Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Another Lamora Jenner!

Can you just imagine the end of the 21st century when embroidery curators and enthusiasts are saying "Who is X?" when looking at the volume of embroidery we are right now creating in the 17th century style.  I hope you are all putting your story on the papers of your caskets and the edges of your pictures!

There are at least 2 stumpwork mirrors, 2 caskets and now 2 pictures known to have been worked by the elusive Mrs. Jenner in the pre-war period in England.  This piece just turned up at Christie's in their Dec 2nd Masters and Makers sale and I was shown the other picture at the Holburn Museum this summer!  One of the mirrors is at the National Trust, saw a different one at Witney's a few years ago too.

It really is making me want to find out this woman's story!

And maybe it makes me feel just a little bit better that her work is being treated so well by the Antiques market.


Leonora Jenner C. 1940 Lot 441 Sale 5870 Christie's

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Pinterest Board for Textiles at MET

New Pinterest Board for Research photos of embroidery from the MET
I am thrilled to let you know about a new digital initiative at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The successful 17th century embroidery exhibition Twixt Art and Nature in 2009 resulted in a treasure trove of amazing conservation photographs of pieces using special techniques by textile conservator Cristina Balloffet Carr.

This is a digital initiative that aims to use social media in a new way - new boards on Pinterest will be added every week, each dedicated to a single object and presenting images that convey technical information.  

The success of this on the part of the museum will be gauged by the number of followers.  So get on there often and be amazed at the images which are unprecedented.  These are the types of images that are usually reserved for scientific publications and show the closest details of the embroideries.  I am thrilled because the access to information like this is usually limited to just a few of us.  I can just imagine the new materials, insights and inspired embroideries that will come out of this initiative as well as the scholarship that this will result from open access to research photography.  Please remember to credit Cristina Carr and the MET in any discourse you have about what you learn from the images.  And you will need to check with the MET on proper use/credit of images.

Cristina and I have been writing articles on a few of these objects for Inspirations, the first being a sweet bag.  The article is now coming out in the latest issue.  We will be treating a few more objects in future issues.

So please support this!! It is but one of many new educational digital initiatives that will enhance the understanding of embroidery and textiles by the MET and bring them to a broad audience around the world.  To follow and be alerted to new posts of objects, use the "Follow" button on the top of the page.  You will have to have a pinterest account to do so.

There is a second page on a specific and wonderful exhibit on tapestry and their technologies that is currently running at the MET (my tour group saw it a few weeks ago).  The exhibit has its own Pinterest board and it is really interesting.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Beaded Basket for Sale - Christies

A CHARLES II BEADWORK LAYETTE BASKET Lot 480, Dec 2nd, 2014 Christie's Sale 5870

There is another beaded basket for sale at Christie's, so if you have been keeping a file folder with them for study, get over to the site and look at the pictures up close.  This one is similar to one at the V&A with a square net worked in panels to go over the metal frame.  The frame is uncovered in spots so if you want to get a feeling of how the piece is worked there are places to take a peak!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Help Winterthur Acquire Wonderful Pattern Book

Winterthur has an opportunity to purchase a set of 18th century pattern books for embroidery.  These were created by a German drawing master named Johann Netto.  The books are unique because not only do they include patterns found on 18th century German samplers, they have worked examples of the motifs in them!  The three volume set is amazing and the embroidery and instructions are worthy of being in a museum.  There are just a few pictures attached to this blog post.  The MET has a copy of the book and has a nice little write up about it on their Heilbrunn Timeline.  One of the volumes (from a different collection) has been digitized and can be 'leafed through' (give each page time to load) on

Any amount is vastly appreciated (a bunch of $5 checks add up!).  Checks can be made out to Winterthur and sent to:

Winterthur Museum Pattern Book
Attn. Linda Eaton
Winterthur Museum
Winterthur DE, 19735

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Geek In Me Loves this Stuff!

