Saturday, January 4, 2014

A Little History Lesson: Madeira Linen



Since I have been having so much fun and such great success recently while sewing on vintage linen, I have begun to research the different linens... 

For anyone who might read this and not have read other entries on my blog, I am making wall-hanging art quilts using fine vintage linen as the base, such as this one, just recently completed...


In the process of procuring these linens , mostly on ebay or Etsy, I have learned about Madeira linen, made in Madeira Portugal.  Here are some exerpts from various internet sources: 

The hand embroidery of Madeira is generally respected as being the finest of its kind available in the world.  Over the last 150 years, Madeira has collected expertise from the fast disappearing regional centers of hand embroidery across Europe and developed these various styles into a distinctive package that, in terms of quality of handwork, is unsurpassed worldwide.  The story begins in the 1860s when Elizabeth Phelps, the youngest daughter of a wealthy wine shipper, concerned over the effect the vine disease Phyloxera was having on the income of the vineyard workers, set out to turn the rural pastime of simple embroidery into a cottage industry. 

Elizabeth opened a school of embroidery, teaching the women on the island the skills of fine embroidery.  Each woman would take a piece of linen, with the design stamped on it, to their home, where they would complete the embroidery before returning the completed piece.  The finished linen was originally sold to tourists - and then later to the parlors of Victorian England. 

And that's your history lesson for today - and here's a couple of lovely and nostalgic photos...

til later,
Kate


 



 
 
 
 
 

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