Saturday, October 28, 2023

Witney Exhibition and Book (Preorders)

I was able to get to the Witney Exhibition this week in the UK and I was blown away.  I have seen many of their exhibits before and was extremely overjoyed, but this one took my breath away.  I would have been a happy camper with the first two rooms I entered, but then I went into the largest in the back and the shear number of 17th century band and whitework samplers on the wall knocked me over (think dozens).  And that wasn't the highlight!  

The highlight was the Elizabeth Hall collection of a casket and the smalls which had been kept in the box for almost four hundred years.  I was lucky to be the only one in the gallery at the time and so I asked Rebecca if she would consider allowing me to film her talking about the collection and the family.  This is the single most important casket and school girl collection to come to light since the Martha Edlin collection.  It not only includes her work, but the work of later family members and the samplers of friends that did works in the same school or were in her wedding, etc.  To see so many interlinked pieces was astounding.  And to know that the family shared all their letters mentioning the embroideries, allowing the maker of so many of these family pieces in the casket to be identified and dated as well. 

Rebecca was just too excited to tell me about the collection to say no to filming - so expect something on YouTube coming up after I get back to the states and can edit.  I have to admit that my eyes wandered here and there to a sampler or more on the wall and I might have cut her out of the frame here and there - but the visual candy and wonderful story is still there!  I can't believe I didn't shake more (from excitement).  

This exhibit and next year's one (yes she has MORE like this!!) is really Rebecca's baby and culmination of the work she has done for decades on needlework through the store and her books.  She is collaborating with Isabella Rosner to expand the research hours and knowledge that can be learned from the pieces and they have written an important book about the collection for the exhibit. 

Normally the catalogs are softcover, but Rebecca promised the family that the collection would be properly documented in one volume when they offered it to her for sale.  While we all hope a single collector or institution will have the vision to purchase the collection as a whole, it was significantly important to Rebecca and the family to publish it all in one well done volume, hence they spent the money to make it hardcover and use very large and detailed photos.  But this meant that there are only half the copies of the catalog as there would normally be.  This book will not last long on the market.  

Because of its importance to research and the knowledge base on embroidery and schoolgirls, Access Commodities has committed to bring a number of copies to the US in a large shipment.  We want to support what Rebecca Scott and Isabella Rosner have been doing so they can pour their capital and knowledge into next year's book as well - Volume II.  

I am taking preorders for the book.  It is heavy and so postage to get it here to the US has not been small.  But that is the nature of books these days.   I hope to have the first copies I order by late November and can start shipping them out.  I think you might want to give the link to a husband for a great Christmas order!

I was so excited that pieces were photographed in macro so we could really see what was going on in the work.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Witney Antiques Annual Exhibition

 It has been a very busy two weeks getting the Frostings Box out the door and back from a trip to Ireland and off to the UK.  I am here in Oxford ready for a visit to the annual Witney Antiques Exhibit and very excited!  I warmed up today visiting the burial site of Martha Edlin right after getting out of Heathrow and then a quick nap and hours in the Ashmolean Museum looking at 17th century embroidery.

If you have been following the Witney Antiques Instagram you may be seeing some of the outstanding pieces that are in the exhibit and the associated book coming out for the exhibit.  

I will report back soon on the exhibit which runs from now until Nov 18th daily (email to let them know you are coming) and the hotly anticipated book.

I have gotten a few emails inquiring if I will be having the book in my shop.  Initially I didn't think so, but Access Commodities called yesterday to let me know that they will be able to get the book in and I will be taking preorders for the book as soon as pricing is figured out.  You can always call Witney and purchase one as well if you don't want to wait a few more weeks.  


Screenshot from Witney Antiques Instagram of a pristine casket!

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Christmas Baubles - a Needlework Nibble as the 2023 Christmas Ornament


A new free needlework nibble pattern has been posted on my teaching site.  Get in and download it.  The ornament is 4 inches in diameter and uses sampler stitches combined with five types of gilt die stamped spangles that I have sourced and a really fantastic twisted gilt trim made from bullion and check that is twisted around a wire.  

Each of these materials are available in the store as well as an all-in-one stitching kit (I have a limited number of them available).  One of the spangles can be seen below - they are super cool!  

Friday, October 13, 2023

Jo's Beautiful Casket

 I love getting emails with photos of the finished caskets!  It can certainly brighten my day to see such a monumental amount of work finished (and make all this work to get here worthwhile on my part).  

Josephine Wootton has been showing us progress on her flat top casket with doors for years on the NING site for the class and it is so cool to see it all together.

Her first friezes were posted in late 2017 so it has been a long journey to get to all the embroidery.  Jo said that she used designs from the original Cabinet of Curiosities course and mixed the ones she liked together  on the panels.  She worked it all in Split Stitch on 40 count linen (it must glow!).  She laughed and said she was getting a little tired of the technique when she worked the back so the design is a bit more sparse.  I think we can give her a pass on that!  The casket is just beautiful.  I love how she has embroidered on the drawer fronts as well - and you can see several of the small projects from the Cabinet of Curiosities as well in the drawers!  What a heirloom for her!

She said she is now off to work on the Double Casket she has!  

Friezes finished in 2017

The front and top of Josephine Wootton's Casket
Josephine Wootton's Casket with old man fall pruning on the left side

Josephine Wootton's Casket right side with a woman holding a flower

Josephine Wootton's Casket with an amazing marbled paper that matches the purple and pink

Josephine Wootton's Casket inside with embroidered doors

Back of Josephine Wootton's Casket