Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Mystery Sampler?

The best part of our work is receiving emails and phone calls alerting us to previously unknown samplers. My pulse races when I see the words "mystery sampler," "unknown sampler," or "sampler help" in an email heading.

Today our colleague Rick Warwick emailed us an image of a sampler and some family history on the stitcher. This new-to-us sampler, an exciting find, clearly belongs to the "Little Dog" grouping. It comes with a very extensive provenance. The sampler also has additional names and initials on it, which may help us identify the teacher.

Every sampler adds to our understanding of the ones we have already documented. I hate jigsaw puzzles, but I love patterns and repetition. When I unfold my map of Tennessee, and see that two girls who worked similar samplers in the same year lived less than five miles from one another, I feel as if I have been invited to a very select party.

Above, the "Little Dog" from the 1831 Sarah Harriet Stephenson sampler (TSS 015), the piece I am currently charting for reproduction.

Monday, February 18, 2008

1831 Sarah Harriet Stephenson

Sarah Harriet Stephenson
January 1, 1819—February 11, 1848
Spring Hill
Williamson County/Maury County
June 18, 1831
Silk on linen
16 ½” vertical x 18” horizontal
Private Collection
TSS 015

I've been charting the second sampler for reproduction. Rindy Richards will be stitching the model, with silks custom dyed for us by Olde Willow Stitchery. Rindy and I went to visit the sampler on Friday and match both DMC and NPI to the obverse and reverse.

The model will be worked with the colors from the back. This sampler is part of a group of five I am calling "The Little Dog Samplers of Middle Tennessee." The charting has been going well--Sarah was a good little stitcher with regular repeats in the border and dividing band. The owner was stunned that I thought this sampler was worth reproducing. She said, "Will people really be interested in this?" Rindy said, "The colors are beautiful, it is in great condition, it has the name, exact date, and county in the inscription, there are an upper case alphabet, lower case alphabet, and numbers, we know a lot about Sarah, and it has a house and a dog! Of course people will want to stitch it!"

I can't begin to describe how lovely and intense the colors are. The blue just jumps out at the eye. Terracotta, chartreuse, lavender... somehow they all come together to make a beautiful piece.

Friday, February 15, 2008

MESDA Needlework Seminar, March 13-15, 2008

What: Annual MESDA Needlework Seminar
Where: Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts,
Winston-Salem, NC
When: Thursday, March 13, 2008, 9 am through Saturday, March 15, 2008, noon
Fee: $350 (includes dinner, 2 lunches, all sessions, admissions, and object studies)
Contact: Martha Ashley, MESDA, PO Box 10310, Winston-Salem, NC, 27108-0310, (336) 721-7360, oldsalem.org.

This year' event, "Needlework and Textiles of the American Backcountry," explores the circumstances under which sampler making, quilting, and weaving were practiced in the culturally diverse backcountry of Pennsylvania, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Tennessee after the Revolution. The stories of these textiles and their makers are stories of tradition, religion, and innovation. Participants will study objects from the museum and private collections. Registration required.

Speakers: Johanna Brown, Jennifer C. Core, Laurel Horton, Kimberly Smith Ivey, Kathy Lesieur, J. Roderick Moore, L. Scott Philyaw, and Kathleen Staples.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

New Note Cards

East Tennessee

Susan G. V. Mountcastle
b. 02/03/1829—d. 08/11/1850
Hawkins County, Tennessee
silk on linen, original frame
23 1⁄2 vertical x 23 1⁄2 horizontal
Private Collection
TSS 043

Middle Tennessee

Martha E. Sutton
b. abt. 1833—d. abt. 1905
Bedford County, Tennessee
July 1850
wool on linen
18 1⁄2” vertical x 20” horizontal
Private Collection
TSS 153

West Tennessee

Sarah Elizabeth Jones
b. abt. 1836—d. ?
Henry County, Tennessee
July 3, 1849
wool on linen
8 1⁄4” vertical x 17” horizonatal
Private Collection
TSS 082

Each six card set includes images of three Tennessee samplers–one from each region of the state. Proceeds from the sale of these note cards will fund Tennessee Sampler Survey research.

Individuals may purchase sets for $12 + S/H from:

The Mad Samplar Book Company
1225 Village Drive
Yadkinville, NC 27055
(336) 961-6715

Tennessee residents should inquire at their local museum or needlework shops.

Wholesale inquiries contact Janet Hasson: janet@tennesseesamplers.com or (615) 377-3556.

Funded by: CBRL Group Foundation * LifeWorks Foundation

Design by Susan Houston * Cards by Douglas Printing

Our First Chart!

Last week, I picked up our first chart from Douglas Printing. Amy and Susan came to Janet's house for a stuffing party.

The four of us, working three hours, packaged all of the charts and 2/3 of the cards. The printer had shorted us 1000 envelopes, so we had to stop before we were completely finished.

Robin Laukhuf of Olde Willow Stitchery distributed the charts and cards for us at the Nashville Needlework Market. I think we did well! Robin gave away 180 freebies.

Our chart has everything that I love as a stitcher: photos of both the original and the reproduction, suggestions for adaptations, a biography of the stitcher, info on the historical importance of Middle TN samplers, and a pretty photo of Williamson County. I think the chart is easy to read and handle. The color conversions for three different fiber lines will assist anyone wanting to switch to a different line.

Having a graphic designer (Susan) supervise the production really made this a professional product, worthy of the nominal price!

Interior of Chart

Proceeds from the sale of this chart will fund Tennessee Sampler Survey research.

Individuals may purchase this chart for $18 + S/H from:
The Mad Samplar Book Company
1225 Village Drive
Yadkinville, NC 27055
(336) 961-6715

Tennessee residents should inquire at their local museum or needlework shops.

Wholesale inquiries contact Janet Hasson:
(615) 377-3556 or janet@tennesseesamplers.com.