Saturday, April 28, 2007
You've bought or borrowed every book or commercially available magazine about textiles. You know all the photographs and can quote authors' opinions at the drop of a hat.
But you yearn to kick your textile research up a notch. You want to breathe the rarified atmosphere of the academic, the professional conservator, the thread guru at the top of the cultural mountain.
Want a good way to get a toe in the door of that special world? Then give The Getty Conservation Institute a try.
A good place to start research is the Institute's Abstracts of International Conservation literature. AATA Online is a comprehensive database of over 100,000 abstracts of literature related to the preservation and conservation of material cultural heritage. An abstract of an article or book or thesis gives you a taste of the contents of the publication in a short, readable paragraph. Abstracts help a researcher know if the publication is likely to contain information useful to them and lets you narrow down your search so you don't have to flounder about reading "everything" that might be spot on when it comes to the area of your interest.
AATA Online is user friendly. You do need to register (free of charge) but the only information that is strictly required is an e-mail address. Using a search term "cleaning textiles" I obtained a list of 444 abstracts. "Mending textiles" yielded 16 abstracts including a thesis on a subject near and dear to my heart -- 17th century gold and silk knitted jackets.
A search for "metallic threads" brought up 188 abstracts including one that certainly has my interest "Gold textiles from a Roman burial at Munigua".
The site also gives advice on obtaining copies of the full text publications abstracted. Often your local library can help with ILL services. Also a university or museum library may prove a good resource.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
I found all sorts of files I had forgotten I'd uploaded at one time or another and when they became redundant, hadn't cleared them up. I freed up heaps of space when I quit keeping the Rockome showbook on my site and turned the files over to the folks at the Gardens.
All this house cleaning will allow me to use a less expensive hosting plan and still have plenty of bandwith for lots of access and for growth.
Labels: Website maintenance
First of all Sharon B.'s Mindtracks. It was a rather raging internal debate between Mindtracks and In A Minute Ago. Although they both make me think, Mindtracks is a real cerebral exercise for me that often makes me reach beyond the easy and comfortable to approach ideas that are a little tougher to get a handle on. A good workout. So Mindtracks it is.
Another blog that takes me to realms not always familiar to me is Jerry Everard's Mindsigh Jerry has a way of making rather lofty academic approaches to philosophic thought within my grasp without "dumbing down" the concepts. It is his clarity of expression that does the trick.
Ragged Cloth Cafe is a favorite because I can rub shoulders with textile artists who are far from the commercial world of stitchery design where I spend a good deal of time. It takes me out of the world of mass market and keeps me stitching for myself alone, exploring what might please me, not what might please the largest number of consumers and helps me create a link between thinking and doing.
I've read Arts & Letters Daily since cybertime immemorial (remember when we paid for every minute and used SpryMosaic to find the few things out there in cyberspace?). It brings to my attention articles, book reviews and essays I would otherwise miss, and forces me to think about issues I might otherwise ignore.
My fifth choice might seem unusual. Waiter Rant is a slice of life seen through the eyes of a NYC waiter who has been rewarded with a book contract for his writing skills. It makes me think about relationships which are the core of blog entries. It is a constantly shifting scene of Front of the House, Back of the House, people in the world sort of gently choreographed dance of personalities. It makes me think about human encounters in my life.
An interesting byproduct of this meme has been the wide variety of blogs I've visited by clicking through other bloggers' choices. I've built a very nice list of blog links through this exercise.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
3:7 (King James) And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
"Linn, today I was reading a book that mentioned the needle and it's long history.
Now I'm wondering if the mention of sewing in Genesis 3:7 indicates the use of a
needle. All the parallel versions I found used "sewed" except one said "stitched"
together. A commentary (WES) said sewed or platted. Do you have any clues or did any
linquist help with your questions on embroidery yet that might have an idea about
this, too? Thanks"
I have always been of the opinion that Genesis 3:7 was referring to stitching or sewing with a needle rather than plaiting bits of fig leaves. If you've ever lived with a fig tree I think you would probably come to the conclusion that it wouldn't do very well in the plaiting department. The leaves are soft and fairly supple and would be amenable to stitching however.
The Exotic Fruit Growers site has some excellent information on fig trees. "Foliage: Fig leaves are bright green, single, alternate and large (to 1 ft length). They are more or less deeply lobed with 1 - 5 sinuses, rough hairy on the upper surface and soft hairy on the underside. In summer their foliage lends a beautiful tropical feeling. "
I do think the scholars involved with the King James version came from a social group that understood a needle to be involved in Adam and Eve's constructing garments. The Worshipful Company of Needlemakers, a London guild granted charter during the commonwealth years certainly felt that way as their heraldic device includes Adam and Eve flanking needles.
