One last inspiration post, before I return to my regular Wednesday schedule and try to rassle some more projects into my queue. ;)
Last December, I was on a work trip with a new-to-me colleague and my sewing came up. (I can't imagine how that would have happened - after all, it's not like I talk about it every opportunity I get!)
It turns out that his grandmother was recognized as an international authority on a form of Norwegian embroidery called "hardanger". And, she made a piece (~ 10" square) for him and his bride about 25 years ago, as a wedding gift. He brought it in to work to show me:
Not only is this a gift of love and artistry from his grandmother, but she used a design originally created by HER grandmother, around the turn of the century!
In the picture below, you can just make out her initials, stitched into the lower right-hand corner:
I don't even know where to start to try to capture the beauty of this piece. When I focused in tightly I was just amazed by the precision of the hand stitches. When I examined the piece as a whole, I was struck by how the geometry and symmetry were used to create a beautiful design that somehow transcends the individual bits and pieces...
It is thought that the roots of this art form can be found in ancient Persia and thread their way through Italian reticella and Venetian lacework before becoming firmly established in Norway in the late 1600's. I love this connection to women throughout all of history...
Thanks to my colleague and friend, Ed, for going to the trouble of bringing in this sample to let me see it in person! To most people this might seem like no big deal, but I know that those of you reading this blog will understand how special it was to me... :)
For more information on hardanger, here are a couple of sites to check out: