Monday, January 14, 2019

Americana Week in NYC

Lot 140PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATES OF DUDLEY &
CONSTANCE GODFREY
Sotheby's Jan 20, 2019
This week every year in New York City is a group of auctions and shows that bring everyone who loves early American decorative arts to the city.  And since there is so little of American embroidery of this period - 17th century British embroidery is the items of choice for those who collect in the early American period.

This week's auctions at Sotheby's are especially rich with items.  But for me, it is bittersweet as well. A few years ago I was invited by a collector friend to come on a tour sponsored by Deerfield Museum  he was organizing that went through Chicago and Milwaukee - a hotbed of collectors of this period of needlework. Actually, he contacted me and 'told me' I was coming - I am so glad I went as it was the last time someone could meet these passionate people in the field with legendary collections.  Two of the collections we saw are up for auction and I learned two months ago that another of the collectors had just passed away.  It was so special to meet these passionate people and understand their collections and see them in the way they had loved them - instead of on a
white background.

Lot 1404 PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATES OF DUDLEY &
CONSTANCE GODFREY
SOTHEBY'S JAN 20, 2019
Constance Godfrey was the grandmother we all would have loved to have had!  Her custom built reproduction home was amazing and showed the love of the decorative arts she and her husband had. Constance was so gracious and loving, telling us about her pieces among a spread of cookies we munched upon.  She was particularly attracted to 17th century beaded pictures, baskets and caskets because the color was still so vibrant on them.  Her baskets aren't pictured elsewhere that I have ever seen and so it was a thrill to see each one!  Four of them are up for auction and for those who are basket lovers - you must see them.  She also had four wonderful caskets, one of which was an unknown match to two others -
one of which is in the MET and shows clues to workshop manufacture.

The Vogels gave us a wonderful lecture about their home's collection, which is particularly rich in ceramics but also decorated all throughout with 17th century British and American needlework.  A casket, mirror frame, sweet bags, and pictures rounded out the stunning effect.  A portion of their collection is also up for auction.  I understand they are still in good health!

Lot 1407 PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATES OF DUDLEY & 
CONSTANCE GODFREY
SOTHEBY'S JAN 20, 2019
Finally, while his collection was the most stunning and it is not up for auction, I must mention the passing of John Bryan as his life's work touches everyone of us through needlework and other areas.  John owned Crab Tree Farm, a gentleman's farm on the shores of Lake Michigan complete with a sprawling English manor inspired home with thematic follies dotting the landscape (the Tutor one was MAGIC!).  While John is well known for the houses on the site where he has preserved and restored the biggest collection of Gustov Stickley furniture and Arts and Crafts decorative arts, he is also known for his extensive collection of 17th century British embroidery.  John maintained a contemporary furniture workshop on site and was a patron of the arts in an extraordinary way.

John's business career was to build Sara Lee into the multinational conglomerate it is today.  In his
retirement, he turned his considerable business talents to other passions such as the building of Millennium Park in Chicago, raising almost half of the money to build it because of his core belief in public spaces.  In one of his gardens, he had the scaled down prototype of the 'silver bean' sculpture which was fun to walk around.  John was also instrumental in many civil rights movements in the Chicago area, joining with the black community to demand changes in access to many areas of white privilege.

Lot 860 THE COLLECTION OF ANNE H. & FREDERICK VOGEL III
Sotheby's Jan 19, 2019
In the needlework field, his influence will be felt for decades to come and you may not know of this man who begat things you will enjoy.  Not only sharing his pieces with me for research but commission of a book in process right now on 17th century needlework.  His love for the Art Institute of Chicago and board position had him recruit one of our favorite curators, Melinda Watt, from the MET to become an endowed textile curator at the Art Institute recently.   Melinda, recently ensconced was given the charge to reopen the textile department (very rich with 17th century textiles) to the public through exhibitions and access and over the next decade this will be a wonderful thing as part of John's legacy.

When we are in love with objects we need to also appreciate the people who become guardians of them as well as those who research and teach as they are all partners in keeping the historical legacies alive for the future.  I feel honored to have met so many of these guardians who shared with me their passions.