We certainly know that needles were used at the time of the earliest biblical scholarship. The British Museum has some excellent examples of very early needles.
So, just on circumstantial evidence, I would have to say sewed rather than plaited.
Her scissors fob speaks of color and design ability. I hope we see more. Check it out at her blog The Stitching Hour
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
But while doing mundane tasks, the mind tends to wander a bit. Now I'm a person who considers salty things more of a treat than sweet things. I've been sitting here today eating olives as a treat and the taste brought back a sequence of memories.
In 1964 whilst stationed in Germany, I visited Italy in October. A much recommended month for travel in my opinion. While strolling the streets in Naples, I was enticed to buy a newspaper cone filled with freshly brined Italian olives. What a treat until the brine turned my mouth into a prune.
That was a good journey. I went on the ferry to Capri and stayed there a few nights rather than making it into the usual day trip. Capri without tourists is a jewel, a treasure, an aura. It was on Capri that I encountered another foodie delight I will never forget. At the time just after sunset, when all the small cafes are opening and lights and music spills into the streets, I followed my nose to a mom and pop corner grocery with a couple of wobbly wire legged tables where mama served up food for the locals. At that moment mama was frying doughnuts - as large as a bread and butter plate and dusted with sugar and cinnamon. If you've not eaten fresh doughnuts washed down with local red wine on the Isle of Capri when you are 21, you've not lived my friends.
Our senses bring back memories like an avalanche. Whether it be smell, taste, sound, touch, show of color - it all becomes part of our creative being.
Monday, April 23, 2007
From time to time I pick up some airmiles from an airline not usual for me. Never enough to pop for a air mileage ticket, but the airlines team up with a magazine broker to offer subscriptions for miles.
This is when I order up subscriptions that are certainly not in my budget but very glossy indeed. Architectural Digest, Vogue, etc.
These are packed full of design inspiration. Find a full page ad with colors that simply call to you. Believe me Prada and Tiffany don't create ugly layouts. Run with their colors and you will never go wrong.
Plus in the latest Vogue there is an amazing use of fabric manipulation in a pyramid shape on the back of a shirtwaist. Elegant to say the least.
Labels: Needlework Design
Saturday, April 21, 2007
A sad day because I've had to withdraw from the NCCSS2007 show at Rockome in June. I had high hopes for the show when I heard the new owners had decided to go ahead this year. It was always a wonderful experience and had a lovely character of its own. But, as often happens in life, change occurs and the new management folks have a different vision of the show than that to which we were all accustomed. My customers seem not to be ready for these changes and I guess I'm an old stick-in-the-mud as well. I always believe "if it ain't broke, don't smash it just so you can try to fix it." Ah well, I have lovely memories of Rockome past and my friendships from those shows will continue forever.
I will be completing the kits of the reproduction sampler I was going to teach and it will be offered for sale at my online catalog. We had planned a fun evening event, a Teddy Bear Picnic, but believe me - I've not abandoned those ideas. Libby and I will be hosting it somewhere else in the future.
If anyone needs information regarding the show, Butch Phillips will be happy to help.
Geometric embroidery (whether stitched in black or some other color) likewise seems to have a fatal attraction for many of us.
When teaching a blackwork class, I often ask students how many of them are mathematicians, statisticians, programmers, engineers, architects, musicians or draftspeople. Geometric designs seem to feel very comfortable and appeal to their sense of order, progression, symmetry and spatial relationships.
Stitching reversibly also has its followers - double-running stitch makes sense to them and it flows. It's rather like abstract mathematics is to some folks - it has a beauty that cannot be explained, but is extremely satisfying to its practitioners.
Ah, the mysteries of stitching and how we construe aesthetic values.
Labels: The Zen of Embroidery
I love the contrast of blackwork as well, but I love the freeform styles, which must appeal to my very non-maths oriented brain!!
Friday, April 20, 2007
I was talking with Eileen this morning and brought up the idea that we ought to make the bands available in some form in the future. We will talk further at Rockome in June, but I think we are leaning toward the idea of each of us taking the three bands we designed, adding three more bands for the other queens and each of us bringing out a unique sampler honoring these royal ladies.
Just think, then you could buy two queens samplers! It would be fun comparing them. We both have similar tastes but different design styles.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
We decided to each take the responsibility for researching the lives and preparing a band for three of Henry's spouses. Eileen, being the icon of sampler designers, got first choice of queens and picked Catherine of Aragon, Jane Seymour and Katherine Parr. I designed bands for Anne Boleyn, Anne of Cleves and Kathryn Howard.
