In my part of the world we say you are a fool if your passion for a pursuit overcomes all practical sense. I am a stitching fool, and I stitch foolishness.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Winterthur, Day Two

Day Two of Winterthur followed the same schedule, with lectures in the morning and afternoon sessions in other areas of the museum.

Our first speaker was Karen Hearn, who is the curator of 16th and 17th century British Art at the Tate Britain in London.  She talked about the appearance of textiles in portraits of the time and reminded us that the detail in the portraits likely showed an impression of embroidery, but did not show the reality that we as embroiderers would want.  And she led us through slide after slide of beautiful portraits, showing us how they may have been altered over time by well-meaning conservation efforts or deliberate changes.  (And there were wonderful portraits of ladies wearing embroidered jackets--whether the detail could tell us about the embroidery or not--they were luscious!)

She was followed by Bill Barnes, the owner of Golden Threads.  This is the lovely man who provides us with exquisite gold threads and wires for our embroidery.  His passion for his craft was clear, and the attention to detail that results in the beautiful gold and silver threads we use apparent.  The most fascinating thing was that gold wire and thread manufacture had remained the same from Tudor days to 1962, when a new process changed the way the gold threads were manufactured.   Even at that, he can still manufacture the threads that Elizabeth I would have known.  Wow.  Simply, wow.

After a break, we listened to a lecture by Nicole Belolan about the Berlin work charts owned by Ann Warder, who lived in the 19th century. Ann Warder collected and shared charts for Berlin work with her friends and family members, maintaining close relationships with them as a result despite her own physical infirmities and illness.

Last was Dr. Lynn Hulse's review of the revival of Jacobean style crewel work in the late 1800's, largely as a reaction to what was viewed as the poor taste of those who stitched a great deal of Berlin work!  Much of her talk focused on the work of Lady Julia Carew who stitched enormous panels with which she decorated both her Irish country estate and her Belgrave Square home.  She also covered settees and chairs with crewel embroidery--but, then, it came out that she embroidered a minimum of seven hours a day.  Hmmmmm . . .a staff to handle the dusting, dishwashing, cooking, and laundry and seven hours a day to stitch.  I do believe we could all be that productive over 30-40 years of embroidery.

After lunch, we scattered to our afternoon sessions.  I took Joanne Harvey's Sarah Collins sampler reproduction and had the joy of seeing Joanne's slides on 17th century American samplers.  Loara Standish was featured, of course, and accompanied by Mary Hollingsworth and Elizabeth Cotton and Mary Atwood.  And the sampler, which is on display with the Plimoth jacket, was also reproduced from the colors on the back, and is another lovely, vivid sampler.

It was another wonderful day at Winterthur.  I wish every week-end could be spent that way.

(And it was very reassuring to be reminded that the stitchers who came before us had UFO's and collected patterns and charts for projects that may or may not have been stitched!)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for telling us more about this. It must have been a great few days!