‘Media Coverage’ Category

The MET Jacket

December 24th, 2008 by Tricia

The MET Jacket on display at the new exhibit in Manhattan (Twixt Art and Nature) was one of the two pieces we visited while planning for the project.  I am so thrilled that many of you may be able to go visit it while it is out. The jacket was breath-taking to us for several reasons.  First, it has a wide variety of motifs and a very heavy and complex gold stitch for the coils.  Secondly, it is tiny.  And I mean TINY.  This really surprised us.  We knew that the fashion for waistcoats at this time (around 1620-1630) was for very high waists, but the shoulders on this piece are very small.  Standing there looking at them, they are a bit smaller than my 8 year old child’s shoulder width.  I hope that Susan North (who is an expert on costume of this period) will be able to examine this piece soon and make comments.  We looked at all the seams and embroidery along the shoulders and sides and have some thoughts about the areas that have and haven’t been modified.

The gold coils are stitched with a complex stitch that starts with a ladder stitch and then follows with a second pass which wraps the bars together.  It takes up a great deal of thread and is time consuming to work.  Jill loved the stitch and wanted to do it on our jacket but I said I would stage a mutiny!  Check it out here on a sampler of mine.  It really makes you wonder about how much the cost of this particular jacket was to make.


Reviewing ‘Twixt Art and Nature’

December 22nd, 2008 by Tricia

I had the honor of attending the opening of the new embroidery exhibit ‘Twixt Art and Nature‘  on December 10th.  The exhibit is a collaboration between the MET and the Bard Graduate School of the Decorative Arts.  If you look back at the comments for December 8th, one of our lacers, Devon, was also at the opening and did a nice review also.  Devon is a volunteer in the textile department at the MET and has provided us with valuable information on metal laces during the project.

I am bringing this exhibit up a few times as it has an intimate connection to the Plimoth Jacket project which I will detail in the next few blogs.  Also, it may be one of the only times you will see an embroidered jacket similar to ours that will be on display in the United States.  The exhibit runs from December 10th to April 12th, 2009 and it is located at the Bard Graduate School on West 86th Street at Central Park West.  The exhibit has three floors of the most amazing embroidery from 1580-1700.  Almost all the objects are from the MET’s collection and are some of the finest examples of their type.  As Susan Brown, Assistant Curator of Textiles at the Cooper-Hewitt, said that night – “I always think we have nice things, and then I see what they have at the MET!!”

If you want to see a few pictures of the jacket on display and a slide show of some objects in the exhibit, click on this review of the exhibition in the New York Times on-line.


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.


Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

October 11th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Not everyone can make the pilgrimage to Plymouth for the holidays . . . so we decided to produce a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring 1621 Plymouth anywhere in America! History will actually come home for one lucky eBay auction winner this Thanksgiving! From October 2 – 11 (Today’s the 11th!) we are putting two of our world-renowned interpreters up for auction. The interpreters, a Colonist and a Wampanoag, will go anywhere in the United States, in character, to spend Thanksgiving with the highest bidder.

Whether it be a single-family, a large group, or even a corporation, the winning bidder will share a Thanksgiving meal with a Wampanoag man dressed in authentic 17th-century styled clothing and portraying Hobbamock, along with one of Plimoth Plantation’s colonial interpreters portraying Edward Winslow clothed in his reproduction 17th- century wardrobe (you know where that came from). Check out this YouTube video, which introduces Hobbamock and Edward Winslow, and was produced by students of the Center for Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University as part of their educational practicum.

Also check out www.plimoth.org for links to the video and the auction, and for more information.
Thanks, Wendy.

Special Guests

June 23rd, 2007 by Jill Hall

Today’s pictures are all courtesy of Robbin. (Thanks again, Robbin.) She and her camera captured several events I missed, all of which occurred on Day Three (Thursday, for those of us who are having trouble keeping track…).

First, here’s Laura the Extreme Costumer, in her embroidered jacket, and the rest of her ensemble, working at a frame which I think wouldn’t have been that foreign to a real 16th or 17th century embroiderer. Laura and Jennifer flew in to join us for Thursday and Friday. It was a treat to meet them and see their work. On Friday, Laura shared with us some of her sketches of items in the V&A collection – her drawing is as beautiful as her needlework. While waiting for an open embroidery frame (at times on Thursday and Friday we actually had more qualified stitchers than we had frames for them to work at), Jennifer made ties for a forehead cloth out of sewing thread by the fingerloop braiding technique. Another guest, Marilyn, was knitting and conversing about Japanese embroidery techniques. It was like a smorgasbord of fiber arts.

Our next special guest was Shay Pendray, who couldn’t escape being set to work. I came back into the room just as she was leaving the frame, and forgot to ask if she made any stitches? I hope so.

Today I attended the Patuxet Strawberry Thanksgiving at Plimoth Plantation, a really special event. The weather was gorgeous and we had a great time, but it did involve walking from one end of the museum to the other, more than once. And after this busy week, I’m too tired to think. Tomorrow we’ll finish up the story of Session One.

Day Two

June 20th, 2007 by Jill Hall

Day Two is in the books. I’m amazed at how quickly some of the stitching is going; one embroiderer has completed everything that can be done on her frame (it was one of the smaller ones, but still!). Some parts can’t be worked until the threads arrive, and all the goldwork has to wait till last. So she’s sharing a frame – two people working on opposite ends of one of the larger frames. I’ll try to get a picture of that tomorrow.

A huge thank you goes to Tricia Wilson Nguyen, Wendy White, and Justyna Teverovsky of Tokens and Trifles for donating kits for this sweet needlebook to all the stitchers. This project was designed by Wendy using motifs adapted from one of Plimoth Plantation’s samplers, which we’ll see Friday.

Another huge thank you goes to Ann Blalock of Coats & Clark, for donating the threads for the kits, and supporting embroidery outreach in general. Tokens and Trifles plans to donate kits for all the stitching sessions, ‘personalized’ with the dates of each session, as you can see on the back here.

Thank you doesn’t even approach what is due Kathy and Laura. Wendy nicknamed Laura ‘our girl Friday’ because she’s everywhere something needs to be done. This whole week would be impossible without Laura’s good humor and willing hands and Kathy’s quiet attention to every detail.

Here are a few pictures of the progressing embroidery. My photography doesn’t do them justice. The bits of embroidery look like little jewels on the mostly-still-black-and-white pieces. Every day there are more jewels. The stitchers are now working mostly on their own, giving Tricia time to trace off a right-side-up coif pattern, and transfer it to linen. No silly paper hats today.

Wendy and Kris bagged the next batch of kits, which are waiting for one more element and then should go out Monday.

I have been taking notes on what’s working schedule-wise. I’m thinking next time we’ll have to build in a time for show & tell. Several people have brought in original embroidered pieces or latest new creations for us all to admire during breaks.

I spent quite a bit of time walking around in the humidity, planning tomorrow’s Needle Arts Studio filming. It should be a great show. I’ll post the airdate when we know it. Likely it will air in early 2008.

See you tomorrow.

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