EAC’s Embroidery Canada is a great resource for patterns.  In the December 2004 issue of Embroidery Canada, there was a pattern by Ellen Emanuel called Silk, Silver and Spangles .  

from December 2004 Embroidery Canada magazine

Closeup of original pattern

Anyone who knows me knows that I like colour.  So what colours did I select and how what the final stitching completed, you ask?

I looked at the design and had a 5” walnut trivet frame from Sudberry House.  This pattern used silver Pearl Purl but I found that this metal thread was covered too much with silk thread in original design.  I wanted to display and feature this metal thread so only used a single strand of thread to secure the Pearl Purl to the white 18-count canvas I used in this design.  As I planned to insert the finished stitching into the trivet frame I choose to add more borders to frame the design for the trivet.  A variegated pastel thread was used along with a solid blue.  I found some lovely beads to replace the paillettes in the original design.  I liked the finished product and I trust the recipient will enjoy this piece as well. 

Share how you completed an EAC pattern, changed it and the colours you choose.  I am sure other members will enjoy seeing how we each adapt a pattern as we get ideas on how to alter a pattern that might be more pleasing to ourselves.

Jennie Wolter, 
Calgary Guild of Needle & Fibre Arts
*The first part in a new series on the blog - we will be introducing you to the various Board and Appointee positions - to give you a close up of the benefits and activities that each role does to keep EAC vibrant and active. If you would like to get more involved with the EAC, please reach out to pastpres@eac.ca or any other member of the executive.
I must admit that the position of Past President in any organization may seem like a "has been", honorary position. But I've discovered as I take this role that it is many more things than that. First it is a bit less intense than being President. I find that I'm not constantly on call and don't need to have a comment and answer to every issue that comes up. An organization like EAC, The Embroiderers' Association of Canada, may seem like a cushy job, but believe me, it isn't! I'll let the current "Prez" attest to that in an upcoming Blog. As Past President I actually have time to accomplish quite a lot of stitching. But I do find that EAC is still a constant in my life. There are issues that will need to be dealt with like Job Descriptions, Bylaw changes, Policy reviews and others but they're manageable.
I find that a lot of my role involves memories of past events in the organization. Why was this issue decided the way it was? What prompted this discussion? Based on past events, how should we handle this one? It involves a lot of diplomacy but that is something that has developed over the past years in the organization. If I were asked what is most important in any of these positions I think that would be it. 
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I'll admit I was a bit anxious when I realized that the role of Past President was partly as "elder statesman". The "elder" part is beginning to come into focus but I really wasn't sure if the "statesman" part would ever fit. I tend to be fairly easy going on a lot of matters. I'm of the KISS persuasion (Keep It Simple Stupid) and am not inclined to sweat the small stuff. But, on reflection I think that might be what is needed. We need to realize that very few things we do or decide in life will cause irreparable damage. We need to remember that people are the most important part of everything we decide. Rules can be bent if it is to the benefit of the people involved in the decision. So I welcome the notes arriving in my Inbox from chapters asking how to handle their difficult situations. Rules are made to keep everything running smoothly and sometimes they don't exactly work for any group. Often I find that once the situation is discussed with someone at arm's length the problem can be solved.
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Part of the role of Past President is as head of the Nomination Committee. It is something I'm just getting started on with EAC. I understand the reasoning of having it part of this position as I've gotten to know a lot of members over my tenure on the Board. Some have stood out as potential candidates for positions; many have left a mark on my life. But there are almost 2000 of us in the organization so I certainly haven't met everyone. That's where I rely on networking within EAC to come up with members who are willing to give time to their organization. I've enjoyed my time on the Board and I'd love for others to have that experience. Yes, we work hard. Yes, we accomplish a lot. But we have fun! I've made life-long friends through this experience. I've gained a great deal and grown in skills that I never knew I had. It's been an amazing experience. Have you thought of becoming part of it?
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All members of the Board are involved in most aspects of the organization so reading the Job Description and Timeline doesn't give the full picture at all. There are constantly new challenges and initiatives coming up that need volunteers. We're a very cooperative, sharing group and many of us volunteer for tasks outside our official role. It's a great feeling of accomplishment to see an initiative take root and help to grow the organization. I also find that we are very open to discussing new ideas and seeing if they are a fit for EAC.
As you can perhaps see from all of this, one of the parts of my job that I take very seriously is as a "cheerleader" for EAC. I have gained so much from this organization that I want others to share this enthusiasm. Over the past couple of years we've embraced electronic communication such as this Blog, Facebook, our website (www.eac.ca), GoToMeeting for online meetings, our new cyber-chapter (Virtual Threads) and lots more, while still maintaining our base with non-computer members. It's an exciting time and I certainly will be keeping an active role with EAC even after my tenure on the Board ends.

Joyce Gill
EAC Past President

The Eighteenth Week

Marie-Renée Otis, artist in residence in Paris, 

Fellow of the Council of Arts and Letters of Quebec 

The Exhibition Gold and Embroidery

When I journeyed a beautiful week in Puy-en-Velay, I had the opportunity to visit the exhibition Ors et broderies, trésors à la cathédrale (Golds and Embroideries, Treasures at the Cathedral). Magnificent! Even the exhibition room was beautiful, a cloister’s extension, and this cloister itself being an extension of the Cathedral Notre-Dame of Puy-en-Velay, in short, unbelievable surroundings.

