Boutis pronounced “bootee”

Here is an opportunity to learn about a traditional stitchery technique.

Boutis is a traditional needlework technique specific to the Languedoc and Provencal regions of the south of France, whose origins can be traced to the port city of Marseilles in the 15th century. Here it became a highly popular form of embellishing plain, most often white cotton and was a much sought after textile into the 18th century. However with the advent of the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th century and the invention of the sewing machine, came a decline in its popularity. it was during the latter part of the 20th century that there has been a renewed interest in the craft thanks to the active promotion of local artisans and their 31 boutis associations throughout France.

Most commonly referred to as “Boutis” today, the official names are “Piqûre de Marseille” (Stitch of Marseilles) and “Broderie de Marseille” (embroidery of Marseilles). The name “boutis’ come from the ancient provençal word “emboutie” which means to stuff or to cord. Not to be confused with quilting (matelessage) or trapunto, Boutis is a raised, dimensional textile sculpture, hand stitched and corded to create relief via a network of narrow, raised channels which highlight the designs and patterns through the play of light and shadow.

The design is constructed by layering two pieces of cotton batiste together, stitching around motifs and narrow channels that outline the pattern and then, after the stitching is completed, inserting cotton yarn through these same channels. It’s the addition of the cording that relief is created, which defines and gives life to the patterns and motifs of the piece.

In France, boutis is a registered artisanal technique unique to Provence. In 2019 the technique and name were designated as an Intangible Cultural heritage and have been placed un the protection of the French Ministry of Culture.

We have a unique opportunity to learn this technique which is infrequently taught (if ever in Canada) in a workshop led by our very own member Elizabeth J., who is quite an expert. This will be an enviable addition to your needlework repertoire!

Boutis has been declared the national embroidery technique of France and in this 2-day in person class, you will learn the history of Boutis, how to transfer your design onto a special background fabric, and the stitches and techniques used in traditional Boutis. There will be stitching time in class.

It will be held February 12 and 26, 2024 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and there will be time to enjoy your brown bag lunch. Held at the home of one of our members, Gaye H., it’s an opportunity to expand your stitchery toolbox.

Cost: for the two days is $115 which includes all Boutis specific supplies, which are not readily available here in Canada. However you are asked to bring the following:

  • Sewing needle for basting
  • Basting thread
  • Embroidery hoops in two sizes; a small one (4½” – 5“) for stitching and a larger one for cording (7” – 8”)
  • Sharp embroidery scissors
  • Two thimbles: your favourite thimble to use on your right hand and another thimble with a little ridge around the top’s perimeter.
  • Optional:
    • Rubber thumb (i.e. tip of a rubber glove)
    • Thread wax
    • Needle threader (very useful)
    • Easy release Scotch tape of painter’s tape

Please note the Guild’s refund policy: Final payment is due two weeks before the commencement of the workshop. There are no refunds unless your place can be filled from a waitlist.

For more information, and to register contact [email protected].

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