needlework

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What’s in an Art Lesson?
This Object of the Day  celebrates one of many treasured objects given by Clare and Eugene V. Thaw to Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.  It is republished here in memory of Eugene V. Thaw. Click on this link to read more about the Thaws and their gifts to Cooper Hewitt.    Heads down with pencils and brushes...
Concord Sampler
Hannah Cutter’s sampler is part of a large group of related examples worked from about 1790 until at least 1805 in Boston or nearby towns in Middlesex County. Typical characteristics of these samplers are deeply arcaded borders surrounding a central panel comprising an alphabet, verse, and pictorial elements framed by a saw-tooth border. The pictorial...
Baby on Board
Many southwest Chinese ethnic groups, especially the Miao, are known for their spectacular embroidery. Traditionally women’s work, embroidery was a Miao girl’s first attempt at needlework starting as early as four or five years old. Watching their mothers and other women in the community weave and embroider, they would later pass on this knowledge to...
Embroidering the State
Elizabeth Ann Goldin was fourteen when she embroidered this map of the State of New York. Such map samplers would have provided an excellent opportunity for schoolgirls to display their knowledge of geography as well as their needlework skills. In addition to outlining and naming each New York county, Elizabeth depicts Lakes Erie, Ontario, and...
Rolling Hills and Trees
This sampler, made by Laura Bowker (1805-1843), is part of a small group of pictorial samplers worked by girls from Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire. Each of the charming works features a woman standing in a pastoral setting with trees, rolling hills, a pair of lambs, and an oversized basket of flowers. These bonneted ladies hold bouquets...
A Bengali Bedcover
Embroidered in Bengal, India for the Portuguese market, this colcha, or bedcover, is a result of the interchange of goods and cultural influence between two trade markets. The style and materials are typical of India, but the universal theme of good triumphing over evil is illustrated through a mix of local and European imagery. Eight...
Design Dictionary: Embroidery
See how embroidery is made by hand in this short video. Nguyen Le of knitknit demonstrates the basics, including satin stitch, chain stitch and french knot technique. She also adds a backing fabric to the project as an extra optional step. This piece took about 3 hours total. About this series: Design Dictionary is a...
Felt in Haiti
I had the pleasure of meeting recently with Ton Vriens, a Dutch documentary filmmaker and journalist who, through his foundation Turtle Tree, is working with women in Haiti to develop a felt-making co-operative, with the goal of achieving economic and social independence for the members of the self-governed group. Haiti is one of the poorest...