It was a fun project. I set the size of the bands. They were all one width but varying heights (within limits). Eileen chose the colors we would use and provided a useful alphabet. Neither of us saw each other's designs until we reached Rockome Gardens where we would present the designs at a Country Evening event at the National Counted Cross Stitch Show. It is a design only distributed to the participants of the event as a limited edition, so it is special.
We had a fun evening with games and a bit of Tudor history aided by slides as we explored Henry's marital habits.
I know at least one stitcher, Adana Adams, has completed the project because she blogs about it in her blog, Confessions of a Midwest Stitcher. She used imagination in her interpretation by adding the names of the Queens and stitching a crown for each of these historic wives. I'm glad she enjoyed the evening and stitching her sampler and I can't wait to see it at Rockome this year. Come to the show in June if you'd like to see Adana's sampler as well.
I don't know how Adana manages her crowded life as an executive in the healthcare industry, a stitcher, and a busy family member. Do read her blog if you'd like a taste of stitching-from-the-heart of a stitcher from the heartland.
BTW, I'm having outgoing email problems. I've tried to email you and thank you for the wonderful care package that you sent before Gulf War. It was a *smashing* success! It's a problem with my ISP -- for some reason, your ISP is blocking my ISP -- and they're pointing fingers at each other!
Eileen and I have talked from time to time about doing something with these bands as a charity project. It may come out in the future for that purpose.
With the Showtime series The Tudors out now you and Eileen might want to think about making the pattern available this year. -Catherine
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Some poor soul was searching for information on Medieval Trade Fairs (a subject that interests me a good deal) when they popped up my blog with a reference to modern consumer trade shows. Poor them, but lucky me. I pulled up their Google search and became lost in Medieval Trade Fairs.
Try it, you may like it.
Labels: Blog world
I've found some very interesting sites this way :)
But, and a BIG BUT occasionally I do find occasion to take on the task of trying to interpret a bygone stitchers' wishes and stitches and reproduce a sampler.
The simple little sampler I'm working with has only two sorts of stitches (cross stitch and Queen/Roccoco stitch). The fabric is typical of early 19th century fabric used for samplers. An unevenweave and unevenly spun fibers. About 25 count linen.
When reproducing samplers I prefer to chose a linen color that closely approaches the original at the time it was first stitched, not as it appears after years of aging. Sometimes I can examine the core of the fiber when the aging process has not completely engaged the entire thread. Not so this time, so I have chosen a typical color for the time period, a warm cream colored linen.
Next, fibers with which to stitch. Silk of course. Very fine and with a soft "handle", evenly twisted. Naturally dyed and badly faded in the original. What to do about colors? Chemical dyes can only approach naturally dyed fibers, no matter how hard you try to duplicate the originals. In this instance the fading is apparent both back and front. The sampler had apparently been folded and placed in a book. It seems to have been freely exposed to pollutants and light. Now, do you try to duplicate the current colors of the fibers which are all faded with very, very subtle differences? I think not and I am choosing to use colors I know through examining other embroideries of that period to be typical and popular choices of stitchers.
In other words, I try to capture the spirit of the original stitcher and duplicate her intentions, skills and choices.
As I've gone through computers and programs and organizational systems and moves across country, I've backed up or tossed away, or shoved in a box lots of ideas that started out great. Some of them need very little to finish them up and I always kept saying "after I don't have to go to the office any more."
Well, I'm not going to an office anymore - thanks to a wonky back and Social Security - so I think it's about time I finish a few of them up or hit the delete button sending them off to a far far better life.
Watch this space for progress and keep a good thought that there may be some progress.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Many thanks to SCA Today for the link.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
The only consumer show we'll be doing this year is the one sponsored by Rockome Gardens, the National Counted Cross Stitch Show. After a hiatus of two years and having to get up to speed after losing their show director, the show managers are trying very hard to catch up a bit and to plan for future years of fun and stitching.
And for your amusement, a little review of a needlework show offered up by an enduring spouse who visited a show with an avid stitcher.
Labels: Consumer Needlework Shows
Saturday, April 07, 2007
I have managed to move a few more papers around and finished up work on the Rockome website. I've started the charting for the reproduction sampler I will offer as a project in June and sorted out some bits and pieces that will go in the booth at that show.
Labels: Life the Universe and Everything
Now for the "link" --- All Fiber Arts concentrates mostly on weaving, spinning and knitting, but there is a good deal of stitchery info as well. It's one of those BHS (Black Hole Sites). It can suck you in and you simply disappear for hours. Tons of links, Clipart, Articles, layer on layer of mighty good stuff.
