MORE SUBVERSIVE STITCHERY FROM THE ’70s

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, I’ve stumbled across a box of unfinished stitching, packed away in a prior move and long unseen.

This piece I can date pretty accurately. I was working on it just before I joined the SCA, in January-February 1975. The counted thread patterns are from a mix of historical sources, mostly pix of antique band samplers, and illustrations in embroidery books. The composition was (of course) my own. The bottom panel was going to sport an Adam holding the apple, and an Eve rolling her eyes. They were going to be surrounded by an assortment of standard fauna and flora. I had just started the snake on the tree when I put my needle down. The brown thread for the tree’s trunk is coiled on top of the snake in the center.

misc-embroidery-3.jpg

My color choices on “Eve Was Framed” weren’t very good. I was working from a student’s stash of small quantities of floss, and never actually sat down and planned layout or color coordination. “Clashing haphazard” however was a common color set of the time. The faux linen butler’s tray cloth I was using as a ground was even weave, but rather coarse, about 24 threads per inch (12 stitches per inch). I stopped working on it when I realized that although many of the patterns had precedents, the work as a whole was a sad mish-mash. I wanted to spend my time doing more historically accurate pieces. So I shelved my subversive sentiment, rather than finishing it to hang on my dorm wall.

I will say that many of these styles and patterns are better known today than they were when I was doing this piece. You can buy pattern leaflets, design books and even full commercial kits today to make reproductions of historical band samplers, and patterns from period pieces have informed the work of many contemporary stitching designers. But back in ’75 there were very few people doing this type of stitching. And certainly even fewer using it to make trite political statements.


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2 responses

  1. Taken as a whole I can see what you mean by "clashing haphazard," but each of the individual bands is really beautiful.

  2. So it’s flashy. Think of it as an archive of it’s time, thereby documenting the color craziness of the 1970’s. When I think of what I wore in the 1960’s in high school….

    Gosh, you were *so* close to finishing! What a shame!

    –Kathryn

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