Monday, December 8, 2014

The Embroiderers Party On!

December 7th was the 2014 Holiday Party for the guild chapter, and a great evening it was.  

The location and arrangements were done by Carol P. with every detail in place, she makes it look easy,  and members with guests enjoyed an evening of  meeting new friends, renewing acquaintance with returning members, a show and tell of a huge array of stitching, including a wonderful weaving, and all kinds of treats.  Oh and there was a great dinner, among all these events!

On left, retiring co-President Karen G.

 Left facing camera, event organizer Carol P.

Second from right Recording Secretary Florence L. and far right Newsletter Editor, Annalee B.

 Left Secret Stitcher organizer Sally C., next to past President Marilyn B.

Florence K. honored her mother by wearing a necklace she'd created of a steelcut shoebuckle from the 1920s, with beads.  

 And Ruth L. brought in a series of photograph albums recording events from the chapter for many years back, including the outreach programs held annually under her direction in the Plainsboro Library's summer children's programs.

Ginny H. as usual wearing several hats as Membership Chair, Program Chair and Outreach, also organized gift bags for the whole group, and here's the array waiting to be distributed, 

 Florence L. approving the contents of her bag...then here's Ginny showing the kit she'd included, goldwork thread and Thai silk, courtesy of Carol P, which we'll work on probably at our next general meeting. 

Courtesy of Margaret K., there was also an apron ready to decorate with stitching or, probably in the case of your blogwriter, painting as well (!) and tree ornaments.

Sally C. organized a second year of Secret Stitcher, after this year's stitchers were revealed to each other, and they signed up to continue with new secret stitch partners.

Evie S., as usual, did a terrific job of presenting the work and calling on stitchers to talk about their own pieces, in a Show and Tell.  

Here Sally is putting last minute touches on the presentation table.

There were two full tables of this year's work on display, ranging from needlepoint to schwalm whitework, to crewel, to stumpwork, to goldwork, bargello, virtually a catalog of stitching styles. 

Jane S. also showed the gift bag she created for a future Regional event, with a stitching project and all the threads needed to complete it, together with other stitching items. As you see, she added, on the outside of the bag, a photograph and listing of the contents.

We did our usual collection for the local Food Bank, as part of our own celebration.

A guest, spouse of a stitcher, took the group pic you see here, of the assembly, complete with new and returning officers. 

Karen G., on her retirement as co-President, received her Past President's EGA pin, and both Presidents, one returning, were presented with flower centerpieces as a thank you for their terms.

On the right of the tree, standing, Helen H. incoming (and former) President, and regional representative, next to Jane S., who is a founder member along with Helen of this chapter, as well as stitching teacher to the world! and, seated at right continuing President Liz A.

Great party and once we've recovered, we're looking forward to the January program, Sunday January 4th at 1 p.m.,  which will be a visit to a private home to see a collection of Asian embroideries, followed, back at our meeting room, by a discussion of the kit we received at the party on how to design this goldwork project.

If you want to join us, and see if you'd like to become a member, remember to drop a line to the email address at the top of this post, and your blogwriter will get back to you with details on location, and an invitation to come meet us.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Guild Assembles at Evie S. home for her Stitching Expo

Today, Evie S., a longtime member and past President of the Princeton Chapter of  EGA, whose late mother and grandmother before her were also stitchers, and EGA members themselves, invited the chapter to her home to see her collection of work over the past few years. 

She's ready to pack these pieces before moving to a new home, and we got the chance to admire them before they vanished into packing boxes for the moment.  

From her earliest crewel works

 to her latest works in progress, in goldwork, 

going through needlepoint, bargello

crewel, in a huge array of stitches and designs, we were in a kind of museum of one person's work.  

And it's not all embroidery.  Here's a knitted afghan with embroidered motifs added

 And a wonderful quilt-like design

 Stumpwork in progress, as Evie explains the construction of a leaf motif

On the left you see a piece with Hardanger and other needle forms

Evie's made wallpieces, eyeglass cases, Hanukkah gift boxes, biscornus, has worked in blackwork, in stumpwork, beading, and currently in goldwork, too, and  has stitched on wool, on linen, on silk, on canvas, an amazing array of works. 

Some of the pieces were items that the chapter did as a group, and there was fun for members who had worked some of the same designs, in seeing how Evie's interpretation varied from their own.