A wonderful article about a Coats of Arms piece likely worked in Boston is finally up on the web and able to be shared with you all.  I love things like this because they use the techniques of my grad school days to solve problems associated with historical objects.  In this case, there was a bit of the lead white paint on the un-embroidered surface which said "Gold".  X-ray radiography was used by Angela Duckwall at Winterthur to figure out why the word was there and if there was more under the embroidery!

Enjoy the read and be amazed at the pictures

(Link just updated - it should work now)


Sunday, November 16, 2014

What's up Behind the Scenes?

If you enjoy the blog, you might not know that there is a secret blog running as well!  I have a social network site for those in my online classes called NING.  Ning is a place, kinda like Facebook (but better) where forums are ongoing with photos and personal pages.  Think of it like a meet-up spot for everyone who goes gaga for 17th century embroidery.  It is unbelievably lively with posts of embroideries in process for caskets, stumpwork, etc. as well as some amazing sharing of research photos.  Because of the private nature (password controled), if a group visits a museum and the curator gives permission (to me) for the pictures to be posted, the group then shares them.  Imagine that - it's like you were a mouse in their pocket without the expensive airfare to Australia or England or wherever! It's one of those unexpected benefits of classes.

It is also where we post pics like this.  Here is the king off a piece of stumpwork I am teaching as a side project in the Stumpwork course to show detailed how to on making such things as boots, hands, and the ever scary - faces.  This is one of the lessons for next month's installment.

It is hard to tell how much relief is involved in this figure - but he is almost 1 cm off the surface in most places and then gets a big fatter in others.  His queen will be finished soon and I will try to post pictures of her.


Friday, November 14, 2014

On My Christmas List

The new book by Naomi Tarrant (former curator National Museums of Scotland) chronicling the emergence of a distinctive Scottish sampler style is on my short list for Christmas.  There are so few books being published now in embroidery that one has to both support and enjoy those that are able to be published.

Unfortunately at the moment there is only one US vendor (that I know of -- please let me know of other sources) - Amazon.  Amazon has been the locus of price undercutting that has made it even harder for volumes like this in special interests to be published.

You can buy direct from England as well through the publisher.

The book name is 'Remember Now Thy Creator' Scottish Girls' Samplers, 1700-1872 by Naomi E. A. Tarrant

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Yummy Casket

This little (6 3/4" x 8" x 5") casket was sold recently by Sotheby's and is almost too yummy and tiny to mention!  A fall front piece and if the dates painted on it are to be believed, it is a quite early piece.   Dated 1658 it falls into a set of about a dozen dated pieces in the 1650s. Not surprisingly, these dated pieces also have quite a variety of shapes and configurations too.  I wish the dates were embroidered into the piece as so few out there have painted details.  Not being commonly seen, I have to reserve judgement on the date as I have seen so many pieces that have had their embroidery 'brightened' with paint over the years.

But it is still really sweet and makes one want to make a small box too!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Interesting History from a Sampler

This was a post today from the Sampler Consortium and after reading the article, it seemed a good thing to repost.  A sampler by "Charlotte Turner, Liberated African" is now in the collection of the Seattle Art Museum after a donation by Ruth Nutt, a collector of embroidery and other art objects.

Through the announcement of the donation, a reporter became interested in the description of an 1831 (pre-civil war) liberated African making a sampler at 10 and wanted to know more.  So she went on a fact finding mission which is at odds with the history that others want to ascribe to the object (many want the piece to be an American sampler).  It is an interesting written perspective from someone who has no previous work in the sampler field, and highlights as well the difficulties that museums have with interpretation and wishes for an object.

Read the article here


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Embroidered Bookbindings

There is a nice site using Flicker to show 17th century embroidered bookbindings and microscopic images of the embroidery on them.  The five books are in the collection of the University of Glasgow Library and can be found at their Flicker address.

I suggest putting them on the slide show feature because you can really see great details.  Also put your cursor over the "Presented here..." text.  It will bring up a pop-up window where text discussing the books and their embroidery will be shown.