Well our ABC Team has done it again! This quarter our Virtual Wednesday meet-ups will feature the study of tapestries. The recent presentation at our Guild meeting by guest presenter Sandra Sawatzky of her work The Black Gold Tapestry may have been the impetus for our ABC Team. This is going to make the fourth Wednesday of every month for the next 3 or 4 months very interesting.
Bonnie started us off by providing a tapestry definition. It is a pictoral narrative created with thread that can be woven or in the case of our interests, embroidered onto a background of canvas, linen or any other fabric that will support the stitching. Oxford dictionary defined it as “a piece of thick textile fabric with pictures or designs formed by weaving colored weft threads or by embroidering on canvas. It is most commonly used as a wall hanging and references an intricate or complex combination of things or sequence of events.”
We will be concentrating on stitched tapestries, but to enhance our study, Bonnie shared several examples of some famous woven tapestries which included:
- The Apocalypse Tapestry, woven in the 14th century (1377 – 1382) and depicts the story of the apocalypse in the biblical book of Revelations.
- The Unicorn Tapestries, woven in wool and silk, consists of severn hangings that depict the hunt for the elusive unicorn.
- The Devonshire Hunting Tapestries, a 15th century tapestry (The Boar and Bear Hunt; 1425-1430) depicting individuals in the fashion of the day hunting for various animals.
The presentation then went on to highlight various stitched tapestries which included:
- The Bayeaux Tapestry which depicts the story of the events surrounding the conquest of England in 1066 by the Duke of Normandy.
- The Prestonpans Tapestry, created in 2010 in Prestonpans, Scotland depicting before, during and after the Battle of Prestonpans, September 21, 1745, when Bonnie Prince Charley’s Jacobite army triumphed over the Hanoverian army led by Sir John Cope. The tapestry was designed by Albert Crummy using full size drawn sketches and stitched by chief stitcher Dorie Wilkie. It consists of 104 panels, and involved some 250+ stitchers.
- The Villaneuva Tapestry, located in northern New Mexico, was constructed by participants of a workshop conducted by Carmen B. de Orrego-Salas encompassing the history, folk, and religious life of the Pecos Valley of Northern New Mexico. It displays images from the pre-Spanish era to 1976 using Colcha embroidery.
- The Last Invasion Embroidered Tapestry depicting a battle between the British and French at Fishguard, Wales. This tapestry also depicts a myth. You will have to click the link to find out about the myth.
- The Ros Tapestry depicting the story of the coming of the Normans to Ireland in the 12th century.
- The Kieskamma Tapestry of South Africa begins with the arrival of European settlers and ends with the release of Nelson Mandela in 1994.
- The Overlord Tapestry tells the story of D-day and the Battle of Normandy.
- The Plymouth Tapestry created to celebrate the 400th year landing of the Mayflower.
- The Quaker Tapestry depicting Quaker life, events of historical significance and interest. Completed by over 4,000 Quaker participants throughout the world, it developed a new stitch, the Quaker stitch, to accomplish the lettering on the tapestry.
- The Palestinian History Tapestry is an ongoing work that depicts Palestinian history from the Neolithic age to present day, and shares some history with the Kieskamma Tapestry of South Africa.
- The New World Tapestry
- The Bailiwick of Guernsey Tapestry
- The Bristol Berkeley Plantation Tapestry designed by Tom Mor who also designed the Plymouth and New World Tapestries.
- The Great Scottish Tapestry coordinated by Dorie Wilkie
- The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry depicting the influence of Scottish immigrants in the Americas. 34 countries were involved in its creation with Victoria BC having contributed to this tapestry.
- The National Tapestry – America the Beautiful
- Fort Anne Heritage Tapestry of Nova Scotia
- The French Shore Tapestry
- Our own North Shore Reflections Tapestry currently housed at the Museum and Archives of North Vancouver.
- The Canadian Embroidery Tapestry designed by Catherine Nicolls and coordinated by Helen McCrindle.
Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking…”well I’m not going to do a huge tapestry in this quarter”. That’s why Anni brought us all back down to earth. She understood that a much smaller scope was what was needed. Anni asked us to consider that we could just as easily tell a story of an event on a much smaller scale. A scale that could easily fit an a piece of fabric no bigger than a 6-inch square, or something slightly larger. She presented embroiderers that told stories of everyday life, daily events, and what some might consider mundane. Here are some of links to those examples.
- Sue Stone https://womanwithafish.wordpress.com/work-archive/
- Jennie Dutton http://www.jennidutton.com/dementiadarnings.html
- Irma Frijlink https://www.irmafrijlink.nl/kunstwerken.html
- Mathilde Renes https://mathilderenestextielkunst.exto.org/kunstwerken/356665564_autobiographic+work.html
- Tilleke Schwarz https://www.tillekeschwarz.com/works/
- Susan Shie http://www.turtlemoon.com/gallery/gallery.htm
- Ruther Singer https://ruthsinger.com/criminalquilts/
- 25 Million Stitches https://www.25millionstitches.com/gallery
- The Unstitching of Agnes Richter https://thepolyphony.org/2021/09/02/i-plunge-headlong-into-disaster-unstitching-agnes-richters-jacket/
- Ekta Kaul https://www.ektakaul.com
- The Red Dress Project https://reddressembroidery.com
Thank you to the ABC Team for the extensive research and for providing a vast storehouse of inspiration. Can’t wait to see what happens next month when we once again visit during our Virtual Wednesday. What better way to end this, than with the following quote:
When there are no words, art is the storyteller, each stitch a story. –Tina Bryson