July 9, 2013
I go back to the boutique au Ver à soie (The Silkworm Store) to fetch some staples to prepare the workshop that I will teach at the event la Nuit de la broderie (The Night of Embroidery). This will take place at the end of September.
This family company, au Ver à soie, was founded in 1820. One of the store owners, a very generous lady, gives me lots of silk thread samples. So, I have the choice to stitch with  :
Soie de Paris
Soie ovale (Flat Silk)
Soie Gobelins
Chenille de soie (Silk Chenille for Embroidery)
Soie d’Alger
Soie surfine
Fils métallisé (Metallic Threads)
I also get some fine wool skeins from Aubusson (laine fine d’Aubusson), but I decline the Silk Ribbons.
At au Ver à soie boutique there are embroidery classes every month and all sorts of activities.

If you would like to read more about au Ver à soie here is the company website address
http://www.silk-thread.com/Accueil    

Marie-Renée in the Boutique au Ver à soie, during La nuit de la broderie

  The Last Indian Embroidery Class
We study the stitching of mirrors. They are little round shapes of mica that we immobilize with a drop of glue. The next step, we mount them with metallic threads. Of course, experimented embroiderers don’t need the glue before embroidering them.
For our stitching workshop we combine elongated Knot Stitches with pearls and sequins. This is sufficient to design lots of motifs and let our imagination to fly away.
I’ve acquired the basics of the Art, all I need now is to practice to master it...

Exercise of Stitching Mirrors

Wednesday, July 10
I travel by train toward Joigny, a little city at one hour road from Paris. I am meeting up the Great Master Philippe Cécile.
For a living, Monsieur Cécile restores precious ancient textiles. He is one of the few specialists whom still know the secrets of certain noble old techniques. He offers me the privilege to have access to his knowledge. The entire day is devoted to learn the technique of the Enroulé religieux (The Nun’s Rolled Thread).
This technique was abundantly used during the era of Louis XIV of France, at the end of the 17th century.
To categorize that kind of embroidery stitch we could say that the Enroulé religieux belongs to the wide family of the Gold Thread Couching Stitches. This technique, executed more rapidly, was invented by nuns. Using this, they saved time, consequently they saved... money in the confection process.
Monsieur Cécile proposes a motif of rose to practice my new knowledge. Each petal is stitched separately and afterward all of them are reunited on the fabric, illustrating a flower designed in relief.
For the purpose to hide the shortcuts of this technique, the embroiderers had a little trick. The clients were confounded in such a way, it wasn’t possible to differentiate the classic Gold Couching technique (demanding more time to perform) with the faster technique of the Enroulé religieux.
With Monsieur Cécile I also learn to set up a rectangular embroidery frame, with a faster method but a stronger method: to set up the frame like on a horse back!
I now know how to stop a too long thread by building a bridge and the best way to stitch a braid tape (soutache).
I go back home in Paris with some golden thread to practice the Enroulé religieux technique. At first sight, it seems simple enough to master, but in fact it isn’t that easy.
Let’s go to work.

The Great Master Philippe Cécile in his workshop in Joigny



Enroulé religieux on Velvet




In this piece there is a pun with the very name of the technique : a Christian cross is surronded by golden petals embroidered according with the Enroulé religieux technique


Thursday, July 11
In the neighbourhood of the Cité international des arts (where I live), stands the Hotel of Sens, hosting the exhibition Au fil des marquoirs, trésors des Pays-Bas 1600 – 1920 (From a Sampler to Another sampler, treasures from Netherlands, 1600 – 1920).
Samplers are pieces of fabric on which young girls were practicing their Cross Stitch embroidery exercises.
The custom was to initialize clothing and linen by embroidering. This way clothes of each member of the family were easily identified. A useful information, when you think the laundry was washed in common at the public washhouse.
The exhibition shows also many pieces of Darning technique. The fabric was expensive in the 17th century and the 18th century. It explains why a big part of the young girl’s education was consecrated to taking care of clothing by darning it in the most efficient way possible.
This is a beautiful exhibition, showing over a hundred samplers and darning exercises, witnesses of a former way of life.
Greetings
Marie-Renée

Hotel of Sens, date of construction 1500 



Sampler, 1825



The layout, the photo search and the translation are made by Lucie Daigneault.
Yesterday I attended a lecture entitled, “Truro’s Most Spectacular Day”, and it got me thinking of the spectacular days that have made up my life – mostly days that have included members of my family.

