EmbroideryThe art of decorating fabricor other materials with a needleand thread.
•Dates to 30,000 B.C. First threads were made from Animal sinew or plant fibers, and needles from bone and ivory.•Believed to have originated in China and the Middle East. Sculptures, paintings and vases depict peope wearing embroidered clothing.•Embroidery developed out of a need for joining animal skins and began to be used as an embellishment for clothing, boots,and hats.* Evolved simultaneously in all parts of the World that practiced sewing. Different cultures favoured different techniques and materials. In general, nomadic tribes favoured felt or wool, While urban embroidery is done on silk and velvet.•In Siberia, elaborately drilled shells stitched with decorative designs on animal hides date to 5,000 B.C.• Chinese silk embroidery dates to 3500 B.C. Surviving chain stitch embroidery dates to Warring States period (3rd-5th dentury B.C.) Many of thestitches used today were developed during this period.• Ancient Egyptian embroidery was exclusively white on white canvas with linen. Coptic embroidery from The first century onward are noted for the richness Of their decorative motifs that show both Christian, and secular themes. They used plant, animal, and Mineral based dyes.
•Embroidery was a very important art inthe Medieval Islam World, and was asign of high social status in Muslimsocieties.•In cities such as Damascus, Cairo and Istanbul, embroidery was visible onhandkerchiefs, uniforms, flags,calligraphy, shoes, robes, tunics, horsetrappings, slippers, sheaths, pouches,covers and even on leather belts. Manycraftsmen embroidered with gold andsilver.• Each of these embroidery cottage industries employed over 800 people.• Commercial embroidery in Iran andPakistan was mainly done by men, guildworkers who produced large scale itemsfor export to Russia and other foreignmarkets.•Political life was closely connected tothe textile world. Social status wasdefined by what one wore, from theEmperor’s gold-embroidered velvet tothe labourer’s striped cotton to thenomad’s felted wool.• Most Islamic embroideries were madeby women specifically for their homesand families to sustain and reinforcetheir communities, family ties andcultural identities. From the exhibition “A Story of Islamic Embroidery”
Opus Anglicanum or “English work”.The church was one of the most important customersfor high-quality embroidery. Fine needlework ofMedieval England produced for ecclesiastical orsecular use on clothing, hangings or other textiles.•Used gold and silver threads on rich velvet or linengrounds. Such English embroidery was in greatdemand across Europe, particularly from the late 12thto mid 14th centuries and was a luxury product oftenused for diplomatic gifts.• Opus Anglicanum was usually embroidered on linenor, later, velvet, in split stitch and couching with silkand gold or silver-gilt thread Gold-wound thread,pearls and jewels are all mentioned in inventorydescriptions.• Although often associated with nunneries, by thetime of Henry III (reg. 1216-72), who purchased anumber of items both for use within his own court andfor diplomatic gifting, the bulk of production wasproduced by men in workshops in London.
SamplersBeginning in the late 15th century, stitchedmodels were used.16th Century English samplers were stitched ona narrow band of fabric 6–9 in wide. As fabricwas very expensive, these samplers weretotally covered with stitches. These were knownas band samplers and valued highly, oftenbeing mentioned in wills and passed downthrough the generations.As part of her preparation for the responsibilityof sewing clothes and linens for her futurefamily, most girls completed at least twosampler which they taught a child basicembroidery techniques and the alphabet andnumbers.
During the 1800s and early 1900s, Japanesesake brewers filled sakabukuros with unrefinedsake which was then hung, so that the refinedsake could drip out into collection vats.Thrifty sake brewers would make sure that anybag which was damaged regained a longer,useful life by sewing meticulously stitchedpatches on the bags, using thick cotton threads.Once repaired the bag was again ready to use topress the sake.Every summer, skilled sakabukuro specialistsrepeatedly applied persimmon juice to infuse thebags with its natural strengthening agents andantibacterial properties. Repeating this processcaused cotton fabric to gradually transform inappearance and texture into something thatresembled variegated brown leather.
Artist Statement, Josh BlackwellThinking about the idea of consumer responsibility led me to begin collecting plastic bags from kitchencupboards and city streets six years ago. What began as an exercise in environmental conservationevolved into a studio practice combining aspects of painting, sculpture, and installation.Plastic bags are the second most common form of litter in the world after cigarette butts. Theirdegraded status and ubiquitous presence are fascinating to me, attempting to balance betweenconvenience and excess. Quickly used and then discarded, their textured surfaces wear the remainsof physical activity like dirty laundry left on the floor. The bags attempt to redress their impoverishedstatus with the addition of colorful embroidery in geometric patterns.