On July 30, join me in celebrating World Embroidery Day.
Les Chapeaux designed by Judi Alweil of Judy & Co. (See discussion further down in article.)
The initiative came from Skåne Sy-d, a local group of Broderiakademin, the Swedish Embroiderers Guild. The first World Embroidery Day took place on July 30, 2011, in Vismarlöv, Sweden. As the founders stated, “The importance of embroidery must be made known and World Embroidery Day will spread around the world. Make 30th July a day filled with creativity for the sake of Peace, Freedom and Equality.” (See the entire Manifesto and photos on www.broderiakademin.nu. )
Manifesto for World Embroidery Day
Day 30th of July
Textile reflects our world; embroideries can show the expressions of our time. Embroidery and textiles can focus on the social injustices between countries.
By the means of embroidery we can draw attention to the necessity of engaging in the force of textiles in global trade and with it in world peace. Textiles are a power and let us use embroidery as an inspiration for people to engage in creativity that leads to a better understanding between countries and between people.
To embroider is a peaceful occupation. It can be traditional made from a common remembrance, drawn designs, from a pattern, or from your own imagination. You embroider for joy, beauty, decoration and for the creation of identity.
Stitches can be decorative, beautiful, comforting, repeating, healing, telling, pleasurable, rebellious, caressing and perfect.
People embroider out of joy, as a hobby, professionally, for the bare necessities of life and as an act of freedom. You embroider together with others or in meditative solitude.
We want to acknowledge embroidery as an act of free creativity, which can lead to free, creative thoughts and ideas. We want to tie our embroidery threads from the privileged northern hemisphere together with stiches that are sewn by embroidering sisters and brothers all over the world.
We want to be part of a joyfully creative peace movement. (www.broderiakademin.nu)
As some of you know, it was embroidery that brought me to the study of women’s history. Back in the 1970s, I learned how to needlepoint and created works in the spirit of the political posters of the time. Once I went back to school, my needle and threads were put aside for study, then research and writing and teaching. I didn’t touch a piece of embroidery for almost thirty years but the work I had done surrounded me in my home. Finally, I couldn’t resist the pull and returned to the fold, only to discover that new yarns, designers, ideas, etc. had all changed. It took me several years just to learn about the innovations, and I’m still working on it.
In the meantime, to celebrate World Embroidery Day and to convince some of you that needlework is not just a luxurious hobby, I have included above one of my newer pieces. The design, originally called Les Chapeaux, was created by Judi Alweil of Judy & Co. The magazine Needlepoint Now printed a Stitch Guide by Jamie Prosser and Natasha Higgins in its May/June, 2013 issue. I tracked down the painted canvas and, although influenced by the Stitch Guide, chose my own yarns, a number of the stitch patterns, and then added a twist. If you look in each of the sets of earrings the ladies wear, you will see a message. I have named my version of the piece, Les Chapeaux Go to Wall Street in honor of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
If you are an embroiderer, take some time on July 30 to enjoy our art form. If you don’t know anything about needlework, google it, read about it, visit a museum or art show on fiber arts, or give your favorite fiber arts charity or embroiderer a gift.