One of those days happened on Saturday, March 8, 2014. A few days earlier, our son and I were having a phone conversation as he was heading off to work and he told me that he was going to try to break one of the Guinness World Juggling Records.

(Photos from Truro Daily News and Halifax Chronicle Herald)



Our son juggling 3 running chainsaws


I suppose that we, his parents, are to blame for his interest in juggling; one Christmas many, many years ago we gave him “The Klutz Book of Juggling” complete with three juggling balls.  Over the years we have been treated to juggling shows with balls, clubs, fire, and knives; in 2011, he demonstrated his juggling skills with 3 running chainsaws and now holds the present Guinness World Record.  And now he was preparing to try to break the previous Guinness World record for juggling a running chainsaw and two balls for more than 114 throws.



Our son and 2 of his chainsaws


He would be performing  at the Annual Atlantic Outdoor Sports and RV Show in Halifax, Nova Scotia where he was booked to do 5 shows in three days.  He was coming off a very busy work week coupled with a LOT of media attention for the upcoming shows and we knew that he would have to expend a great deal of energy to throw the 3.4 kg  chainsaw in the juggling routine.


Juggling 2 balls and 1 running chainsaw


It would have been wonderful to be two of the more than 20,000 people who passed through the gates but things did not work out for us to be there.  Instead, we kept our eyes glued to Facebook and our ears open when the newscasts were shown.  We knew that it would take only one slip as he balanced on a board placed on a cylinder juggling knives, or a miscalculation when he put the blazing fire torch in his mouth, to put an end to his efforts.   And there was always the chance that a throw of the chainsaws when he juggled the three would not go as planned.  Believe me, it is much easier to imagine all the things that can go wrong when you are waiting at home!  At last a “Congratulations!” appeared on Facebook and we knew that he had broken the record.  Then both CBC and CTV Evening news had clips of him setting the new record – 157 throws and catches!  He actually broke the previous record at all five shows but the three Saturday shows were the most challenging since people from Discovery Channel’s “Daily Planet” were filming his efforts.  It was not until I saw their show the following week that I realized just how exacting a science juggling is, how much of a body workout our son gets each time he juggles, and the amazing skill that he has perfected.  Yes, I am one proud Mom who was recently treated to a most spectacular day!

Editorial cartoon inspired by our son's juggling


Sheila Stewart

For this first blog entry of the new calendar year… I thought I would share with you some of my resolutions for this calendar year. 
Oh, I am not talking about eating better, exercising or any of the usual things we associate with a New Year’s Resolution.. I am talking about my stitching resolutions.

As you know, EAC has a new cyber chapter.. Virtual Threads.
One of the initiatives has been for us to ‘register’ the UFOs we want to work on and hopefully complete in this year. We had until January 31st to post photos of the pieces that still need a few (or many) stitches and time to complete.

Of course putting it out there in a public forum for all to read… means that I am also putting myself in the position of having to be a bit more organized with the use of my time.
What pieces are close to completion… or a long way from completion… (amongst the Many I have?)   have I targeted for attention this year?



Mountmellick Takes to the Sea.. by Pam Cousins, a piece from Seminar 2011 in Sackville  NB,



Two pieces the same, in different stages of work completed…  titled ‘Haunted Houses’ which is a ‘From Nancy’s Needle’ design,  one of these is for my son’s family and the other for my niece’s family. (Little ones do need a Hallowe’en decoration in their homes).


Prairie Lily, cut work, Joyce Gill design from the Regina Seminar in 2010 (a piece that will then be made into a needlebook)


Off the Beaten Path, Carolyn Mitchell design from Seminar 2013 in Winnipeg.. as you can see there is a Lot to be done on those three to bring them to completion. .. and finally…

This is in addition to some ATCs for the last (for now at least) EAC wide exchange, and some Chapter activities with the others from Alderney Needlearts Guild.

As if that is not enough.. I have also signed up to take a cyber course offered by the cyber chapter, by Alison Cole; a group of us from the cyber chapter are going to take the Canvas Candy Bowl EAC group course, some of us have also registered for the two free cyber courses EAC is offering, and  .. as if that was not enough I am also doing the EAC  Individual Metal Thread Course.

