Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Good Embroidery TV Watching

I am always looking for good YouTube or other documentaries on PBS to watch while I work putting threads into kits or embroidering for instructions.  Yesterday I came upon a nice 2.5 hour documentary on YouTube I thought I would pass on.  

I love seeing artisans who make things be profiled.  You get to appreciate the work that goes into their craft and understand why something is valued (or should be valued).  It also serves as a top level documentation of their processes.  

For some reason, Business Insider has been doing this for a long time with documentary crews going to different parts of the world to record the 'last of'.  Their series is called "Still Standing" and this is the playlist of amazing traditional crafts and their stories of the people keeping the tradition alive as well as documenting the process.

There are weavers, block printers, dyers, carvers, stone shapers, soy sauce makers, painters, etc. featured.  In each case you see the love for the craft and hear of the pressures on their survival.  For those of us who are lovers of fine embroidery supplies, you know the hardships it has taken to keep our suppliers working.

This is very relevant to me as I spent part of May in Europe visiting artisans in Venice, Vienna and the UK as part of a joint Gold Thread Artisan grant with my colleagues Cristina Carr at the MET and Mary Brooks of Durham University.  We have been working on a study of gold threads of the 17th century and it was time to visit my manufacturers so they could see it live and armed with new knowledge gleaned from primary sources I have been digging up, we could ask pointed questions of those who do.

One of the sites we visited was Mario Menegazzo's gold beating workshop to see him make leaf by hand.  Gold leaf was used heavily in the 17th century to make Venice Gold threads.  We had observed many things under the microscope and needed to show him pictures and discuss what he knows (he is also a metallurgist like me) and what has been written (not so accurate which was what we thought).  

You can see a lovely short documentary about his work here.  It was fabulous to see the entire process that day and film it.  But the conversations after were priceless.  What a lovely and wonderful family as well.  I purchased gold and silver leaf for my casket feet and can't wait to gild them to have special memories of the people who made the material incorporated into my casket.  


  1. Oh that had to be extraordinary to see first hand - amazing!! Thank you so much for sharing the video, and for the other information on YouTube.

  2. What a fascinating video, thanks for sharing.

  3. Thanks for the tip about the Business Insider videos, it's bookmarked for future watching. What an experience to get to visit with the Menegazzo family and buy some gold leaf directly from the source.