The Embroiderer's Story

Twixt Art and Nature

December 8th, 2008 by Tricia

A few months ago, staff from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Bard Graduate School of the Decorative Arts came to visit the project and film the stitchers, lace makers and spangle maker.  The product of that film footage will be part of the exhibit ‘Twixt Art and Nature‘ opening in the Bard Graduate School on December 11th.  The exhibit will also showcase a spectacular jacket which was studied as part of the preparation work for this project.  I highly recommend the exhibit if you are in the NYC area.  You will be able to see a real jacket and also footage of our project along with some discussion about the relationship between these objects.

The exhibit website can be found here. For some eye-candy, here is a glove I brought for show and tell the other day.  This is a project for the public program at the exhibit on December 12th.  It uses several threads developed for the jacket project or those that were developed as an offshoot of the relationships developed during the project.


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3 Responses to “Twixt Art and Nature”

  1. Liz says:

    I’m flying to New York this weekend and have plans to check out the exhibit. I’m very excited!!! Thanks so much for promoting it on this website. I don’t think I would have known about it otherwise.

  2. Devon Thein says:

    I attended the opening of this exhibit last night. It is truly spectacular. Curator Melinda Watt has outdone herself. The embroideries, three floors of them, are unbelievably beautiful. Not only is the jacket featured, but hats, gloves, and yes, coifs. The pieces are supported with historical, inconographical material, technical material (including an x-ray of a piece of raised embroidery (stumpwork) and published material such as the early lace and embroidery pattern books. There are fashion items and furnishing pieces, embroidered books, samplers. Really words cannot describe how fascinating this exhibit will be to those of us interested in historical needlework. Be prepared for sensory overload. I doubt that any of us will have the opportunity to see all of these objects together again during our life times. The arrangement shows a tremendous amount of thought and scholarship. There is also a mouthwatering catalogue which I am hoping to read before returning for a more leisurely trip through the exhibit. The photography is fantastic and this catalogue would make a welcome addition to all our libraries. Of course, part of the exhibit is the film that shows the embroidery at Plimoth and the bobbin lacemaking. Although her face isn’t shown, I believe the hands are Carolyn Hasting’s. I stood mesmerized watching it. There is also a full set of activities to be seen at
    These activities will be going on through March and some of them require reservations, so if you are planning a trip, by all means check to see if your trip will correspond to an activity.
    Devon Thein

  3. Melinda Watt says:

    I want to thank Devon Thein for her glowing review of the English Embroidery exhibition, and the rest of the embroidery community for your enthusiastic response to this project. I would like to add that this exhibition was a collaboration between the Bard Graduate Center (BGC) and the Metropolitan Museum. I worked with a co-curator, Andrew Morrall (Professor at the BGC) and a group of BGC graduate students contributed research and co-authored many of the catalogue entries. The beauty of the objects has been revealed by the skill of associate conservator Cristina Carr and her colleagues in the Metropolitan Museum’s Textile Conservation department. Many other skilled Museum and BGC staff members have made essential contributions to the success of the exhibition. As those of you who have contributed time to the jacket reproduction project, the skill and dedication of many hands and minds are necessary for success.

    Melinda Watt, Assistant Curator, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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