Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Missing Sampler - Have you Seen It?

I don't normally get emails from detectives every day - but my inbox had an unusual request this week.  A police detective from the Newburyport Police Department contacted me about a cold case he was trying to bring back and solve.

Way back in 2014 as I was working on geneology regarding a set of samplers from Newbury and Newburyport with the curator of the Museum of Old Newbury, I brought out of my folder a picture of a 1820 sampler by Lydia Comb Bartlett to show him.  It was a listing off Ebay.  He was stunned and upset and immediately rushed to the object files.  

The sampler was owned by the museum and had been in storage.  Now I had just shown him that it had been recently sold on Ebay.  Yes, it was missing.  I had also tracked it to a 2011 auction where a better picture was held.  It was reported stolen and unfortunately didn't rise to the level of investigation at the time or as the detective said, it fell though the cracks.  

So the detective contacted me to have me use my knowledge of the sampler field as well as Newbury samplers to help them generate leads.  I have already turned over several as well as notified many who come across collections and large amounts of pictorial data on samplers.  The major sampler dealers are now on the look out.  But he asked if I would put the call out on blogs so many eyes will be checking as well.  The sampler was purchased by someone innocent, not knowing that the sampler was missing from a museum.  And it is pretty clear that the sellers did not know that the sampler was museum property too.   It is very easy for antique material to get back into the market without being noticed and passing hands quickly.  That is why major auction houses and buyers above a certain amount are keen to know the provenance of objects and that is often listed going back into the 19th century on auction listings.  Few people want to buy something that is ill gotten.  

If you know the whereabouts of this sampler.  You can contact:

Joshua Tierney

Newburyport Police Department

(978)462-4411 EXT. 1066

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Thistle Threads Openings Spring/Summer

Travel has returned with a vengeance this year.  I thought 2022 was stacked with events but this year hasn't let up.  We had a stretch of a month with a robot competition every weekend we had to fly to as soon as my youngest son recovered from his brain injury from concussions (we are all still recovering from that trauma).  This has been followed by travel regarding admitted student days and now the World Championship is just around the corner.  Then work trips regarding textiles, two graduations to host and a family trip.  On top of it my robotics team which is disbanding gets one last hurrah!  We have been invited to compete in the off-season PanAsia Tournament in Australia this summer.  And the kids decided to go!  So we will be dragging the robot stuff (somehow) to Sydney and then traveling in a pack around Australia for a few weeks before they all move into their colleges.

So I have looked at the calendar and chosen all the periods where I could ship in volume for a few weeks and posted them on the shop.  

April 4-14th

May 9th-16th

August 1-18th

As always, if you make an order in between, I will do my best to fill it that week and if I can't, I will let you know.  But for obvious reasons, I can't post my exact out of town dates.  

I will be doing some amazing work travel late spring - visiting some new production places in Italy and visiting old friends to cook up new threads.  Those trips always result in a few years of amazing things we all get to enjoy.  

I am still hoping for a Frostings Box this year, but production of threads for it stopped for many months because of the Coronation and I am sure the professional embroiderers are now stitching 24/7.  Suddenly discussion of thread back-production has restarted.  I have boxed what I have and in this batch is something I have been working on since the Plimoth Jacket to get back into production.  I seriously thought about just keeping it all for myself as it has been so hard won.  

I am still on track to introduce my completely revamped Sampler Design course in a few months.  I have been busy constructing units on design, filming shorts, and charting motifs.  I have several other smaller courses in development but until all the threads show up, I am waiting to talk about them.  And I am testing some licensing agreement ideas with a major museum right now in the hopes that I can find a way to put some of my popular historical lectures online through my teaching site with ticketed views.  It has taken me six months to finally get someone in the dept to listen to the idea and agree to estimate a proposal.   Cross our fingers!  

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Cleveland Museum of Art - Blog Part 2

Robin and Holly have published the second half of their blog on the Lord Chancellor's Burse with more of their story and lots of really wonderful pictures.  There is quite a bit of context about many of the burses that are known and their larger research project which included a summer 2022 workshop on gold thread manufacture and embroidery I ran with Robin at CMA.