Thursday, July 1, 2010

French Ecclesiastical Embroidery

Looking at beautiful embroidery makes me weak in the knees.


And taking pictures of beautiful embroidery...

Having images to keep and study...well...


That's priceless.


When I took my Tambour Beading Masterclass, Bob Haven treated our class by showing us this antique French ecclesiastical stole which he had bought at a flea market in Paris.


It was stitched on silk satin and the silk was basted onto a piece of muslin for safekeeping.


Bob understands the importance of preserving, sharing and studying these rare antique embroideries and didn't hesitate a second when I asked if I could post the images on my blog. Thank you again Bob.


The embroidery wasn't quite complete so you could see that the transfer was made by pouncing chalk over a series of needle holes pricked onto a pattern.


The holes were incredibly tiny -- this photo is a close up so the "dots" appear much larger than they actually were.


Because the piece was laid out on a high table, I wasn't able to get a picture of the entire stole. Sorry about that.


But I love to study the shading, the use of metal threads, the design, the stitches...


After returning home, I went on to Amazon France looking for French tambour beading books. Though I found a few, I was more intriqued by this amazing french book titled De Fleurs en Aiguille. I know enough French to know that the book was about flowers and needlework (actually...it's something like Flowers in Needlework: The Art of Embroidery in
the Visitation)...and the cover photograph gave me heart palpitations...so I took a chance and ordered it.


And OH!! I was NOT disappointed. This book is an absolute treasure trove of beautiful images and close ups of the embroidery created by the nuns of the Visitation of Mary or Visitandines founded in the 17th century in France. I found a newsletter here that explains a lot more detail about the museum, the Visitandines and their art...the book is actually a catalogue for a museum exhibit was held in 2009 at The Musée de la Visitation in Moulins.

I've added that museum to my "must see" list.

Most of the book's subject matter is ecclesiastical but don't let that fool you. It's absolutely stunning.


The book is written in French so I cannot understand very much. But it's worth the price and shipping for the pictures alone.

I also own a piece of ecclesiastical embroidery that I bought to study. However it is not nearly as fine as the work I showed you today. I'll share that tomorrow.

Have a beauty-filled day.

21 comments:

Catherine said...

Stunning! I bet even more so in person - love the colors!

Don't worry about not reading French - a picture is worth a thousand words!

Front Range Stitcher said...

Both the stitching and preservation of the shawl are awesome. So inspirational just seeing a few of the photos; is the right side of your brain in overdrive yet? Thanks for sharing.

Ati. said...

Thank you for the beautiful photos !!

Gerry Krueger said...

Absolutely breathtaking....I just buy books for the pictures anyway.... Hugs Ger

Lisa said...

Wow! So much gorgeous stitching! I so admire the dedication and tenacity of the individuals who produce these masterpieces!

Elmsley Rose said...

Oh wow!

*dribble* *dribble* *dribble*

Thankyou so much for introducing this book to us. It's gone on my wish list.

Rosali said...

Su bordado es muy bonito e interesante su blog.

Carol said...

Good day!!
hile moving slowly through the pictures, I thought wow, the shading is amazing! At that precise time you mentioned it. Yes, its beautiful, but it really goes beyond beauty. The fact that it was created so long ago and through time fell to hands that appreciate it and preserve it is the truly amazing thing.

As a father passes to his son his knowledge of skills such as plumbing, pounding and other skills that men should teach, a mother should pass their knowledge to young women so the art lives on.

That's what I think.

Have a great holiday. Can't wait to see you family antics THIS year!
xx, Carol

Marnie said...

Jaw dropping! Marvelous!! Isn't it great when we can photograph the details of such incredible pieces for study? I could spend hours analyzing the shading, design and techniques. Thanks for sharing and have a great holiday!

Caroline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Caroline said...

I would be happy to translate some of it for you if you are able to scan the text

Sweetpea said...

Susan, I am beginning to think you have lived before in another time, not at all like this one! How beautifully you transport yourself - and us - to this glorious thread work of times long past and engender a new appreciation.

This is all SO MAGNIFICENT, I don't know how you sleep at night for the wanting of it :>]]

Cathy K said...

OMG, these are incredible. Drop-dead gorgeous. That caliber of stitching is rare... and so delightful to visually sink into! And hey, your photography skills have about risen off the charts! Love your blog banner, too! Hugs, Cathy

Lakshmi said...

oh my such a gorgeous stiches..thank you for sharing the pictures..

Loralynn said...

Lovely work. I want to embroider like that when I grow up! :-)

Françoise said...

Hello
I had the pleasure to visist the exposition...Extraordinary!!!!
Best regards from France
Françoise

Mary Corbet said...

Hi, Susan! I Love this post - you're right, it's right up my alley!

I have the same book by the Sisters of the Visitation convents in France. It's wonderful! There's so much to learn about embroidery (whether secular or liturgical) from looking at ecclesiastical embroidery, so I always gobble up whatever books I can find on the subject.

I love your close-up photos - beautiful! And the prick-and-pounce pattern shots are terrific. It's great to see the actual "background" of the piece.

Ahhhh - you've inspired me to get busy!!

Anonymous said...

You may wish to take a look to a recent publiucation in French "Le trésor brodé de la cathédrale du Puy en Velay : Chefs-d'oeuvre de la collection Cougard-Fruman".

See http://www.amazon.fr/product-reviews/2226181911

The authors

Anonymous said...

I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one these days

trishworth said...

I'm glad I found your post about French ecclesiastical embroidery - it's helpful for me for translating old French stories. Thanks.

Daniel H. Fruman said...

If you love embroidery you will enjoy visiting http://plaisirstextiles.e-monsite.com/, a site still under construction, with a large number of photographs of our collection of liturgical embroideries from the XVth to the XXth century. The collection is now housed and shown at the Cloister of the Cathedral of the Puy-en-Velay, in the Auvergne region of France.

Have a nice navigation and enjoy it.

Josiane & Daniel Fruman

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