Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Monday musings

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Monday Morning Musings

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower – Albert Camus

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Jenine Shereos, is a sculptor and installation artist in Boston. In the “Leaf Series” Shereos mimics the beautiful veining that often shows itself best in decaying leaves by wrapping, stitching and knotting strands of human hair.
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The artist uses water soluble material as the foundation of each piece, first stitching the individual strands of hair (by hand) onto the material, then tying a minuscule knot at every intersecting point.  When she dissolves the water soluble backing material, the knots allow the leaf to hold its shape. A fascinating process.image
“The complex network of lines present in this work mimics the organic patterns found in nature and speaks to the natural systems of transformation, growth and decay. Allusions to the vascular tissue of plants, as well as the vascular system of the human body, exist simultaneously; the delicate trace of a hair falling silently, imperceptibly, from one’s head becoming the veins of a leaf as it falls from a tree leaving its indelible imprint on the ground below.” Jenine
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Photos by Robert Diamante

MUSINGS

It is hard to believe that summer is very nearly over, in the little Cove where I live in Cornwall, England signs of Autumn are appearing and the evenings are noticeably drawing in. When you take the time to reflect upon nature, you observe a complex yet very beautiful world cycling through patterns, phases and through stages of transition. Our lives are like nature’s seasons – Winter a season for reflection, hibernation and planning; Spring a season for learning and opportunity and Summer a season for celebration and fulfilment. But what of Autumn ?
I like to think of Autumn as a second Spring when every fallen leaf is another flower on the ground so for me it is also a time of learning and opportunity. It is hard to believe that this time last year Hands Across the Sea Samplers was just beginning to transform from an inkling of an idea between two friends to an actual sampler being chosen to reproduce.
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It has been a huge learning curve for us but good things can happen when you follow your dreams, here we are twelve months later with seven designs published, several more in production and a loyal client base collecting our charts. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for your support and friendship.
Making contact with other needleworkers around the world has been the best reward for us and we enjoy hearing from you. We were delighted to receive an email from Sue Smith:
“……. I really enjoyed working the design. I’d never stitched any wording before this and never on such a tiny scale either – quite a challenge. I’m really pleased with how it turned out ……..”
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Well done Sue, the little motif inspired by Hannah Coates’ sampler is delightful. Thank you for sharing your stitching with us.
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Embroidered portraits

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Embroidered Portraits


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Stitch by stitch and color by color St. Louis based figurative artist Cayce Zavaglia  utilizes her background as a painter to embroider excruciatingly detailed portraits that look almost like photographs.
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The process, which she refers to as both thread painting and  “renegade embroidery”, begins with a photo-shoot consisting of 100-150 portraits from which she selects the best image and then moves to the canvas where she works with one ply embroidery thread on Belgian linen to create each piece.
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“Over the years, I have developed a sewing technique that allows me to blend colors and establish tonalities that resemble the techniques used in classical oil painting. The direction in which the threads are sewn mimic the way brush marks are layered within a painting which, in turn, allows for the allusion of depth, volume, and form. My stitching methodology borders on the obsessive, but ultimately allows me to visually evoke painterly renditions of flesh, hair, and cloth” – Cayce Zavaglia
Zavaglia is also interested in the backs of her portraits, a tangled mesh of thread and knots resembling a more abstract version of the exacting portrait on the reverse.
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In a return to her roots as a painter, she creates gouache and large format acrylic paintings of the backsides, effectively creating a painting of an embroidery of a photograph.
All images are copyright Cayce Zavaglia. For more information on CAYCE please visit her website.

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

A new Release - Elizabeth Beaven 1835




Hands Across the Sea Samplers are pleased to announce the release of their latest sampler - Elizabeth Beaven 1835, a Scottish sampler with an unusual and whimsical border of owls, geese, pheasants, beeskeps, squirrels, sheep and much more.
For more information and photographs please visit our website -https://hands-across-the-sea-samplers.com/…/elizabeth-beav…/
Sandra and Nicola would like to take this opportunity to thank their stitching friends within the group for their support of Hands Across the Sea Samplers. Every time we log into Facebook we feel inspired by the needlework we see and the warmth of your friendship.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Salt crystals

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Salt Crystals

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For her latest project, Israeli artist Sigalit Landau decided to submerge a black gown in the Dead Sea. The gown entered the salt-rich waters in 2014 and was recently removed for display, and as you can see from these stunning pictures, the end result is nothing short of magical.
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The project is an eight-part photo series called Salt Bride and was inspired by S. Ansky’s 1916 play titled Dybbuk. The play is about a young Hasidic woman who becomes possessed by the spirit of her dead lover, and Landau’s salt-encrusted gown is a replica of the one worn in the dramatic production of the 1920s.
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Landau periodically checked on the black gown in order to capture the gradual process of salt crystalisation that you can see in the photographs.
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Sigalit Landau (born in Jerusalem, 1969, lives and works in Tel Aviv) first represented Israel at the Venice Biennale in 1997 in a group show, followed by a solo presentation in the Israel national pavilion in 2011. She has featured in numerous exhibitions and museums, such as Documenta X in 1997, MoMA, New York in 2008 and a retrospective at Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) in 2014. Her work is found in many major collections, including MoMA and Centre Pompidou.
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This isn’t the first time Landau has used the Dead Sea to create, she’s submerged various other objects over the years to create some amazing salty masterpieces.
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All images copyright Sigalit Landau.

