Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cadolingio Embroidery

Ebe Ciampalini Balestri has just released her latest book, this time it is a style of embroidery which she invented herself, inspired by the ruins of an ancient castle near where she lives in Tuscany. If you have Facebook, you can visit the archaeological dig's page and read in English and Italian what they've been doing and look as some photos in their photo albums.

Cadolingio Embroidery, or Ricamo Cadolingio as it is called in Italian, falls under the category of metal thread work and reminds me of the ancient works like Queen Constance's crown found today in Palermo's Cathedral.

The book is 51 pages long and is divided into two sections: Italian first and English second. Each section is further divided into subsections which list the materials used, technical information including finishing ideas, the history of the family and the castello which inspired this embroidery, seven different projects and more ideas and then the bibliographical notes.

Ebe, acknowledging the economic difficulties of our times, has sourced materials which are easier to fit into your budget than real gold threads and gems for the projects of this manual but if you have the resources for using more expensive materials, that option is always open to you.

The projects are delightful and not your usual embroidery items, here there are mirror and picture frame surrounds, small boxes of various shapes and eyeglasses cases. As the materials used are synthetic, they are also washable, making the projects more usable.

Speaking of eyeglasses cases, Ebe made one for me!

As usual when I translate things, I learned a lot. This book taught me not only about the different aspects of this embroidery style but also about a family's history which I always find fascinating.

You can purchase Cadolingio Embroidery from Tombolo Disegni, send an email request to order.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Genoese Needlework, Textiles and Fashion - Part One

I know almost nothing about Genoa, Italy in relation to textiles. I've never been there and so it is conspicuously missing from the range of needlework that I've talked about here.

I was recently contacted by Maria Daniela Lunghi, a fibre artist, author and textile history specialist from Camogli in the province of Genoa. She was kind enough to send me some textile museum catalogues from Genoa.

I colori del lusso. Scialli del Kashmir a Genova [The colours of luxury. Kashmir Shawls in Genoa] is a little booklet of 32 pages with lots of lovely colour photos of the collection of Kashmir shawls displayed at the exhibition in 2002 at the Museo di Sant'Agostino in Genoa. It covers the history of textiles in India, the production of cashmere in europe, woven shawls and printed shawls among a few other interesting things. (Text in Italian.)

Now, you might be thinking: What do cashmere shawls have to do with Italy? Well, you may or may not know that Europeans had some periods of time where Eastern designs, fabrics and customs became very fashionable. Periods of Turkish, Chinese, Japanese, Bedouin as well as other eastern styles each had their turn influencing the latest fashions for European women and men and India had her turn as well.

Marchesa Emilia Negrone Centurioni by Giuseppe Antonio Frascheri. Oil on canvas. Villa Saluzzo Serra di Nervi, Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Genoa.

This little catalogue also discusses the influence of these shawls on the fashion pages of French magazines, the commerce of Kashmir shawls in Genoa and the relationship between Genoese men and women and Kashmir shawls.

There is a small bit at the end about the restoration and conservation of this collection.

I learned quite a bit about these shawls and their high appreciation by Italian women of the period between 1770 and 1870.

Thank you M. Daniela Lunghi for this fascinating lesson in fashion!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Macrame

I finally treated myself to Adriana Lazzari's Christmas Macrame book, I've been looking at it since it come out in 2009.

Some years ago I tried to create a Santa Claus out of Macrame from a RAKAM magazine but he never really worked out and last year I wanted to create this bell, but even with help and infinite patience from the ladies over at Tuttoricamo, I didn't get very far.

This year, I've had some practise and am determined to create some kind of Christmas ornament in Macrame.

This nice little book has 55 pages, the text is only in Italian but there are lots of diagrams and photos, if you know your way around Macrame, you'd probably have no trouble if you don't speak Italian.

The first section deals with materials and the basic knots after which follows the patterns and ideas section which is the larger part of the contents. The projects include three angels, a chimney-sweep, a couple of brooms, two Christmas trees, a snowman, a witch, a poinsettia, the Nativity Scene from the front cover, three snowflakes and a bell. A bell very similar to the one I was trying to make last year. (If you're wondering, the broom, chimney-sweep and witch relate to the Italian tradition of the Befana coinciding with the Epifany on the 6th of January).

I like Adriana's books as she always tells you how much thread to cut. This helps math-challenged people like me as it leaves nothing to chance. I think I'll make one of the snowflakes to start out, they look like something I might be able to handle. I'll let you know if I succeed.

If you're outside of Italy, you can purchase this book from TomboloDisegni, click on "Libri", then "Libri Macrame": send an email to order, she takes PayPal. If you're in Italy, you can contact the author at her website.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Italian Finalists - A Mirror to my Art Contest

You have seen several posts here regarding the Needleprint blog's A Mirror to my Art Contest. I was personally very taken with the concept and enthusiastic to invite some of Italy's needleworkers to join.

I'm proud to say that several Italian stitchers stepped up and 4 of them became finalists with the 3rd place prize being shared between two works, one of which was the stunning gold and silk embroidery by Francesca from Rome. Check out Francesca's blog where she describes (in English!) the creative process of her design. Don't miss this post about Francesca's mirror art at the Needleprint blog either.

Silvia from Turin was a finalist with her needle lace/trapunto combination inspired by an amazing tablecloth in Aemilia Ars work held by the Palazzo Davanzati Museum in Florence. She has written about her creative process in this post on her blog as well as being the subject of a spotlight post here on the Needleprint blog.

Elisabetta from Ferrara was named a finalist with her beautiful Estense Embroidery mirror. Attention to detail going right down to the beads on the cording closure which match the thread colours of the embroidery!

Rosella from Milan was a finalist with 2 designs (see them here and here) of the 5 embroideries that she submitted! Rosella has kindly allowed me to show you her other works which were submitted to the contest.

Rosella told me that she was inspired for one of her entries by an old collection of patterns given to her by a 91-year-old friend. These old patterns had belonged to the friend's mother, some of them dating back to the late 1800s. Rosella's friend was pleased that the patterns had inspired one of Rosella's entries for the contest and she was sure that her mother would have been pleased as well.

Thank you Rosella for sharing your photos!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

English Insert for Il Reticello by Paola Barbieri

A quick note to let you know that the English translation booklet (pictured above) is now available for the book Il Reticello interpretata da Paola Barbieri published by l'Associazione Il Punto Antico.

If you've hesitated to get this lovely book because it was only in Italian text, now you don't need to hold off anymore. While the website says that the English will be available soon, I know that it is available now as I have waited to get the printed copy in my hands before announcing it's availability to you.

The insert is 31 pages with the complete text of the book translated into English. The English is of very good calibre, not done with an online translator so it is actually understandable. The first sentence of the note from the author reads:

In the pages that follow, you will find very simple and accurate instructions. In fact, several times I choose to also repeat the various steps required for creating a quadrant, in order to be very clear, so as to allow those who have never experimented with reticello to be able to approach this technique.

If you purchased this book already and want the English text, contact the Associazione Il Punto Antico to get your insert sent to you.