First, let me welcome the many new readers who signed up for this blog thanks to a mention on Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread website last week. It is humbling to know that my embroidery ramblings land in peoples' feedly feeds and mail boxes all over the world. Thank you!
It is a little over a year now since I opened my embroidery studio in Bavaria. Although I had a few years of experience with running an embroidery business in the Netherlands and teaching in England and America, Germany is a whole different kettle of fish. Better tasting, I must say.
Some tried and tested concepts did not work here at all. Other concepts I burned my fingers on elsewhere, are coming quickly to fruition under the famous Bavarian white and blue sky. And in the past few weeks, exciting new projects have found their way into my mail box all by their own. I have to admit, some freak me out a bit as they are so far out of my comfort zone. However, with the support of my dear husband and some lovely friends, I will bravely tackle the challenges. Isn't life exciting?
The first major change is that I now offer five-day embroidery courses during the holidays. This has been a specific request from my students so that they can completely focus on a technique and don't come off course when 'reality' kicks in between monthly lessons. During each course, I'll teach one embroidery technique. Choices for 2016: crewel, stumpwork, canvas, goldwork, blackwork and needle painting. Do have a look at the course section on my website for more information and signing up.
For those of you who don't have the luxury of spending a whole working week with needle and thread, I'll still offer plenty of one-day workshops throughout the year on Saturdays. Enjoy and pamper yourself by attending a tried and tested workshop formula in a friendly atmosphere with like-minded people. Have a look at the workshop section of my website for more details and signing up.
No matter if you attend a course or a workshop, you will benefit from my ongoing professional development as a curious stitcher trying out many different embroidery techniques. Both courses and workshops are taught in my beautiful studio with large windows overlooking our lovely lake. Our rural village is the perfect place for a short break. Accompanying husbands can be safely left at the lake side joining their mates with the fishing rods :). Hope to see you soon at one of my embroidery learning experiences!
P.S. Next week, I'll show you a new and colourful addition to my webshop that I picked up from customs today. Stay tuned!
This week will see me busy mostly not doing embroidery. It's computer time. My workshop and course schedule for 2016 is nearly finished and will go up at the end of the week/early next week (guess what the theme is of next week's blog post...). I am getting pretty excited about all the new bits. In the meantime, here are two projects I have been working on recently.
This fun cross stitch piece was stitched in the evening hours when I needed to unwind from a day's work. I love the composition and the colours. A very nice contrast to our autumn weather and the first snow. Yes, that's right: the white stuff is back. Head over to Nathalie Cichon's website for more fun designs.
And here is a sneak peek of the silk shading project I will be teaching at ArtTextil in January 2016. It was the perfect piece to work at the museum last week. We had some very interested visitors. One lady from America in particular showed me a picture of her own unique art quilts. Such a treat! And I had a very serious young man stitching a beautiful starry bookmark. Früh übt sich wer ein Meister werden will!
P.S. My blog posts on the Regensburger Domschatz have been published in Handwerken zonder Grenzen 191!
When I am visiting London, I nearly always either end up in the fabrics department of Liberty's department store in Regent Street and/or in the Victoria & Albert Museum. For obvious reasons: remnants of the Arts and Crafts movement. Such good places to see high quality designs that can easily inspire my embroideries. Indeed, the daughter of William Morris, May Morris, was an accomplished embroideress.
Many of us textile lovers are familiar with the arts and crafts designs by William Morris (1834-1896). However, the arts and crafts movement of the late 19th and early 20th century was more than a decorative arts style. It was also a highly political movement. With advocates idealising the medieval craftsmen and criticising the mechanical production process of their own times. The idea was that no labour division took place and that the designer also executed the designed object. Good design would lead to happy crafts people and happy consumers. This would lead to better people and they make eventually a better society. Well, I certainly think I am a much better person as long as I keep stitching :)!
Unknown to me, my former colleague Phil Harding from Wessex Archaeology and one of the leading members of Time Team once dug up the silk printing factory of Arthur Liberty, the founder of the Liberty Department store. He even tries his hand at block printing silk with the original 19th century blocks and original dye recipes. If you have a spare minute, do watch the below Time Team video of the dig. Apart from the obvious digging, it is packed full with back ground information on the Liberty silks printing factory.
After more than two years of absence, I'll be visiting London in a few weeks' time. Can't wait to stock up on good quality silks and embroidery threads. I am also looking forward to visiting my former town of residence Salisbury and meet up with old friends. Be sure to keep an eye on my blog to read all about it!
Embroidered postcard from 1939
I've received a very special postcard through postcrossing. On the back it says: "Appenzeller Stickerei (Heimarbeit)". This means it is a piece stitched in Appenzell by homeworkers. After all I've told you about Appenzell embroidery, the piece might somewhat surprise you...
The postcard was issued for the 1939 national exhibition in Zürich, Switzerland. This exhibition was commonly known as the Landi. It took place from the 6th of May until the 29th of October 1939. With 10 million tickets sold, it was a huge success, despite the outbreak of the Second World War.
True to the Zeitgeist, the exhibition was a mixture of backwards conservatism and modern design and ideas. For instance, it was partly a rural village with replica buildings from all over the country. On the other hand, do google Landi-Stuhl and you'll find a world famous modern aluminium chair designed by Hans Coray. There was also a pavilion staffed by women organisations drawing attention to the inequality between men and women in Switzerland.
Now to the embroidery. It is either worked in untwisted flat silk or some sort of synthetic equivalent on a gauze. Again silk or synthetic. The embroidery is closely cut out and glued to the pre-printed postcard. The whole embroidery is worked in satin stitches or simple back stitches. Spaced out more for the waters of Lake Zürich and the Alps in the distance. Whereas the buildings in the foreground, left the Große Münster and right the Fraumünster, are worked more solidly with hardly fabric showing.
Apart from the two churches, the Quaibrücke is depicted as well as the Pendelbahn over Lake Zürich. On the left is the flag of Zürich, whereas on the right side the flag of Switzerland is flying. Do have a look at google street view to see how well everything can be identified. I am truly amazed by the amount of detail in this simple piece of embroidery!
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