Stitching Like a Middle Ager and the Winners!

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It was my good fortune to happen across the Cluny Museum in Paris last month and discover an amazing exhibit called The Art of Embroidery in the Middle Ages. It was inspiring to see beautiful handwork from their European collection covering the 12th to 16th centuries. The exhibition, housed in the ancient Roman Frigidarium, is sadly now closed.

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Too have seen the detail of this extraordinary stitching close was so inspiring. It gives me the chills! Viewing embroidery first hand rather than through books or on the web really brings it to life for me. 

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And for my fellow stitch appreciators who left comments on my recent blog post, thank you. The name suggestions for my thread dyeing mistake above were a wonder. As in, I wonder why there were so many suggestions related to wine?

I’m not adverse to a good Bordeaux as a wine or as a thread title. Both Annette R and Jeri P suggested Bordeaux as the thread name and each win a size 8 skein of the new Bordeaux colorway. I also promised to give away a skein to a random winner. Congratulations Lea Ann F. you are my lucky winner! 

Admiring the Bayeux Tapestry

bayeuxtapestry.jpg3Earlier this month it was my good fortune to travel to France. This gift from my sweet husband fulfilled the number one item on my bucket list: seeing the Bayeux Tapestry.

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Photos of the work are not allowed (this is a photo from a book).

The Bayeux Tapestry is hand embroidered on linen with wool thread. It illustrates the story of William the Conqueror, Harold, Earl of Wessex, and the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Using the stem stitch and “Bayeux Stitch”, it was embroidered in the 1070’s and measures about 70 meters long and 50 centimeters high.

It is amazing!

bayeuxtapestry.jpg2I spent a thrilling hour viewing the tapestry. And later attended an evening event in the Bayeux Cathedral. In a vivid light show, moving images of the work were projected on the columns and balustrades of the cathedral while a narrator told the story of William the Conqueror.

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Entrance to the Bayeux Tapestry Museum

What a thrill to see this historic piece of artwork first hand! To know that it was preserved for centuries and is a treasured piece of textile work overwhelms me. It reinforces my belief that telling stories through hand work has great value not only to the viewer but to the maker as well.

An Exhibit to See: Ruth Funk Gallery

loisrusselmagicbusThere is still time to see a terrific exhibit at the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts in Melbourne FL. I recently visited this gem of a gallery on the Florida Tech campus and really enjoyed their latest exhibit Rooted, Revived, Reinvented: Basketry in America. You’ll see the history of American basketry from early indigenous pieces to contemporary fine art like this extraordinary vessel by Lois Russell called Magic Bus (2012).

Better get there soon. The exhibit ends December 14. But I see there is a bead work exhibit coming up. Wish I could see that one too!

A Museum Near You: Crystal Bridges

crystalbridgesOne of the many joys of being a traveling textile teacher is the opportunity to visit great museums. With my gracious hostess, Laura, I recently visited Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art before giving a lecture to her guild, Q.U.I.L.T of Northwest Arkansas.

mirrorroomWhat a fabulous museum! The buildings, setting, and artwork were a delight to see.  We stepped into a work by Yayoi Kusama called the Infinity Mirrored Room – My Heart is Dancing into the Universe and viewed gallery after gallery artwork from early American to contemporary work. Thank you Laura for your generosity!

What are the benefits of visiting a museum (other than the gift shop)?

A visit to a museum:

  • stimulates new ideas for your own artwork,
  • expands your knowledge of the world and humanity, and
  • is a refreshing break from reality.

Make a date with a museum today. Trust me, you’ll fall in love.

A Natural Wonder

spidercapeOne of the advantages of having relatives living in exciting cities is the opportunity to visit local museums. The ROM or Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto is a good example with its latest special exhibit on… (and here I have to brace myself)… spiders. One display in the exhibit I found of special interest was this cape woven from the web or silk of the golden silk orbweaver spider found in Madagascar. It took Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley 3 years and the silk from over a million orbweaver spiders (yikes!) to make it. This gold color is the natural color of the spider’s silk.

Looking around I see that I’ve a vast collection of spider webs in my house. Wonder if I could make something as grand as this?

Another Textile Museum to Visit

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Cheddar Quilts from the Joanna S. Rose Collection on exhibit through February 3, 2019 at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum

Recently, I was fortunate to see the William Morris exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art. The next textile museum on my bucket list to visit? The International Quilt Study Center and Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The International Quilt Study Center & Museum’s mission is to build a global collection and audience that celebrate the cultural and artistic significance of quilts.

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And they have a gift shop too!

The Quilt Study Center is a superb building dedicated to exhibiting and preserving our quilt heritage. It is also educating future textile lovers as part of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Textiles, Merchandising & Fashion Design.

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Pine Burr pattern, maker unknown, around 1879, possibly North Carolina

The galleries are beautifully curated and quilts are displayed with love and reverence. I highly recommend a visit and becoming a member in support of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum. You can even get a behind-the-scenes tour! (Another thing on my bucket list.)