Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Stitchers Take a Trip to Morven

"Hail Specimen of Female Art" is the title of the blockbuster exhibit, five galleries, in the historic Princeton mansion Morven until late March 2015.

The Princeton Chapter EGA embroiderers thanks to arrangements made by President Helen H., devoted our monthly program meeting to a visit there, complete with a slide lecture from the curators, Marty and Dan Campanelli, and access to them with questions all afternoon as we all wandered the galleries admiring and being amazed.  

A five year old completing a neat sampler.  A ten year old with stitching skills many of us would envy after many more years than that of stitching experience. A stitched three dimensional globe of the world executed by a very young woman.  Wonderful designs created by stitching teachers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century in New Jersey and taught to successions of students as the teachers moved around the state taking their skills and designs to instruct new audiences of girls.

Marty and Dan Campanelli, researchers par excellence and acknowledged authorities in the field of sampler research in this part of the world, as well as collectors and artists themselves, gave us an afternoon's education as they discussed the provenance, historical significance, rarity and general beauty of the many works in this exhibit.

They reminded us that female education was very much in evidence in the early eighteenth century, much of it at the urging of the Quaker community, who promoted education for everyone, rich or poor, and founded schools for that purpose.  Girls learned astronomy, chemistry, foreign languages, literature, as well as the needlework we take for granted.  

Their stitched maps and globes, for instance, are evidence of the teaching of stitching skills along with geography, great teaching method.  And their schools had huge windows to let in the maximum daylight for their stitching.  No stitching in the evening by the flickering candle and firelight!  as Marty Campanelli said, that's one of those beloved myths, not the reality. 

To learn more about the Campanellis, go here.  Although this was written a couple of years ago, their working methods continue in the same pattern as described there, as does their careful and attentive attitude to their research and their excitement over new discoveries.

If you're local to the Princeton area, the Morven exhibit is open to the end of March, and I wish I'd remembered to bring a little magnifying glass to see the minute stitches better!  If you go, bring one! 

Photography not being allowed in the building, and particularly not around priceless, irreplaceable textiles, you'll have to take my word on all this! But you can go here to see more about Morven and upcoming programs.

Meanwhile, back on earth..our March general meeting on Sunday March 1 at 1 p.m., will be a program on paper jewelry, taught by Liz Adams.  Liz will be in touch in plenty of time with information and all you need to know to take part in this fun and forgiving art form.

Board meeting will be on the preceding Wednesday evening, February 25th at 7 p.m.

And more immediately, remember Tuesday of this week, February 3, weather permitting, at 1 p.m. is our First Tuesday of the Month stitch in.