrade the level of hotel.  There were views, but no elevators to my dad's chagrin).  When we ask his sister to go somewhere with us - her standard refrain is "no rats".

We have been in police stations in the best of countries.  I have tried out every socialist health care system and really, really like them.    There may be a warrant for me in Prague but no one checked this year.  I know a few ways to get pharmaceuticals when lost (but this year the 'sew it into the stuffed flamingo' and fed-ex it didn't work).  Look both ways when crossing an active runway.  I always leave a selection of things I might need on my kitchen table -- just in case a family member needs to ship them to me.  I have learned that you can jump on a moving train... and boat.  Always buy the extra car insurance.
22 caskets and untold mirrors and stumpwork in
six days.  That was a good yield!  Some 6000
up-close research photos
And absolutely wear a money belt with your passports.  My son has a stance with his hands jammed in his pockets on travel to prevent loss - or monkeys from getting their hands in.  And once after hearing about 15 min of 'don'ts' before crossing into Northern Africa during the Arab Spring, the kid smartly asked - 'Why the heck are you bringing us here then!?'

So what could happen on a nine-country tour?  25 cities in 29 days?  Where at one point the four members of the family would be in three countries as diverse as Iceland, England and Turkey - only meeting up in Sweden for the first time since leaving the USA?  The 14-yr old had eight airplane legs for just his part alone?  No - nothing could go wrong?  When this year there are TWO Excel spreadsheets to keep the itineraries straight - worry.  And the hubby wonders why I was dreading this trip... Of course, if you read the last blog - you realize that nothing could faze him anymore.  You are getting the gist... the last 25 years of travel has been one long audition video for Amazing Race.

So the blog went dark because after the Chevy Chase around England/Scotland to see caskets and
THE FISH.  And we didn't even eat it.
stumpwork - I had a few days at a friend's place on the coast of the Baltic.  While there, my son and his friend were fishing.  They caught a great big fish and put it in a bucket.  Brought the bucket up the cliff to where I was 'relaxing' (i.e. working for the first time in days).  They stayed about 12 feet from me and showed me the big fish.  Nice fish.  Then fish went back in the bucket, where upon it thrashed and sprayed the entire deck with salty sea water.

Yes.  No more computer.  At this point insert Benny Hill ditty with Tricia drying computer with hairdryer, racing their boat back to Stockholm, begging Apple store to help her (no go - seems you need three weeks to get a
If you see this part of your
laptop - not good.
Genius bar slot), computer corroded, no english keyboard, many calls to USA, Apple store in Berlin, finally hard drive is corroded too.  Will have to wait until back in USA for back up drive.  No ability to work for 21 days.  Have to catch up when get back - and add 21 days of work to pile.  You can imagine the dumb founded look on Genius's here in Boston when I handed them the computer and said a fish did it.  (It was a whopper of a tale!)

This would be pretty bad if it wasn't the culmination of nine days of really, really bad travel juju.  You see my husband and friend had JUST landed the boat after trekking back to the airport to retrieve my bag that had been MIA for four days.  And that was the SECOND time in seven days.  I now had so many toothbrushes and deodorants to carry around.  And a full set of clothes that I had bought in only two hours at 4x what they cost in the USA.  And if that wasn't bad enough there was when we landed at the wrong airport.  The lightning that hit the high speed train.  The Mumbai train ride (just don't ask!) the only thing to know is that now my son and I have claustrophobia and couldn't ride a subway the rest of the entire month.  And when British Air decided to cancel the 14-yr old's flight and not reseat him - gave all the empty seats to adults even though we had paid them to accompany the child.
Despondent teen to dad after spending a week in the basement
storage areas of museums watching mother and friend
go ga-ga over "dirty old embroidery".
Poor substitute for Turkish resort and Scandinavian girls
He never made it to Turkey.  The details are gory and I have to thank my travel companion that week (a stitching friend) who had signed up for seeing lovely caskets with me - not to sleeping in a room with a very disappointed teen (missing a gift from his Swedish 'family' to go to a resort with them).  And at the end - when I was good and exhausted - we still had a technical conference to attend in Vienna for a week.  The husband dropped the older kid and I at a random train station in rural Austria and made an autobahn beeline for Munich airport.  We found our way to the conference.   The kid was giving the poster and workshop and I was the chaperone.  Three of the robot kids were there in this adult world.  I had to teach them how to negotiate an adult conference, network, the art of the reception, etc.  They did spectacular but it was exhausting.  Of course I would have to get food
Conference kids - they looked
good, were professional, and made
waves with their opinions on education.  
poisoning.

Then there was the volcano.  It decided to erupt as we landed in Iceland.  Why not?  Every time an Iceland volcano erupts I am flying.  Yes - this is the third time for me.

So I got home.  Almost no blog for eight weeks.  I still have 396 emails to process.

Husband is already trying to plan crazy international ski thing for February (bet the blog will go dark then too).  I didn't mention that my brother got married five days after we landed.  So we had to fly to that.  At least as we were standing forty people back in the cheep car rental line (sooo jet lagged) and the boys were lambasting their dad for not using his Hertz gold membership - he finally got it that we have had it and we dragged our bags across the street to Hertz.

Maybe there is hope for him.  Yes, he was wearing the trusty travel sweater.  I swear that thing is a bad luck charm!

I am going to burn it.

Tricia

P.S.  He has NO input in my tours.  :-)  'Nuff said!


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Thank You to the Fellers from the Lovers of Needlework Community!

I want to thank the Micheal and Elizabeth Feller from the bottom of my heart.  Not only did they generously allow their amazing and very important collection of 17th century embroidery to be photographed and published but to be exhibited as well.  And then yesterday came the amazing news that the 61 pieces they have loaned to be on display at the Ashmolean will stay forever.

The Fellers have given an enormous legacy to the public by donating these pieces to the Ashmolean in honor of their departing Director, Professor Christopher Brown.  You can read more about the legacy on Needleprint.

In a time frame where we are finding that textile collections are being moved off site at museums and becoming ever so much harder to see, this is amazing news.  The potential here for academic work and new knowledge is tremendous.

I had the good fortune of meeting the man who will be taking the helm at the Ashmolean this summer, a wonderful gentleman who was in charge of a stupendous textile collection at the Holburne Museum in Bath.  He was the driving force behind the acquisition of the beaded basket which we held a contest to help.  He has a very special place in his heart for 17th century embroidery and was terribly excited by the exhibit that the Fellers had enabled at his new employer.  So I know that this gift, honoring someone who had the vision to mount a tremendous exhibition will be vastly appreciated and used by the new guard to educate the public on the wonders of 17th century embroidery.

I feel like I need to get an apartment for a month in Oxford now!!!  Is the Ashmolean the new V&A for us textile lovers?

Now how about a novel thought - write a thank you note to Micheal and Elizabeth Feller C/O The Director of Ashmolean Museum, Beaumont St., Oxford OX1 2PH, United Kingdom.  Let the museum and the Fellers know how grateful we are for the current exhibit and the future study they have enabled!  

Tricia