Marie-Renée Otis, artist in residence in Paris, 
Fellow of the Council of Arts and Letters of Quebec 
The Sixteenth Week

The Indra’s Son Exhibition

The name Indra refers to the God of Heavens in ancient Indian mythology. That is how Nicole Darieux christened the embroidery workshop that she founded in 1969.

At that period, Nicole Darieux was living in Pondicherry (India). Her husband was assuming the function of Consul of France. She took the opportunity to begin to work with young indigent women who happened to know embroidering. For her part, Nicole Darieux’s expertise was drawing and painting. Together, embroiderers and painter found out an appliquéd technique allowing the representation of ancient Indian designs.

Mrs. Darieux, through her contacts in France, organized a network of volunteers and embroidery aficionados for setting up recurring exhibitions, for selling those marvellous pieces.

Only four years later, 265 jobs had been created in India! The beneficial impact for those young women and their families was important: daycares, medical clinics, scholarship grants, etc.). Nowadays, at least 1500 people make their living from embroidery in Pondicherry. 

The design themes are multiple: murals with ancient poems; the day to day life in India; village sceneries; birds, gardens and flowers.

Magnificent pieces created by expert hands.

Son of Indra’s female workers, in India

The photo research and the translation are made by Lucie Daigneault

Editor note:  Travelogue No. 16 will appear in three posts spread out over this week. 
Please come back and visit all three parts.

Don’t get me wrong – I love the Holiday Season. I really do. I put a ton of energy into it – shopping, wrapping, decorating, baking and, of course, stitching (the majority of our tree ornaments are needleworked and we all love it that way). 

But when it’s over and it’s time to put everything away, something happens to me. It’s like the Organizing Fairy taps me with her magic wand, a switch gets flipped in my brain and I get obsessed with purging, organizing and rearranging. I can’t seem to help myself and it’s all I can think about! I even torture my children with this odd malady (or maybe Liam was happy to clean out and organize his closet - it’s hard to tell with teenagers). I know that I'm not alone in this afflictions, because every time I walk into a department store the first thing I see are all the organizing bins and racks (which, I have to confess, get me more than a little giddy!).

I've done most of the cupboards in my kitchen, my closet, the storage room and Liam's closet. Now, the next items on my home organization list are the kitchen pantry, the cupboards in the mud room and my studio (that last one is way too scary messy to show you!). My dining room is now full of non-dining-room stuff. We have bags of board games to donate (to the school where my sister in law is the principal) and boxes of clothes and household items (I haven’t decided yet where those will go). Eventually, of course, the insanity peters out, but while it’s upon me, I get quite a bit done! 

This organizing frenzy even extends to my needlework. In past years, I have made it a policy to start working on my UFOs (UnFinished Objects) in January and keep working on them until something tempts me so much that I just can’t resist it. Usually that was a class at Carolyn Mitchell’s shop, Mrs. Twitchett’s Eye. Now that the shop is no longer there to tempt me and I’m mainly stitching my own designs, the policy has changed somewhat, but I still feel compelled to do a little needlework organization and clean up. 

So what’s on my needlework to do list? I still have more UFOs (of other people’s design) than I care to admit, but I also have some of my own projects on the go that need attention, and I'm going to focus there first. So here’s a little look into my January Needlework Clean Up List:

• A set of blackwork designs that have been stitched and need to be finished into ornaments

• A set of blackwork smalls that have been started; two more pieces need to be stitched and finished

• A Punto Antico table center piece in pink needs to be completed

• Make a small design and chart it for Seminar 2015 registration kits and a new free chart for giving away

• Order materials for upcoming classes

• Finish designing and stitching a second set of Pietre Preziosa ornaments

• Find time to work on new ideas churning away in my head

How long do you think I’ll last before some shiny new project tempts me away from my virtuous path? It's hard to say, but just writing about these goals has me pretty motivated to check some off of my list!

~ Kathryn Drummond

Crazy Quilting Book Giveaway

by Nikki Lee

Crazy quilting, or crazy patchwork as it is also known, is a glorious obsession!  It is no surprise that this Victorian art form has experienced a resurgence in present times.  