The Collection of Anne and Frederick Vogel III - Sotheby's Jan 19th, 2019
Lots:  802, 815, 831, 832, 833, 836, 858, 860, 885, 905, 923, 986, 994, 1055, 1056, 1058, 1065, 1066, 1069, 1091

Important Americana - Sotheby's Jan 20, 2019
Lots: 1401-1409


Friday, January 11, 2019

New Online Classes at Thistle Threads

While the blog has been doing giveaways and robot reports, I announced two new online classes to start during this winter.  The first is the Stuart Silk Purl Flower course - outlined today.

This is a sweet little piece about the size of a postcard and it explores how to use silk wrapped purls to get a variety of texture in your work.

The course is 3-months long and costs $210 for USA students.  During the three months, there will be extras such as the recording of the talk I gave at Winterthur on how these unique threads were made and the 17th century infrastructure around them.  Additionally historic pictures of silk wrapped purl in pieces will be shown and discussed and a presentation about all the tips and tricks to using them effectively.  There is also a small box of silk wrapped purls of other sizes for playing with.

The course starts on February 1st and is a great way to start the new year with a short and fun project and tons of learning!  It is also a good introductory project into how I teach online for those who have been tempted before by larger and long offerings.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

12 Days After Christmas - Day 12

Today's giveaway is a set of three fibers from Rainbow Gallery.    The rules of engagement are:

1) Send me a email at tricia@alum.mit.edu

2) Put FLAIR in the subject line (so I can sort my entries).

3) Put your NAME and MAILING ADDRESS in the body of the message

4) Get the email to me by midnight EST of January 10th to be considered!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

12 Days After Christmas - Day 11

Today's giveaway is a set of Colorwash painted Japanese silks  The rules of engagement are:

1) Send me a email at tricia@alum.mit.edu

2) Put COLORWASH in the subject line (so I can sort my entries).

3) Put your NAME and MAILING ADDRESS in the body of the message

4) Get the email to me by midnight EST of January 9th to be considered!


Monday, January 7, 2019

12 Days After Christmas - Day 10

Today's giveaway is a 2019 calendar.  The rules of engagement are:

1) Send me a email at tricia@alum.mit.edu

2) Put CALENDAR in the subject line (so I can sort my entries).

3) Put your NAME and MAILING ADDRESS in the body of the message

4) Get the email to me by midnight EST of January 8th to be considered!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

12 Days After Christmas - Day 9

Today's giveaway is19 skeins of cream needlepoint silk.  The rules of engagement are:

1) Send me a email at tricia@alum.mit.edu

2) Put CREAM NEEDLEPOINT in the subject line (so I can sort my entries).

3) Put your NAME and MAILING ADDRESS in the body of the message

4) Get the email to me by midnight EST of January 7th to be considered!


Saturday, January 5, 2019

12-Days After Christmas - Day 8

Today's giveaway is one of five bifold promoting the recent Witney Antiques exhibition.  I will send a different one to each person who wins.  The rules of engagement are:

1) Send me a email at tricia@alum.mit.edu

2) Put WITNEY in the subject line (so I can sort my entries).

3) Put your NAME and MAILING ADDRESS in the body of the message

4) Get the email to me by midnight EST of January 6th to be considered!

If you haven't gotten the new Witney catalog regarding this exhibition - it is great!  Best one in years with wonderful pieces and research on each.

Friday, January 4, 2019

12-Days After Christmas - Day 7

Today's giveaway is one of three cute sampler postcards.  The rules of engagement are:

1) Send me a email at tricia@alum.mit.edu

2) Put SAMPLER CARD in the subject line (so I can sort my entries).

3) Put your NAME and MAILING ADDRESS in the body of the message

4) Get the email to me by midnight EST of January 5th to be considered!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

12 Days After Christmas - Day 6

Today's giveaway is one of the August 2017 issues of Just Cross Stitch.  The rules of engagement are:

1) Send me a email at tricia@alum.mit.edu

2) Put JCS AUGUST 2017 in the subject line (so I can sort my entries).

