Monday, 24 March 2008

So..back to the stitch

The original inspiration for this project came from the V&A publication "Samplers" by Clare Browne and Jennifer Wearden (see front cover of book above). I highly recommend it as a fantastic introduction both to the world of textile samplers and to the V&A's impressive collection. Also, as an introduction to the myriad of embroidery stitches - from cross stitch, and tent stitch to russian overcast filling (which sounds like some terrible dentist's treatment) and the detached buttonhole stitch.

Clare is a Curator in Textiles at the V&A and I'm delighted that she and the V&A have agreed to be collaborators on the project. Everyone involved will benefit enormously from Clare's expertise and passion for the subject.

I'm very priviliged to have been given access to the V&A's sampler collection and to see and learn more about them first hand. The idea is to use them as the starting point of the journey, when I bring all the collaborators together in a week-long workshop planned for May, later this year.

I'll be honest, on a practical level I know very little about the world of embroidery and its myriad of different stitches. I'm lucky if I can get a button I've sewn on to stay in place for more than one minute. So this is a real learning journey for me. I'm hugely impressed with the skill involved in the samplers i've seen to date and the talent, labour and devotion of the embroiderers. It is this skill, passion, and maybe even obsession, that i hope to celebrate, share and maybe even develop through the project.

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