As we are entering week six of the lock-down here in Bavaria, we can look forward to some restrictions being lifted a little in the near future. But we are a long way off normality. And I am not sure we will or want to go back exactly to how things were six weeks ago. For my part: I love the clear blue skies, the fresher air and the lower levels of noise. I really enjoy seeing and hearing more wild-life on our daily walks. But as a small business owner, I can't help but be worried. Will my business survive the storm? Will the small family businesses I order my embroidery supplies from, survive? Will my customers still have disposable income to spend on my products? That's why I decided to write a blog post on all the big and small things you can do to help small businesses during this pandemic and beyond!
As we cannot gather, find other ways to stay in touch with your favourite small businesses. If your favourite small businesses offer digital newsletters: sign up to them! This is a great way to stay up to date with what is going on. These newsletters can be opened and enjoyed when you want to! This is a great way to support small businesses for free. If you are not a subscriber yet, please follow this link to subscribe to my weekly newsletter.
Many small businesses have used the past few weeks to come up with new-to-them digital ways of staying connected with their community. I've started a FlossTube channel for which I make short videos on my medieval embroidery. This is my latest video on my last finish. Please subscribe to my channel, like my videos and leave comments. The Vimeo algorithm loves popular videos/channels and the more social interaction, the wider the reach, the more potential customers I can serve! Thank you very much for your support!
But, and I won't lie, it comes all down to this: buy from us regularly. As international parcel service is severely disrupted, please buy smaller items such as threads, my petite needlepoint kits, most goldwork supplies, fabric and needles and which can easily be put in a padded envelope. Yes, they take longer to reach you, but let's face it: most of us aren't going anywhere soon :). And most small creative businesses have a variety of digital downloads for purchase as well! These don't require any shipping as you can instantly download the PDF. Please browse my collection of embroidery patterns (goldwork, stupwork, crewelwork and Schwalm whitework) or my eBooks on 17th-century silk embroidery from Tyrol and my latest one on the long-armed cross-stitch. Every purchase is very much valued and the survival of my business depends on it now that I can't teach embroidery!
And last, but not least: your support has a knock-on effect. Small business owners tend to shop with small businesses themselves! Not only do I mainly sell products from small family businesses, but when I shop for groceries, household items or clothing, I am almost only buying from independent small businesses. The only exception: cat food and cat litter. When we tried to use an organic brand from our local organic store, Timmie and Sammie were sure we were trying to not so subtly kill them :). Above you see my latest purchase: a hand broom made from wood and horsehair by the last surviving authentic brush/broom binder in Germany. I've been purchasing high-quality brooms and brushes from Volker Kees for years. He is a travelling craftsman and we usually meet at open-air fairs here in the South of Bavaria. He has no website, but can be contacted by email. As I was pretty sure that he struggles to sell his products now that all fairs have been cancelled, I sent him an email and a couple of days later this functional beauty arrived.
Supporting small businesses is something I have been firmly integrating into my life over the past few years. If you did not already do so: please take this pandemic as an excuse to start doing the same. You'll be surprised at how much impact your purchases have!
For the past couple of weeks, I have been working on a new eBook. Ever since I came across the 12th-century chasuble that inspired it, I wanted to promote this ancient embroidery technique that is now little known in the embroidery world. Contrary to popular belief, the cross-stitch wasn't a popular stitch before the 16th century. Instead, other counted stitches were used in creating magnificent pieces of stitched art in the medieval period. One of these stitches is the long-armed cross-stitch. A bit more 'up-market' than the modern cross-stitch as it creates a pretty braided effect. And very well suited as a filling stitch. Both on the grid and off the grid! Let me show you what I created by using this lovely stitch and the pretty geometric patterns from the chasuble.
This is a VERY opulent phone case that I created using the embroidery technique and patterns from my new eBook. It is very well in keeping with medieval tradition: it is completely OTT :). Densely stitched in silks, seams covered with amethyst beads and a damask lining. I would have been a really cool Acupictrix back in the 12th century sporting a case like this :).
If you like to read about the history of embroidered pieces than this eBook is for you! The 20-page PDF includes nine new pictures of the historical vestments not previously published on my blog. And for those of you who want to learn the ropes on long-armed cross-stitch, there are several clear stitch diagrams so you can easily replicate the stitch left to right, right to left, top to bottom and bottom to top. And last but not least, the eBook comes with stitch diagrams for 36 different geometric patterns found on the original 12th-century chasuble! You could stitch them all on a big sampler or do as I did and use a few to decorate an item.
Would you need expensive materials to recreate these patterns? Absolutely not! You probably have all you need already in your stash. Some type of evenweave fabric or even aida and a matching embroidery thread. The pretty braid created by the long-armed cross-stitch works best when you use a non-devisable thread like perle or cotton a broder. However, multiple strands of stranded cotton do the job just fine too. And if you prefer to work the geometric patterns in cross-stitch instead, I won't be hurt :). They work just as well in modern cross-stitch as they do in its ancient cousin long-armed cross-stitch. You can purchase your copy of the eBook here.
Each and every purchase is much appreciated! These are challenging times for small businesses. I am very committed to bring you quality digital products as we presently can't gather live for classes or workshops. Please support my work with your purchase and keep me in business. Thank you.
As the lock-down here in Bavaria, and indeed elsewhere, continues till at least the 19th of April, my embroidery courses at the open-air museum Glentleiten and the stumpwork course here in my studio had to be cancelled. Unfortunately, teaching is literally my bread-and-butter. Over the past two weeks, I have been looking into other avenues of promoting my embroidery business and making up for the financial downturn. One project will be another eBook. It will be on a little-known counted medieval embroidery technique with huge potential. I hope to be able to release it next week. The other project underhand is starting a FlossTube channel on medieval embroidery. The second episode is now up:
In these short videos, I'll talk about a specific aspect of medieval embroidery. In the first one, we explore the name acupictrix and the Babylonian confusion regarding the word 'embroidery' in Greek and Roman written sources. If you have missed it, you can watch it below. In the second episode, I'll show you how to search a fantastic online catalogue of medieval (textile) art in the Netherlands. It contains many high-resolution pictures of embroidery which you can download and use freely as long as you cite the source.
I am currently working on the third episode in which we will explore the rich silken fabrics used for these magnificent medieval goldwork embroideries. Please subscribe to my channel, give me the thumbs up and help me to promote my business. These are crazy times and we will only make it if we support one another. Thank you!
P.S. Did you like this blog article? Did you learn something new? When yes, then please consider making a small donation. Visiting museums and doing research inevitably costs money. Supporting me and my research is much appreciated ❤!
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