Broderer program discussion
- As I mentioned in my earlier email, it has been reported to me that there have been some concerns from a few Guild members about the aspect of the Broderer Program that requires a finished piece to have been completed by the needleworker. As I understand it, these members have expressed some apprehension about their ability to complete a finished piece with the same skill level as their embroidery. What I would like to do here is to explain in more detail the purpose & reasoning behind the Broderer Program, and encourage those of you who still have concerns or need additional help to contact me to discuss your specific plans & difficulties, so that we may collaborate on how to best achieve the goal of the program.
While the goal of the Sojourner Program is to encourage the learning & demonstration of stitch techniques, the Broderer Program has larger goals. It was designed with the intent to stretch your abilities beyond just learning new embroidery techniques. It is the opportunity to challenge yourself by learning to do research, by learning about how the items were used or worn in period, and by learning how those items were made & to produce them.
During the discussion in the Guild meeting, it was pointed out that in period, it was common to have an artist draw the design, then the needleworker would complete the embroidery, and a seamstress would then complete the finishing work & turn it into the desired piece. However, in the SCA, many artisans study not just the skills needed to create the art itself, but also on what type of items the art would be found, and how those items would have been created. In A&S competitions, for instance, judges will usually give more consideration to someone who has gone beyond the embroidery and has actually finished their piece. And Laurels like to see how people use & apply their art, be it painting, leather work, or embroidery. While a number of people can paint on a piece of paper, tool a piece of leather, or embroider a design on a piece of fabric, making it into something period -- such as a total scroll, a leather belt, or a pouch or item of clothing � is one of the things Laurels lo
Moreover, we cannot completely separate the 2 processes of embroidering and finishing, as each one usually compliments & affects the other. For instance, I am currently working on a needlepoint piece for the Pennsic Auction, and I plan on turning that piece into a pillow. Having never actually made an embroidered pillow before, I will need to figure out the best method to sew the competed piece into a cover for a pillow, because I know that as beautiful as my needlepoint may be, no one is going to want just the needlepoint itself. I also have learned from working on a previous project that doing needlepoint of a large piece often results in the fabric becoming distorted as the piece is worked over time, and I have had to figure out how to compensate for that or prevent it from happening, and I imagine I will have to learn how to block the piece once I am done to keep it from distorting again.
We understand that turning an embroidered item into a finished piece involves a different set of skills than those used to complete the embroidery, and not everyone is going to have sewing or costuming skills that are on the same level as their embroidery. (I, for one, have stuck with wearing Norman T-tunics, Viking apron dresses with underdresses, and occasionally coathardies with sideless surcoats, as that is the extent of my clothing design & sewing skills, at least to this point). But there are options for those of you in this situation. One option is to consider making a smaller and/or simpler piece; there are a lot of period items that could be made � household linens (napkins, tablecloths, table runners), pouches, coifs, cushions, and collars for tunics, just to name a few � that would meet the requirements of the Broderer Program.
Completing a large or complex piece is not a requirement of that program, but if that is what you wish to do, you certainly can. If that is the case, then you have the option of approaching others who do have the skills and asking them for help to learn what you need to to complete your project. And if you�re still concerned about your fledgling skills, you could always make a practice piece out of non-embroidered & inexpensive fabric to hone your new skills before making your desired piece with your embroidery. It may be time-consuming and challenging, but then so is learning many of the embroidery skills, and being challenged and learning new things is the whole point of the Broderer program.
I hope this explanation of the program is helpful to those of you who are considering participating in it, and once again I encourage those of you who still have questions or problems to please contact me so that we may collaborate on how to best achieve your goals.
Yours In Service,
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