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Embroidery – Historical Storyteller, High Fashion and Art

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 Louboutin /Jean-Francois Lesage shoes inspired by Marie Antoinette

Francois Lesage master of French couture embroidery died aged 82 in December 2011 and it was a memoir in the journal  ‘Selvedge’ by Alastair Macleod which awakened an interest in embroidery that once I opened my eyes I realised I had been admiring for a while.  From a recent re-emergence among the fashion houses to the many ‘textile’ artists creating beautiful artwork incorporating stitchery both traditional and innovative.

What I really got immersed in though was the history. There are many beautiful books on the history of embroidery, but the actual pieces themselves can be historical and social documents.

The following  books are the ones that have really held my interest over the past couple of weeks

Silken Threads: A History of Embroidery in China,Korea,Japan,and Vietnam

Silken Threads: A History of Embroidery in China,Korea,Japan,and Vietnam  by Young Yang Chung. Published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (1 Mar 2005)

Lavishly illustrated with vintage photography and artwork of magnificent dragon and bridal robes, rank badges, kimonos, and other embroidered textiles produced during the last two thousand years, this book is a fascinating study of East Asian embroidery through the ages. The author Young Yang Chung, is a world-renowned master embroiderer who founded The International Embroidery School and established Korea’s first vocational embroidery centre. In this book she presents a wealth of information about the symbolism and meaning of the designs, as well as explaining the uses and functions of embroidered textiles.

Quaker School Girl Samplers from Ackworth [Hardcover] by Carol Humphrey. Published by needleprint (Dec 2006) 
This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of the samplers and their schoolgirl makers, how they can be seen as important social documents telling us about 18th and 19th century schoolgirl education, about Quaker life values and genealogy.  It is a fascinating and strange story of how these pieces of needlework came to be and how at auction avid collectors can and will pay thousands of pounds for an Ackworth Sampler.
 Sarah Evans’ Sampler 1801 (Scholar 1799-1801 from Birmingham)
© Ackworth School Estates Limited.
There are a couple of really interesting posts about these samplers at the Needleprint blog here among many more beautiful illustrations and stories about samplers.
I see more reading in my future!

About aalid

Book loving, craft obsessed, retro, library working, slightly geeky female. Probably old enough to know better but refusing to learn, persistantly looking for the aesthetically pleasing in life to cheer up my apparently miserable face! The Mage and Raven is my bookshop - it doesnt exist - except for inside my brain.

One response »

  1. Pingback: More Stitchery « mageandraven

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