There are so many reasons for embroiderers to enjoy this technique. Themes, such as Under the Sea, are very popular in modern crazy quilt blocks. These themes give a stitcher opportunities to look at many things in new and expected ways. 

by Beryl

Novelty yarns beg to be used to create seaweed.  
Feather stitch lends itself beautifully to the creation of aquatic plantlife. 

By Kerry for Beryl

by Kerry for Ritva

Lace can be hand-dyed to become flora or fauna.

by Kerry for Alice

Images can be transferred to silk or cotton and used as custom “silkies”, the modern interpretation of cigarette silks. Beads, charms and upcycled pieces of costume jewelry add some bling! Even cheap shell tourist necklaces can be taken apart and used to embellish.

for Kerry by Ritva

Virtually any needlework can find it’s way in.  
Can you find the tatted sea creature floating across this scene?

by Kerry for Nikki Lee

Ribbon embroidery turns up in unexpected ways such as the creation of a sea horse.

by Carolyn
by Kerry for Carolyn

The only limit is your imagination!  The crazy quilt blocks that grace this post were created for me by friends or by me for them.  Thank you goes out to Carolyn,  Alice, Beryl, Ritva, and Nicki Lee at Crazy Quilting International!

Now, as promised in the title, a giveaway! 

If you have enjoyed this post and the eye candy in it, leave a comment on this post before February 1st.  One name will be chosen randomly and announced here on Feb 1st.  Please be sure to leave a way to contact you in case you win.  

Do you want to know what you are playing for?  

This giveaway is for a copy of Crazy Patchwork, written by Janet Haigh.  

Good luck!

Chain Stitched Applique

Slow progress on my whole cloth piece but I did manage to add a couple of bright orange flowers to it.  Using fusible web I ironed this flower down and chained stitched around the edge and added some pistil stitches and beads.

Wanting a 3 dimensional look as well I buttonholed around this flower and stitched it on with french knots.  I have 3 more flowers to go and then will add a few stitched bugs.

Owl Accordian Books

Grouping of 4 of my owlet accordion books that I've enjoyed stitching.

Owl accordion booklet opened up.

4 more owl accordion booklets.  

This is supposed to be the beginnings of a cross stitched robin but I've already made 4 mistakes so we'll see what bird it will be by the time I'm done :)

It always makes my day when a Sharp-tailed Grouse comes into the yard.  We've been having -28 Celsius and into the - 30's at night so I am glad to scatter a bit of seed on the ground for the birds.

Happy New Year and wishing everyone a creative and wonderful year!
~ Jeannette Luther

Running Stitch Circles

The Regina Stitchery Guild program for this year is to explore embroidery stitches from around the world.  September was to explore the embroidery of India and I've added circles of running stitches around a buttonhole stitched washer.  For the centre I used a piece of paisley material I had.

Along one of the sides I added this star shape and played with filling it with different stitches, ie:  stem, straight, chain, buttonhole and herringbone.

I quite liked the star design so I also put it along one of the other sides again experimenting with different thread colours and stitches ie:  chain, straight, buttonhole, stem and french knots.

At the October meeting we were to explore the embroidery of Japan by stitching a sashiko design. We were each given this indigo blue cotton 12" x 12" piece of material to which we marked a grid and added circles using a white dress maker's pencil.  This is my finished and first sashiko embroidery.  I did not do the centres correctly but was not thinking of that while I was stitching.  A few of the circles are not perfectly round either. Next time :)

I received a large envelope of candy, gum and chocolate wrappers from Carol Storie at the guild mtg and I made this landscape fabric postcard using them. Thank you Carol!  I sent it to an International Mail Art Exhibition being held in Nov. and Dec. 

I backed it using a Sun chip bag someone else at the guild meeting gave me.  Thanks Shelley :)

Also made a couple of wrapper landscape atc's.

backed with more of the Sun chip bag.

While driving on a back road we came across this beautiful large Great Grey Owl perched on a fence post.

Needless to say we were thrilled when he/she let us take some pictures before flying away.

Have a most delightful day and creative day everyone!
                         ~ Jeannette

Find out more at the Embroiderers' Association of Canada website.
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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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