Many of her pieces are in family collections already, and here's a special one, a blackwork butterfly, worked by her mother, and destined for a nephew. Evie's seen here holding it for you to see.

Just to see and handle these lovely works in fine stitching, with great skill, was a rare treat, and to do it among friends even more so.  Evie takes on challenging works, as you see from the variety of designs and approaches she's shown in this short account, and makes them look easy.

And there was food.  Veggies and dips, cookies, brownies, lemon bars...very happy group this afternoon. Thank you for a lovely afternoon, Evie! 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Winterthur daytrip replaced our November meeting

Yesterday nine EGA members and friends went on an expedition to Winterthur Museum, in Delaware, an hour and a half trip from Princeton, to the duPont estate as was, and a world class museum of antiques, furniture, porcelain and silver,  with a lot of emphasis on fine stitching,  works everywhere that you needed a lot more than one day to really see! 

 On our way in

 Here's the entrance to the museum

And the official doorway

It's now open to the public, but until the end of his life the last duPont who had  lived there, before he moved to a "cottage" -- huge house on the estate --  added to, and selected, the antiques we see in what is now the Museum, and was able to afford and  insist on authenticity at all points. He left us all with a treasure house of antiques, history and the preservation of fine work, particularly that of women.

We had a special insider view, since one of our members arranged for a special behind the scenes tour, sorry, no pix of that one, nothing allowed in our hands, all coats, phones, purses, everything kept secure for us until that part of the day was complete. 

Here I can show you Lyn, our tour guide, and Helen H., the EGA member who arranged all this.  

And we had the most amazing tour of rooms, furnished as they would have been with the items of the period including wonderful stitching.  I loved the men's purses everywhere, in bargello and other fine stitching, casually set down as if a moment ago. And since the light level is kept very low to protect the fabrics from uv rays, there was a theatrical moment at the entrance to each room as Lyn raised the lighting briefly so we could see, and another as she lowered the light again as we moved on. For this stitcher, there was great excitement on seeing in real life embroideries illustrated in Susan Swan's Plain and Fancy.  It was like meeting a person whose picture you'd seen.

But the big gasps came when Lyn opened drawer after drawer of wonderful works, to see close up, samplers (three are out on loan to the Morven exhibit I went to a few days ago and blogged about), handkerchiefs, stitching tools, wonderful silk on linen work, endless treasures to see just inches from them.  Some family items, where a mother and daughter created works, and they're curated together, or where two sisters worked items, and they're preserved together.

There are two current public exhibits: the Downton Abbey costumes, complete with projections of scenes from the series, some running live with dialog, and historical notes comparing the palatial English country home with the American one of the same era.  

Teatime at Downton, note the petit fours in the background, the teabox and the lump sugar!

 One example of the American equivalent: a portrait of one of the duPont ladies with her daughter, and her dressing case.

Then the other public exhibit, the initial reason for our trip, before the excitement of the additional private tour: the Diligent Needle exhibit, which examined the use of stitching and sewing for Profit, Pleasure and Ornament.  

See the pockets in the case?  as a little kid I used to wonder how on earth Lucy Locket could lose a pocket.  That was before I came to know that a pocket in those days was tied on.

And for some women, sewing was their livelihood, a very hard one.

 The diligence of young girls learning stitching and sewing was part of their upbringing, even if they were not going to have to earn a living by the needle.

Dress designers employed skilled embroiderers for work on their most elegant items, such as this fur trimmed cloak (fur a modern replica of the original trimming) and they do to this day, royal wedding dresses being one example.  And the Downton Abbey exhibit has wonderful examples of dressmakers employing embroiderers in their designs.

 Here's a sample stitching-store window, in the revival in the late 19th century of stitching as a retail occupation, complete with a work in progress, familiar to sight to most embroiderers.

The  curator of this exhibit, Linda Eaton, a friend of one of our group, happened to be in the building and generously gave us time to guide us on this exhibit, explaining how she'd made the decisions about grouping it, how she had located and arranged for some of the pieces to appear, that the title came from an old writing she'd come across, and in general gave us a rapidfire fabulous education in the history of the textile arts.  That was a huge bonus, unexpected, she not usually in the building on a Sunday, but she was in midflow of preparing lectures so she was there.

For people local to Princeton NJ, she'll be giving a lecture on January 29th at Morven, in connection with the huge sampler exhibit currently there.  I think we'll be seeing her again.