If any of you have had the privilege of taking a class with Alison Cole, you know she is a very skilled embroiderer and also has a great knowledge of needlework history. Here is a video hosted by Alison where she discusses 17th century embroidery. Thanks go to Margot Walker for sharing this with us!
Submitted by Margot Walker
This redwork box was inspired by an altar cloth from the parish church of Appleby-in-Westmoreland, England, which was embroidered in the 1700’s. The original is now in the collection of the Embroiderers’ Guild (U.K.). These pictures are of a duplicate which was being stitched by four embroiderers in the parish in 2012.
I fell in love with Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge and knew I had to duplicate that motif. If you look closely, you can see that Adam and Eve seem to be tattooed!)
One day, as I was strolling through Dollarama, I spied a wooden box with divisions for storing teabags and a light bulb went off. The box was 8.75″x6″x3.5″, and could be used for storing specialty embroidery threads. I would buy it and cover it with redwork.
The first thing was to design the top. After copying the Adam and Eve design, I realized that more was needed, so I added two trees. For the sides, I scoured the internet and books of 18th century embroidery and copied motifs that appealed to me. After choosing 17 of them, the embroidery started.
The embroidery is really quite simple: outline stitch and seed stitch using one or two strands of DMC floss. When the stitching was done, I saw that I needed a finishing touch of a braid or the like to go around the edges of the box. Since I wanted the colour of the braid to match the red of the embroidery, I made what I needed in bobbin lace, using the same thread.
The box needed sanding and then I painted the inside. To protect the embroidery from the acidity of the wood, I covered the outside surfaces with a coat of glue made from wheat paste (a glue used by book binders). While this was drying, I cut pieces of rag paper to fit all the outside surfaces. Another coat of wheat paste was spread on the outside of the box and on the paper, which was laid on each panel of the box and trimmed to fit when dry.
While the box was drying, I cut more pieces of the rag paper, each a little larger than the embroidered panels. These were pasted to the back of the embroidery. When dry, they and the box got another coat of paste and the embroidery was installed on the box. Once everything was bone dry, the edges were trimmed to size. The last step was to glue on the lace.
And voilà, my redwork box!!
We have a new book in the library: Distinctive Presentations in Needle Arts, Brown, Marcia S., published by Binding Stitch, 2014.
Do you spend hours trying to figure out how to hang your framed needlework from the ceiling because you have no wall space left? If so, this is the book for you. Its subtitle is “A Complete Guide to Professional Finishing for Your Needlework,” and complete it is. The basics of blocking, hemming, metering, and joining are covered. “How to” is provided for:
- 8 types of pillows and cushions
- brick doorstops
- covered frames
- 3D standing figures
- Christmas stockings
- 4 types of bell pulls
- 7 ideas for finishing small projects
- 5 types of lined cases for scissors, glasses, cell phones, computers, etc.
- Styrofoam balls
These are followed by many ideas for embellishments : cords, fringes, ruffs, tufts, tassels and closures.
Take a look at this book. Maybe you don’t have to use the ceiling after all!
Margot Walker, Librarian