Tuesday, 17 February 2009

V&A Day 1 - Part 3

Moving on from spot samplers to band samplers, tracing the evolution of sampler making. Here's Clare talking about two 17th Century band samplers in the V&A's collection. Band samplers we created using a loom-width of linen for the length with the selvedges making up the top and bottom of the piece. The width was much narrower, which allowed the embroiderer to trial repeating bands of pattern, text and other techniques such as cut-work. These samplers started to introduce an element of design, whereas with spot samplers I think of them as collages, stitched areas randomly placed on the fabric, with the embroiderer utilising every last piece of the cloth.

For me, band samplers are like musical scores. Indeed, when Jason first saw them he commented that the rows of patterns were like the visual representations of sound recordings you find in digital music software - rows of hi-hats, snare drums, basslines and vocals, when combined making up the complete composition.

The first of the two samplers is unnamed, and the second was created by Hannah Pittman. Both are fine examples of band samplers of that period and are not only fascinating in terms of the techniques used to create them, combining stitched bands of coloured threads, white-work, repeating patterns, text and cut-work, but also for the mystery of their makers' fates. Both pieces are unfinished, one with a piece of thread left hanging and Hannah Pittman's stitched text stops mid flow.

" the lamentation of a sinner
O lord turn not away thy face from him
that lies prostret lementing sor his sinfyl life
be for th...."

Did they get bored, or as Clare aludes to, did they die?

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Elizabeth Longhurst - Sampler

Well I opened the post a few days ago and was delighted to have received this beautifully embroidered and designed "sampler" from Elizabeth Longhurst who is one of the members of the New Embroidery Group. I particularly like the mirrored DJ faces linking into the idea of repetition. At first they aren't instantly recognisable, but the closer you study the piece their forms start to appear. Also, Liz's choice of stitches and colour on the open weave linen. I'll have to get Liz to tell me/you which stitches she's used, as my knowledge still isn't that great.

At the start of the project I invited the embroiderers to design and embroider a logo symbolising the connection between the two worlds of dj-ing and embroidery cultures. Sadly, due to work commitments Liz hasn't been able to take part in any of the workshops so far, so it means a huge amount to me that she has been working away on this piece in her spare time. I continue to be amazed at the kindness and generosity of everyone involved in the project.

I'm looking forward to exhibiting Liz's sampled contribution as the project develops.

You can see more of Liz's work on the New Embroidery Group link in the collaborators section of my blog.

Monday, 9 February 2009

birthday books

Well it was my birthday last week and I received two fantastic books as presents.

The first was Old Rare New - The Independent Record Shop published by black dog publishing, ISBN: 978 1 906155 32 2
which features a whole host of interviews and articles by the likes of Bob Stanley, James Lavelle, Devendra Banhart and Gerald Jazzman about diggin' and the culture of the, sadly disappearing, independent record shop. My favourite independent of all time is still King Bee records in Chorlton, Manchester. I've picked up some fantastic tunes there and not for silly money.

The second was from my partner Gill, "Quaker School Samplers from Ackworth" by Carol Humphrey, published by Needleprint. ISBN: 0-9552086-1-0
I must try to meet up with Carol one day, as she is a font of knowledge about all things samplers. I've seen and read about a couple of the Ackworth school samplers, so it'll be great to study them some more, and see whether thy might link into the sampler project.

A huge thank you to Gill, and both Faye and Sian at LPT for the very generous presents - perfect :) I'll post any gems that I pick out of the books.