Saturday, March 30, 2013

Easter Blessings

 Heaven's Sake, can you believe Easter Sunday is here?  I hope you all have a wonderful Day with your loved ones and family.  Easter in our family is a time of reflection and celebration~ a time we share the true religious meaning of Easter, but also a time to celebrate not only Jesus rising from the tomb, but all of the rising life of spring too. The weather is getting nicer, the children have spent the day today out planting new flowers and bulbs in the flower beds, the winter has been so long and cold its nice to be out and about.

 Theyre not the only busy bees...Ladye Bunny has come along, taking her little ones for a special Easter outing in the egg cart. Theyre dressed in their best little silke gowns~ Mamma has a little picnic surprise waiting for them on the knoll just past Tuckman's Marsh~ its going to be SO much fun~ I wish you all could come!

  I adore wee little things~ they make me happy~ little Blackie is not even a whole INCH tall! Whatever your pleasure, I wish you the most Blessed & Happiest of  Easter Dayes

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Mabel, a Special One of a Kind Queen Anne on eBay

If you are a follower or collector of my dolls, you will know I have sold online at the TDIPT Mercantile for many years now. If you havent heard, the TDIPT Mercantile is closing its doors in April.  Behind this doll are many years of fond memories of the Mercantile~ all the dollys I have made and sold there (over 300!), and all of the wonderful people I have met.  Some of you may remember that my first dollys were cloth Queen Annes.  I made three special primitive Queen Anne sisters~Mary, Mabel, and Moira, to honor those first precious ones.  Mary was my final dolly offering this past month on the Mercantile, which left Moira and Mabel. It has been a very difficult decision trying to decide which one to keep for me~ honestly I wanted to keep them both!  I chose, or actually, Moira really wanted to stay here with me, so I am so pleased to offer Mabel on eBay this week. She is so very special~ named for my Aunt Mabel~ if you like you can see more of here here on my eBay auctions : 

It has been my great Honor &  Pleasure to serve you on the Mercantile, I am so sad to see it close. But with every closing of a door, a new window opens, and I also have the wonderful & exciting pleasure to announce that I will be joining  the marvelous artists at  the PFATT Marketplace in April, so do watch my blog here for more news and the link to my page there coming soon!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A c1730 Embroidered Silk Apron

  At the time this apron was made, they were a popular project of instruction for the fashionable young ladies of society. They showed not only wealth in the materials used for their embroidery, but also the skill of the schoolgirls who made them.  Early in 18th C Boston, Mary Turfrey boarded girls in her home, and taught them how to expertly wield their needles~ in reading the Diary of William Bentley, a young girl worked a marvelous apron under Mary's tutelage ~

   "3 feet by 2, edged with points, & tufts upon them, eight springs with balls of gold within the edging, flower pots and flowers at the lower corners of gold, between a pot with flowers of cruel [crewel]. Two birds between of gold bodies and one in the center of the same. Above are worked two false pocket holes, forming an apron."

  My apron is near exact in size, and looking closely in the photos above,  are two false pocket holes, the slits never having been made or finished.

   This embroidered silk apron resides at the MFA in Boston, accession number 53.243.  It has a quite similar scalloped edging with near identical embroidery design to the edge. Also note how the edge pattern stops well before the top of the apron~ a detail also just like my example.

   The majority of these embroidered aprons I have seen, have been worked on a plain silk taffeta ground~ a simple backdrop to not detract from the focal point~ the embroidery. The hem edge is simply turned and finished after the embroidery finished.  

  Here is a closeup of one of the unfinished false pockets. At the top shadows of the original gathers can be seen, but no prick marks. Instead of being carefully unpicked from its original soft 'U' shape waistband, it was cut, just underneath of it. So many of these aprons have survived without their waistbands, but yet not remade into anything else,  one cannot help but ponder if it was at some point fashionable to display them framed
  This outstanding apron was just sold last week at Skinner in Boston, having previously been part of the MMA's collection.  Its false pockets have been slit with edges finished~ do click on the photo to make it larger
Now tarnished to a dull black, many of the flowers and leaves are have been worked in a variety of real silver threads~ this bud using a rococo , a sort of bumpy thread.  These threads were very, very costly in their day, and used most sparingly. To save thread, they were worked only on the top of the fabric, being couched down with a contrasting silk thread, which, in itself also added to the design
 This back view shows how not a single bit of the metal threads were taken thru to the back. Actually, I really enjoy the pattern the couching threads have made~ the work so neat and fine, its just as much a treat to view the back as the front

   Different weights of silk threads, different twists of silk threads, as well as the use of metals and knotting, make this apron very textural~ not at all plain. I can see these as being a sort of 'practical' sampler of sorts~ not just something to hang on a wall, but something of ones own work to actually wear around and be so proud of.
   Expertly executed long and short stitch

 For your further reading~ "Women's Work, Embroidery in Colonial Boston" by Pamela Parmal  will afford you many hours of  enjoyment

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Fate, Hope & Charity~ 
exhibition at the Foundling Museum, London 
  25 Jan - 19 May, 2013

  Absolutely not to be missed if you are in or anywhere near London at the above slotted time.  Many of my readers are familiar with the 'Threads of Feeling' exhibit which showcased just a sampling of the thousands of textile bits kept within the records of each child who was dropped of at the Foundling Museum in London.  This year showcases is a new exhibit that focuses on the tokens left with the children~ some will absolutely break your heart
   As with last years exhibit, Faith, Hope & Charity is accompanied by a wonderful book ~ not a catalogue of endless photos of the tokens, it is an absolutely wonderful collection of essays and stories of a selected few~ you will not be disappointed  and I couldn't recommend purchasing one more~ you can do so here~,product,view,259,,,.html
 You will be supporting the Museum in doing so, as well as showing how important these little publications are in making a small local exhibit offering into a worldwide educational opportunity  Their information and photos keep the one time exhibit 'running' for years and years after they have ended.  Feel free, as I have done, to email Paul Holberton Publishers and thank them for agreeing to publish this book!

  The middle photo is but one heart wrenching token in the collection~ can you read the cypher?  It reads, " I want relief , and initials of the inscriber, GB Jan 16, 1759 "

Sunday, March 03, 2013

A Regency Jane Austen Era Ladye on eBay

   This precious, absolutely precious girl is offered on eBay this week! Dressed from one of my most favorite eras, the first quarter 19thc, c1813 to be exact
  ' I ' sculpted her to be a Queen Anne, but as you can see, like so many of my dollys do, she told me who she wanted to be!  xoxoxo rachael