Archive for the ‘crewel embroidery’ Category

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

June 15, 2010
Crewel Embroidery by Mary Yaeger, Tree of the Knowledge of Good and  Evil
Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, 2008
crewel embroidery on linen

After discussing Well-behaved Women Seldom Make History with Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, I had the urge to create an embroidery about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. I decided to borrow heavily (should I say mashup?) from the William Morris Woodpecker Tapestry and Cranach the Elder’s Adam and Eve.

I visited the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow in 2007 to study the colors in the Woodpecker Tapestry.

Please note: tapestry, a weaving technique, should not be confused with embroidery or needlepoint, also known as canvaswork. There are a lot of needlepoint kits that reproduce William Morris designs, but few people have the skill and patience to learn tapestry weaving. I’m a big fan of tapestry weaving but not a practitioner.

To help you sort out the different textile techniques, this link may come in handy.

What I’ve been doing

March 27, 2008

Here’s a snippet of The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil

from Tree embroidery

a crewel embroidery I’ve been working on for over a year now.


April 19, 2007

I was delighted to receive an invitation to submit from Bill Harbaugh, the curator of The Museum of Scientifically Accurate Fabric Brain Art, after my recent post. The two-inch badge, titled Brain Slice is embroidery and applique on one of the commercially-stitched patches I often use. It’s the only brain embroidery that I consider finished at this time, so I sent them the image, along with the following statement:

I’m fascinated by the new and old and how they intersect. I try to keep informed on the latest scientific findings and look for ways in my artwork to combine them with references to historical art and events. Most recently, I have become interested in Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and other imaging technologies, which have allowed us access to a new visual terrain, one that appears to be highly tactile. It is the urge to explore these with thread and needle, in texture, color, line and shape, that led me to try my hand at stitching the circuitry of the brain.

My previous work, miniature, hand-embroidered patches about female rites of passage, have been published in Harpers, Ms. and other publications. The female merit badges identified biological and behavioral aspects of being female, to question, celebrate and amuse. I’ve also created emblems that pair medieval imagery with computers and technology. Recent “pressure point patches” illustrate mind-body conditions such as chronic pain and menopausal symptoms.

I had forgotten to give credit to Craft:, which is where I discovered the beautiful crocheted brain Karen Norberg’s Crocheted Brain

and other brain art in the first place.

Brain Art

April 16, 2007

I thought I was the first person in the universe to stitch brain images, but maybe not. I started collecting MRI images, and stitched my first brain “patches” in early 2004. I was also stitching my first guts and heart, so it seemed like I had a nice Wizard of Oz theme going. But the brains were especially seductive, because of the latest MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) technology. Lush images in super-saturated colors had been appearing in the media, as illustrations of the latest discoveries in neuroscience.

This brain slice was the first image, and I also have a work-in-progress that includes a stitched brain.

I’m not the only one attracted to neuroscience imagery. There is even a Museum of Scientifically Accurate Fabric Brain Art, and I’m curious if they’ll consider my renditions precise enough.

Brain Slice

Crewel Brain

Whew! and welcome to Stabbed!

March 13, 2007

Whew! trying to set up a second blog turned out to be way hairier than I thought, but thanks WordPress, it looks like you’ve ironed out any previous problems. I’m still a little freaked by the time it took to try to get a header working on typepad, so for now, Stabbed! will have only a template design. I would like to become loyal to one blog provider, so I hope WP that will be you.

Welcome to my blog for embroiderers. The work discussed here will not be counted cross, and probably not needlepoint either, unless you create your own designs. I think it’s a terrible thing to start out a new enterprise excluding people, but there is just soooo much published about counted cross, so let’s just get that out of the way right now.

Right now I’m working on a large crewel embroidery. I’m fairly new to crewel, having spent the last ten years embroidering with cotton floss, and mostly images no larger than three inches. This is an exciting new endeavor for me, and I’d love to chat about it. In the US crewel has been out of vogue since the 70s. I got interested in it because one thing led to another:

I was researching medieval textiles and stumpwork for a new embroidery. As I moved towards the Elizabethan era I started remembering and wondering, “what happened to crewel?” The New Crewel by Katherine Shaughnessy caught my eye and although it’s a terrific book I wanted to go back and find Erica Wilson and older work, because I was looking for a medieval-feeling for the piece. I’ve been in love with a certain art style for years now. It is:

· Located in 14th to 15th century;

· primarily illuminated manuscripts;

· includes what is called the “International Style”;

· characterized by bright pigments;

· highly narrative;

· full of symbolism but portrays everyday activities in a naturalistic way

· miniature in scale and illustrates the text it accompanies

· really the first graphic novels

· includes artists like Van Eyck, Durer and the Limbourg Brothers

As you can see, I could go on and on about this period.

I didn’t want the sheen of floss and like the texture and color of Appleton crewel wool, even if the range is somewhat limited. So here I am. More soon.