Monday, 29 September 2014

Bath Textile Summer School - 17-22 August 2015

The fabulous Bath Textile Summer School is over - long live the Bath Textile Summer School! This wonderful event organized by Lynne Roche has brought needlework heaven that bit closer to us mortals. It is so good to see a class of friends - and that lovely casket.The reports back have been unanimous - this is THE event to attend. And if you couldn't make it this year - there is always next! Click here to find your booking form - and do it quickly!

Friday, 26 September 2014

Micheál and Elizabeth Feller give the Ashmolean one of the world’s finest collections of historic English embroideries.

The Ashmolean has acquired one of the world’s finest collections of historic English embroideries which has been given to the Museum by collectors Micheál and Elizabeth Feller. The gift comprises 61 pieces which span the whole of the seventeenth century; and these are currently on display in the summer exhibition, The Eye of the Needle which runs until 12 October. The Feller embroideries have long been considered one of the world’s most important groups of historic textiles and the gift is estimated to be worth in excess of £500,000. It has come to the Museum in honour of Professor Christopher Brown CBE who will retire as Director of the Ashmolean on 30 September. Professor Brown says: I am profoundly grateful to Micheál and Elizabeth Feller for this gift. The collection has been built, over many years, through Micheál and Elizabeth’s passion and dedication; and the gift to the Museum, where the embroideries can be enjoyed by thousands of visitors, is an act of enormous generosity. The pieces which have been given to the Museum are seventeenth-century embroideries which include dramatic pictorial panels, samplers, domestic items and costume pieces. These embroideries were made during one of the most turbulent centuries in English history, when religious and political conflict split families and the country. Beyond the opportunity for demonstrating technical ability, the embroideries illustrate the themes and concerns which occupied the minds of the young women making them. They often depict biblical stories at a time when religious issues, including the use of images, aroused great controversy. Similarly, during a period of increasing urbanization the pictorial pieces show idyllic country scenes with imaginary creatures and flowers. The Fellers are well known to residents of Oxford as the proprietors of the renowned butcher’s shop in the City’s Covered Market. They started collecting embroideries when they were first married and have continued to buy pieces for over forty years. The interest in textiles and sewing originated with Elizabeth whose mother was a seamstress and who is, herself, an accomplished embroiderer. The pieces which the Fellers have collected reflect their interest in the skills and varied techniques of embroidery, and in the individual stories and wider history that the embroideries illustrate. Elizabeth Feller, says: Thanks to my mother’s influence, sewing and embroidery has been a meaningful activity throughout my life. Our collection of embroideries worked by other people began with small household items such as needlepoint cushions and went on to include samplers, panels and a huge variety of other objects, all steeped in English history and the stories of the individuals who made them – and that is what we love. Micheál and I are delighted that the seventeenth-century embroideries will now find a home at the Ashmolean where they will be cared for and enjoyed by people for many years to come.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Bye Bye to The Goodhart Samplers - Now Out Of Print

We now have no copies of The Goodhart Samplers left. 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The Killerton Quilt Raffle - Help Killerton's Historic Textile Collection

Since September 2012, the National Trust's Killerton's talented Assistant Costume Curator Charlotte has been leading a team of seven hugely creative ladies from their volunteer sewing group to handcraft the Killerton Quilt. It is to be proudly entered into Europe's biggest and most prestigious quilt show - The NEC Festival of Quilts on 7 August. Thousands of painstaking hours have already been invested in creating this unique double bed quilt inspired by a year in the Killerton cider orchards.
The centrepiece is taken from the Rose window in the chapel, the four corners illustrate the four seasons in the garden. Even the little blackberries have been handmade from hundreds of individual beads. The words are from a favourite William Wordsworth poem, The Tables Turned: "Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher". Jo Colwill from the Cowslip Workshop who taught Kirstie Allsopp how to quilt on her TV show 'Kirstie's Handmade Britain' helped the Killerton quilters source the perfect fabric and shared her expertise on colours. Visitors to Killerton can come and see the quilt in working progress. In April it will be transferred to a frame to be hand quilted. Once the competition comes to an end, this beautiful quilt will be raffled to raise much needed funds for equipment to preserve and conserve Killerton's historic costume collection. We wish Charlotte and the ladies the very best of luck for the show. We think you'll agree it's a stunning piece of art.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Peabody Essex Museum Acquires 18th Century Dutch Market Indian Textiles

The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) has just announced : the acquisition of a singular collection of more than 100 rare early 18th-century Indian textiles made for export to the Netherlands. The collection which includes hand-painted chintz palampores (bed covers), an embroidered palampore, banyans, as well as extraordinary examples of Dutch costumes, was assembled in the Netherlands between the 1920s and 1960s by A. Eecen-van Setten. The acquisition has been funded by anonymous donors. Between 1650 and 1750, cotton textiles were imported in large quantities from eastern India to the Netherlands by the VOC (Dutch East India Company). Decorated Indian cotton was commonly referred to as chintz (in Dutch - sits) after the north Indian word chitra meaning spotted or sprinkled. Indian chintzes were prized globally for their vivid and durable colors-something that European textile manufacturers were unable to match until the mid-18th century. These vibrant textiles were particularly popular in the Netherlands, where they were used for nearly everything-clothing, upholstery, bed hangings and even wall coverings. Collected at a time when chintz textiles were not well studied, the Veldman-Eecen Collection would be virtually impossible to assemble today given the scarcity of such textiles in the contemporary market. The collection, which also includes a selection of related European-printed textiles from the late 18th to the early 20th centuries, is enhanced by a detailed journal, or Sits Boek (chintz book), in which A.Eecen-van Setten chronicled her acquisitions. Selections from the collection will be on view in Asia in Amsterdam, a forthcoming 2016 exhibition co-organized by PEM and the Rijksmuseum. For more details, click here.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Home From The Mountains & 2 Sides to a Sampler

Brixen or Bressanone in the Sudtirol probably has one of the largest collections of Krippe. We might loosely term these as Cribs - and perhaps you have seen some of the European cribs at Christmas, where not only models of Mary and Joseph and the Baby Jesus, with angels, shepherds and magi are displayed, but also the whole population of what appears to be the local community - farmers, bakers, vintners, dairymaids etc. However, Krippe are not only for Christmas. The collection in Brixen/Bressanone Diocesan Museum includes populous displays for just about every biblical episode, not just the Nativity alone. The photo is of a detail of such a Krippe made in the early 1700s and you may be delighted to see two stitchers working on the same panel, perhaps a sampler, we can't be entirely sure.
My apologies for worrying you with my absence - thank you for all your thoughtful emails in my absence - it is never easy to get connections up in the Dolomites where we have been walking but I thought it would be nice to take a rest prior to my retirement at the end of this year.