Let's continue on with our investigation of Umbrian Embroidery. If you're just joining us, please start with Part One.
The embroidery school/workshop founded and run by Romeyne Robert, Marquess Ranieri di Sorbello with the able management and outstanding input of Carolina Amari enjoyed ever-increasing success from 1904 until about 1933 or 1934 when both the school/workshop and the Arti Decorative Italiane shop in Perugia closed. It seems a number of factors were involved in the closures, most likely being the economic difficulties of the times and the advancing age of the two ladies.
After the closures, the Marquess Romeyne exhibited a collection of the very best pieces from the school/workshop in the Palazzo Sorbello and went on to collect antique pieces of embroidery and textiles.
Some students continued to make Umbrian Embroidery and later to teach it to others. In the late 1990s a renewed interest in this needlework brought about a revival which still continues today. There are now a few embroidery schools in Italy who teach Umbrian Embroidery.
While at the Italia Invita Forum of Lace and Embroidery in Parma in 2009, I picked up a little book from the Associazione Culturale Femminile P.ES.CO. [Women's Cultural Association P.ES.CO]:
A small format book of about 50 pages, it has technical instructions of most of the stitches which define the technique of Umbrian Embroidery including how to do some of the tassels. The text is in Italian but there are lots of clear diagrams. I've had a bit of success trying it out, though, like any other embroidery technique, you must practice in order to perfect stitch tension. Some of my attempts are quite sad so I would really like to take a course in this needlework - I am especially attracted to it's tone-on-tone texture.
At the EGA Seminar in San Francisco, the Italian ladies brought some pieces of Umbrian Embroidery from the P.ES.CO. Association with them. The pieces were spectacular!
The P.ES.CO. Association's goal is the "defense, conservation and dissemination of the artistic, artisan and cultural traditions of the area". They also promote the local art of Crochet Lace which we will talk about in another post. This is a group of astonishingly talented women. They keep a permanent exhibit at the Palazzo del Rondò in Tuoro sul Trasimeno in the province of Perugia if you happen to be passing by.
The book is available directly from their website if you are in Europe, otherwise to pay with PayPal, check out Tombolo Disegni (click on Libri/Books, then Libri/Ricamo, then Ricamo Italiani - send an email request to order).
Next time we'll have a look at some characteristic stitches of Umbrian Embroidery.