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

50,000 year old needle

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50,000 year old needle

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Scientists have found a 50,000 year old sewing needle – complete with a hole for thread – during the annual summer archeological dig at an Altai Mountains’ cave widely believed to hold the secrets of man’s origins. It appears to be still useable!
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The 7 centimetre (2 3/4 inch) needle was made and used by our long extinct Denisovan ancestors, a recently-discovered hominin species or subspecies. It is seen as providing proof that the long-gone Denisovans – named after the cave – were more sophisticated than previously believed. The needle was made from the bone of a large and so far unidentified bird.
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The needle rewrites history since the previous oldest such object dates to some 40,000 years ago and it is assumed that the newly-found needle was made by Denisovans, as it was found in the same layer where Denisovan remains were previously found.  The archaeologists have found needles before in the cave, but in ‘younger’ (archeological) layers.
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Layers of the cave’s flooring show that it has been occupied by humans for 282,000 years. Scientists believe that Denisovan remains date back up to 170,000 years ago.
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The Denisova Cave in Siberia’s Altai Mountains is horizontal, with a wide entrance and is approximately 600 metres long with a floor area of roughly 270 square metres. It is located 670 m above the sea level. The cave was formed out of Silurian limestone and consists of spacious 9 x 11 metres large central chamber with three smaller side galleries. A vertical chimney conveyed smoke from a fireplace. Altai people call the cave Aju-Tasch – Bear Rock. According to their legends an evil sorcerer lived in the cave.
It is a unique place, where three different groups of humans lived in the last 100,000 years: Denisovans, Neanderthals and Modern Humans. It has provided a succession of revelations about ancient man. It was here in 2008 that Siberian scientists discovered a finger bone fragment of ‘X woman’, a juvenile female believed to have lived around 41,000 years ago.
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The genetic materials in the bone fragment and a molar were preserved, allowing the Max Planck Institute to analyse the DNA. The results revealed a new species, cousin of the Neanderthals, named the ‘Denisovans’. Both species share a common ancestor, which in turn shares a common ancestor with Homo Sapiens.
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Denisovans also interbred with some populations of Homo Sapiens, contributing about 5% of the genome of some today’s Oceania people and 0.2% of the genome of Native Americans and main-land Asians.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday

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Images copyright Hillary Waters Fayle. For more information please visit Hillary’s WEBSITE
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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Embroidering with fish scales

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Embroidering with fish scales

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Fish scale embroidery is a technique that was popular in nineteenth century Britain. The fish scales usually came from carp, goldfish or perch, as their scales were regarded as the most iridescent. Fish scale embroidery was worked on silk, satin or velvet ground cloth and the scales were used to imitate flower petals, bird feathers and butterfly wings.
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The scales were prepared by scraping them from the fish, steeping them in cold water until they were soft and pliable, and then two small holes were pierced with a needle near the base of each scale.
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The scales were sometimes coloured with a mixture of varnish and powdered colour. Once ready the scales were arranged in an overlapping pattern and then sewn down. Stems, veins, tendrils and other fine details were worked in stem stitch using a fine chenille thread, gold thread or a filoselle. The centre of the flowers was often filled with French knots worked in silk or with beads, pearls or spangles. This type of embroidery was only suitable for places where it would not come into contact with friction.
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A PROJECT

Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine, April 1886 have instructions on how to make a fish scale embroidered  NEEDLEWORK BOOK
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Materials — A strip of perforated cardboard, nine inches long and four and a half inches wide; a piece of red silk ribbon of the same dimensions; two and a half yards of red ribbon, half an inch wide; red sewing-silk; white flannel; fish-scales.
Instructions: This needle-book is composed of two stars, covered with small fish-scales and bound round with a quilling of ribbon. Fig. 1 shows the pattern in full size. Each star is cut out of a piece of perforated card-board 4 ½ inches square, over which a circle is traced measuring 4 ¼ inches across.
Now divide the circle into eight notches ¾ inches deep, and cut them out; cover both the star-shaped pieces with fish-scales, which should previously have been well washed in hot salt water and carefully wiped and dried.
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Victorian crafts The needle, threaded with red silk, is inserted in the lower part of the scales to fasten them on to the cardboard as seen in Fig. 2, which gives a part of the pattern during the process of working. The indented edge of the scales should be placed upwards, and they should overlap each other. Cover in this way the eight notches first, and then the rest of the stars, arranging the scales in regular circles, and only leave a small space in the center, in which place a rosette of red ribbon.
Next line both the pieces of cardboard with the red ribbon 4 ½ inches wide, and on the side of the lining sew on a quilling of the narrow ribbon so as to let it show a little beyond the edge on the right side.
Place two pieces of fine white flannel inside the pieces of cardboard for holding the needles; cut them out of the same shape, but rather small. Join both sides of the cover by sewing a small piece of ribbon over one notch of each star, forming a sort of hinge; then sew a piece of ribbon, six inches long, to two notches on the opposite side, which serve to fasten the needle-book by a bow.
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