Florence Ann

•April 8, 2009 • 1 Comment

This is a kind of sampler, trying out colors, stitches, styles, etc, by Florence Ann. It reminds me of Tilleke Schwarz.

Florence Ann

Florence Ann

I couldn’t find out a lot of information about Florence Ann, except that she studies textile arts in the pacific Northwest and loves wool.



Maggy Hiltner

•April 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

A new artist discovered: Maggy Hiltner! Most of her work explores the interactions of children and how our childhood experiences develop and shape us. Her website is FULL of images and very fun to browse.

Sweet and Mean, 14.5″ x 12.5″

Fun and Games, 10.5″ x 16.5″

In her artist statement, Maggy says, ” With these images I am trying to evoke recognition in others of the amazing oddness and commonalities of our individual and connected lives. I like the narratives to be ambiguous and interpretable.”

Boy/Girl Party, 13″ x 29″

Samplers 101

•April 3, 2009 • 3 Comments

I heart samplers.

I have recently begun in-depth research on samplers, and the more I learn about them the more I love them.  The life and history of samplers is so much more interesting than the cross-stitched aphorism matched with a trite motif (cat, lighthouse, seashell, etc) that we see today and thus have come to think of as a sampler.

Samplers originally began as a way to record what a stitcher learned, the word sampler comes from the Latin exemplum which means ‘an example to be followed, a pattern, a model or example.’ Hundreds of years ago, stitchers didn’t have The Embroidery Stitch Bible to refer to. Although Gutenberg invented the first movable type printing press in 1455,  the first mass-produced stitch books were not printed until the mid-17th century. Even then, very few people could afford such extravagances.

As women picked up new stitches from their cousin in the country or a neighbor, they would record them on a scrap of cloth as an aide-memoir.

This sampler records stitches, albeit of a different kind. Taken by Ickybitty in the Zurich Medical History Museum, this is an 18th century record of suture stitches.


Okay, this is nuts, here is a closer look.


Like all other textiles, there is so much of the history of samplers which remains unknown because the textiles themselves have not lasted. The oldest surviving sampler was made by Jane Bostocke in 1598. This does not mean it was the first one, it simply means it is the oldest preserved one. It is in the permanent collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.


Come back next week for more on the art and history of samplers.

Diem Chau

•April 1, 2009 • 1 Comment


Diem Chau’s work is fascinating to me as I ask myself, “How’d she do that?” How does one embroider on or apply embroidery to a glazed ceramic plate or cup? The answer to that question might be easier to answer if I could see these beautiful pieces in person. But alas, the images hide the secret.


I find this work very interesting as she deals with the ideas of the story and how people are connected- both issues I am looking at in my own embroidery work.


OMG! Where Have We Been?

•March 29, 2009 • 1 Comment

I would love to say the luscious ladies of Stitch Spectacular have been off on Spring Break, sipping margaritas or frozen drinks garnished with umbrellas and fruit wedges by a white sand beach where clear blue water laps at our freshly manicured toes.

Alas, so not the case. We have been working very hard to try and find a venue for Stitch 2010. Savannah isn’t exactly brimming with galleries, and the ones who have regular shows kindly informed us that they deal mostly in painting and drawing, not painting with thread and drawing with stitches.

And so the search continues.

Chicken BBQ

Chicken BBQ

Andrea Dezsö

•March 2, 2009 • 1 Comment



Andrea Dezsö studied art in Hungary and London, and is currently a professor with Parsons School of Design. Her work was included in “Pricked: Extreme Embroidery.” 

Remarkably prolific, she has even created two embroidered animations, which can be seen here and here.

Her piece Lessons from My Mother, includes 50 5×5 inch embroidered sayings from her mother.  There are illustrated lines like “My mother claimed my sister was a rubber accident,” or “My mother claimed that wearing skimpy bikinis will give you a  kidney cold (we should wear full coverage terry cloth panties year round).”


Tiger Mending

•February 23, 2009 • 1 Comment

Okay, bear with me.

I know this is a blog about hand embroidery, but I am going to take you someplace really great. Grab a cup of tea for this one.

This is a painting by Amy Cutler, called Tiger Mending.

ac_tigermending_dWriter Aimee Bender was so moved by this image, she wrote a short story inspired by it (pdf here). It was originally published in Black Book, I stumbled upon it in The Best American Non-Required Reading 2005.  I found this quote from the story  painted in an old sketchbook of mine:

“That’s the thing with handmade items, they still have the person’s mark on them, and when you hold them, you feel less alone. This is why everybody who eats a Whopper leaves a little more depressed than they were when they came in. Nobody cooked that burger.”

This is a really short story, about a cup of tea long. I am offering a money back guarantee that you will gain something from it.