Ops.. I had best not forget to let you know that Virtual Threads Cyber Chapter has modified the ‘rules’ for the UFO challenge.. once we complete one piece we can add another! Now if that is not motivation to get work done I don’t know what is!
July 6
My first day of class is at the Zardosi School of Embroidery. Zardosi is an Indian embroidery technique and a word meaning 'those who work with the yellow (the gold)'.
The classroom facilities are small and full of beautiful Indian fabrics richly embroidered.
We are three students, each of us with our individual work. One of the students is Jeanne. She works at a Haute Couture workshop.
I want to learn the handling of the Indian crochet (Aari).
I thought that it could be easier than the technique of Tambour Work (with the hook of Luneville), I was wrong. This is equally difficult.
The hooks are handmade in India from broken spokes of bicycle wheels.
So, in my piece of embroidery there will be a little of rickshaw from India.

The Zardosi School website http://www.zardosi.fr/


A piece of embroidery performed according to the technique of the Indian Aari crochet


Shikha Chireux in her classroom

But before starting my course at the Zardosi School I went to visit some exhibitions :
The first one, The Paris Haute Couture exhibition, was presented at the City Hall of Paris.
FABULOUS! Sparkling embroidery and beautiful, high technical skill, imagination and flawless execution. An extraordinary exhibition.
My favorite is the Sheherazade’s dress, created by John Galliano for Dior’s.
And also the dress created by Ricardo Tisci for Givenchy’s.


The Sheherazade’s gown, created by John Galliano for Dior’s


Christian Dior, Palmyre evening gown, 1952, Satin gray silk embroidered with beads, sequins, Swarovski crystals

The same day that I arrived, on July 4, I attended the opening of the exhibition The Sea in a Glass, Holiday Amid Crisis at the gallery Collection (www.galeriecollection.fr)
I wanted to see how the French opening exhibitions occur. In fact it's like in Quebec.
Virginia Rochetti presents embroidery paintings computer assisted design. These are large horizontal banners, hanging freely from the walls. Some small discrete eyelets or nails hang them up. Her color palette is restricted to brick red, gray, brown and black. The subjects are dark, violent, and want to act as whistleblowers for the society.
The news, the press are an endless source of inspiration for Virginie Rochetti. By the embroidery and the textile arts, she wants to participate to the great debates of our contemporary society.


La Tapisserie de Bagnolet :Et maintenant le tsunami, computer assisted design

With reference to the Bayeux Tapestry, Virginia Rochetti embroidered two years of news on a strip of linen fabric of 7 meters in length.
http://v.rochetti.blog.free.fr

At the same gallery, Anne-Valerie Dupond’s exhibition presents rag dolls whom are embodying pinups, those archetype characters from the 50s.
This is a three-dimensional work using textile, the characters are buxom ladies in bikini, with smiles. But in contrast the seams of the dolls are bluntly visible.
Uneven seams, poorly made, with black wire on pink flesh, stand out and disfigure the perfect image of the women of dreams we usually see on the film posters.

http://www.galeriecollection.fr/aaf/ressources/imageBank/42/slide,1616,Anne-Valerie_Dupond.jpeg
http://www.annevaleriedupond.com/
 
Anne-Valerie Dupond questions the conventions of sculpture, that mainly masculine art

July 5, 2013
I went to the apartment of the Japanese artist, Rieko Koga.
She stitches large pieces of embroidery on all kinds of fabric, large spontaneous embroidery, stitched very freely, with no technique.
This is the area of total spontaneity.
She adds in her paintings scraps of phrases, words, the titles of her work.
The color palette is dark.

So much for the beginning of my stay
Marie-Renée Otis

The free embroidery style of Reiko Koga

The layout, the photo search and the translation are made by Lucie Daigneault
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About EAC

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The Embroiderers' Association of Canada (EAC) is a national non-profit educational organization whose purpose is to have a fellowship of persons who enjoy needlework and wish to learn and share their knowledge; and thereby to work towards maintaining higher standards of design, colour and workmanship.

Our aim is to preserve traditional techniques and promote new challenges in the Art of Embroidery through education and networking.
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