Two weeks ago, my husband and I visited the Handwerksfest in Seefeld in Tirol, Austria. I mainly wanted to go as there should have been a gold embroiderer. Unfortunately, the weather was really bad and not all artisans were present. So, no gold embroiderer. But I did see a Federkiel-embroiderer and the even more ancient craft it replaced. Something I had never seen before. I have written about Federkielstickerei before, so do check out that blog post. Let's have a look at my new discoveries!
First up is Federkielstickerei Seiringer. This is a small family business where both the father and the son are embroiderers. They were happy for me to take pictures and shoot some video footage. And I was able to ask some questions about the embroidery technique. Here you see Herr Seiringer work on a small piece of embroidery. The leather piece is fastened into an ingenious contraption that lets the embroiderer work with as straight a back and neck as possible.
In this short video, you can see how the embroiderer makes a small hole with an awl in the leather and then feeds the stripped peacock feather through the hole. How this stripped peacock feather "yarn" gets produced exactly, is a trade secret. But I did ask how he prevented the strip from twisting during stitching. Herr Seiringer explained that the way he places his awl determines how the stripped peacock feather lies. That's pretty cool, don't you think?
Next up, we met Wilfried Weiss. He picked up tiny little pieces of metal with tweezers and positioned them onto a leather belt. We were fascinated by his work, and he started to talk a bit about his craft: the making of Zinnstiftranzen. To prevent the underbelly from getting hurt by a bayonet, knife or bullet, the men in the Alpine regions of Bavaria, Tyrol and Slovenia wore these thick, broad leather belts decorated with tin tacks. These belts first appeared in the late 17th-century and the designs became more elaborate as time went on. Alas, many belts were destroyed during the Napoleonic wars (1803-1815) when the metal was used for bullets. The technique completely vanished from memory and Federkielstickerei took over. Wilfried Weiss re-discovered the technique and now produces his own tin tacks to make the designs with. The design gets copied onto the leather belt and each hole of the design gets pricked. Then the tin tack gets put into the hole with the help of tweezers. The head of the tack stays visible on the front of the belt and forms the design. The 'leg' of the tack sticks out on the back and gets bent over so the tack is secured. Do check out Wilfried's website to see some beautiful examples of this lost art!
Merci beaucoup de nous faire découvrir des arts de la broderie traditionnels.
You are very welcome, Marie-Renee!
Beautiful work, isn't it?! I saw the peacock feather technique once in a medieval artisan market, the embroidery is amazing... and very expensive!
It sure is, Marina!
I have never seen this before . Very interesting and a sweet design too .
Glad you saw something new, Daisy!
The feather embroidery looks fascinating.
It sure is, Andrejka!
WOW - never heard of Federkielstickerei before - amazing ! Thank you for sharing x
Glad you liked it, Linda!
What wonderful things you come across - belts for men & for women (did I translate that correctly?) How beautiful!
Yes, the women were using them as a kind of a chatelaine with knives, keys and other useful things to hang on.
Me neither! It is so fascinating to see these people work.
Carol Ann Woidke
This is the first that I have heard of this beautiful and fascinating embroidery medium. I would love to know how it was decided peacock feathers would make a desirable thread. It certainly has the advantage of having the needle built into it, eliminating the problem of pulling the needle off the thread. Thank you for sharing.
I suspect it has to do with the length of the feathers and their availability, Carol Ann.
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
Want to keep up with my embroidery adventures? Sign up for my weekly Newsletter to get notified of new blogs, courses and workshops!
Liked my blog? Please consider making a donation or becoming a Patron so that I can keep up the good work and my blog ad-free!