Monday, January 28, 2019

Whitework Samplers Course - A Preview of Some Attractions

I am busy getting the Whitework Sampler course underway for March 1st and thought I would tell the world about one of the little extras in the class.  My courses are always full of context and places to explore if you want to know more than the stitch to do the project.  I envision the classes as what I would want if the class was offered through a university - references to keep exploring and growing as a person!

So to that end, I have been busy adding to one of three pinterest boards for the course.  Right now they are in secret mode for the public - so don't go looking for them!  You won't find them.  This board is an archive of embroidery pattern books that exploded in Europe during the Renaissance to transmit how-to and patterns to those interested.  There have been a few important studies in the last century of pattern books, one of the most extensive, Bibilographie der Modelbucher, was made by Arthur Lotz and published in 1963.  In German, this impressive text tracks the location and information about most of the surviving pattern books through their multiple printings and plagiarizing of content.   This was a great reference for researchers but hard to use as there were only a few patterns published in the book and traveling to see the volumes in rare book archives is hard.  But the advent of digital reproduction in the last decade of rare books has really taken off and it is possible to find around half of the books listed in Lotz online to view.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a large collection of them and had a great exhibit about a year ago and made great in roads into digitizing their vast collection for the exhibit.  But you still have to search to find them.

So I decided to make my research easier and share it with you as well.  I have collected the findable pattern books onto a very organized Pinterest board.   It is organized by the bibliographic reference in Lotz book and I have found additional copies not listed which have come to light in the last fifty years.  Currently there are 63 pattern books located on the board with over 2500 pages of patterns.  All take you back to the original materials on archive sites with full references.

Why should you care?  At its most basic - I have added 2500 patterns to the course.  I could never afford the graphic arts to add that many patterns for you to choose from for your reticella samplers.  One of the lessons will be all about how to print and resize the patterns for your use as well as how to interpret the woodblock patterns.  Steeping myself in them has made me recognize how they were drawing the stitches so I can teach you how to 'read' them as well.

Then there is the added context.  These were pattern books!  That means that there are samplers out there that used these books.  How can we match them up (yup, been doing it), are there notations in some of them that teach us about how they were using them?  yes, again some versions have the original owner using the graph paper, etc.  The frontispieces have valuable information on the working of the pieces, showing women doing the work.  And you can see the transmission of patterns across countries and times.

Through this I found that there is an important collection of patterns just here in a small library in Massachusetts - I hope to visit a particular pattern book where the user used it quite liberally to gain even more insight on the past.

If you are interested in the Whitework Sampler Course and learning more about the patterns and workings - read more info here.

1 comment:

  1. Tricia....Are you planning another tour to further enrich the Whitework course experience? If so count me in.....