Today, I am going to introduce you to a fantastic online museum catalogue: the online collection of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. You'll have access to the digital collection of the many important museums in Berlin, Germany. And although not all embroidered pieces have been digitized yet, there are hundreds of gems to be discovered. Whether you like whitework or folk embroidery. Although the website can be changed to English, searching in German gets you the better results. So below are a few screenshots of what you should enter where for best results.
If you follow the link to the online catalogue, this is what the entry page looks like.
Now fill in "Stickerei" in the search box and click the little magnifier.
You'll now see the first 12 entries with pictures of a total of 561 embroidered objects in the museum collection.
You can use the little arrows to navigate through the many pages with results.
Clicking on a picture provides you with detailed information on a particular object. Changing the language to English unfortunately doesn't help. If you click again on the picture it will enlarge.
However, if you would like a really good picture with high-resolution, click on the Multimedia tab below the picture and then click on the picture that appears.
Before I'll provide you with some incredible eye candy, let us return to last week's blog post. Some of you wrote to tell that they were sorry to see another embroidery shop close. A few were even dismayed as it now meant that it was even harder for them to source materials. Please know that it wasn't an easy choice for me to start selling off my stock. Precisely because high-end embroidery materials are harder and harder to find, I had always hoped that I could make a success of my webshop/brick-and-mortar shop. Alas, it never happened. Before the pandemic, I had about five visitors a year. I never managed to become a needlework destination where you could both buy gorgeous threads and feast your eyes on pretty spectacular embroideries. Being located in a National Park with many places to visit, one would think that my shop and atelier had everything going for it. But it didn't. And even now, with a 50% discount on most goods things aren't exactly flying off the shelves. This has proven to me, that although a bit painful, closing my shop is the right thing to do. Onto greener pastures!
At the beginning of the month, my husband and I made a day trip to Salzburg in Austria. We visited the various church museums and saw many spectacular pieces of ecclesiastical art. And although hardly any embroidery was on display, the Museum St. Peter had an amazing chasuble cross on display. As you are not allowed to take pictures of it, I was lucky to find a couple of detailed pictures on a website for tenders.
As you can see from the above picture, this is not your average piece of stumpwork or raised embroidery! The figure of Christ is nearly fully three-dimensional. He really is a textile sculpture. And although those of you familiar with 17th-century stumpwork from England will see some similar techniques and threads, the main figure of Christ was made in a technique not seen in these 17th-century pieces. He was made in a mould. Built-up with linen scraps soaked in glue and stuffed with pieces crafted from wood and leather.
Although "minor" padding can be seen in medieval goldwork embroidery from quite early on, these very three-dimensional pieces were made in the South of Germany, Austria and Hungary during a short period of time. As a group, they are so far not really systematically studied and the academic literature is older and patchy. This seems to be due to the fact that they are an 'in-between': not seen as sculpture, but not quite normal embroidery either. And some people have an aversion to these pieces as they look a bit like the priest has a dolls house on his back ... (just like with those elaborately decorated skeletons of saints, these textile pieces end up in the attic and are forgotten about!).
Wouldn't it be cool to gather a group of interdisciplinary academic researchers and start a research project? Have each piece go through a scanner to see which materials are hiding beneath the outer layers of silk and embroidery? Just like those Egyptian mummies projects! So far, there does not seem to be much interest from those who research the later 17th-century stumpwork embroidery from England. This is likely due to the language barrier. Equally, those 17th-century pieces are not mentioned in the literature on these 15th- and 16th-century pieces. Are both traditions independent of each other or can we find a continuous line of development? By publishing this short introduction on my blog, I hope to alert people to the existence of these amazing textile sculptures!
NOTE: there will not be a blog post next week as my parents are coming to visit.
Before I am going to tell you about all the important changes regarding my embroidery business, I am going to tell you about all the exciting upcoming events! This autumn will see me lecture for MEDATS on the Bamberg Imperial Vestments, for the Weavers Guild of Springfield MA and the San Francisco School of Needlework and Design. More lectures are probably going to be added in the next few weeks so make sure you are subscribed to my newsletter and check the lectures page regularly. During my summer break, I was visited by Stephan Kuhn, the art historian, and we had lovely discussions about academia in general and medieval embroidery in particular. My husband and I visited Salzburg and saw the most amazing piece of medieval stumpwork embroidery. More on that in a future blog! I've also been invited to visit several museum collections. Fingers crossed, COVID-19 numbers stay low and I can actually make travel arrangements. And as the second run of my Medieval Goldwork Course starts today, I have planned the third run: sign-up on 03-01-22 with a planned start on 21-03-22. And now on to the changes and a HUGE SALE!
After 10 years, my embroidery business is finally passing the turnover threshold of €22.000 and this means that I am required to add 19% VAT to everything I sell from the first of January 2022 onwards. Germany loves it when small businesses grow up! Think of all the cool stuff the government will be doing with the approximately €4750 in VAT I will generate for them next year :). It will also mean that I will start to have to pay into my state pension plan again and pay for health insurance. So, whilst I will probably no longer modestly supplement household income each month, I will have a modest pension to look forward to in 2045!
On the upside: I will be a fully-fledged business! This means that I qualify for funding and/or loans. That might come in handy when my research into medieval goldwork embroidery progresses as nicely as it does at the moment. So far, I have always been self-funded with no financial help from anybody. Because I simply did not qualify.
But it all comes with a downside: from midnight CET on the 31st of December 2021, I can no longer sell anything to people in the United Kingdom. When the UK left the EU, she did not set a VAT threshold for small businesses. This means that from the first Euro I make in the UK, I need to pay VAT to the Treasury. This means that I will need a UK bank account and an accountant to run my affairs. This is not worth it for small businesses like mine with a predicted turnover of €25000 in 2022. This is why so many of my colleagues already had to stop selling to the UK. If you are in the UK and you think this sucks, please write to your MP. Thank you!
Does this mean that UK embroiderers cannot get taught by me in the future? On paper: that's indeed the sad consequence. However, UK embroiderers could ask an embroidery pal anywhere else in the world to purchase for them and then ship the goods on. I am also still set to teach at the Alpine Experience next year (Nadine is working on the schedule at the moment) and they are able to have me on the French side of their business.
And now: on to the HUGE SALE. Although many craft businesses saw an uptake in sales during the pandemic, I did not (apart from my courses, that is) (and incidentally, the only brick-and-mortar shop left in my area closed down too!). This is mainly due to the fact that I sell most of my goods to people outside of Germany, and indeed, outside the EU. With postal services severely disrupted and parcels becoming very expensive, my webshop simply imploded. As a small one-woman webshop I was already not able to have the same competitive prices as the big girls had, so adding 19% VAT onto my existing prices just doesn't make sense. Therefore, I am selling off most of my stock at a 50% discount! That's wholesale price. That's very good news for you!
- kid leather, beetle wings, bead finals
- perle, stranded cotton, silk threads and silk ribbons by House of Embroidery
- blackwork threads
- bracing needles
- embroidery hoops, embroidery fabric, aqua trick markers
- monogram stencil sheets
- embroidered jewellery, embroidered food covers
- & lots more!
Not included are: metal threads and slate frames (they just don't have much of a margin) and my kits, ebooks and embroideries (they will be available in the future too, just with 19% VAT added; so you might want to shop for them now :)).
Purchases can only be made through my webshop. Correct reduced prices are stated on the product pages, no need for a discount code. Whilst stock lasts. Sale must end midnight 31-12-21.
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