Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Princeton Embroiderers embark on a Hungarian exploration

The October EGA chapter  meeting was a blend of cultural history, geography, art, embroidery and the significance of history on all these threads in the Hungarian story, as we worked with our instructor, Tunde Hagymasy, imagine an umlaut over the u, not on this keyboard, on Hungarian Folk Embroidery.  

Tunde teaches at the American Hungarian Foundation, whose museum is in our county seat, New Brunswick, and where there is an extensive collection of Hungarian folk embroidery, and where she is an authority on the region's culture, art and history, as well as a fine stitcher in the Hungarian tradition.  There are many people in this area descended from Hungarian immigrants of the mid nineteenth century, a time of turmoil in Europe.

She brought with her a slide presentation showing many costumes, with explanations of the various regions of Hungary they come from
Lacework with traditional motifs

Newly married couple, and see the rosemary, symbolic plant they both wear

This is a special room, used to be used for events such as childbirth, and last illness, where samples of the house embroidery was displayed, too

 and pictures of samples of a wide range of exciting stitched works, from lace (created starting in the twentieth century), and cloths dating back to the middle ages, including the golden cloak of a Hungarian king. In past times, clothing was very valuable, and conflicts could arise over ownership. It could also be used as a purchase currency on land.

Tunde brought a selection of illustrated volumes of embroidered works to browse, and here is seen discussing a fine point of origin with Maureen C, with ancestors from Hungary. 

Very knowledgeable about art, clothing design and geography, as well as the history of the region, Tunde showed us examples from many regions, and handed out a flyer reminding us of them, while locating them on the map for us.  

And there were samples of embroidered work to see and handle, including pieces she rescued from being tossed.  Always love a textile rescuer!

Textiles and the identifying flyer under the corner there

She explained at length the difference between digesting a stitching style and incorporating it into future pieces, rather than simply copying without knowledge and insight, and cautioned travelers that foreign made copies of Hungarian embroidery are finding their way into the Hungarian market, to the confusion of tourists wanting to honor the region by bringing home examples of their artwork. She takes seriously the concept of teaching the real tradition of embroidery, so that people can learn the authentic colors and motifs.

Hungary having been an important commercial center centuries ago, and having been overrun by other cultures, such as Turkey, the embroidery shows a wide range of motifs, some reminiscent of Chinese work, some of Turkish origin, some handed on to show up in Pennsylvania Dutch work, and some with reference to work seen in the UK in Elizabethan times.  But there is a distinct Hungarian flavor, despite all the cross currents of influence, and all the disruption of borders the country has experienced.

Several of our guild members have family who originated in Hungary and they were particularly eager to learn more about this stitching.  
Marylin examining some embroidered works

Marylin Beasley, who can trace her Hungarian roots back to antiquity, in fact, brought this program to us by force of sheer enthusiasm after she took a class from this teacher at the museum. 

This was a great program, and many members embarked right away on their kits, some using hoops, some not, since often this form does not use a hoop.  Working in hand is the traditional Hungarian method. 

This was a great afternoon, in the last stages of hurricane Matthew, just rain once it got here, and thankfully it didn't interfere with the program, so we had a sizeable turnout of members. This is a valuable way to preserve important cultural heritage, particularly in the textile area, since textiles are the ephemera of history.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The Princeton Embroiderers Party On!

Today was the annual Festival of the Arts at Plainsboro Public Library and all over the plaza outside, arts of all kinds there, almost all participatory.  

And as usual the Princeton Chapter EGA turned out, and, all afternoon, taught and demonstrated stitching, and discussed the art to people of all ages.

Ginny H. had put together materials so that children could embark on a stitching project, a stuff pincushion,  right there and then, and it was so popular we ran out of materials!  

A young stitcher's completed project.
Great turnout of members, with Ruth, Florence K, Florence L, Helen H, Carol P and your humble blogwriter all in attendance with finished works, works in progress and willingness to share and show!

Carol P brought her small grand daughter, who plunged into all the arts on offer and here taught a much older lady how to weave in paper at the table next to the stitchers!

To see more of the Festival, outside of what the stitchers were involved in, go here

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Princeton Chapter EGA Returns After Summer

Although Labor Day has passed, summer has not yet left us, still blisteringly hot and humid here in central NJ.  But the stitchers were undeterred by the weather, and came out to the first of our program meetings for 2016-17.

We were occupied in reunion for some of us, for catchup on projects for others, for completion for others, and for making nametags for next year's Regional Meeting.  

The nametags are part of  our chapter's work for our Region, the Metropolitan Region of EGA in preparation for the 2017 Regional Seminar.  We're creating them for the seminar instructors and the Executive Board, to identify them during the events.  All are cross stitched in black on white, and will be mounted in wearable pouches. 

Debi setting up a nametag ready for stitching, and next to her, Carol P., working on a hardanger piece, a gift from her Secret Stitcher

Florence L. has finished the piece for her son and daughter in law, and redesigned parts of it in the process, to make a beautiful finished work

Polly W. at work on a design of ferns in subtle greens and tans.  Polly likes to work in hand and then stretch the work after finishing, rather than mount it on a frame.

Debi again, here working on a butterfly design in her favorite colorway

One of your humble blogwriter's nametags, being studied by other stitchers to determine the count for the letters

Florence, here at work on the Tenerife lace piece which she plans to make into a dreamcatcher for a young relative, adding beads, and possibly feathers, mounting it on a hoop.

