Thursday, June 10, 2010

Plain Sewing Samplers: Needle for Hire

I read in The Daily News (June 10, 2010) that the Sons of Norway are offering a six week class on Swedish Weaving with Huck Cloth (Mondays, beginning June 14 at 1:30, Norway Lodge, 224 Catlin St, Kelso. Info: 360-577-6578.) I have no idea what Swedish Weaving or Huck Cloth is. The world of fabric art is vast and I know so little. But, because I recently visited an artist friend in Durango, CO, I know what a plain sewing sampler is. She had just returned from a two week trip to museums in England and had taken 4000 pictures of fabric art, mostly plain sewing samplers. I found the subject fascinating because it shows how the education of women changed the art.

The term sampler comes from the French word, essamplaire, meaning example. A sampler is a piece of material containing different stitches and patterns–part practice, part reference. For many centuries, needlework was a fundamental part of a young girl’s education and samplers played a key role in the teaching of these skills.

Many schools for girls were founded during the 18th century and making samplers was an important part of the curriculum. However, it gradually became less important to master a large range of complicated stitches. Girls were taught geography, mathematics and morality. Samplers began to be used for training for professional employment as a maid, teacher, or seamstress. By 1900 most samplers no longer featured decorative embroidery but demonstrated plain sewing techniques.

These strangely shaped samplers allowed a young needle-woman to demonstrate her ability to perform a variety of dressmaking, plain sewing, and decorative techniques. The sampler material could be flannel, cotton, or linen. A gusset, pocket, tucks, pleats, patches, darns, buttonholes and hand-made buttons were usually included. Minutely hand-stitched seams and hems were often decorated with simple embroidery stitches.

Most plain sewing samplers are dated, the greatest number falling to the years 1890-1920 and are usually initialed by their maker. By 1920, the domestic sewing machine was firmly established, hand sewing declined, and the making of school and institutional samplers was almost completely abandoned.

New in Longview

Banda's Bouteque, a flower shop at 1310 Broadway, is now hosting local artists on First Thursday. See the following list for more information.

First Thursday Activities – July 1

1. Broadway Gallery, 1418 Commerce

The featured artists are Jeanne Hamilton, pastels, Richard Roth, pottery, David Vik, photography and Lorena Birk, sculpture/paintings.
Reception: 5:30–7:30pm. Music by John Kramer.

2. LCC Gallery at the Rose Center, 15th & Washington

The featured artist is Paul Adams, photography. (Exhibit runs June 30–July 23.)
Open until 7:00pm.

3. Lord & McCord Artworks, 1416 Commerce

Featuring the art work of Linda McCord. Columbian Artists Association member Gert Martini will demonstrate watercolor in the classroom. .

Reception: 5:00–7:00pm. Violin music by Kaitlyn Lee.

4.Teague’s Interiors Mezzanine Gallery, 1267 Commerce

Teague’s will be featuring work by over 15 local artists.
Open until 7:00pm.

5. Banda's Bouquets,1310 Broadway

Featuring lthe watercolors of local artist Gayle Kiser.
Open until 7:00pm.

6. Java Joy Coffee House (in The Treasure House), 1252 Commerce Avenue

Featuring artists from For the Love of Art.
Open until 7:00pm.

7. ZoJo Coffee, 1335 14th Avenue

Featuring an exhibit of mixed media sculpture by Max Wade.
Open until 7:00pm.