For over 1000 years pilgrims have walked from Puy-en-Velay (in France) to St-Jacques-de-Compostelle (in Spain). Nowadays, they still do! That road (one of the 4 main roads leading to St-Jacques-de-Compostelle), in addition of piety allowed extensive intellectual, artistic, cultural and trading exchanges.

All those years, the pilgrims were easily identifiable with their walking sticks and the seashell they were wearing. This is why, on many locations in the narrow streets of Puy-en-Velay, one can notice the seashell symbol encrusted into the sidewalks, in the purpose of guiding the pilgrims. The town of Puy-en-Velay is located on an extinguished volcano. The Cathedral is erected at the summit of a big rock. A rectangular cloister joined the Cathedral. 

The Ors et broderies exhibition gathers an exceptional collection of liturgical pieces and embroidered paintings from the 15th century till the 20th century. This is the 30 year long accomplishment of private collectors, the couple Cougard-Fruman. 

In the background, you may notice the Cathedral Notre-Dame of Puy-en-Velay
Seashell symbol into the sidewalk

The exhibition room in the cloister

A masterpiece embroidered in gold and silk
Another masterpiece embroidered in gold and sil

Open House at my Apartment

Recently at Cité international des arts, 30 artists participated at a general Open House, I was one of them. I think that was a success. There were many visitors into my flat on the 2 evenings that I opened my door. I had some logistic problems to solve for organizing the event. How to exhkibit the embroidery pieces stitched during my stay in France? They were not framed and I couldn’t pin or stick them on the walls. The solution was to pin them instead on foam boards. And I cooped to hang up those boards with strings on the furniture or I used my chairs and armchairs as painting stands. At the end I was satisfied with the result. The foam core boards allowed me to write the specific embroidery technique used for each of piece: military embroidery, Indian embroidery with a hook, Indian embroidery Shikankari, Indian embroidery Kantha, French Gold Work, French Pinceauté. A total of 30 pieces were showed.

On my desk I displayed my usual embroidery tools. On my dining table there was a little snack (candies, pretzels, and fruits). Among the visitors there were neighbors artists of Cité international des arts, the director of Délégation du Québec à Paris and some friends. The public was of a large array, there were even children among visitors. I performed many guided tours, my visitors were in need of explanations. I must say, I am happy with the experience and the visitors’ comments. But I had forgotten how demanding it is to host many guests at a time and to talk and talk all evening long. 

My open house exhibition

The Botanical Garden of Paris (Jardin des plantes)

Sunday, I am on leave. What do young girls do on Sunday in Paris? Many of them go visit the zoo at Jardin de plantes. This is an ancient and impressive zoo, founded in 1794: 2000 animals, 50 different mammal species, 80 bird species, 10 amphibian species and lots of insects and spiders. This zoo is located in the middle of the city, allowing urban citizens to stare in the eye with big snakes behind a thick showcase; to follow slow giant turtles; to admire pink flamingos, almost orange flamingos; and a yak strangely clothed with a Hawaiian skirt, its molting wool falling apart from his body. Not only the animals are a wonder in this zoo, their lodging also. The buildings of Jardin des plantes are classified historical monuments. In itself this is an exploit in a city that counts so many beautiful old buildings. An agreeable Sunday in the company of young children, who are so impressed in front of leopards, monkeys and goats that they would like so much to hug them... 

The botanical garden of Paris in 18th century 
A dweller of Jardin des plantes

The Exhibition Decorum

The visit of the exhibition Decorum made me feel good. It motivated me to rush back home for stitching. It was a real gift for myself to admire tapestries weaved by William Morris, Dom Robert and Jean Lurçat.

Thanks to Jean Lurçat for making alive again this art in the 1940s. This renewing inspired Sonia Delaunay, Picasso, Fernand Léger and many other artists to create pieces of art in making tapestry patterns. I was moved to see the gigantic black tapestry sculptures by Jagoda Buic and the bloody red ones by Magdalena Abakanowicz. I was happy to admire pieces by Elsi Giauque, Sheila Hicks, Mariette Rousseau Vermette and Josep Grau-Garriga.

In 1977 I was studying high-warp weaving at University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières. I bought a book about Modern Tapestry. At the time, I knew the book by heart, with all the famous creators, their fabulous pieces and their process of creation. That book made me dream a lot about my art... And at this exhibition all these famous tapestries were displayed, in real in front of me. I was in Heaven.

It took me a few days after visiting the exhibition for realizing that there was no piece from the 2000s. Was it a deliberate choice made by the curator or is there no more artists to perform the art of tapestry?

Femmes à leurs toilettes (Women’s Morning Ablutions), tapestry, design by Pablo Picasso, 1938

La cour du chat (The Cat’s Backyard), tapestry, design by Dom Robert

The photo research and the translation are made by Lucie Daigneault

Editors note:  There are 24 travelogues in total for this series.  We are moving to posting one per month, at the beginning of each month.  I hope you are enjoying this series as much as I am !
Find out more at the Embroiderers' Association of Canada website.
EAC is not responsible for content at external links provided within this blog.

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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