This was a productive back to stitching meeting!   

We are planning on an eventful Fall schedule, participating in  the Plainsboro Festival of the Arts on Saturday September 17, 12-4, in and around the Library building.  

All are welcome to come meet and greet us. We are planning on a stitching project for young stitchers to try.  And on the day there will be many artists and musicians, all over the building and grounds, offering chances to try a range of arts, from paper weaving, to giant weaving on the EarthLoom, to Chinese brush painting, to found object sculpture, and many other events for all ages.  Music all afternoon, too!

Back to stitching: in October our Guild will be taking a trip into Manhattan to visit the Ukrainian Museum and catch two major exhibits at once, one on Ukrainian stitching, one in conjunction with the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Rumanian stitching. The Met is lending their Rumanian collection to the Ukrainian Museum for a season. We'll be guided through both by a knowledgeable curator and stitcher, who will lead us through the history and comparisons of the two national styles.

Next month's regular monthly membership meeting will be on Sunday October 9th, and Wednesday evening stitch-ins from 7-9 go on all year.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Plainsboro Library Summer Stitching program 2016 is underway

With a full registration, yet again, the summer stitching program of Princeton Chapter EGA is under way, at Plainsboro Public Library

Here's Ruth L, who has led this program for many years, since its inception at her urging as an outreach effort for the Guild

 and Helen H., helping  the young stitchers as they produce their needlepointed works celebrating Descartes and the power of thinking!

Boys as well as girls are happy participants in this event every year, and at the September Festival of the Arts, where the chapter is also represented, young stitchers to come up and show us their finished works, proud parents in their wake, and  receive their certificates of completion, signed by Ruth.

This is one of our proud achievements as a chapter, too, to encourage a love of stitching to the next generation, and see how pleased the stitchers are with their product.

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Princeton Embroiderers End the Year with a Picnic

The Annual Princeton Chapter EGA picnic, ending the 2015-6 program year, was hosted yesterday by Carol G., with a great turnout, the official Pimms Cup toasts and wonderful potluck food.  

Over the summer, weekly Wednesday evening stitch ins will continue, and the general program meetings will resume in September.

Our tapes are in!  on sale for $20 per roll, currently in Liz A.'s custody, they'll come in to stitch ins and will be available.  The six Liz brought to the picnic were rapidly bought up, but don't worry, we have more.  It's a lovely design. 

This is the self stick tape you use to edge needlepoint canvas to prevent fraying and snagging, and the design is two way so that when you fold it over the edges, it shows the right way up on both sides. Sharon did the design and organized this process, and did a great job on it, thank you. 

Wishing all our members a great summer season of stitching and fun!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Princeton EGA embroiderers at work

This week is a busy one in the Guild, with members showing some exquisite finished items

 Here's a superb piece of beaded work from Florence L, worn as a neckpiece.  It's also a tiny purse, and the workmanship is unbelievably fine.

And here Maureen C. finished her Tenerife lace piece, a wonderful piece of lacework, first one she ever did.

and Saturday there was the Stitch-In at the Historical Society of Princeton, where Helen H, Ginny H, and Liz A  took part in a varied day of historically significant activities, lectures, walking tours and games, in the setting of an old farmhouse, their new headquarters. 

Here we set up a display of completed works and wips, showing seven different needleart forms.

And here Ginny demonstrates the technique of punch needle, surrounded by our works in progress.

Then since our Metro region had invited us to create name tags for the instructors at next year's regional convention, our Sunday May 1 meeting was taken up with preparation for that, guided by Metro stitchers. 

Here Ellen Sanes and Janice Meyers  confer with Ginny  on the nametag approaches and deadlines. 

Not yet in the picture because still on the road, is Susan Roe.  

The trio led us in an excellent presentation, with great preparation, supplying us with fabric, threads, designs and the list of names needing tags at next year's regional convention, plus a sample completed tag in its carrying bag.  They even brought paper copies of the pin which will eventually be attached to the nametags, and for which the design needs to leave space, as you see below.

The more prompt among us completed tags before the afternoon was out!  it was great to host stitchers from another chapter at our membership meeting, and to be part of a regional program.

Next month's meeting will be the annual picnic, this year hosted by Carol G., and she needs to know your menu item for the potluck list.  In a daring break from tradition, this year Liz A. is not going to bring devilled eggs!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Princeton Embroiderers visit Teneriffe, the lace, that is

Today was the monthly membership meeting, and the first session of a Group Correspondence Course sponsored by EGA, in which Ginny H. led the group in learning first steps in Teneriffe lace.

It's like weaving, and like bobbin lace, and like drawn threadwork, but it's none of the above.  A lovely fine thread form of needle art. Involving many yards of thread..and for your humble blogwriter, an afternoon of coping with tangles and knots while learning some new things.  

Starting place, with diagram,  and paper pattern presented by Ginny
Ginny cheerfully coping with a dozen beginning lacemakers!

Liz M. starting in here, with the instruction book at hand

Mary Frances working here

Some members, while the lace class was in session, were at work on their own projects. 

Carol F's wonderful floral design

Kamala B. with her current top favorite Ganesh

Carol G. stitching with Kreinik a little gift for a new family baby
Amy S, working on her exquisite needlepoint, but see also that sleeve!

Another lovely Sunday afternoon peacefully stitching with friends.And another adventure into the needlearts for most of us.