3) Put your NAME and MAILING ADDRESS in the body of the message

4) Get the email to me by midnight EST of January 4th to be considered!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

12-Days After Christmas - Day 5



Today's giveaway is one of two postcards of a stumpwork picture with great flowers on the side.  The rules of engagement are:

1) Send me a email at tricia@alum.mit.edu

2) Put STUMPWORK in the subject line (so I can sort my entries).

3) Put your NAME and MAILING ADDRESS in the body of the message

4) Get the email to me by midnight EST of January 3rd to be considered!

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Well that was a day...

I am sure you noticed the lapse in my 12 Days of Christmas giveaways.  I will get one up tomorrow!

On the 31st, I was reading some Cabinet of Curiosities chats about the new year and someone said that they had a theory that as your New Year's Day goes, so does the year.  She was planning a calm day of stitching.  Right now all I can say is - GOSH I HOPE NOT!

I was up until 2am waiting for my newly adult child to get back home from fireworks drenched from rain and then woke up to a call from our credit card company about fraud very early in the morning.  So I have dragged around all day on fumes.  Then my computer wouldn't turn on and so couldn't get lessons out.  And as soon as I came downstairs I found my younger child (supposedly fresh with sleep) dragging around pronouncing that he didn't want to do robots anymore (sure sign of some breakdown of the system that was causing frustration).

It takes bent tweezers to insert the screw into the hole in three
moving items through a drilled access hole - and if you miss,
the screw gets lost in the arm and you have to disassemble
much to then shake it out.  38 on the arm.  This is the third
time it has been done in two weeks.  UGH.
So not knowing what fire to put out - I choose helping the random robot kid who slept here in his street clothes last night.  He had worked on the robot and helped us celebrate the new year and was the pitch hitter early this morning with the massive moving robot arm problem.  This one required putting super tiny special ordered screws into a movable stage system with tweezers while someone else used needle nose pliers to hold the lock nut.  Tedious and way beyond every child's frustration zone (kinda watch making level precision).  Before I could shower, the rest of the team showed up (we have a general open door policy but usually I have a clue they are coming).  Not today.  But they were the calvary and I needed to feed many of them...so a quick shower and off to the store.  Much work went on and the super duper frustrating task (there were 38 of those screws for tweezers) was shared by all the kids for the first time resulting in them all understanding my younger son's constant Oscar worthy 'fabulous frustration flops' from working on that part of the system.  And I will admit that almost every day this last week I thought at some point they 'wouldn't make it' with a working robot for this coming weekend competition.

A Fabulous Frustration Flop in progress after a full day of
work and still the thing has two problems crop up for every
one solved.
By the end of the night, he was working happily again and adding new 'features' to their to-do list.  It was a stunning turn around.  At one point they did some practice driving under competition conditions and crossed a goal they set 23 days ago when they decided to trash their robot and build another one from the ground up.  Realize that most teams work on one robot for 4 months.  There was much relief as they are going to be ready for their first qualifier this weekend and it only took pouring 12 hour days in with kids showing up every day except Christmas.  They had set the goal that day they failed massively at their scrimmage.  If they built a new robot design and it could do XYZ, we would order them team sweatshirts.  They were sooooo excited to cross that line and the whole room knew it.  So tomorrow they get ordered.

We have talked with many of our 'robot parents' over break as they had time to hang out while the work was going on.  We all agree that at this point in the kid's lives learning how to deal with frustration and stress you can't really walk away from is the most important thing they are all getting out of this.  They are learning that you have to stick to it.  We call it getting over the hump.  And over time, you start to believe that you can tackle and succeed at impossible tasks.  It just takes patience and perserverence.

This is really a heat gun to do shrink tubing.  But on break
they made snacks with it.
We spend time talking about emotions, making jokes, playing lots of basketball and football and today added some really inappropriate tool use to the mix (imagine a kid learning to do shrink insulation on wiring musing that this 700 degree hot air gun must make some awesome s'mores.... well heck yea!!).  Honestly there are days where I have no idea why they come back.  Really - cause I want to run out of the house and not come back myself!!  ha ha.

But they do.  It's crazy.

And apparently so will be this year if we go by today.

Back to the giveaways tomorrow!