And I did punch and bind a stack of books over 2 feet high. Boooooooooooooring my dears.
I have uploaded a few more photos of projects to the Rockome information pages. It seems that the show there is pulling itself up by the bootstraps. Butch Phillips, the onsite events manager has employed some new staff to deal with the show. If we can get through this year, next year should be smoother sailing. I would hate to lose the show again. It went into rehab for two years and I missed having a consumer show to attend.
I've been spending some time sorting out supplies and getting order lists ready for the classes I'll be teaching there as well as the stuff we'll have for sale in the booth.
Louise, a friend, will be there and will help cover the booth while I teach. Sometimes mid-week at the show, it gets a little slow in the exhibit hall so I'm taking some make-it-take-its to entice folks to sit a spell and stitch.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Their stated purpose is to help create a united presence and global recognition for Canadian fashion and design on the World Wide Web.
The site has extensive links to fashion and design sites, schools of design and fashion, and a Q&A section. The best bits though are their textile dictionary and fashion glossary. If you don't know your way around Escarpins, Lacerna, Sbernia, Peau de Cynge, Brocatelle, or Nacre Velvet you need to give these reference sources a try.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
I check in fairly often during any 24 hour period so there shouldn't be tooo much delay in seeing your comments posted.
To my regular readers - thanks for the comments. They are appreciated. When a blogger gets comments it's like being able to see the horizon when flying. You know which side is up and that you are progressing in the right direction.
Labels: Blog housekeeping
The original page had been deleted on the Turkish Government site but I found it archived by the Way Back Machine. This site takes as its mission to archive the vast sea of sites on the web.
I copied the link from my blog entry, went to the Way Back homepage and pasted the link in their search box. And Bob's Your Uncle, there is the page for Berceste.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
I do enjoy knowing what some of our world's early writings have to say about embroidery however. For this I turn to the bible in my home - the King James translation of 1611. I've had exposure to other translations through courses in comparative religion and the bible as literature.
There are several references in bibles to embroidery. I've found a place to compare differing translations of those references. So, toddle on over to the Online Parallel Bible. The folks there define their mission as: "to increase the visibility and accessibility of the Scriptures online. Our site is designed to get you quickly to the verse, version and site you need. "
I typed in "embroidery" as a search term and found some of my favorite verses and some I'd not realized were in one or more bibles. A further click yielded the verse in several versions of the bible. What really set me back a bit was the varying interpretations/translations made when these folks were faced with textile terms. To those of us who stitch, the terms "embroidery" "needlework" "woven" and "finger woven" have some pretty distinct differences, but not to biblical scholars.
At Exodus 39:29 - The priestly garments one of the garments is identified variously as a giirdle, a sash or a belt. It is described as work of the weaver, embroidered, of needlework, work of the embroiderer, worked, of embroidery, work of the weaver, of needle-work, work of the embroiderer, or work of an embroiderer.
The King James version uses the term needlework but at Ezekiel 27:7 The King James bible specifically uses the term "fine linen with broidered work from Egypt." So....how did the committee view these two terms and how did they apply them? I hope someone who stitches who is a linguist or a bible scholar has some opinions on this question.
Further at Ezekiel 27:7 The American Standard bible speaks of "Of fine linen with broidered work from Egypt was thy sail, that it might be to thee for an ensign." (early heraldic type device?). However the 1917 Jewish Publication Society Tanakh prefers "Of fine linen with richly woven work from Egypt was thy sail, that it might be to thee for an ensign." So, agreement on the source (Egypt), the purpose (an ensign) but disagreement on the technique (broidered/woven).
Also seen are references to beating of gold and weaving it (cloth of gold) and twining. I've often wondered if the twining references might be sprang or a relative of sprang. Or is twining simply a reference to weaving.
After you take a look at some of the verses, all comments and opinions most welcome.
Monday, April 02, 2007
Then you need Medieval News.
Labels: Medieval history
Sunday, April 01, 2007
They helped keep The Three Graces in London and have contributed funds to buy several textiles, as well as the usual paintings, sculpture and illuminated manuscripss. If you click on "Art Saved" and search for "embroidery" you'll see 17th century embroidered caskets and an exquisite mens cap from the Burrell Collection.
Choose a search on "textiles" in the Art Cloud and you will turn up everything from a sampler at the John Wesley Museum in London to Native American items at the Hastings Museum and Art Gallery.
A great way to see things that may not be featured on a website of a small museum.
(Actually, I'm not that het up about keeping "local" art local.)